John Sarich, Culinary Director at Chateau Ste Michelle

While visiting Chateau Ste Michelle, we were fortunate to have Culinary Director, John Sarich, lead a tour of the Chateau. After discovering all this wonderful winery has to offer, we enjoyed a wine pairing, prepared especially for our International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association group.

John feels fortunate he has access to world-class wines and fresh foods and says, “Not only do we have an outstanding variety of ingredients from the land and sea, we also have exceptional wines from Washington’s Columbia Valley, where long summer days and crisp autumn nights produce ideal conditions for well balanced wines.”

In addition to his wine and food tastings, John offers cooking classes, wine dinners, and special events. He is proud to say, “I present training seminars and classes for wine and food professionals and aficionados around the world.”

John started in 1976 as a wine guide, when Chateau Ste Michelle first opened. After his enthusiasm for wine and food skyrocketed, he was teaching cooking classes. Shortly after, he moved into sales, as a wine and food consultant for chefs along the Pacific Coast. John took a break in 1980 and founded the successful Seattle Adriatica Restaurant and Dalmacija Ristoran. After ten years, he returned to Chateau Ste. Michelle as Culinary Director.

He has hosted many TV shows and released his fifth cookbook, Chef in the Vineyard in 2010. John was happy to share a recipe with us from his new book. Reprinted with publisher’s permission from Chef in the Vineyard – Fresh and Simple Recipes from Great Wine Estates by John Sarich.© Sea Hill Press/John Sarich 2010.

Recipe: Spiced Chicken with Syrah BBQ Sauce and Sautéed Fennel

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Wine Suggestion: Syrah, Cold Creek Syrah

  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 4-6oz chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Syrah BBQ sauce, recipe to follow
  • Sautéed fennel, recipe to follow

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 400° F.

Toast coriander and fennel seeds in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat until fragrant — take care not to burn the seeds. Place in a spice grinder and pulse to make a fine powder. Set aside.

Rub chicken with a small amount of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and dust with spice mixture. Heat a sauté pan over high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown.

Transfer chicken to a baking pan, brush with BBQ sauce, and place in oven. Cook about 10-12 minutes or until done. Serve with fennel and extra sauce.

Syrah BBQ sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced fine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup syrah, reduced to ½ cup
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seed, ground
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, salt and garlic; cook until onions are soft, but not brown. Add the reduced syrah and tomatoes; cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and star anise. Puree sauce in blender until smooth. If sauce is too thick, thin with more syrah. Set aside.

Sauteed Fennel
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cored and sliced very thin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add the fennel, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until soft, but not browned, stirring often. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.

Maralyn D Hill

Freelance travel writer Maralyn D. Hill, The Epicurean Explorer, is past president of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. Maralyn focuses on food, spas, travel, and wine, while still covering meetings, incentives, and corporate assignments. You can follow Maralyn at Where and What in the World or see her profile on ...(Read More)

Around the web