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As Rumors Swirl Over Luce Exit, New Chef Heads to Jedediah Hawkins

Report and an anonymous Facebook post say famed chef has moved on to new endeavors; local chatter grows.

Amidst Internet chatter suggesting Keith Luce, executive chef and owner at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn/Luce and Hawkins Restaurant in South Jamesport has taken his leave, Alex Algieri, a chef formerly of the North Fork Oyster Company in Greenport, will be taking over the kitchen.

The new chef's father, Al Algieri, an East Quogue resident and member of the East Quogue Civic Association, confirmed that his son had indeed begun working as a chef at Jedediah Hawkins.

"He's already there," he said. "It's very exciting."

Comments have sprung up online since Edible East End published a report Monday saying Luce had cut ties with the popular establishment.

Both Luce and the inn's owner Lia Polites declined multiple requests to confirm that report.

On Wednesday, a post on the Facebook group The Suffolk Bon Vivant Society's page also stated that Luce would be leaving. The group is anonymous; so no contact information was available for confirmation.

When asked if he would be leaving the Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Luce declined to comment.

Algieri said that his son was ready to move on from the North Fork Oyster Company.

Alex Algieri did not immediately return a request for comment.

Luce who grew up in the area, began his culinary journey training in New York City at the Rainbow Room, Le Cirque, and La Cote Basque. Next, he spent time training in France and Italy.

In the United States, Luce worked with chef Walter Schieb at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, servd as sous chef to President Clinton, and was chosen as one of Ameria's Top 10 Chefs in 1997 by Food & Wine Magazine. He was later named "Rising Star Chef of the Year" by the James Beard Foundation.

Bringing his culinary finesse to eateries in Aspen and San Francisco, Luce, who lives in Southold, served as executive chef of The HerbFarm, named the number one destination restaurant in the world, before returning to his roots in Jamesport at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn.

Luce has also been a guest judge on Bravo's "Top Chef," won Northwest Stir's "Young Lion Award," and was named one of Crain's Business News' Top 40 Executives Under 40.

Luce, a former farmboy who brought his culinary finesse back to South Jamesport, has long believed in using fresh, local ingredients.

Luce, when he returned to South Jamesport, told Patch he has a defining philosophy about food. 

“Great food is about the ingredients,” he said. Once back home, he saw the Jedediah Hawkins Inn as having the right combination of history, space for his own “kitchen garden” and openness to his ideas about preserving the environment. 

The chef has also expressed delight in the fact that his butter is from cows pastured only five miles away. He remade the restaurant to meet his exacting standards for using only the freshest local ingredients. 

