It’s been more than three years since chef Dan Eaton last appeared on cable TV across Upstate New York, cooking up meals in the kitchen of his home in Rochester and uttering catchphrases like “I’m glad you’re here” and “It’s good to go.”
“Good to go” is now the operating principle for Eaton’s latest gig as the chef at the Park Inn in Hammondsport, on Keuka Lake. He took the job at the historic inn in late 2018, but for the past few months has had to adapt to the takeout-only model.
His spin on that is to prepare meal kits of some of his favorite recipes, which can in most cases can simply be reassembled and reheated.
“It’s kind of a play on the old ‘Cooking at Home,’ idea,” he said, referring to the food segments he created for the Time Warner Cable news programs from 2005 to 2017. “I’m making most of it here and each meal is just about finished. When you get home there’s just a little bit you have to do.”
The Park Inn, Hammondsport’s oldest building, underwent a major remodel a few years ago. Eaton spent a little more than a year bringing his own touches to the menu before the coronavirus shut down restaurant dining rooms across the state.
His meal kits serve two and include such dishes as Prosciutto Crusted Chicken, Seafood Fra Diavolo, Mushroom and Ramp Risotto, Roasted Salmon, and a Pub Burger. There are also starters like Shrimp Cocktail, Ploughman’s Board and a signature Tomato Pie, plus desserts like Carrot Cake or Rhubarb Apple Galette. You can also add wine or cocktails-to-go in your order.
This weekend, there will be a special Memorial Day menu with items like pulled pork, grilled chicken and cornbread. Those kits for two range from $60 to $80.
Orders must be placed by 9 p.m. each Wednesday for pick-up at the inn, 37 Shether St., between 2 and 5 p.m. each Friday. The meal kits are curbside pick-up only for now, but Eaton said they may expand with some delivery, perhaps as far as Rochester.
Before he started cooking on TV, Eaton worked as a chef in restaurants in the Rochester area such as Tonic, Rooney’s, 2Vine, The Rio Bamba, and Pearl.
After answering an ad from Time Warner, he went on to create more than 3,200 dishes in the 2-minute, 15-second segments that appeared on the newscasts, originally Your News Now (YNN) and then Time Warner News. “Cooking at Home” segments ran daily, several times each day. Versions also ran in New York City, and in markets in North Carolina and Texas.
Eaton prepared the dishes in his 10-foot by 12-foot home kitchen in Rochester’s Highland Park neighborhood. It was even more crowded with the addition of a Time Warner camera operator on hand to film the segments.
Eaton left the TV business in February 2017, after Charter Communications, bought Time Warner Cable, renamed it Spectrum Cable, and dropped some of its features, including “Cooking at Home.”
He then went to work at the Rochester restaurant Good Luck before joining The Park Inn. One of the major projects at The Park Inn has been the creation of a kitchen garden to supply fresh ingredients to the menu.
Over the years, Eaton has also been the frontman of his own music group, The Dan Eaton Band, but they haven’t played since his latest cooking job.
And while it’s been three years since he last cooked on TV, he’s found that people still remember.
“It’s funny when people are here at The Park Inn, and they find out I’m the chef,” he said. “They say, “Oh yeah I remember ‘Cooking at Home’ with Dan Eaton.’ ”
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Don Cazentre writes for NYup.com, syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Reach him at [email protected], or follow him at NYup.com, on Twitter or Facebook.
Source: Thanks https://www.newyorkupstate.com/food/2020/05/good-to-go-ex-cable-tv-chef-dan-eaton-offers-meal-kits-in-the-finger-lakes.html