Liam with Chef Austin Perkins of William Tell House

Foodie Chap Turns Back Time With a Trip To 'William Tell House' In Tomales

Liam Mayclem
August 22, 2019 - 10:38 pm

TOMALES, CA (KCBS RADIO) - Executive Chef and Partner Austin Perkins brings over 13 years of experience to William Tell House. A native of nearby Petaluma, Perkins' deep-set appreciation for the lush landscape of the region brings a thoughtful, ingredient-driven approach to the cuisine at William Tell House, fondly known by locals as "The Tell."Drawing from his past culinary experiences, Perkins has captured the true essence of West Marin in his authentic Marin coastal menu for The Tell ñ showcasing ingredients and produce sourced from local purveyors with an emphasis on seasonality and sustainability.
Raised by a family who valued home cooking and coming together over homecooked meals, Perkins' passion for food developed at a very early age. He learned many of his first cooking lessons from his father, who enjoyed the kitchen. Throughout college, Perkins worked front-of-house positions at a number of restaurants in the greater Sacramento area before enrolling in culinary school at Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco. It was here where Perkins honed his culinary skillset under the direction of Mary Risley, with an emphasis on classic French technique, that he would later apply to culinary roles to come.
In 2008, after completing his formal training at Tante Marie, Perkins returned to Healdsburg to work at the famed, two-star Michelin restaurant, Cyrus. With the desire to shift to a more casual dining atmosphere, Perkins took the position as sous chef at Nick's Cove in Marshall, Calif., in 2009. After two years, he was promoted to executive chef and remained at the restaurant until 2016. During his tenure at Nick's Cove, Perkins became fully immersed in West Marin's wealth of dairy, oyster and fishing communities and building relationships with local producers and purveyors. 
In 2016, Perkins ventured out on his own and founded Perkins Catering Co., where he applied his knowledge of farm-fresh, sustainable ingredients to creating custom menus for a variety of events throughout the Bay Area. The experience Perkins has gained from running his successful catering company has been carried over to the private dining and events at William Tell House. At The Tell, Perkins creates exclusive, one-of-a-kind tasting menus for that can only be experienced in West Marin.
Chef Perkins currently resides in Petaluma with his wife and young child. When he's not in the kitchen at The Tell or catering an event, he can be found woodworking, golfing, or working on his wine venture, 1263 Wine. 

I met with Chef Austin recently for a Foodie Chap chat. Over a glass of his 1263 Pinot Blanc and a bowl of his yummy Seafood Chowder we talked about his journey and the story behind "William Tell House". It's the little restaurant and Inn making a BIG noise in mellow West Marin. The cuisine is locally sourced, thoughtful and unpretentious: Oysters from Drakes Bay, Chicken from Petaluma & produce from nearby farms - doesn't get more local.

I HIGHLY recommend William Tell House as a tasty spot for dinner or weekend lunch but do yourself a favor and stay the night in one of half a dozen cosy rooms - you'll be happy you did. The bar, established in 1877 and the gathering place for the tiny town is a step back in time but one look at the cocktail menu and you are transported to today with modern, crafted cocktails to satisfy every palate.

Enjoy my chat with a stellar Chef making tasty food at "William Tell House" in Marin County.

Cheers, Liam!

William Tell House Seafood Chowder
William Tell House Seafood Chowder
4-6 Servings



  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, split and diced
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 3 Yukon potatoes peeled and diced into Ω inch pieces
  • 16 ounces clam juice or fish fumet
  • 1 stick or 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 lbs. Manila clams
  • 1/2 lbs. Mussels
  • 1/4 lbs. white shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 lbs. rock cod, filleted into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley for garnish


  • Over medium heat sautè diced onion, celery, leeks, and bacon until tender, about 6 minutes. Add diced potatoes and clam juice to vegetable mixture. Continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. When the butter has melted add flour and stir continuously until a thick roux form. Slowly add milk, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens. Add heavy cream.
  • Remove bacon from the vegetable mixture and set aside. Add vegetable mixture to the cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper and add chopped fresh thyme.
  • Heat vegetable oil in sautè pan over medium-high heat. Add Manila clams, mussels, white shrimp, and rock cod to oil and sautÈ for 60 ñ 80 seconds. Pour the chowder mixture over the shellfish and simmer until shellfish opens.
  • Dish into 4-6 soup bowls, garnish with crispy bacon and parsley.