Growing up in Watertown, NY Shawn Vendetti got an early start working in the kitchen. At 16, the man who is now the Executive Chef at the Lincklaen House in Cazenovia, took his first job in the kitchen while still in High School. That led to classes in culinary arts in vocational school and college and an eventual enrollment in the Culinary Institute of America.
After graduating from the CIA, he took an externship in Sarasota, Florida where he had an opportunity to work with a large variety of seafood and discovered that he really enjoys working with and experimenting with it.
Vendetti now uses all of that experience and training to run the day to day restaurant operations at the Lincklaen House. Vendetti joined the staff of this historic hotel and restaurant last spring making some minor menu changes to take advantage of his skills, yet preserving the classic favorites that bring diners from all over Central New York and the Northeast. A popular addition to the menu has been the Seafood Bouillabaisse, a stew with chunks of fish, lobster, mussels and other seafood in a saffron infused broth.
Another change Vendetti made to the menu was revamping the Filet Mignon. In the past the dish was served as tournedos of beef, now the dish is served as a full 8 oz filet which is oven roasted and finished with a Gorgonzola bacon butter and served over the vegetable of the day and garlic whipped mashed potatoes.
While the overall menu changes have been minor to date, Vendetti has been enjoying focusing on the daily specials which give him the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and add variety to the menu. It also allows him to see what dishes will be popular and work well, maybe eventually making it on to the regular menu.
His philosophy in the kitchen focuses on fresh ingredients and using local products with global concepts that are trendy. “If it is available you should use it,” is how he has approached sourcing more and more ingredients from local farms and farmers.
You should also see an Italian influence as Vendetti’s heritage and background find their way into his dishes. He also especially enjoys using the seafood that the Lincklaen House has delivered fresh from Boston’s fish markets.
For Vendetti, the best part of his job is that no two days are the same. You can find out for yourself seven days a week what he is experimenting on either in the formal dining room, on the patio or in the Seven Stone Steps Tavern.