Q&A by Janice Randall Rohlf
MacGregor “Mac” Hay is the owner of the Wellfleet Harbor Seafood Company and Mac’s Seafood, which owns and operates fish markets in Eastham, Wellfleet and Provincetown. In addition to Mac's on the Pier, the company's signature seafood restaurant located at the municipal pier on Wellfleet Harbor, it also operates Mac's Shack and Mac's Fish House in Provincetown, as well as a catering business. In the last year, Mac’s Seafood purchased Chatham Fish & Lobster, adding a seafood restaurant, wholesale seafood company and two more retail seafood markets to its company.
Why did you choose this career?
I have always had a passion for food and loved the sound of a buzzing restaurant, plates clinking in the background. When I had the opportunity to open my own seafood market and restaurant, I felt confident because I grew up fishing with my grandfather. I knew how to filet fish, shuck clams and oysters, and the basics of seafood cooking. I had worked a number of summer restaurant jobs so I also had an idea of what it took to run a seasonal business. At least I thought I knew.
I don’t think it was a conscious choice to choose the restaurant business. I think it was more of a drive to do something that I truly enjoyed that didn’t feel like work.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow a similar path?
Don’t. Just kidding. This business requires that you be “all in.” There are very few breaks and little time off, as it is all-consuming. There is so much advice I feel like I could share that it’s hard to narrow it down. I think having a five-year plan or goal is important. I often ask myself how I want things to be in five years and then make decisions based on those goals every day. Someone once said to me, “If you aren’t directing the ship where you want to go, don’t complain when you land in a port you don’t like.”
Other advice: Surround yourself with talented and driven people. Reinvest most of the profits from the business for a number of years if you want the business to grow. Don’t look at money as the “goal” but rather a tool to run a successful business. Don’t be afraid to borrow money.
The key to the restaurant business, and probably most businesses, is hospitality. If you want to go into this line of work, know what hospitality means and extend hospitality to co-workers, customers and the vendors you work with.
In your business, what has been your proudest moment?
It took me about 10 years, but I remember a moment when everything I had been working so hard to attain came together. It was a moment when everywhere I looked everyone and everything was actually working exactly as I had hoped. It was as though the perfect moment had been achieved. It was short-lived, but I felt a real sense of accomplishment.
How has the CCCI helped you get your business off the ground, or how would you have benefitted from a similar organization when you were starting out?
I haven’t tapped into the resources of CCCI but am happy to now make a connection!
What one thing/service in the food industry do you think the Cape is missing?
I think the Cape isn’t recognized enough on a national level for the quality of its food Cape- wide.
What keeps you busy outside work?
I love spending time with my family, fishing, doing some gardening and playing music.
Describe your perfect day of eating on Cape Cod?
I have chickens, and I start my day with fresh eggs, either poached or fried on toast. If it’s my day off, I’ll head out on my boat and hopefully catch a few fish, either bluefish or striped bass. (And if I don’t catch anything, I’ll stop by one of our markets and pick up some fish!)
For lunch I’ll stop by the restaurant and have some sushi, oysters and clams, then get ready to cook dinner. I like using the grill for everything. I’ll do a number of different sauces and marinades for the fish, but I like to keep it simple for the most part and let the freshness and flavor of the fish shine through. I’ll grill potatoes, onions, peppers, corn and anything else in season. While things are on the grill, I’ll shuck some oysters and clams and serve them with lemon and cocktail sauce or a mignonette. I also like doing lobster on the grill with some tarragon butter. A nice meal with some potato salad, fresh grilled fish and veggies, a salad made from garden greens and finished off with a homemade strawberry pie is a fantastic end to a perfect day of eating on Cape Cod.
And if I don’t want to cook, I’ll head to one of the restaurants and order off the menu!
Q&A by Janice Randall Rohlf
Richard Peal is manager of Leroux Kitchen in Falmouth, one of six locations, all in New England. He recently celebrated his third year at this cook’s paradise on Main Street, filled with everything you might need or want to make magic happen in your kitchen and have fun doing it.
