Hailing from Sarasota, FL, New Rivers’ chef Beau Vestal has been delighting diners with his straight forward yet creative approach to modern bistro cooking for years. Part small farm and sustainable farming advocate part charcutier and butcher, Beau’s food celebrates the highest quality local produce and meats available. Whether it is the dizzying array of greens and vegetables brought to the back door almost daily, handcrafted artisan products, or whole animals raised with care from local pastures, diligent sourcing is what forms the building blocks of the food at New Rivers. Over his 15 years at New Rivers, Beau has developed both working and personal relationships with several of the best farmers, food artisans, animal husbanders that Rhode Island and New England has to offer. These ‘collaborations’, as Beau puts it, allow the chef to work closely with the producers resulting in products that are both honed to the exacting specifications and needs of the restaurant and also sustainable to the men and women who work so tirelessly to produce them. One of the hallmarks of the New Rivers kitchen is the notion of ‘handcrafed’. Along with a talented and devoted team, Beau focuses his time and energy on making everything he can from scratch, by hand. From the artisan breads, to an extensive pasta program, to the cured meats and charcuterie, Beau believes the best and most honest foods are made within the walls of the restaurant. Beau explains, “the chef is simply a spoke in the wheel of the food cycle, a conduit for ingredients to get to the diner. We try to get the best things we can, try not to over manipulate them, and pass them along to a hungry audience”. Beau credits his customers for having faith and trust in the kitchen team, allowing them to push the envelope with their menu offerings, especially his ambitious charcuterie and offal menu which gives diners a glimpse into textures and flavors that surprise and delight.
- Isabelle Ecker
- Deborah Luke