Up on Cape Cod, where the roar of the Atlantic is muted by a series of sand bars that form a true marina for fishing boats, lies the Chatham Bars Inn.
Inside and out of the Shingle-Style inn are four restaurants, from the Forbes four-star-award-winner Stars, to the informal Beach House Grill. All are supplied with produce from a nearby, inn-owned working farm, and from the day’s catch, straight from the sea. Chef Anthony Cole is a fly-fisherman who actively seeks out stripers and tuna when they’re running.
He was trained at Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., then signed on with the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. Eventually he made his way to the rarified air of the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Fla. – and from there to the inn, where he’s worked for the past 12 years.
He set up an innovative intern exchange program with the Ritz Carlton Naples, and it’s paid off in spades. “They recruit and hire about 20 in October and November for six months, and then they come to us,” he says. “We hire 20 and they work with us six months from April and May, and we send them there. It’s a unique opportunity to travel, northeast to southeast.”
They’ve come from South Africa, Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, the Philippines and other places. “We’re working with students from different backgrounds who influence what we serve at the hotel, like the taco stand around the bar on Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays,” he says. “Sales have been really good and the flavors are authentic – they come up with recipes, get feedback and get tweaked.”
He’s redesigned the kitchen for the inn, emphasizing that layout is a key component for a successful operation. “As a chef working in the kitchen, an extreme amount of focus is placed on being prepared – it’s one of the most important rules, along with cleanliness,” he says.
With 80 line cooks, a chef and 200 wait staff and bartenders, Cole’s responsible for about three million meals annually. So organization is key.
Or, as the French like to say, Mise en place:
Everything in its place.
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