Chef Scott of Augustine Inn Seafood & Chop House in Middletown, Delaware got his start in the kitchen during the summer after graduating 8th grade. Starting as a bus boy, dishwasher and then a prep cook at a country club, Chef Scott worked his way up from the age of 13. When it came time to decide between college or a culinary path, Chef Scott chose to attend The Restaurant School of Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia.
After spending 2 years as a line cook in West Virginia, Chef Scott returned to the Philadelphia PA/Wilmington, DE area as a line cook and eventually a sous chef at Barnaby’s. When the chef he worked under opened his own restaurant, Chef Scott was offered a position. Over the next couple of years, he found himself moving around to a few places, searching for the right fit.
“Something always brings you back to the kitchen.”
That’s when he met Phil Farrow, one of the owners at the Augustine Inn Seafood & Chop House as well as their sister restaurants. Chef Scott trained under Phil and learned invaluable knowledge from his mentor. Affectionately referring to it as the “million-dollar menu”, the staff at Augustine’s does not deviate from their staples aside from a few specials. Instead, they focus on perfecting their best dishes and sticking to the culinary processes that provide a consistently delicious experience for their customers.
“On Tuesdays I have new specials and then I change them for Friday through Sunday. Sometimes it’s crazy, I’ll get a case of veal chops and it will be gone in a day,” explains Chef Scott. “We sell 14 tomahawks, 60 filets, 60 cowboy ribeyes a week; about 20 pounds of salmon, 50 pounds of scallops, 30 pounds of lobster and at least 80 pounds of shrimp a week without question.”
All of that meat comes from Rastelli Foods Group, as well as New York strip steaks, burgers, pork chops, lamb chops and seafood specials. The filets and the cowboy ribeyes are the most popular cuts for Augustine’s. The quality of the meat and the value is critical to Chef Scott, but it is how he prepares it and the consistency that also keeps customers coming back.
“You always want to start with a hot pan. That’s the most important thing when you’re sautéing. You put something in the pan when it’s cold, it’s going to stick to the pan,” advises Chef Scott. “Always let them rest, even before you sear it, you want to let it sit out and get it to room temperature.”
To balance their center of the plate items, Chef Scott and the Augustine’s team pair classic sides like mashed potatoes, haricot verts and demi-glace with fresh ingredients like micro greens, radish, herb puree or gooseberries. And a little entertainment.
The Augustine Inn is part of the historical society and, according to some is haunted by the original owner. A paranormal event, complete with a chef-served four course meal and a tour of the property, brings guests in for dinner and potential ghost sightings!
“I want to be the best chef ever and we’re really building something here. I just want every customer that comes in here to leave happy. That’s the goal.”
Chef Scott is well on his way. With a steady group of regulars and rave reviews as well as delicious Rastelli meats and seafood, the restaurant is setting the tone for the surrounding area. Chefs and restaurant owners from other establishments often come in to show their support, enjoy a great meal or take in the history of the building.