After more than a decade cooking in New York City and the Hamptons, Chef Craig Attwood has taken up residence on the North Fork and he’s bringing his unique cooking style to the Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport.
Trained at the New York Institute of Technology, Mr. Attwood is a South Shore native whose resumé includes stints at Indigo and Judson Grill in New York City and East Hampton Point and Public House 49 on Long Island.
Earlier this month he replaced Rich Kanowsky as the executive chef at Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport. With a laidback attitude, Mr. Attwood hopes to bring a fresh and inviting atmosphere to the inn. Only a few weeks into his new job, he has worked with sous chef Kyle Strong-Romeo to overhaul both the menus for the inn’s upstairs dining room and basement speakeasy, which now offers fun and creative food choices like duck chilidogs with blue mustard.
On Thursday, we caught up with Mr. Attwood to find out more about his cooking style and his vision for the Jedediah Hawkins Inn.
Q. Why did you want to work at Jedediah Hawkins Inn?
A. “I had known the previous chefs and I’d help them out when they did events or holidays. So, it kind of just came together. Plus, I love the area. The people are really nice. It’s just refreshing.”
Q. How did you get into cooking?
A. “My mother and my neighbor were always cooking when I was a kid. I grew up watching Julia Child and I’ve always worked in restaurants. I washed dishes and then I did prep. I just worked my way up from the there.”
Q. What is your signature dish?
A. “I would say costal cuisine with local fish and some Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. For here, I’ll try to keep signatures for each season. In the summer, we’ll do heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. When we get into the fall there will be more root vegetables.”
Q. How will the menu be different now that you’re chef?
A. “Depth of flavor. You can read the menu and see rib eye, but there is more that goes into it. It is the beef stock we make, the trimmings and the way we slow roast the carrots in the oven. It is all these simple things put together at the same time that brings out the taste, the depth of flavor and the care that goes into its preparation.”
Q. What do you hope to bring to Jedediah Hawkins Inn?
A. “I’m easy going. I want the staff to have fun because that translates to the customers. If the staff is happy, the customers will see that and get a better experience. I want to make the speakeasy more approachable for the locals. It isn’t just a high-end inn it is a place where you can come relax, have some local wine and beer and you’re not going to spend so much money.”
Q. What should first-time diners order?
A. “I’d say you have to order the duck wings. That is something that is a signature of Jedediah Hawkins. It was taken off the menu for a while, but we wanted to bring it back because Crescent Duck Farm is right down the road.”