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The White Barn Inn and Spa.

Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel on the seafront. United States,Kennebunk Beach

Jonathan Cartwright

Chef
The White Barn Inn and Spa Kennebunk Beach 04043

I am from Sheffield, England, and as a child I dreamed of winning the Tour de France. But when I turned 16, my father said: No more bicycles. I needed to get a job. My first restaurant job was as an apprentice with a chef who was a big bear of a guy. He could think of any problem before there was a problem.

I describe our cuisine at The White Barn Inn as: The finest contemporary New England cuisine with a European flair. We use as many local ingredients as possible, highlighting seafood from Kennebunkport waters as well as native game and poultry. We adapt traditional recipes, cook them, and present them using classical European techniques and style. For products, I think lobster is the best from November through to May. Oysters from this coast are best when there is no “R” in the month. Maine shrimp when in season, scallops, cod, halibut, monkfish, and tuna when they are in season. We also have a lot of New England cheeses: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, for example.

I find that dining out can be a great learning experience. That and travel to other countries to enjoy the great food as was recently my experience in Barcelona.


What was your most moving culinary experience?
It was at the Hotel Bareiss in the Black Forest. The lunch that day was prepared by the legendary Eckart Witzigmann. The food was meticulous.

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
When I was working at the Savoy in London, we were cooking a huge banquet when one of the cooks slipped and half the food flew down the stairs. I can still the trolley flying as if in slow motion. It wasn’t funny at the time. We redid everything.

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Read the recipes. There is nothing worse than running about looking for ingredients.


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