Going by his age, Mathew Peters shouldn’t even be in the orbit of super chefs. But at 33, he is right in the mix, with a trajectory that is firmly rocketing upward. Peters became the first American chef to win the Bocuse d’Or, a renowned French culinary competition named for the French chef Paul Bocuse, last winter. Peters brought his starry presence and impeccable skills to the Chatham Bars Inn on Friday, November 17, for one night of the landmark inn’s 2017 Guest Chef Series.
Formerly of Per Se in New York City and The French Laundry in Napa Valley, California, Peters teamed with Chatham Bars Inn executive chef Anthony Cole to prepare a five-course tasting menu that featured rare white truffles, homegrown produce, and local seafood, with each course accompanied by a specially chosen wine.
The inn’s Stars restaurant was filled with the soft glow of candlelight amid tables of guests who were served the crème de la crème menu family-style by a warmly doting staff. The two of us, luckily, were seated with a trio of foodies from Gourmet Caterers in Boston. The three men, including two executive chefs, were the perfect tablemates, giving us insightful commentary while we savored the food and wine and chatted with Orlando Burch Jr., a server at CBI for almost three decades. (“For 27 years, and it feels like two weeks,” Burch said with a delightful smile that spread to his eyes.)
Pictured left to right: Chatham Bars Inn executive chef Anthony Cole, 2017 Bocuse d’Or winner chef Mathew Peters, and Jonathan Haffmans, owner of VERS in Orleans.
Burch is especially proud of the Chatham Bars Inn Farm in Brewster, which has supplied the CBI dining rooms since 2012 with fresh produce and the inn’s own farm-to-table offerings. The farm was part of a $100 million investment in CBI’s culinary profile by owner Richard Cohen. We heard that the USDA will inspect the farm in May 2018 in CBI’s bid to officially label the garden offerings as organic. Every one of the vegetables we sampled in the meal—radishes, cauliflower, fennel, and peppers—was brimming with delicious flavor.
The evening started with a basket of bread by CBI’s head baker, Kevin Curtin, including fig and black walnut sourdough served with white truffle honey butter. Peters and CBI chef Cole each prepared two courses, leaving dessert, a sage-roasted Braeburn apple, to CBI pastry chef Brennan Froeschner.
The charming Peters, who told us after dinner that he is heading to Austin, Texas, to open his own restaurant, had the waterfront covered, serving up marinated bay scallops with radish, avocado, pearl onion tempura, compressed apples, and white truffle, served with a Roero Arneis Italian white wine, and the sublime Chatham lobster tail, served with ricotta-filled pasta, broccolini, with a light flavor of toasted hazelnuts and white truffle. Cole’s dishes, from the land side, included an out-of-this-world soup of cauliflower and white truffle and a porcelet porchetta with blue Hubbard squash, Asian pear, pomegranate vinaigrette, and white truffle.
The prized white truffle, called “the diamond of the kitchen” gave an aromatic luxe touch to all the night’s courses. Each dish was subtly unique and delicious, and we reveled in an opportunity to experience the truffle’s taste and scent, leaning over our plates to discuss, analyze, and thank our lucky stars we were there. The professional chefs at our table, impressed, said they would be back. Crossing our fingers, we said we would be, too.