Palm Beach chefs find inspiration on summer trips

MM Cloutier

A summer trip to New England sparked an amazing passion for seafood that Four Seasons Hotel Palm Beach Executive Chef Jose Jamez, who grew up in Boston, has long held.

A visit to Boston’s famous Faneuil Hall Market and nearby green markets reminds Gamez of years past “when I would line up for 45 minutes just to get fresh lobster rolls on any normal day.”

The Florida Snapper ceviche will be served at the Four Seasons Hotel Seaway, which currently features the lychee ceviche (pictured).

Gamez remembers his time in New England “surrounded by fresh, local seafood,” and now he’s fine-tuning new seafood dishes in Palm Beach, where he “blesss us with the Atlantic as our backyard.”

Dinner time: Seaway is now serving dinner

Inspired by his stay in Boston, new dishes will be added to the fall menu at the Oceanfront Seaway restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel. Among them: the in-house cured mahi crudo with pickled jalapeño, Florida orange chili, avocado mousse, and puffed rice crackers.

A Maine lobster frittata is also planned, as well as a Florida snapper ceviche with coconut, pickled Fresno chile, cucumber, and radish.

Executive Chef at Four Seasons Jose Jamez.

They will reflect how Gamez and his team strive to “elevate every effort. Whatever we create, it will look and taste great.”

Gamez isn’t the only Palm Beach chef who takes inspiration from summer travel to create new dishes – or even alcoholic drinks.

And they’re not just chefs. Restaurateurs on the island do the same, including Trevini co-owner Gianni Minervini.

Since returning from a trip in August to his native southern Italy, Minervini has been experimenting with ingredients that are famous in his native Bari in the Puglia region: orchit pasta, rapini and octopus.

Trevini's new Orecchiette with rapini, octopus, garlic olive oil and basil pesto.

Results? Trevini now offers a pasta dish Orecchiette ($30) with rapini, octopus, baked cherry tomatoes, and olive oil with a hint of basil.

“The inspiration is definitely Puglia and visiting family there for a few weeks this summer.”

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For Cucina Executive Chef Kent Thurston, a summer trip to Hawaii—namely Maui and Kona—leaded him to perfecting a native Hawaiian dish he’d long appreciated: poke (pronounced PO-kay).

Typically sliced ​​and raw seafood, Thurston said, “it’s usually prepared with locally caught tuna, and local markets offer many variations and styles, which we all enjoyed very much.”

While he and his family were experimenting with poke dishes with clams, crab, octopus, mussels, and scallops, his favorite was tuna.

Cucina plans to start serving a new tuna dish in early October.

Cucina will begin introducing a new tuna poke dish in October, “using yellowfin tuna caught in local waters,” Thurston said. Ingredients like “barrel-aged Japanese soy sauce, sweet onion, sesame, kukui nut and some Pacific seaweed” are also part of the dish.

summer time: Seasonal specials on the menu

Meanwhile, Tom Whitaker, executive chef at The Colony, traveled over the summer to Hexham, England, where he grew up.