I absolutely loved staying at The Inn at Newport Ranch during my stay in Fort Bragg, it’s one of my favorite weekend getaway spots! If you’re here, make sure to read my guide to The Best Restaurants in Fort Bragg!
Below, you’ll find my interview with Executive Chef Adam Stacy of The Inn at Newport Ranch. If you’d like, also read about the rest of my stay at The Luxurious Inn at Newport Ranch here!
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF COOKING AND WHAT DID YOU COOK?
My first cooking position was at the neighbor hood pizza place that I worked at in high school. I don’t have many cooking memories until six months into culinary school. I returned home to visit my parents for my mother’s birthday. She requested roasted chicken with potatoes. At that time, the idea of roasting a whole chicken was still a bit nerve wrecking. Was it going to be cooked all the way? Was it going to be dry? I followed the recipe with extreme detail from The French Laundry cookbook, and it came out perfectly. Since that day, if I’m able to celebrate with my mother on her birthday, she always asks for chicken.
WHAT IS A KNIFE YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT?
My white Nenox that was a birthday gift when I first started at Gramercy Tavern.
WHAT IS ONE INGREDIENT YOU CANNOT COOK WITHOUT?
Salt. Not an uncommon answer I’m sure, but its what showcases any product the most. The line between bland, seasoned, and salty is so thin, it really takes time and practice to be consistent and find that perfect balance.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BECOME A CHEF OR RESTAURANT PROPRIETOR?
One night at per se I remember looking up from “the weeds”… or simply put we were in the deep end of the pool with tons of work ahead of us. I didn’t know up from down, but just remember hearing the chef screaming…”Just keep cooking”. It was that moment I knew I wanted to do this forever.
WHAT WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES YOU MADE YOUR FIRST YEAR IN THE CULINARY INDUSTRY?
I think all young chefs go through a period of uncertainty, then over confidence, and arrogance until re-humbled. I was unfortunately, very confident in the beginning. This over confidence was a thorn in my path for a bit. It was Thomas Keller Group that re-humbled me, and where I learned to just keep my head down, my mouth shut, and work hard.
YOUR CAREER BEGAN IN VERY WELL-KNOWN RESTAURANTS INCLUDING GRAMERCY TAVERN (A FAVORITE OF MINE AS I LIVED TWO BLOCKS AWAY FOR A DECADE), PER SE & RECENTLY SAN FRANCISCO’S SAISON. HOW DID THE COOKING STYLE AT THOSE RESTAURANTS PREPARE YOU FOR BEING THE CHEF AT THE INN AT NEWPORT RANCH?
Gramercy Tavern introduced me to fire cooking, which I still hold close. Per se introduced me to high end and luxurious ingredients. Saison combined those worlds, and showcased a cuisine I truly connected to. All these locations also focused on honest, straight forward cooking styles, that I use here on the ranch. Things are seasoned simply to bring out the natural flavor of the ingredient.
WHO HAS BEEN THE MOST INFLUENTIAL MENTOR/CHEF IN YOUR CAREER?
While saving money to move to California, I worked at private club in long island. We would do 200 covers with a six man line during the heat of the summer. The chefs name was Matt Birnstill, and he was the most influential individual I’ve worked next to. He worked long days, never gave up, and always was the solid leader a kitchen needs. His tenacity is truly unique.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISH ON THE INN AT NEWPORT RANCH MENU?
This is where every chef has an issue. Our menu changes daily, so we don’t really have one to call a favorite.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AFTER WORK DRINK?
I’m not much of a drinker, so usually a bottle of sparkling water is my go to.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPOT IN FORT BRAGG OR MENDOCINO TO VISIT WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?
Im very lucky to have an amazing view of the ocean from my back yard. We usually don’t travel far from home, and just enjoy our local area on days off.
TELL US SOMETHING THAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT YOU?
Im a big fan of cheeseburgers. Its my favorite go to junk food.