1. Why did you choose to manage a cookware store?
After working 20 years in the publishing industry, helping authors realize their creative dreams, I jumped at the chance to the help home cooks find creative success in their kitchens.
2. What advice would you give someone wanting to follow a similar path?
Take the time to think about what type of people will help you reach your goal. Then go out and find them. Also, trust your gut.
3. In your business, what has been your most proud moment?
Finding quality locally produced food, buying it and selling out before I thought we would.
4. What one thing/service in the food industry do you think the Cape is missing?
A culinary incubator is needed on the Cape. As a retail manager, I am always looking for locally made shelf-stable food products. On the Cape, it's difficult to find those little niche food makers. If there were a central location where they could get guidance in both business and production, it might encourage more people to venture into this area.
6. What keeps you busy outside work?
Cooking at home and sailing.
7. Describe your perfect day of eating on Cape Cod.
It would be a fall day, with a nice 15 to 18 mph southwest breeze. Start the day on Chappaquoit Beach in West Falmouth with a cup of coffee and an egg bagel with cream cheese from Cape Cod Bagel, followed by a morning session of sailing. At around 1 p.m., break for lunch at the Pickle Jar in Falmouth. Maybe some more sailing in the afternoon, and finish the day with dinner at Water Street Kitchen in Woods Hole.
Sometimes pursuing your passions in life takes a long time to put into action. Over twenty-five years ago I decided to take a leap of faith and expand my love of cooking by entering the Professional Culinary Certificate Program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts (CSCA). My goal was to gain professional experience and pursue a career that merged my love of cooking and my marketing background. After finishing the year-long intensive program I worked in a restaurant where I did prep and created some new desserts for the menu. I also briefly worked on Restaurant PR where I worked to translate recipes written for professional chefs into instructions that a home cook could utilize. And although I wasn’t able to create a permanent new career path, my passion for the culinary arts never left and several years later I was able to assist in the recreational cooking classes at CSCA.
Using my experiences with CSCA as a model, I’ve developed an interactive teaching approach which I’ve put to use giving cooking lessons in community recreational programs. For the past 10 years I’ve taught cooking classes to adults and children in Westford, Chelmsford, Marlboro and now in Harwich. In addition, I’ve also been able to conduct private classes for friends in their own homes. My classes have ranged from menus that feature ethnic recipes to lessons on appetizers and baking.
Two years ago, my husband and I retired and moved to Harwich. Since I wanted to offering the public cooking classes, I approached the Harwich Council on Aging about using their kitchen and I’ve been conducting classes on a regular basis. I’ve found that attending a cooking class is something many people enjoy during retirement years when they have time to experiment without the pressure of getting dinner on the table after a long day at work. Because culinary education can be intimidating for folks with its own language and set of skills, I decided to call my business Kitchen Confidence. My goal is to give people of all ages the knowledge they need to successfully produce delicious meals in their own kitchen while also having fun.
Recent classes have included appetizers and menus designed for one or two people. Classes are limited to eight people and are interactive in nature where I assist students with hands-on instruction including demonstrations on knife skills and helpful tips on using unfamiliar ingredients. As written recipes are often imprecise, I make sure to test each recipe before using it in class to be sure the instructions and ingredient measurements are accurate and easy to follow. Best of all after the cooking is done we get to taste the results! Starting in May I will be offering some new classes at the Harwich COA kitchen. For more information, be on the look-out for listings in the bi-monthly the COA bulletin or check out my Facebook page.
My name is Cheryl Martin. I am a professional caterer and businesswoman with family roots in New England and on Cape Cod. I recently relocated to Orleans after a long and successful career in the Florida Keys. In my retirement, I want to share my inside knowledge and personal experiences of starting and operating a catering company with people, young and old, who are just starting out.
