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Brewster Inn chefs named best in area

Brewster Inn Executive Sous Chef Stephen Franks, left, stands with executive chef Jason Wright and sous chef Dave France in front of one of the Brewster Inn’s wine racks. The three chefs were named the best in Syracuse after winning the first annual Iron Fork competition on Jan. 29.

Brewster Inn Executive Sous Chef Stephen Franks, left, stands with executive chef Jason Wright and sous chef Dave France in front of one of the Brewster Inn’s wine racks. The three chefs were named the best in Syracuse after winning the first annual Iron Fork competition on Jan. 29. Photo by Pierce Smith.

Sharing in Franks’ mild uncertainty, France knew they had performed well, but wondered how they compared to other professional chefs from high-profile restaurants in the area. “I knew we had an equal change at the start, but at the end, I wasn’t sure how well we had done,” he said. “When they said we had won it, I was surprised. Incredibly happy, and surprised.”

Second-place honors at the Iron Fork went to Sysco Syracuse, and third place was given to Syracuse’s Century Club.

Following the event, Burrell signed copies of her latest book, “Cook like a Rock Star,” and presented a lecture, entitled “Studying and Cooking in Italy.” Proceeds garnered from the cooking competition benefited the Syracuse Rescue Mission.

Wright, a seasoned professional with more than 15 years of experience in the kitchen, said he was confident during the competition because of his teammates and their combined skills.

“We walked in there, just knowing that everyone there was in the same boat as we were. We had no advantage over anyone else — but at the same time — I didn’t think there was anyone there who could beat us,” he said. “When you work like we do, day-in and day-out, you get to know what you’re doing after a while. A lot of other teams had younger chefs, and they have a lot of passion, but not much experience. It comes with time.”

While it was the first competition setting for the three chefs, between all of them, they boast more than 30 years of experience – at the Brewster Inn alone.

Franks is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and Wright was educated in gastronomic arts at New England Culinary in Vermont. While France didn’t attend a culinary school, the chefs say he was a quick study and is an invaluable member to the Brewster Inn team.

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