LaBelle Winery News

The Hippo Press: In the Kitchen with Justin Bernatchez

by Ashlynn Patenaude

Nov 02, 2023


November 1, 2023

By: Mya Blanchard of The Hippo Press

Nashua native Justin Bernatchez is the executive chef at LaBelle Winery. Growing up with his father in the industry, he was exposed at a young age to the kitchen environment, one that he found thrilling, and he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. He started cooking in local restaurants when he was 15 and later attended Atlantic Culinary Academy’s Le Cordon Bleu program, where he graduated at the top of his class.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A must-have in the kitchen for me would be passionate cooks who are willing to work really hard, listen and learn. … Becoming a chef takes time … It takes years, and having cooks that are passionate and devoted to the craft really helps build a strong team and makes things really fun.

What would you have for your last meal?

I’m a sucker for comfort food and … greasy fatty, cheesy and gooey … I would start with fried mozzarella sticks and some buffalo wings with tons of blue cheese dressing, then probably a really nice burger and finish it off with something chocolatey for dessert.

What is your favorite local eatery?

I live in Manchester and love exploring the ever-changing food scene. From Mexican to Thai to the dives and sandwich shops — they all have such great and interesting things to try, so to pick one would be impossible, but my favorite thing is that you can pretty much [try] food from any culture you are craving…

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant?

The late, great Anthony Bourdain. He was just so influential in my career, and his books and shows really inspired me to branch out and explore what the world had to offer through food…

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

My favorite thing on the menu right now at The Bistro in Amherst would be the salted caramel chicken wings …. [It’s] crispy chicken coated in a white wine caramel with fresh Granny Smith apples and smoked sea salt. … I would say that the classic steak frites would be my favorite at Americus.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

I would say that the biggest food trend … would be the fusion of ingredients from other countries and other parts of the world into American-style foods to make them more approachable.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

[P]robably be anything that I can grill. I love to use my flat-top grill to make meals for my wife and kids that they are going to love.

LaBelle Winery Guinness Braised Short Ribs



  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 pounds beef short ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion rough-chopped
  • 1 large carrot rough-chopped
  • 2 stalks celery rough-chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 15 ounces (or more) Guinness
  • 15 ounces (or more) beef stock


In a shallow plate whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture, making sure all sides are covered in flour.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is heated up, add the ribs, only half of them at a time (do not overcrowd), and sear them on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side until browned. Repeat with remaining ribs. Once they are all seared, set them aside. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees in the meantime.

In the same pot over medium-high heat, add the onions, carrot, celery, garlic and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion has softened and the garlic is aromatic. Next, stir in the tomato paste and pour in the Guinness and beef broth (amount needed is dependent on your pan size — the short ribs need to be covered with the liquid). Then, add the rosemary and thyme and bring the pot to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add the short ribs back to the pan and cover with a lid. Transfer the pan to the oven and braise for 2½ to 3 hours, or until they are tender enough to fall apart with a fork.

Remove the rosemary and thyme from the pot, then garnish with parsley and serve!


About LaBelle Winery:
LaBelle Winery has provided guests with award-winning wines since its founding in 2005. Since 2012, when its flagship facility opened in Amherst, the winery has offered outstanding cuisine, entertainment and venues for private events and weddings. LaBelle’s Amherst location is home to the winery’s production facility, The Bistro restaurant, a tasting room and wine and gift shop.

LaBelle’s Derry location opened in 2021. The Derry property is home to Americus restaurant, golf and mini-golf courses, an event center and a market offering prepared food and beverages. A tasting room and a sparkling wine production facility opened in Derry in May 2022. 

Along with award-winning wines, LaBelle has created a gourmet culinary product line called The Winemaker’s Kitchen. Products are currently available at both of the winery’s locations, and by 2024 will be available nationwide.

LaBelle Winery Amherst is located at 345 Route 101 in Amherst, New Hampshire.

LaBelle Winery Derry is located at 14 Route 111, Derry, New Hampshire.

Visit for directions and hours of operation. For questions email