It Is All About the Sauce! is a guidebook for aspiring caterers, chefs, and foodies who want to start their own food service businesses. It is filled with tips, lessons learned, and recipes for go-to sauces that will make any dish a crowd pleaser including:
mustard sauce, herb butter, mango
sauce, and spicy remoulade.
My goal in writing this book is to give others a resource that would have made my life easier when I started my business, A Little Taste of the Keys.
In 1996, I had $250 in my pocket and a dream. I had worked in restaurants since high school and wanted to start my own catering company. My first job came to me by sheer luck. A member at the club where I was working needed a caterer for a New Year’s Eve party. She had waited until the last minute and was desperate for someone to put on a spread for her guests. I knew this was the opportunity that could catapult my career, so I jumped in with both feet. The event was a tremendous success and the rest, as they say, is history.
The first few years of business were rocky as I stumbled to navigate the myriad challenges of running a business, managing clients, and cooking food for hundreds of people. You must be willing to work late hours, be on your feet, work weekends, and work under pressure. It is not for the faint of heart. But if your love for food trumps all these difficulties, then this is the career for you! Food service is creative, fun and a wonderful way to make a living!
It Is All About the Sauce! will be out on eBook shortly. It will be offered on amazon.com, Kindle, lulu.com, and barnesandnoble.com. Additionally, I am working on a class on udemy.com. I hope to be able to share my knowledge with the Cape Cod Community through the Incubator project in the future!
Here is a taste from It Is All About the Sauce!
This simple and bold garlic parsley sauce originated in Argentina and can take your meal from good to amazing with just a drizzle.
Things that Chimichurri can be served with….
For more information please contact: Cheryl Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Should be more like “what the truck” are you doing? About 4 decades ago, if you had asked me what two professions I am least likely to have, the first would be banking and the second would be the restaurant business. It’s difficult to care for someone else’s money and even more difficult to feed today’s fickle foodies! So where does that leave me, you ask? Well pretty close to 39 years in Banking and a brand new and albeit an extremely, enthusiastic food truck owner.
As an avid runner, I would participate in half marathons, only to be offered a hot dog or hamburger after the race. Totally NOT eating that after running 13.1 miles! I thought, hey, what if a Food Truck went to races and served healthy food to runners that wasn’t a banana, orange, or stale granola bar? And that’s how What the Truck was born.
My first big event was the Ragnar 24 hour Relay race in May 2018. I opted for the overnight exchange, where runners really need nourishment, as the majority of the teams have logged in close to 80 miles. Items on the menu were fresh, hearty, warm and wholesome choices, loaded with carbs and protein. Top of the menu was a rotisserie chicken soup with quinoa, white beans and kale. I also made a creamy mac and cheese and some simple “grab and go” salty snacks, like pita chips and homemade hummus. I sold out of everything in less than 5 hours!
The Ragnar event led to referrals for catering jobs for the Pilgrim Monument Museum and Studio by HBO’s “Pop up Store” in Provincetown. I’ve also catered contractor events and graduations.
What the Truck is now a staple on the craft brewery circuit both on Cape in Hyannis and Mashpee and off Cape in Scituate, Marshfield, Plymouth and Attleboro. Patrons have made my menu item “The Best Buffalo Chicken Dip Evah!” a tried and true brewery favorite.
Social media has expanded my customer base and has helped me grow my business exponentially! I have followers who want to know where the truck will be next! Every day, I look in my driveway and see that beautiful food truck and I say to myself “What the Truck?”....You did it!
Follow me on Facebook @whatthetruck7
I grew up shell fishing and come from a long line of commercial shell fishermen and women. My brother and many extended family members still do for a living. As an adult, I love clamming for fun with my husband and children. My elders migrated here from Sao Miguel 3 generations ago, continuing their occupations as shell fisherman and strawberry farmers as they did in the ‘Old Country’. I think its safe to say clamming is in my blood, ha!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA TO SELL STUFFED QUAHOGS?
