We are pleased to announce that Chef Ameer Whitmyer has joined us to head up the kitchen team for Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern at the Deerfield Inn. Chef Ameer has extensive cooking experience, having worked on both the East and West coasts, focusing on establishing buyer relationships with local farmers and purveyors. As both a specialized meat and fish chef, Chef Ameer’s passion and knowledge, with the help of his sous chef Joshua Rock, is being conveyed to their team in the kitchen in a careful, inspiring, and articulate way.
Ameer was raised in a stream of cooking culture, and his mentor Chef Typhun Yolak showed him the importance of how cooking connects to everything in a very powerful and contemplative way, how it is primal and visceral, but also artistic and thoughtful. As Chef Typhun demonstrated to him, Chef Ameer believes that what flows through his hands flows through life – from the front of house, to family, to the kitchen: it is all connected and food is the translation of that togetherness.
Ameer’s adult experience began at Whitefish Lake Restaurant in Whitefish, MT, an upscale steak house considered the best restaurant in Montana in the early 2000’s. Next he moved to The Phoenix House in Ashland, OR, focusing on local ingredients and French techniques with an Asian flare. His journey in cooking took him to the East Coast where his family was located, and he worked in Doris & Ed’s Classic & Contemporary Seafood Oasis, in Highlands, NJ – a James Beard Award of Excellence and Gourmet Top Tables List restaurant – until this establishment was utterly destroyed by our nemesis Hurricane Irene. From there he went on to Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, NJ, a 4-star restaurant and among Gayot’s Top 40 in the US, and then he worked at the Mumford’s Culinary Center, in Tinton Falls, NJ, where the team maintained a 1.5 acre garden growing produce for the kitchen. Ameer studied under Chef Chris Mumford, an early pioneer of the fresh and natural cooking style. His last position before joining Champney’s was at Navesink Country Club in Middletown, NJ, a private club rated among the best in its class in the NY/NJ area.
Chef Ameer has also participated in farm internship programs in the Bay area of northern California and in southern Oregon, and spent a season commercial fishing to understand first hand more about the food source process.
It is important to Chef Ameer to look for variety based on availability and creativity to keep it to the moment. He describes his cuisine as New American, and he interprets that as meaning that America is a place of blended cultures, so while he celebrates tradition here in Deerfield, he also celebrates the flavors that are on hand and available here now. Lemon grass, ginger, piquant peppers, were not grown then, but are grown here in this valley today, and that is New American to him – the blending of the best flavors of the traditional and the new.
Chef Ameer does not really have a signature dish because he says often that means relying on one thing year upon year. He is as happy making a meal of a big bowl of soup and a platter of grilled sandwiches with his family, as he is bringing well-loved favorites back into the kitchen, but his favorite dish is the best of the now and of today.
We hope you come back soon to try the new spring menus. The porch is now open when the weather is fine, and good dogs are welcome to sit there with you while you eat after your stroll. There are fresh, light, seasonal cocktails on the constantly changing wine and beer list, and Kathleen is always coming up with new dessert ideas.
You can make a reservation online, or you can call us at 413-772-3087.