Summer Winter welcomes the talents of Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier who provide the inspiration in Summer Winter's delightfully eclectic New England menu that focuses on using fresh herbs (grown in our own greenhouse) and seasonal vegetables to create a flavorful twist to some New England favorites.
Clark Frasier grew up in fresh produce heaven. His family lived in Carmel, California, where vegetables and fruit were available all year round. He remembers picnics in the Napa Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains and fresh fried artichoke stands along the road. It wasn't until he went to China to study Chinese that he learned about the seasons and the wonder of produce in its season. During the harsh winters in Beijing, the people dried, salted and pickled cabbage, which became the only vegetable available during three months of the year. "So that by the end of winter, we students were ravenous for vegetables, and would go anywhere and pay anything to get them. I learned from that what the season meant and why food tastes SO GOOD when it is in season. Today, you can have anything anytime, but even now, vegetables and fruits have to be pickled before they are ripe and so they ripen on the way from Chile to Maine. It's not the same."
It was while living in Beijing, China, that Clark developed expertise in the great cuisine of China. Clark learned that Chinese culinary traditions represent a vast treasure of possibilities.
When Clark came back from China, he moved to San Francisco to set up an import-export business. As it turned out, he wound up working his way up to chef tournant in the famous kitchen of Stars Restaurant where he developed his unique cooking style working "on the culinary edge" with Jeremiah Tower. And it was there that he began to build a repertoire of Asian-influenced combinations. There too, he met Mark Gaier, and the two decided to strike out on their own.
In the spring of 1988, Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier formed a business partnership that acquired Arrows Restaurant. Utilizing their extensive travel and training, they have crated a classic country restaurant which has continually garnered national and international accolades for its outstanding cuisine, flawless service, beautiful setting and award-winning wine list. In 1992, the chefs began out of necessity, to develop a kitchen garden which today, has grown to almost two acres in size and provides the restaurant with 80% of the menu each evening.
Arrows reputation has been noted by many publications; most recently the restaurant was named by Gourmet Magazine the 14th Best Restaurant in America in 2006. Bon Appétit also recognized it as one of the Ten Most Romantic Restaurants in the Country.
Throughout the years, Chefs Frasier and Gaier have extended their culinary talents into new restaurants and culinary events - MC Perkins Cove opened in 2005 to rave reviews in the Boston Globe, Bon Appétit, and Down East magazine and numerous national and trade publications. The East Meets West culinary weekend has been held over the past several years on the estate gardens and grounds of Arrows. The weekend has truly become a major culinary event in the country attracting celebrity chefs, vintners, cookbook authors and artisan food makers as well as thousands who just love food.
The many honors and accolades Frasier and Gaier have achieved over the years have culminated in being nominated for a fourth time as Best Chefs of the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2007.
Mark Gaier grew up in a big family near Dayton, Ohio. His mother, a homemaker, was a wonderful cook who inspired Mark to begin cooking and even baking bread by the time he was fourteen. Later as a young man working in publishing in Blue Hill, Maine, his favorite work was putting on the dinner parties for the staff and advertisers at the magazine. So he decided to go back to school and study culinary arts under Jean Wallach in Boston. Later he was given the opportunity to work at the Whistling Oyster under Michael Allen who had been chef for Madeline Kamman at her cooking school in Boston. Many of his basic skills as a chef were developed during this period.
In the mid-eighties, feeling he needed exposure to more innovative cooking, Mark went to San Francisco and joined the staff at Stars Restaurant as chef tournant, under Jeremiah Tower. According to Gaier, this was a fabulous experience "because the staff at Stars was so talented and because Jeremiah is such an accomplished chef."
About Arrows, Mark says, "We started with one vision. The place needed lots of work. It was funky, with mismatched antique pressed-back chairs. Our plan had been to do a more casual brasserie, or bistro style restaurant. But, this setting has seemed to move us gradually toward a more elegant type of dining. It's as if we had to respond to the setting. It's so beautiful and romantic. We have constantly upgraded the restaurant, having chairs made my local craftsman, replacing flatware with silver, glass with crystal, stoneware with china, and dozens of other changes and upgrades."
As chefs, Gaier and Frasier have changed also. At first they brought a lot of California and Jeremiah Tower with them, but now they have grown into a style all their own. And the garden, as well as their world travels each winter when the restaurant is closed, has helped dictate how that style keeps changing and growing.
In recent years, Arrows' fame and reputation has grown steadily, so that in 2006, it was named by Gourmet Magazine the 14th Best Restaurant in America. Bon Appétit has recognized it as one of the Ten Most Romantic Restaurants in the Country.
With the success of Arrows, Gaier and Frasier decided to expand their reach and in 2005 they opened MC Perkins Cove also in Ogunquit, Maine. MC Perkins Cove has made a name of its own with spectacular ocean views and food to match. As Bon Appétit wrote Gaier and Frasier "...have taken the simple to the sublime." And The Boston Globe writes "MC Perkins Cove is much different from Arrows but just as stunning." This eclectic American bistro is the perfect complement to the fine dining of Arrows.
And while their restaurants have been honored with many awards and accolades, Chefs Gaier and Frasier have also been honored recently by winning Best Chefs of the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2010.