Well, I have always been on the search for the next great stuffed quahog wherever I went. It is kind of my thing, if it is on the menu, it’s on my plate! Trying so many, prompted me to perfect my own. I have been making them for years and feel they are unique from others I have tried.
WHERE DID YOUR RECIPE COME FROM?
It is kind of a spin-off from my grandmother’s recipe. My mother and brother also have their own version of grandma’s stuffed quahog. So in a sense it is my own, different from anyone else’s. It wasn’t exactly passed down from generations.
WHAT SEPARATES YOUR STUFFED QUAHOGS FROM THE OTHERS?
Well, I like to say mine are more of an Artisan stuffed quahog. I like to clearly see all the ingredients in it, versus the more uniform smooth textured bread stuffing that I see all too often with mass produced ones. I don’t see myself ever compromising my product to maximize a profit.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU?
My Family and Friends who have loved them for years. My stuffies are a frequent request to make at our social gatherings. They pushed me and gave me the confidence to start this business for all the public to enjoy.
A quahog is a hard-thick shelled edible clam. They come in many different sizes. ‘Chowders’ are the largest and my size choice for Neome’s Portuguese Stuffies. People have enjoyed a good stuffed quahog anywhere from a local Ale House to an upscale seafood restaurant.
I market through word of mouth and social media. Also giving samples to small markets and food specialty shops in the hopes they will like to sell them.
My stuffed quahogs can really compliment many types of meals and on any occasion. A perfect side to any seafood dish or soup/chowder, to bbq’s and social gatherings, or even by itself as a snack in which case you may want two! Their aren’t any rules to when you can eat them!
A clam in every bite and you can see the ingredients! Handmade by a 100% Portuguese Local with quahogs from our beautiful Cape Cod Waters.
Entertaining has always been a rewarding experience for me and my family and is a special part of my Cape Cod lifestyle. I have enjoyed living on Cape Cod for over 25 years with friends and family after moving here from Puerto Rico.
As an American of Puerto Rican descent, I have a deep love for my Hispanic heritage. It has given me a wealth of experience to draw from in marketing my homemade salsa dip which bursts with flavor like no other salsa dip in the American marketplace. With an exotic blend of Caribbean spices and herbs, my salsa dip will delight your palette as it has done for my family and friends for so many years. Cape Cod salsa dip is all-natural with no artificial ingredients. It merges a tasty blend of tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and other flavorful herbs and spices. And of course, brings the consumer lots of love.
The blend of aromas in Cape Cod Salsa Dip is a timeless reminder of my memories as a young girl. I remember the aromas of my mother’s herb garden in my hometown in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico after a rainfall. Eating a spoonful of our dip on a cracker or vegetable slice was so delicious and aromatic and still is.. My mother Carmen had a very special love and warmth for cooking and entertaining and this love has now become a very special part of my own cooking. Carmen had a special gift of generating the most delicious flavors out of very small quantities of herbs and spices. This unique Puerto Rican cooking style is called “comida criolla”.
“Comida Criolla” is a combination of flavors and ingredients passed on from generation to generation amongst the different ethnic groups of Puerto Rico -groups that include Spanish, African, Indian and North American traditions. The well-known “sofrito” is drawn from these culinary traditions and has become a central part of Puerto Rican cuisine and culture. As my mother used to say, Sofrito is the base of all Puerto Rican cooking and especially so in our favorite Salsa Dip recipes experienced by locales in the towns of Forestdale and Sandwich, Mass. Enjoy the dish with me as it has became a special tribute to my mother’s love for Caribbean cuisine and to the enchanting beauty of Cape Cod.
Since opening on Main Street Chatham in 2009, Gustare Oils & Vinegars has served as a hub for cooking discussion for everyone from local foodies with well-refined palates to fledgling chefs. With 180 original recipes on gustareoliveoil.com, guests have come to trust Gustare as a reliable source for the preparation of healthy, flavorful food using the highest quality, artisanal extra virgin olive oils, traditionally aged balsamic vinegars, and gourmet pantry items available on Cape Cod
Gustare recipes are innovated in the "Test Kitchen," the proving ground where co-founder/owner Catherine Ferraresi and Gustare culinary advisor Kelly Wright research and develop recipes to share with guests. Recipes range from fruity balsamic-infused breakfast smoothies to everyone’s favorite Dark Chocolate Chip & Pecan Cookies substituting olive oil for butter for a heart healthy sweet bite.
