“Collaboration Nation” docks at Spruce Point Inn as Chefs Stiles and Weinerth bring local flavors to guest dining
Boothbay Harbor, Maine (June 29, 2012) — While celebrating its annual “Best Chefs” selection in the July issue of Food & Wine Magazine, the editors focused on their “Trendspotting” story on “Collaboration Nation” – a cross-country selection of chefs working with chefs, restaurants with customers and vendors with each other – to bring the best flavors and experiences to those who love food.
At Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor, that concept was established when Chef Peter Stiles began sourcing the locally fished, farmed and harvested ingredients that he puts on the menus in the Inn’s 88, serving coastal Maine cuisine; Bogie’s, the casual bistro; and Deck, the oceanfront café. Last summer he and his son cultivated sources for the freshest day boat fish and seafood and sun-warmed fruit and vegetables. This year, Chef Stiles has taken collaboration to a whole new level.
Chef spent the winter building relationships with local farms and other food purveyors, sourcing ingredients like the fresh Aroostook beets and lavender-honey chevre from Tourmaline Hill Farms. Midcoast Maine is the beneficiary of a cornucopia of retired/relocated professionals who have left banking or IT to go back to the land. As Chef Stiles who grew up on a farm in local Lincolnville, Maine drove the backroads to see the greenhouse built by a drummer from the band Phish and the Maine Cheese Company business created by a Manhattan banker in Rockland, he was building the foundation for a menu repertoire the kitchen now performs from this locally-sourced score. The difference is dramatic, as the Inn’s culinary team discovered when they compared the taste of the Bogie’s classic hamburger that they served in 2011 to the ground sirloin (same 85/15 blend) from Curtis Custom Meats from Warren, Maine.
“The food purveyors who are collaborating on the midcoast today understand the business fundamentals but also have a passion for authentic foodstuffs, grown or raised here. They’re ready to move from farm to table,” said Chef Stiles. “It's an exciting time to be in the restaurant business and especially exciting to be part of what’s happening here.”
The concept of collaboration extends to the culinary team at Spruce Point Inn. The Inn’s new Sous Chef Mark Weinerth brings training from Le Cordon Bleu’s program at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon and experience interning with Chef David Machado at the Southpark Seafood Grill and Wine Bar. For the past decade he has cooked for small family restaurants, fine dining, small cafes and nationally branded hotels and resorts. His philosophy echoes Spruce Point Inn’s: “Fresh and local ingredients create the best meals. I believe it is a chef’s greatest responsibility to prepare honest food that pays homage to its producers and its region.”
Chef Stiles said, “The young chefs inspire me. Mark brings a new take on traditional New England cooking as well as flavor combinations that complement the local ingredients.”
The Inn’s new Pastry Chef, Clara Kruger, translates the localvore emphasis to the Inn’s bakeshop where she produces the signature bread baked fresh each day. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of America earlier this year with highest academic honors, studying with Chef Dieter Schorner, head of the Institute’s world-renowned pastry team. She brings to the Inn her recent experience at Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse, near the Delaware River in Milford NJ, which specializes in cheeses made from raw, grass-fed milk and wood-fired, hearth-baked breads made from regionally-grown organic grains. She was raised on a small, organic maple farm in Shrewsbury, Vermont.
Joining Food & Beverage Manager Edward Howes as Assistant Manager is Samantha Hondel, a Saco, Maine native, who grew up farming and distributing vegetables from the family truck farm in southern Maine. She went on to blend her interests in a degree from UMass Amherst in Hospitality and Tourism with a minor in Agriculture.
Spruce Point Inn and Chef Stiles are already noted for the main dining room 88, serving Maine Coast Cuisine in a bright and casually elegant space in the historic Main Inn with views of the approaches to Boothbay Harbor; for Bogie’s, a casual bistro in a clubbier space with copper-topped tables and the convivial atmosphere of a New England tavern and Deck, the seasonal oceanfront café. All three restaurants at Spruce Point Inn are open to the public.
The 2012 Spruce Point Inn menus are built on extensive sourcing, tasting and fine-turning as the two chefs developed their collaboration, with weekly specials crafted from the season’s best. Highlights include sea scallops with pink pepper, lime mayonnaise and Guinness-balsamic reduction, a re-constructed chicken cordon bleu of prosciutto-stuffed chicken with mushroom/pink peppercorn demo glace, garlic parsley fingerling potatoes, and sauteed Ararat Farms rainbow chard, a selection of Curtis Farm meats (lamb, sirloin and flat iron steak) and a crispy local cod on a grits cake with a sauce of cream, tarragon ad house-smoked mussels. Lobster, Maine blueberries and Aroostook maple syrup are enduring staples.
About Spruce Point Inn (www.sprucepointinn.com)
In operation for more than 100 years, Spruce Point Inn is a distinctive and historic vacation destination for travelers from all over the United States. Its relaxing facilities have long been a part of the summer community and a backdrop for delightful “oceanside memories made in Maine.” Located in the seafaring village of Boothbay Harbor, Maine (an hour north of Portland) and situated on 57 acres of stunning oceanfront and sheltering pine forest, the resort is a retreat of 9 guestrooms in The Inn, 15 classic cottages and cottage rooms, 56 modern lodge rooms and 5 townhomes. The convenient location, peaceful setting and spectacular coastal views have made Spruce Point Inn a premier resort for families, reunions, weddings and business events. For reservations, call 800-553-0289 or visit www.sprucepointinn.com