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.