At the Charlottesville, Virginia Relais & Châteaux property known as the Clifton Inn, chef Tucker Yoder is creating exquisite American cuisine that would make Thomas Jefferson proud. With the Virginia countryside as his home since he got his start at Clifton as a sous chef in 2005, Yoder has been devoted to the bounty of fresh local Virginia ingredients, forging strong bonds with local farmers and artisan producers – and spending lots of time in the garden, himself. After a brief break, Tucker returned to Clifton as the executive chef in 2010 began a passionate review of the menus, starting with the kitchen garden’s right out front. Tucker divides his innovative menu into four categories: Delicate, Light, Full-bodied, and Robust, and offers choose-your-own tasting menus of four-to-six courses -- making the choices among the thoughtful, flavorful dishes [somewhat] less arduous... The “Light” options might include Wild Mushroom Risotto with Sherry Honey, Iron Rod Goat’s Cheese, and Lemon Thyme. “Robust” could be Roasted Squab with Stone Ground Grits, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pear Agrodolce. Yoder also offers a dedicated menu for vegetarians, and another for vegans. Save room for dessert and Yoder’s ever-changing selection of artisan cheeses; enhance each course with a wine pairing from the inn’s magnificent cellar – Clifton has been granted Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. When he’s not on the farm or in the kitchen, Tucker enjoys riding his bicycle, updating his blog, and spending time with his wife and children, who are quickly becoming a great set of farm hands.