Chef Talk: Executive Chef Dan St. Jean – The Common Man Family

Executive Chef Dan St. Jean, The Common Man Family of Restaurants

Local Fare with New England Flair

By: Dan St. Jean
Executive Chef
The Common Man Family of Restaurants

As the Executive Chef of The Common Man restaurants, I’ve been busy working with our teams this summer to develop creative recipes with New England flair, focusing on local ingredients and dishes that represent our region.

A customer favorite is our steamed New England Mussels with basil, garlic, white wine and cream. We serve it with a side of grilled ciabatta bread to soak up the flavorful sauce and fresh lemon. Mussels are plentiful here in New England, and are sourced from our coastline through local fishermen.  This dish is a popular starter for cookouts, clambakes, and get-togethers, and will wow your guests!

Our 47-year-old company, founded in Ashland, NH in 1971, has always been focused on local, whether it’s ingredients for our dishes or assisting organizations in the communities where we do business. Our owner Alex Ray and Vice President Diane Downing have instilled a “Do Good” mantra in our company, encouraging us to give back when we can.  Whether it’s hosting a fund-raiser at one of our 15 restaurants, donating food in-kind, or volunteering at events, we believe in pitching in to help our neighbors, here in New Hampshire and beyond.

As we celebrate NH Eat Local Month, we hope you take the opportunity to try your hand at preparing our New England Mussels – and have fun doing so!


– Chef Dan St. Jean is the Executive Chef for The Common Man family of restaurants, overseeing the kitchen operations of the six Common Man-named restaurants in New Hampshire.  He is a husband, father of three and avid promoter of the NH culinary scene. St. Jean enjoys seeking out local and independent restaurants when he dines out, to support independent operators.


Fresh Steamed Mussels with Basil, Garlic, White Wine, & Cream


  • 1 pound fresh New England coastal mussels
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic butter
  • .5 cup white wine
  • .5 cup heavy cream
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 slices of ciabatta bread for dipping
  • 2 lemon wedges


  1. Clean mussels under cold running water making sure shells are clean and pull any visible seaweed out from shells.
  2. Heat sauté pan up to a medium heat. When warm add garlic butter and mussels and sauté for 1.5 minutes making sure to toss several times.
  3. Next, add the white wine and let reduce for a minute.  Then add the heavy cream, basil, salt, pepper and cover with a lid or another sauté pan.
  4. Cook until all mussel shells have opened and sauce is reduced down till slightly thickened.  Taste sauce and adjust seasonings.
  5. Serve in deep, rimmed pasta bowl with a couple thick slices of ciabatta bread to dip with.

Show NH Flavors and the Common Man Family your re-creation of Chef Dan’s recipe! Tag us on Instagram and Facebook at @nhflavors and @thecmannh. Visit for more information about the the Common Man Family and a list of their restaurant locations for your next meal.


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