Here’s hoping the 11th time’s the charm. Kasia Dabrowska has been chosen to run the kitchen at Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport, succeeding 10 previous executive chefs.
The Victorian inn opened to much fanfare in 2006. The historic building had been lovingly restored with six luxurious guest rooms, 22 acres of rural idyll and a formal restaurant helmed by noted L.I. chef Tom Schaudel. But Schaudel left in 2009 and, since then, the kitchen has had a revolving door.
Dabrowska, who grew up on Long Island, said that she can’t predict the future, but with “sacrifice, humility and dedication,” she is determined to stay the course.
The chef described her current menu as “transitional.” “I want to change the perspective,” she said, “make it simple and rustic — there doesn’t have to be foie gras and truffles on everything.” As the local produce comes to market, she is getting to know the farmers. Asparagus from Sep’s Farms in East Marion is on the current menu, as are ducks from Crescent Farm in Aquebogue. Most appetizers and small plates cost between $9 and $12, large plates between $21 and $29.
Dabrowska has about two decades worth of restaurant experience, most of it in the dining room. She worked for many years at Café Max in East Hampton as well as other South Fork restaurants and, in 2010, at Jedediah Hawkins when Keith Luce was the chef. After that, she enrolled in the culinary arts program at Suffolk Community College in Riverhead and, with a degree under her belt, cooked in Manhattan and Long Island (with stints at Cowfish and Rumba in Hampton Bays) before being offered the Jedediah job by the inn’s owner, Lia Polites.
For those of you keeping score, Dabrowska’s 10 predecessors are Stephen Smrcina, Kyle Strong Romeo, Craig Atwood, Rich Kanowsky, Lia Fallon, Alex Algieri, Keith Luce, Steven Lewis, Matt Murphy and Schaudel.
Jedediah Hawkins Inn is at 400 S. Jamesport Ave., Jamesport, 631-722-2900, jedediahhawkinsinn.com.