What does a restaurant do when the chef of nearly 10 years is leaving? When our executive chef Jeanette Peabody shared the exciting news that she’s expecting a baby this spring, we knew it would be tough to fill her shoes when she left our kitchen to start a family. We set out to find a new head chef who would continue her legacy – someone who could make our guests just as happy with every plate.
We are so pleased to announce that we found Curtis Shaver, an inspired young chef who first came to Charlottesville as a protege of popular local chef Craig Hartman.
“What I love about cooking is creating the experience for the customer,” Curtis said recently. “The reward is when they are overjoyed with what they just ate.”
Curtis developed a love of cooking with the big family breakfasts his mother made on the weekends. Later, a high school home economics teacher recommended Curtis for a prep cook position at the upscale Glen Iris Inn in upstate New York. He attended Pittsburg Culinary Institute and eventually was hired by Craig Hartman to work in Cornell University’s hotel & hospitality service.
Curtis came to Charlottesville when Hartman recruited him at Keswick Hall. More recently, Curtis was a sous chef at Duner’s. “Duner’s was a great experience,” he said. “The menu changes daily and sometimes, when the really popular entrees would sell out, we had to think on our feet to come up with something new. It was often challenging but also fun.”
What does Curtis have planned at Hamiltons’? “I’m excited in my first top chef role. I have a chance to show what I can do… I’m walking into a well established restaurant with a great support staff and so many local farmers and producers with unique and fresh products. I can just concentrate on the food.”