We are thrilled to welcome Jonathan Hudak as Executive Chef and his fiancée, Aleks, as a baker, to the team at Pickering House. Jonathan and Aleks joined us on September 15, 2019 and have hit the ground running. From wonderful breakfasts and snacks for Inn guests, to a dinner for the Central NH VNA & Hospice Association in The Barn at Pickering House, their work has been garnering rave reviews. Jonathan’s first Barn Dinner on October 5, 2019 sold out in just a few days!
We made Jonathan take a brief break from the kitchen to answer a few questions so we could introduce him to you. Here is an excerpted version of our conversation:
Q: Your cuisine received glowing reviews — including from The New York Times — when you were cooking in Connecticut. Why did you relocate to serve as Executive Chef at Pickering House?
A: Aleks and I will be getting married, so we started to think about the lifestyle that we wanted in the future. It was important to us to be outdoors and near mountains. A family friend always talked about Wolfeboro so we came to visit the area and loved what we saw. Our friend may have been playing matchmaker, but she asked us to prepare a dinner and she invited Peter and Patty Cooke [owners of Pickering House Inn]. At this point, Pickering House hadn’t been renovated yet. A couple of years passed and I got to see how well the Cookes’ vision was executed with the Inn and The Barn. When we heard that they had purchased the building next door and wanted to open a restaurant, it just seemed like a great fit. I knew that the Cookes would create an amazing space and I could bring amazing food to the partnership.
Q: The restaurant that you mentioned — The PAVILION at Pickering House — will be opening late in 2020. But you are already busy. What are your job responsibilities right now?
A: Over the next year, my responsibilities fall into three areas:
Q: How do you describe your cuisine?
A: I believe in buying the very best, fresh, local ingredients and letting them speak for themselves. My style is usually described as “New American” in that I use local and regional ingredients but pull in flavors and preparation techniques from all over. My menus are driven by what is in season.
Q: What is your vision for dining at Pickering House?
A: My goal is to create a relaxed, neighborhood feel, while also making Pickering House a dining destination, whether you are staying at the Inn, coming to a Pickering House event, or dining at The PAVILION. Artisanal food and local farm products are widely available throughout the area. I want to showcase that and bring New Hampshire products into the spotlight. For example, we’re already experimenting with a sourdough bread that is going to be unique to Pickering House.
We are so excited to have you and Aleks here! Welcome!