Meet the Team: In the Kitchen with Chef Dave Wenerd

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Meet the Team: In the Kitchen with Chef Dave WenerdLet’s start with some sage advice from our executive chef, Dave Wenerd: “My dad repeated one phase to me over and over and over and over again growing up—‘Patience is a golden virtue. Not just a virtue, but a golden virtue.’”

That goes to the core of what makes Chef Dave who he is today, in and out of the kitchen. And here at The Gables at Chadds Ford, we could not be more delighted to have him in charge of our cuisine.

“That one phrase alone has gotten me through a lot of stressful times in the restaurant business,” Chef Dave admitted, giving a nod to the oft-hectic nature of the industry he loves and the profession he wouldn’t trade for anything.

We pulled Chef Dave temporarily away from his non-stop day in our kitchen to allow you to meet our favorite culinary talent. We couldn’t be more proud to have him be a part of our Gables family. Join us as we welcome you behind-the-scenes:

Let us praise you for a second. Our guests constantly rave about your dishes—the bold flavors, the presentation. What do you attribute our kitchen’s success to?

Meet the Team: In the Kitchen with Chef Dave WenerdChef Dave: I have an overall confidence in our team. I’m confident we can do anything at any time. I plan, plan and plan some more to make sure we can balance the parties with regular menu service, so we really don’t get stressed out that much. Also, I’m not the typical “barking dog” in the kitchen; I learned early that doesn’t work. I still have a lot of faith in people.

Who would you say is your right-hand man (or woman!) in the kitchen?

Chef Dave: Our amazing sous chef, Luis Cobos. We’ve worked together for the last six years at different restaurants. I saw his skills right away and started grooming him to be a sous chef. He started here as a line cook, and when the opportunity came up, he was promoted. We know each other so well that I know he knows exactly what to do.

So, what would you say is your number one job as our executive chef?

Chef Dave: It’s all about creating a balance of upstairs (parties) and downstairs (menu service). In 2015, we did more than 250 parties plus the restaurant’s brunch, lunch, dinner, prix fixe and bar menus. That means we have multiple menus going at once, so I’m ordering, costing and scheduling for all of that. And cooking, of course. We’re always cooking!

You’re our very own Superman! Even with all that going on, you still manage to maintain our rooftop garden too. What’s the current scoop on that?

Meet the Team: In the Kitchen with Chef Dave WenerdChef Dave: That’s my spring cleaning project! I look forward to that, taking the time to plan and plant in the spring. And while it’s largely seasonal, toward the end of the year I harvest and make good use of our dehydrator. I’m still using dried herbs and spice blends I made late last year. I also canned a bunch of tomatoes I’m using. And because we’ve had such warm weather, I’m still getting Swiss chard and a few fresh herbs. We source a lot locally, but it’s really cool to cook from our own garden.

Last question: where are you taking us in 2016? What’s on the culinary agenda?

Chef Dave: We’re keeping the ball rolling! We had such a great 2015—we were up 40 percent party-wise, sometimes doing up to three a day, and many Sunday weddings. We can still grow that while serving up unique tastes from our scratch-made recipes in the restaurant. I’m pretty sure I’ll get to take a vacation in 2016, too, thanks to a great kitchen staff.

Want more? 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Chef Dave:

  • He hails from North Wilmington, Del.
  • Dave started in the restaurant business in high school as a food runner.
  • He graduated from the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia, then began earning his stripes at such notable venues as Culinaria in Wilmington, Del., Bistro on the Brandywine and Brandywine Prime.
  • Chef’s favorite food to cook: scallops (note: there’s a Scallop du Jour on the menu).
  • His favorite kitchen gadget: squirt bottles.
  • Dave’s favorite comfort food: his mom’s stuffed shells.
  • Favorite items from his home kitchen include ingredients that add flavors to other things, like sriracha sauce, pickles, apple cider vinegar and an array of finish salts.
  • If he wasn’t a chef, he’d be … “I have no idea! I chose cooking and thought about nothing else.”

Stop in soon and taste why customers keep coming back for more of Chef Dave’s creations. Intrigued about hosting an event at The Gables at Chadds Ford? Give us a shout and we’ll show you how we can make your occasion extra-special.

The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone