Heather West, who won Season 2 of “Hell’s Kitchen,” is the new executive chef at Schafer’s in Port Jefferson, replacing Paul Govin. She was most recently executive chef at Jellyfish and the Thatched Cottage in Centerport; before that she ran the kitchens at Ciao Baby in Commack and Massapequa Park.
It’s a homecoming for West, who grew up in Port Jefferson and now lives just up the road from the restaurant. “I timed it,” she said. “Even in the ice it took me a minute and a half to get home.”
West, who started three days ago, has already started to change the menu at the big, bustling, bi-level waterfront restaurant which had housed The Catch and Dockside, among other eateries, before Schafer's opened in 2011. She is serving her signature dish, developed on “Hell’s Kitchen,” of seared sea bass over grilled asparagus with popped cherry-tomato sauce. In general, she said, the menu at Schafer’s would be “casual fine dining with an emphasis on American seafood.”
“I don’t do foofy,” she said. “You won’t see words on the menu that you don’t understand. It’ll be a lobster roll, but the best one you ever had.”
West is also “obsessed with pretzels” and is very excited about an appetizer in which warm crab-spinach-artichoke dip is served with house-made pretzel sticks.
This weekend, diners who tell their servers that “Heather sent me” will receive a 10 percent discount.
Schafer’s is at 111 W. Broadway, Port Jefferson, 631-473-8300, schafersportjeff.com