Ashley Hosmer, executive chef for the legendary will have two reasons to celebrate in May. She not only turns 26, but she creates her first major menu since being named to the new post last July.
How she became employed at the restaurant is a story in itself. After returning from a three-year stint at the St. Regis Hotel in Kauai, she was determined to become associated with the busiest place in Santa Cruz. She “stumbled” into the Shadowbrook kitchen, as she puts it, introduced herself to resident executive chef Ross McKee and left her resume. When she returned home, there was a message requesting her to report the next day.
Beginning as pizza cook and pantry line, she followed with a full-time job in receiving to learn the complete kitchen operation. The next step was a promotion to sous chef.
The last thing she expected was to be offered the position of executive chef when chef McKee decided to move on. Hosmer said this has been one of her most gratifying accomplishments.
“Co-owner Ted Burke and General Manager Robert McLaughlin were confident that I could handle the job,” she said.
Not only were they confident when they hired her as top chef, but they are pleased with her performance, nine months later.
"Besides being a local, she is a talent and a real delight to work with,” Burke said.
A new Taste of the World program begins in April during the restaurant’s 65th anniversary year. Hosmer and a master sommelier have planned a food and wine menu to offer customers the flavors of Australia and New Zealand. Each month, the cuisine of a different region of the world will be served every night of the week.
Customers may be surprised to learn that Hosmer, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and Le Cordon Bleu, enjoys cooking in her off-hours.
“When I cook at home or for family potlucks, I never make the same thing twice. I get this from my dad, who always told me to think outside the box,” she said.
Her greatest indulgence?
“Cheese! I love the goat cheese made here in Santa Cruz, but someday I want to eat my way through France discovering great cheese.”
Her goal is to make the Shadowbrook the best it can possibly be.
“She gives 100 percent to everything," Sous Chef Travis Roper said. "She tries new ideas and gets good comments on quality, preparation and visual presentation."