Did you enjoy Keith Luce's culinary masterpieces at Luce and Hawkins? Would you be sorry to hear that he'd left the establishment? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Jamesport November 28, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Yes, if Keith leaves, this will be a sad day indeed for the Hawkins Inn.
Cyn F November 29, 2012 at 03:44 AM
that's a total bummer. He's a wonderful chef and that is one of my favorite restaurants on the NF
Cyn F November 29, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I should just say that I hope we stay informed as to where Chef Luce goes and I wish the new Chef the best of luck.
Greenport November 29, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Not a fan of Alex, so hope rumor is wrong....NFOC was not the same this season with him as chef. If Luce stays on the north fork, will definitely follow him.
Michael Kaminski November 29, 2012 at 01:49 PM
The Suffolk Bon Vivant Society is the construct of "journalist" Ralph Ron DiGenero.
Bill November 29, 2012 at 01:58 PM
That restaurant is one of the very few true culinary experiences on the fork. The new chef will have rather large shoes to fill. Best of luck to the restaurant and to the new chef. It's a wonderful space.
Ron DiGennaro November 29, 2012 at 03:14 PM
For the record, my name is correctly spelled Ralph Ron DiGennaro, and my BS in Journalism degree from the University of Florida, along with my positions at The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ and Newsday renders the need for quotation marks rather superfluous and inane. And since Kaminski is choosing to out me in a public forum, let it also be known that the former employee of Mr. Luce has a huge axe to grind against the chef, including Keith Luce and anyone who would consider themselves friends with this culinary talent.
Liboater November 29, 2012 at 03:41 PM
The north fork is losing a culinary genius. I wish the new chef good luck and hope that his creations are half as good as Chef Luce.
Eileen DiCosola November 29, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I hope to see Chef Luce on "Top Chef Masters"...Loved his food...
Andrew D. November 29, 2012 at 04:19 PM
This is the second similar comment you’ve posted today. Both come across as personal attacks on Alex Algieri rather than comments on the content of the article. It sounds like you are somehow involved with the North Fork Oyster Company or have a personal issue with Alex Algieri, especially considering you refer to him by his first name and the restaurant by its initials. Your first comment (which I see has since been removed) expressed hope that the NFOC would return to its rave reviews. This is a strange comment considering the restaurant received its rave reviews from the New York Times and Newsday THIS SUMMER and both reviews specifically mentioned the quality of Alex Algieri’s menu and cooking, while every drawback mentioned related to front of the house operations. Full Disclosure: I am a friend of Alex Algieri, which is why I was reading this article and the comments in the first place. It would be disingenuous of me to not mention this. As the other comments note, it is unfortunate that the North Fork is losing an accomplished chef in Keith Luce and Alex does have big shoes to fill. He has, however, received extremely favorable reviews in the same community and shares a very similar philosophy and upbringing as Chef Luce. Best of luck to both men.
schmancy November 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Culinary genius yes but you might ask around to see if any other former employees have an "axe to grind".
Beth November 30, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Having worked with Mr. Kaminski for years, I can attest to his grace, honesty and sense of fairness. If he has an axe to grind - there is reason.
Anne Marie November 30, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Potentially libelous statement... I sincerely hope you have proof. Else, it's an unfounded and below the belt comment that would be best kept to yourself and not be made public out here in internet land. Or do you have an axe to grind? Nice anonymous handle, btw. You've got some serious balls.
Anne Marie November 30, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Duckwing: "Rather than publicize this and potentially harm the livelihoods of others working at Jed's, my family simply chose to take our business elsewhere. " You just did publicize it with your previous post. Why put it out there if you're going to contradict your own statement? I'm not being accusatory, far from it... nor am I saying that you and your wife's claim are without merit... just pointing out the opposite ends of your logic.
Ron DiGennaro November 30, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Anyone who posts potentially libelous statements in a public forum such as this about a respected member of the NoFo community and does so anonymously is a coward and probably a liar. I lend no credence to a person who would stoop this low. And Duck WIng, whoever you are, you're a coward.
schmancy November 30, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Hahaha. Hilarious. So funny. I am rolling on the floor. Mr DiGennaro your friend has pulled the wool over your eyes. These are known facts.
Riverheader November 30, 2012 at 08:02 AM
When the poll is phrased "culinary masterpieces" you know the writer is in the tank for Luce. I found his food to be so-so, His personality self-absorbed and cold, His ego enormous and unwarranted. His behavior inappropriate. He should have spent more time creating and less time on his own PR efforts. I wish him no ill will, I just don't think he was all that good or imaginative. Good luck to him elsewhere. I look forward to what JHI will do next.
Lisa Finn (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 08:52 AM
Please refrain from derogatory comments and keep the comment civil. Thank you.
Ron DiGennaro November 30, 2012 at 03:09 PM
While you're having fun rolling on the floor, perhaps you may stumble across some courage to use your own name when smearing a man's reputation in a public forum that hurts not just he--whose actual name you used--but his family.
Greg Ling December 06, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Chef Luce has been very gracious and helpful every time I have talked to him in the past. He has not come across as being cold or having a outsized ego at all, in fact he is very humble for a chef with the awards and accolades he has received. I'm guessing the Beard Foundation and F&W are better judges than you.
Ron DiGennaro December 06, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Bravo to Chef Ling for the honest and courage of using his name in this forum and for standing up for a fellow chef Keith Luce who is indeed all of the things Mr. Ling outlined. And anyone who really knows Chef Luce will agree with Chef Ling's comments. Nice to see the "real" culinary talents of the East End support one of their own.
Dave Salvatore December 06, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Sorry to see Keith leave always loved the food and the place! Hope you still end up on the north fork it would be great to see you.
Michael Kaminski December 07, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Chef Ling you obviously have an exceptionable amount of courage for expressing your view! Ralph Ron: Do you need me to parse this for you? I am certain that a journalist with your credentials would not submit this as it stands. "Bravo to Chef Ling for the honest and courage of using his name in this forum and for standing up for a fellow chef Keith Luce who is indeed all of the things Mr. Ling outlined." Let me know if I can help.

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