On gustareoliveoil.com, guests can search specific products to find corresponding recipes or filter the recipes page by type. For example, a couple of updated family classics such as Caprese Nuova with Herbs di Napoli balsamic or Wicked Good Wings using Gustare Garlic EVOO and Oregano balsamic for the most amazing flavor profile (which are, well, truly wicked good).
The diversity of Gustare’s recipes reflects a passion for regional culinary and farm-to-table traditions. Gustare recognizes how extra virgin olive oil, traditional aged balsamic vinegars and other gourmet food products can be integrated into Cape Cod culture and anywhere where great food is served. For cooks who prefer to go by the book, those who like to improvise, and others that are just learning – Gustare has a delicious recipe for you.
August 15, 2018
Chukulati Chocolate Co.
3821 Falmouth Rd Unit 3A
Marstons Mills, MA 02648
There is an old legend that has been handed down through Ecuadorian history. In the nineteenth century, a Swiss chocolatier was navigating the Guayas River in coastal Ecuador. During his voyage, he encountered a group of farmers transporting sacks of Nacional cacao that had an unusually rich and floral aroma. The chocolatier asked the farmers where this cacao had come from. The farmers simply replied “arriba” (meaning “upriver”) and pointed in that direction. Cacao grown along the upper regions of the Guayas river basin became one of the most highly sought sources of cacao in European chocolate and was given the name “Arriba.”
By the time the nineteenth century rolled around, Nacional was considered by many European chocolatiers the most coveted source of cacao in the world—prized for its floral aroma and complex flavor profile. This golden era of Ecuadorian cacao came to an end in 1916, when an outbreak of “Witches’ Broom” disease decimated the Nacional variety. This led growers and those sourcing cacao alike to cultivate and buy of a different genetic variety of cacao, much more resistant to disease and bearing more fruit. Although this may have been a solution to the sudden decrease in cacao at the time, this genetically modified cacao bared almost no flavor or aroma.
Until recently, through genetic testing, systems were put in place to preserve this almost extinct national treasure back into production with the help of small farmers and co-ops.
Chukulati was created with exactly that in mind. My mother (Liana Strider) and I (Fernando Lopez), both being natives to Ecuador, knew this was something needed to be shared with the world! Our travels back home in 2015 led us on the cacao adventure of our lives, where we were able to learn a great deal about fine cacao, the process, and people involved in making the amazing chocolate we all love to indulge in today. By working with Co-operatives, and sourcing fairly-traded cacao this also brings a great opportunity to help small communities and promoting organic and environmentally sustainable practices.
We do not claim to be the best chocolatiers (although constantly striving and learning to be better) but we believe the best chocolate comes from good sourcing. Our chocolate is all organic, single origin and single province, and made with four or less ingredients. This truly allows our consumers to taste the palatable differences in this fine Nacional cacao, from fruity and floral, to red fruits and wine notes, to creamy and vanilla undertones, or a very cocoa-forward flavor. You could compare this flavor phenomenon to that of wine and the effects of its terroir in which its grown. Our Artisanal bars and creations range from a dark milk chocolate of 43% cacao content, all the way up to 100% and several in between for all cacao preferences. We aim to promote more health-conscious recipes in our products to highlight the true goodness of cacao, there’s actually a reason it makes you feel so good when you eat it! While also, looking to offer some sweeter confections. We have so much in mind for what’s to come and very much looking forward to it. For now, you can find us at our little shop in the Windmill Plaza off of Route 28 in Marstons Mills. We will be opening our doors to the public by the end of this month, and very much look forward to seeing you there!