Chef George Schimert of Boothbay Harbor Country Club and Coastal Prime Seaside Dining

Posted:  Friday, March 17, 2017 - 2:00pm
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George Schimert, executive chef of Paul’s Steakhouse, Grille 19 Sports Bar & Grille and the new Coastal Prime Seaside Dining. Courtesy of Jon Doody

Last summer was a busy one for the executive chef of the Boothbay Harbor Country Club, George Schimert, when the new country club opened with two restaurants, Paul’s Steakhouse and Grille 19 Sports Bar & Grille.

Along with those, this coming summer his repertoire will include another restaurant. Coastal Prime Seaside Dining at the new Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort, formerly Rocktide Inn & Restaurant, is Schimert’s boss Paul Coulombe’s newest venture.

Schimert, who has worked in some busy kitchens during his 40 years as a chef, said overseeing the kitchens at both resorts won't be a problem. “We have a year under our belt, and we learned a lot, and now we have to get (Rocktide) squared away.”

Executive sous chefs will run both kitchens, according to Schimert; he’ll be going back and forth, offering support and setting standards.

The executive sous chef at the country club last summer, Ed Yarmoush, will run the kitchen at Oceanside Golf Resort, and a sous chef at the country club, Nathaniel Adam, will take over that kitchen as executive sous chef, this coming summer. “He’s a very talented young man,” Schimert said. “They will have sous chefs working with them.”

He said the new restaurant will have a different menu from the country club restaurants, but the same commitment to quality. “We’ll serve prime beef there like what we serve here. We'll buy the best possible ingredients for both places.”

Schimert said he’ll have more time this summer to concentrate on the sourcing of those raw materials. “There’s no secret to great cooking. For great cuisine you have to buy the best natural ingredients you can possibly afford, and you have to execute well. Buy well and execute well, and you’re in.”

Schimert’s cooking career began in 1975 when he served as an apprentice for an Austrian master at a restaurant in upstate New York. “I was the last generation of the great American apprenticeships, starting out on a farm, growing and harvesting our own produce and butchering our own meat. I worked in the kitchen with a pastry chef, and learned about doughs, pastries and icings. Then I learned vegetable prep, and I learned how to bone meat and store it.”

From there Schimert went on to become executive chef at restaurants in New York, Baltimore and San Fransisco, and at the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club; and a private chef in a home and on a yacht in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

He grew up in Buffalo, New York, and started coming to the Boothbay area when he was a child. His father bought a house in East Boothbay. It’s Schimert’s now.

The chef said his own palate leans toward a Mediterranean cuisine, because it's lighter, and it follows the seasons. “In Italy especially, when it’s asparagus season, you eat asparagus. When it’s not, you don’t. Unfortunately we don’t have the growing environment in many parts of this country that Italy and France have, so the majority of our produce comes from California and Florida.”

Last week Schimert became certified in a cooking technique called sous vide — a slow, gentle process of cooking meats and vegetables at a low temperature. The fresh foods are vacuum-sealed in airtight bags before cooking, and quickly pan-seared or grilled before serving.

The method will be used at both resorts this summer, and Schimert said the reason is quality.

“A thick pork chop cooked this way, then quickly grilled, or pan-seared in a little olive oil, in a cast iron pan, is unbelievable. It will be the best, juiciest pork chop you’ve ever had.”

The country club and its restaurants, Paul's Steakhouse and Grille 19 Sports Bar & Grille, reopen May 17.