Schaefer has been the Roundabout Diner’s pastry chef since the Portsmouth restaurant opened in 2010 nd has loved every minute of it. Before that, though, her career was decidedly lackluster. “I worked in an office and I hated it,” she says. “I spent all my time looking though cake magazines.”
In restaurants, a new season means new dishes, and for Karen Keohane and Matthew Sharlot, it also means getting a chance to cook up brand new ideas as a team. “The most fun is being creative together,” says Karen, who co-owns The Wellington Room with Matthew, her husband of seven years. Karen and Matthew describe their food as new American with French and Asian influences, and the menu emphasizes seasonal, organic ingredients. In fact, the menu changes constantly, “depending on what’s fresh in the garden,” Karen says.
From homemade bread to seasonal desserts, having a dedicated pastry chef is a way for a restaurant to leave a delicious first and last impression on diners, says Lauren Crosby, pastry chef at Black Trumpet. The much-lauded Portsmouth hotspot is a favorite of diners who want to experience the restaurant’s innovative cuisine, and thanks to Crosby, dessert lives up to that reputation.
This fall, Gerald Bonsey celebrated 30 years as Executive Chef at York Harbor Inn. He started soon after graduating from the culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island. The inn has grown from 12 to 66 rooms, and now has two 125-seat restaurants plus a banquet hall for weddings and other events. Bonsey recently added another activity to his duties: bee keeping, supplying very local honey to the inn.
Seacoast native Gregg Sessler spent five years working in restaurants in California wine country and in the San Francisco area, where he began studying to become a certified sommelier and learned the value of establishing ties with local producers and farmers. He returned home to partner with longtime friend John Akar in opening an eatery celebrating wine and food. Cava Tapas & Wine Bar was radical for the Seacoast area when it opened in November 2008. Sessler brings to Portsmouth avant garde techniques rooted in Spanish and Mediterranean small-plate dining.