Chef Bryan Dame has been partial to New England for over fifteen years. A graduate of New England Culinary Institute, Dame’s cooking combines the freshest local ingredients, traditional family recipes and modern technique. Starting out as Sous Chef at Simon Pearce in Vermont, Dame worked in several different capacities through the years.From Simon Pearce, Bryan spent time cooking at different inns and restaurants including the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, VA; Opus 251 in Philadelphia; Traditions Restaurant at Lake Sunapee Country Club in New Hampshire; and the Lyme Inn in Lyme, NH.As Executive Chef at the Tides Beach Club, Chef Dame creates menus filled with goods from local purveyors, fishermen and farmers. Bryan’s approach is creative, yet thoughtful, incorporating classic family favorites with a New American flavor.During the first week of June, Bryan displayed his skills at the Kennebunkport Festival 2012. He shared his story with us.

Maralyn D. Hill: Do you have a favorite recipe?

Chef Bryan Dame: My New England Clam Chowder with my grandfather’s Clam Fritters.

MDH: What wine would you pair with your clam chowder?

BD: I would pair the Chateau Montelena Chardonay with the chowder.

MDH: Can you pick an “ah-ha” moment in your career?

BD: I’ve had a lot of “ah-ha” moments. My time at the Inn at Little Washington was one big “ah-ha” moment. I think that one of the most influential moments in my career was raising my own pigs and chickens.

MDH: Do you have a favorite cooking utensil?

BD: My Wustof reverse-serrated knife.

MDH: Outside of food, what are your hobbies?

BD: Building driftwood “art,” kayaking, hiking, and hunting.

MDH: What recommendations do you have for aspiring chefs?

BD: Work hard, keep your eyes and ears open. I ran my first kitchen when I was 21 and I knew it all…by 22 I realized I had a long way to go.

This clam chowder recipe comes courtesy of Chef Bryan Dame, Executive Chef of the Tides Beach Club Kennebunkport Oceanfront Hotel. The fresh cherry-stone clams are the star of this creamy, warming soup that makes a great appetizer during any season. Serves 4 as a first course.

New England Clam Chowder


  • 10 pounds cherry-stone clamsshutterstock_63056914
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Wash clams & steam-reserve cooking liquid-pick & chop clams
  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Reserved clam juice
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste


  • Render bacon
  • Add butter and onion and sweat
  • Add oregano, garlic, celery and potatoes stir well
  • Add flour to make a roux
  • Add clam juice and cream
  • Cook until potatoes are tender and add clams, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and pepper

My Grandfather’s Clam Fritters


  • 1/2 cup diced bacon
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup chopped clams
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup flour

Method:shutterstock_22091800-cherry-stone clams

  • Render bacon and add onion, sweat onion and chill
  • Mix well with all other ingredients
  • Portion into 1 tablespoon sized balls and fry at 350 F


Photos Courtesy of Tides Beach Club

Originally published on