By Lorna Oppedisano | Photography by Steven J. Pallone
Wife-and-husband team and culinary creatives DeAnna and Mark Germano met fellow chef Jason Jessmore when the three worked as the opening chef team at Sky Armory.
Since their early days together, the trio has been inspired to take an interactive approach to presenting culinary service to their guests. Now, years later, they’re teaming up to do just that at their new restaurant, The Chef & The Cook.
“This is our space to do what we want and show what we know,” she said. “We’re going to show the progression of a cook to a chef.”
In the time since their work at Sky Armory, DeAnna has kept busy with Chef4Rent, which provides local home meal delivery, catering and food truck services. She plans to continue running this business. Jason was most recently chef at Aster Pantry & Parlor. When the restaurant closed, he approached DeAnna and Mark about working together in some way.
They realized opening a restaurant together was the perfect opportunity to have control over both the food and bar. It gave them a chance to make a home for what they truly believe in, DeAnna said.
The team started brainstorming with the concept of dual menus. They liked the idea of having something for everyone, from the pickiest to the most adventurous diner.
In more than 15 hours of meetings devoted to picking the restaurant name, they discussed at least 50 to 60 options, DeAnna remembered. With the dual menu concept in mind, they knew they wanted the word “and” in the name.
Eventually, they landed on The Chef & The Cook.
“As soon as we figured it out, it just clicked,” DeAnna said. “As soon as we figured out what it is, the concept fell right in line.
The team got to work and opened in late spring at 7 Syracuse St. in Baldwinsville.
With no set cuisine in mind — only the promise of creative, innovative and fresh dishes and drinks — guests are offered three menus: the cook’s menu, the chef’s menu and the seafood bar menu. The cook’s menu offers more traditional items, while the chef’s menu boasts more flair and gastronomy.
DeAnna, Mark and Jason brought on two cooks to teach and mentor. One attended school at Paul Smith’s College, where DeAnna studied, and the other draws his skill set from experience in kitchens.
“We can train them and show them all these really cool things, from really basic to really high end,” DeAnna said, adding they can learn from each other, as well.
The Chef & The Cook team doesn’t just plan to teach their staff. A trip to the restaurant will offer guests an educational culinary experience, too. Whether it’s watching the finishing touches of a dish or drink be completed table-side, engaging in conversation with a chef or perusing a book from the chef’s library, guests will have the opportunity to learn as well as eat.
The team plans to change the menu at least seasonally, if not more frequently. They plan to source as locally as possible, including using herbs from the garden right outside the restaurant. With touches like that, the trio hopes to show that chefs do more than just cook, DeAnna said.
“It’s really the progression of our careers and where they’ve landed us,” DeAnna said. SWM
For more information on The Chef & The Cook, including menus and hours, visit facebook.com/ thechefandthecookbaldwinsville. Connect with them on Instagram @thechefandthecook. Call the restaurant at (315) 303-4159.