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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


How I spent my (2010) summer vacation

In 2010, I was approached to help run the kitchen at the Yacht Club for the summer. I was in between semesters, they were in-between chefs and I was foolish enough to say “yes.” Hadn’t I learned my lesson from my two-and-a-half year stint as the executive chef? Wasn’t I the focus of unwanted attention at the hands of people who would much rather see the place implode into the sea than turn a profit? The papers. The forums. The complainers…
Now don’t get too riled; there were many more people who were supporters, and there are still many patrons that I talk to and hug and enjoy a good cocktail with every now and then. There are so many stories, ranging from the harpoons in the attic to the code words for certain regulars and myriad weddings we would execute flawlessly. It wasn’t that we were the best; it was more to the point that we had a good system down. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
The halcyon days of being the chef at the “YC” as we called it are long over, and I get a kick out of people stopping me at the store to ask if I’m still working there. Well, seeing as how it’s been six years since I was a temp-worker, and about 11 since I quit the first time, I would venture to say no.
During the summer of 2010, we reintroduced certain fail-safe items that were good sellers in the past, played with new ideas, and I once again had the chance to work with the “crew,” a motley bunch of high school and college kids who were eager to learn and work. Any time that I hear someone (or catch myself) complaining about the next generation, I think about all of the great young people I’ve worked with in this industry to know that they are doing just fine.
As a college professor, one of my greatest pleasures is working with the next generation and getting motivated by some of my students. It’s no different in the business, but the only problem is that your work is not finite as is the professor’s.
While one downside of education is that you can never fire a student, it also must be said that my work is defined by the lesson and the curriculum and not by wildly ranging crowds based on whether a storm is coming, or if someone is having a birthday or retirement party … unannounced.
Yes, I remember my days as the club chef with high regard, but I’m quite happy with my current job. As everyone knows, while you don’t go into education to make money, there is something to be said for the three best reasons to enter academia: June, July and August.
I imagine that the best part of this job is watching students walk across the stage who never envisioned themselves being there. My greatest hope is that the more people experience this feeling; it will become a stepping stone to many other accomplishments in the professional world. When someone finally believes that they can complete a task, it becomes second nature to complete another, and then another. The snowball effect is magnificent in success.
As I contemplate this, I’m sitting on a stool enjoying a frosty beer and chewing on some spicy candied nuts; a treat that I made on occasion at the club for salads. When we had a lot left over, I’d send some out to the bar for local patrons. The beauty of this treat is that the salt and spice, while being delicious, also entice the guest to drink more. If you’re like me – aka a cheap bastard – you’ll ask for a glass of water to accompany your beer. I’ve been privy to too many bar snacks to not know what they’re all about.
After my last stint at the Yacht Club was over, it was time for the traditional coffee-filter-filled-with-whipped-cream-to-the-face. I told my crew that they were not to do it, and of course, they did it anyway. Who am I to curb tradition?
It was a bittersweet moment, as I knew I wouldn’t be back and I would definitely miss the crew. But I knew that I would have to gut it out. After all, the only thing better than quitting the Yacht Club, is doing it twice.

Spicy Candied Nuts
enough for a small crowd
1/4 cup California almonds
1/4 cup Pine nuts
1/4 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Pecan halves
1/4 cup Confectioner’s sugar
2 Tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Chili flakes or Cayenne if you want them uber-spicy

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and turn a faucet on low
2. Add water a teaspoon at a time until you have a nice coating on the nuts
3. Spread on an oiled (sprayed) cookie sheet and place in a 350F oven
4. Keep you eye on these! When they start to brown, that is your sign to stir them around carefully with a spoon or spatula (the latter being preferred)
5. When they are a nice golden to darker brown, remove and cool down as quickly as possible. They will be chewy when they come out of the oven, and will crisp up when cooled
6. Serve in a bowl or individual servings