Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 12:52 pm | Fair 75º


Joe Hafner: Winemaker Drake Whitcraft Dishes On His Culinary Favorites

Second-generation winemaker Drake Whitcraft continues to produce some of the best wines in Santa Barbara County, eschewing modern techniques and keeping it old school. He worked with Pascal Marchand in Australia and was mentored by famed winemaker Burt Williams and, of course, his dad, local legend Chris Whitcraft.

Click here to check out the winery online, or head to the downtown tasting room tucked behind Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort on Calle Cesar Chavez.

Thanks to Whitcraft for taking the time to answer the following questions.

See you next week!

Joe Hafner: Tell us a little bit about the importance food holds in your life?

Winemaker Drake Whitcraft
Winemaker Drake Whitcraft

Drake Whitcraft: Food has become much more important lately as I see the impact the wrong food has on a body. Naturally, being in the wine industry, I encounter rich food often, but it has never sat well with me. I would prefer a healthy sandwich to foie gras. But when enjoying certain wines, it would be criminal to not eat certain things. So a balance has to be struck between consuming for sustenance and consuming for fun.

JH: What did you eat growing up, and what special importance does it hold for you now?

DW: Quesadillas, pasta, grilled meats, a lot of vegetables. I didn’t care for vegetables as a kid, and I didn’t like them for a long time, then I learned to cook and love veggies. I love pasta and Mexican food. I got to go to a lot of winemaker dinners growing up and sample rich food, which is actually where I started to not like it because it made me feel too full and kind of ill.

JH: What is your greatest food memory?

DW: Le Bernardin in New York City. It’s Eric Ripert. Nuff said. I had homemade tagliatelle with only egg yolks and a mountain of shaved truffles. A crudo sushi roll where the fish was the wrapper ... wine ...

JH: What is your favorite food?

DW: Sushi.

JH: What is your favorite late-night snack?

DW: Cereal.

JH: Do you have a food or snack that gets you through the day?

DW: Sandwiches.

JH: Do you cook at home?

DW: Yes. I cook with friends and family. I grill a lot and make simple salads, tartares and pastas.

JH: What is your favorite wine, cocktail or spirit?

DW: Wine — my own. Cocktail or spirit — gin, straight up and dry!

JH: Where do you eat in Santa Barbara County?

DW: Arigato for sure, Three Pickles, Metropulos, Via Maestra, Trattoria Vittoria, Sly’s in Carpinteria, Rose Café, El Bajio, Los Agaves, Opal, Tupelo and Hollister Brewing Co. in Goleta.

JH: What are your go-to spots for breakfast?

DW: I hit up the juice bar at Lazy Acres when I want to feel healthy. Rose Café when I am hung over (smile).

JH: Lunch?

DW: Sandwiches from Three Pickles or Metropulos; Hollister Brewing if I don’t have to work.

JH: Dinner?

DW: I do not eat out for dinner much, but I would say Arigato.

JH: What would your ideal last meal be?

DW: At home with my friends and family. We would have good beer and good wine. We’d grill and play music.

JH: What are your favorite food items in Santa Barbara County?

DW: The Mexican food, either chilaquiles from Rose Café or La-Super-Rica.

JH: Do you shop at the Farmers Market?

DW: I do, and I love everything. We are very lucky.

JH: Do you grow any veggies or food at home?

DW: I do! Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, berries, lettuces, greens, onions.

JH: What do you think Santa Barbara needs as part of the food scene?

DW: I’d like to see more cutting-edge restaurants like there are in big cities — without the pretentiousness that can sometimes come with those kinds of places. After all, this is Santa Barbara.

— Chef Joe Hafner writes the weekly Noozhawk column Word of Mouth and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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