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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
“It was definitely a trip about visiting family more than anything because it’s been eight years since I got back,” Whitaker said. “I’ve mostly consumed a lot of British style sausages – my favorite is the Cumberland sausage rolled and mashed with caramelized onion broth and English peas.”
“Of course, I had to get some fish and chips with soft peas and bits of dough,” he added.
This inspired plans for a subtle twist on the fish and chips dish that Whitaker has featured in the past in The Colony’s Swifty’s.
This fall, he plans to serve up Swifty’s “fish entree and grouper chips or halibut cheek.” He said he and his team will begin testing the recipes in the coming days.
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Elsewhere in Palm Beach, a summer trip to Greece didn’t inspire Lee Feliti, owner of the Almond Company, to make a new dish; Instead, a fresh cocktail.
It’s called “Sunset in Milos” and includes ouzo, amaro nonino, pineapple juice, simple syrup, Angostura Bitters, and a touch of sparkling wine.
The cocktail ($16) is served at Almond and Philly reminds how evenings in Milos found “people enjoying the stunning views of the sunset,” he said.
Afterwards, people would stroll on the hilltops into town and to the local bars. Simple, local and delicious cuisine with an unparalleled and unspoken symbol of true hospitality was everywhere. The servers and staff really took care of your experience and your happiness. …This cocktail is a nod to that energy.”