Executive Chef Todd Knoll foraging for wild plants and herbs
Mortar & pestle, bowl and plate filled with foraged ingredients

In addition to our estate garden, Executive Chef Todd Knoll draws inspiration from the wildlands around Jordan Estate and along the Sonoma Coast, where he forages wild plants and herbs to incorporate into his menus. Using the freshest ingredients is a given in wine country, but Chef Knoll goes even deeper, focusing on what elements can be added not only to bring flavor but to tell the story of Alexander Valley.

Hands picking a flower

sustainable cooking

Foraging for plants is just one part of how we focus on sustainable cooking at Jordan. Chef Knoll’s culinary philosophy also involves utilizing the entire plant throughout its lifecycle, from collecting pea tendrils and the morning’s fava blossoms to garnish his plates, to the roots of cilantro and the blossoms of red shiso in salads. Kitchen scraps and grape pomace saved from the year’s harvest are returned to the garden and complete the circle of sustainability on our land.

techniques & experiments

A lover of technology and current research, Chef Knoll shows reverence for Jordan’s rich culinary history in his cooking. He blends modernist techniques with French traditions in the kitchen to create memorable food and wine experiences, such as sea scallops—slow-cooked sous vide in verjus and lemongrass—or fleur de sel smoked in fallen oak and madrone branches from the estate. This combination of artistry allows the chef to honor the land around us while delivering flavorful, fresh cuisine that plays to our wines’ elegance and versatility.

Sketch of a dish made by Chef Knoll

creating the canvas

Chef Knoll designs and carefully sketches out every dish before he picks up a knife. The drawings or “plans” serve not only as a creative canvas, but as a preparation and plating guide. Thanks to Jordan’s food-friendly style of winemaking, the chef has the flexibility to incorporate unexpected ingredients in his cooking, such as rich red misos, black garlic, bee pollen and even seaweed from the shores of Molokai. These unusual delights also celebrate his earliest memories of food culture, as a young boy growing up in Hawaii. It’s not uncommon for foods from unexpected cultures and purveyors to find their way into a Jordan recipe along with those close to home.

Gourmet food on a plate paired with Jordan Chardonnay
Bottom of earthenware plates that says NBC Pottery of Napa Valley

supporting other farmers and food artists

Though we grow a large portion of our own produce and flowers, there are many growing regions throughout Northern California that offer a bounty different from ours. Collaborations that capture a distinct sense of place has even led us to partner with Tsar Nicoulai of San Francisco to make caviar and with NBC Pottery of Napa Valley to make earthenware plates from our winery garden soils—the ultimate expression of terroir.