In a large sauce pan on Wolf gas range over medium heat, cook bacon. Remove bacon from pan and coarsely chop. Set aside. To the pan add butter and heat until melted. Add onions, celery, and carrots and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add clams with the juices, bay leaves and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are soft. Add cream and milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch, flour and the water in a small bowl. Whisk this into the simmering chowder. Add bacon and season with salt and pepper if desired.