Here at The Essex, we are fortunate enough to have an incredible team of culinary geniuses. Since the resort is culinary-focused, it attracts the most talented chefs from around the nation who enjoy flexing their culinary creativity.
The guests often wonder, who are the geniuses behind the mouth-watering food? During a regular dinner, the chefs are often far too busy running the kitchen to come out and chat with the guests. So, we’ve concocted a plan to interview the chefs to ensure everyone can get to know who’s who in the kitchen.
Today, we are excited to introduce you to Anthony Jones, the executive chef at The Essex. We took a little time to get to know Anthony’s background, career goals, and plans for the new year.
Anthony, what made you pursue cooking as an interest, hobby, and, eventually, a career?
“I was raised in the business. My family had restaurants, bakeries, motels, and concessions. I certainly learned a lot about cooking, baking, managing skills, and how to have a good work ethic. As I got older I told my self I was not going to do that when I grew up. All that changed during college. Originally I went to college for marine biology, but I decided to also work as a sous chef in my college’s dining facility and in some local restaurants on Long Island, NY. While I was studying biology, I was simultaneously taking classes at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Several years later I started to study culinary under Anton Flory (He was Vermont’s only Master Chef) until he passed away.”
What is your experience when you taste a bite of food?
“Certain foods bring me back to specific times in my life. Really fresh scallop, for example, bring me back to when I spent a lot of time on the beaches of Cape Cod as a kid eating scallops right out of Cape Cod Bay.”
When you go out to eat, what makes the cuisine above average? Are there particular qualities you look for?
“To answer both questions for me, it’s all about the balance of flavors, textures, and presentation.”
Does part of your job include menu design?
Tell us a little bit about the process of developing a menu!
“The process is a bit lengthy. The fun part is to create a new dish and do samples plates to make sure the flavor, texture, and presentation are what I want. There are many considerations to think of while creating a new menu item or a whole new menu:”
– Price point
– Ingredient availability
– The balance of the menu
– How many steps it takes to produce the plate for prep and for service
– Which area of the kitchen line will it come off such as grill station, sauté station, etc.
– How the plate is going to be finished before it goes to the customer
– What type of garnishes will be done and who will do them
If you could design the menu of your dreams, without anyone else’s input or parameters, what might be on it?
“Wow! That’s a very tough question. There isn’t much food I dislike. But I would have a balance of comfort and high-end food, and it would be a combination of cultural cuisines.”
Can you name three, or more, foods that you find to be the most versatile and fun to cook with?
“Eggs are the number one. The things that I can do with an egg is staggering. I find it to be the most interesting food/ingredient. Some of the others would be herbs, spices, sauces, and discovering new exotic foods to incorporate into my dishes.”
What is one the biggest challenges you face as executive chef?
“Balancing the amount of work that needs to be done to run a successful kitchen(s).”
How do you overcome this challenge?
“I work very hard on time management. There are a lot of moving parts in this industry, so by taking time each day to make a plan for myself and the team is worth its weight in gold.”
What are you looking forward to for 2019?
“Career-wise I’m working on a cookbook, I’m going to compete in culinary competitions, and create an American Culinary Foundation chapter her in Vermont. I’m also going to re-develop and market my restaurants and culinary services here at The Essex.”
“Family-wise, I’m going to spend quality time with my wife and kids. We love to take small excursion’s to discover new things, such as new foods, or picking our own food at a variety of farms. Somedays we love to find a beautiful spot to have a picnic.”
“Travel-wise, I’ll be visiting Boston, Orlando, and Chicago for food shows.”
Thank you, Anthony, for taking the time to let us all get to know you! We are excited for all you have planned for your career and for 2019, and we can’t wait to taste every new creation you make at The Essex!
Folks, you can enjoy the culinary genius at work right here at The Essex, provided he’s not off traveling, competing, or on a cooking show elsewhere.