FOOD- THE DISH- Chefs' spotlight: Gallaudet and Maupin shine
It was only his sixth day on the job, so new Boar's Head Inn executive chef Mark Gallaudet could be forgiven for not realizing that Charlottesville was an independent city. His whirlwind arrival and new responsibilities have left him little time to explore his surroundings.
However, they haven't deterred him from taking command of the Old Mill Restaurant, three kitchens, a bakery, a thriving catering service, and a staff of 40. That might be because the burly ex-Marine is used to challenges. A veteran of Operation Desert Storm, Gallaudet says the experience taught him two important things: take care of your troops, and accomplish the mission. Of course, Gallaudet has had to re-word the injunctions for civilian purposes.
"Look after your associates and make sure they have the tools they need to do their jobs," he says. "Then decide what you want to do and make it happen. No regrets."
Born in Hollywood, California, Gallaudet got his start at the Jonathan Club in LA, where he studied under chef Yves Menez, a master of French cuisine who won the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France award in 1982. At the age of 28, he became the only American chef to become the executive chef at the famed Athenaeum Club in Pasadena. Eventually he became the assistant executive chef at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, the largest private club in the world.
So how did he end up in Charlottesville? "I had no plans to leave Key Largo," he says, "but the Boar's Head tracked me down with a headhunter. I spent about five days here and just had a feeling it was the right thing to do... everything just seemed to click."
Still, Gallaudet admits he has a lot of catching up to do. "It's nothing like the 'Flo-ribbean' cuisine I developed in Key Largo," he says. "I've had to re-learn the foods of the region. The dinner menu here is so in touch with the roots of Virginia. To me, it's a new adventure."
Gallaudet mentions chef du cuisine Tim White as the main reason he's been able to assimilate so quickly. "Our styles are very similar," he says. "We like the ingredients to speak for themselves."
Gallaudet says he plans to roll out a new menu for the Old Mill Room in the third week of October, and then tackle Bistro 1834.
"The Bistro needs to be a real bistro," he says, "with truly, truly French dishes...with an American twist."
The new man also shares former chef Doug Knopp's interest in local produce and sustainable agriculture, although he's less inclined to be preachy about it.
"We're just going to focus on quality, which means finding the best meat, fish, and produce available," he says. "There will be no sacrifice in quality at all."
Coming from an ex-Marine and war veteran, not to mention a well-regarded chef, Dish felt inclined to take him at his word.
Seafood@West Main owner Chris Arseneault, in a last-minute e-mail of professional largesse, reports that Clifton Inn chef Dean Maupin, whom Dish wrote about when he was the chef at Keswick, has had two recipes published in the October's Food & Wine Magazine, the present day Bible of gastronomy.
Maupin's featured Viognier-steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips, and his White Cheddar and Scallion Muffins not only highlight the popular chef's skills, they promote Virginia's wine and seafood.
The "bacon-garnished briny clams" come from Willis Wharf, a fishing town on the Eastern Shore, and the wine they're steamed in is one of the state's own fruity Viogniers, and the chef recommends sipping Horton Vineyards' own 2005 creation.
Free Burritos at Chipotle!
Mark you calendars, burrito lovers! On October 19, the day before the new Chipotle is scheduled open in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, the hip chain will be handing out free burritos! From 11am to 8pm you can get any burrito of your choice for free, plus a drink. Chipotle spokesperson Katherine Smith says it's a Chipotle tradition every time they open a new restaurant.
Have they ever had a problem with crowds? ‘No, we've never had a riot," Smith laughs. "People are usually very patient, plus we can roll about 300 to 400 burritos in an hour!"
New Boar's Head Inn executive chef (and ex-Marine) Mark Gallaudet takes command of the swanky club on 250 West.
PHOTO COUTESY BOAR'S HEAD INN