It warms my heart to write this Blog post!
As we all look forward to Opening Day and to another great season at Ocean Point Inn, we have some news that will surely put a smile on your face. You may have seen him walking around the lounge or dining room, checking in with dining guests when he filled in for a couple of shifts during the 2019 season. He’ll be back making a regular appearance in the kitchen for the 2020 season! Yes, Chef Michael Whitney . . . is baaaaack!
Mike first worked at Ocean Point Inn in 1995 and says he has felt like part of the OPI family since then. His culinary journey took him to the Stein Erickson Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah before returning to Boothbay in 2000 where he has lived and worked since, settling down and raising his family with his wife, Jennifer. Before returning to OPI he worked at St. Andrews Village, The Thistle Inn, Sedgley Place, and has owned & operated Family Thyme Catering and Culinary Events.
When asked about when and why he decided to be a professional chef, he said he has always enjoyed cooking and that it probably started when he used to hang around his grandmother’s kitchen as a child. In high school at Westbrook Regional Voc Center, wanting to approach it as a career, Mike chose to take two years of culinary arts in the vocational program that seemed to support his future goals. He received his Associate’s degree from Southern Maine Community College in culinary arts, but above all, the jobs he has had have taught him the most from working with some of the most talented people he could have hoped for. “Beyond the degree, for those who like paper,” he said, “the real credentials in this profession, you need to experience in person!”
When asked what his best and least liked parts of the profession were, Mike stated that the people with whom he has had the blessing of meeting and sharing the knowledge & love of the profession with has been by far the best part. The things that he has liked least would have to be the sheer time away from family and friends that the discipline demands.
Mike will work closely with Chef Dennis Sanborn to improve the Inn’s well established menu for the dining room as well as catering on-site & off-site events that come their way. To Mike, each dish is its own specialty and he enjoys all of them! Feast your eyes on some of Mike’s past culinary delights until you can experience them in person!
In the upcoming season, Chef Whitney looks forward to sharing time with so many talented and hard-working people, seeing familiar faces in the dining room and enjoying one of the best views at work that anyone could ask for! He looks forward to sharing a great summer with old and new friends, sharing memories and creating new ones that make life full!
Welcome back, Mike. Welcome back!
All Photos courtesy of ©Michael Whitney