Whether you’ve stopped in for a meal at The Hawkeye, enjoyed\r\ndinner at the Glimmerglass during one of your stays at the Otesaga, or attended\r\none of the many dinner events, you’ve been introduced to Chef Jim Perillo.\r\nPerhaps you’ve not met Chef Perillo personally, but you’ve certainly enjoyed\r\none of the many delicious dishes he prepares every day at the Otesaga. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs it turns out, there’s much more than meets the eye when it\r\ncomes to the creation of the food at the Otesaga. In order to get a peek into\r\nthe magic Chef Perillo creates every day in his restaurants, we wanted to take\r\nyou into the kitchen and let you get to know him a little better…\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nHow long have you\r\nbeen a chef? \r\n\r\nI’ve been working in the food business since I began in a\r\npizzeria at 13 and continued in that line of work during my time in the Navy.\r\nFrom there, this profession has taken me all over the country. I’ve been\r\nfortunate enough to work with talented chefs at places such as The Biltmore,\r\nCaesars Palace LV, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and many other places. All of those\r\nlocations lead me to The Otesaga Resort Hotel, where I’ve been for the last two\r\nand a half years. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat did those\r\nexperiences teach you?\r\n\r\nAs a chef, you can either stay in one location and master\r\nall of the local offerings…or you can venture out to different parts of the\r\ncountry and see things done differently. For instance, when I began working in\r\nArizona, it was the first time I saw prickly pear sauce made. Learning new\r\nrecipes and pairings has helped me find what I wanted to be as a chef. I was\r\nable to pick bits and pieces and see what I wanted to showcase for myself. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat is one perk of\r\nbeing Chef here in Cooperstown?\r\n\r\nThe amount of good local produce. For instance – cheese. We\r\nhave very good local cheese at our disposal. We utilize Spurbecks cheddar a\r\nlot. We have Three Sisters and Painted Goat Farms who supply us with goat\r\ncheese. We teamed up with a couple of farms for this year as well. One is\r\nsending us heirloom tomatoes and another specializes in lettuce. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIt’s always hard to find things in season. So, when apples\r\nare in season we make sure to take advantage of the local apples - apple cider,\r\netc. - and we focus on those menu items during those seasons.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat is the biggest\r\nchange you have seen in your time here at The Otesaga?\r\n\r\nThe passion for food that we have on the team cooking here.\r\nWe teamed up with SUNY Delhi and SUNY Cobleskill and have 26 students that work\r\nand intern here who have really helped us. Getting people who are going to\r\nculinary school and giving them the reality of working in a real kitchen…when\r\neveryone in the kitchen is passionate about what they do it shows in the food\r\nyou serve. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHow do you create\r\nyour menu?\r\n\r\nOur next menu change will be 4th of July to\r\nkick-off summer. We’re looking for what local produce we have available to us.\r\nThen, we try to create new menu items based on those products – I’m not going\r\nto make Tomato Gazpacho in December because the tomatoes aren’t in season. We\r\nmake sure we’re only serving the best quality items. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFrom there, we start having tastings. We make each meal\r\noption and have the staff try them all. We will grade the dishes and make notes\r\non what is good, what needs tweaking, and what needs to go back to the drawing\r\nboard. Once the meals are set, we do a presentation to the front of the house\r\nso they can taste it and offer relevant opinions and information to our\r\ncustomers. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHow much do allergies\r\nand gluten free affect your creations?\r\n\r\nIt hasn’t really affected us with the menu, but when you\r\ncook from scratch, you eliminate a lot of what people can’t eat – as far as\r\ngluten free. So that is a big reason why. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWe get more requests for vegan meals now, so we incorporate\r\na few of those options in the menu. It’s exciting to create something that’s\r\nnew or different for people that are looking for those menu items.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat is the\r\ndifference between a meal at The Otesaga and a meal at one of the many fine\r\nrestaurants in Cooperstown?\r\n\r\nOur drive here is we make everything from scratch. For\r\nexample, almost anywhere you go in town serves hamburgers. However, we grind\r\nour burgers in-house, we have our own blend meats, and we hand form them. We\r\nmake the brioche bun the hamburger goes on. This year we’re adding pretzel rolls\r\nto the menu, so we sent our baker to Las Vegas to learn how to bake the pretzel\r\nrolls. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhere a lot of places might outsource, we incorporate it. We\r\nhave a butcher, baker, pastry chef…all in-house. It’s a lot harder to make\r\neverything in house, but the difference is worth the effort. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThat’s where the talent comes back in. Are you passionate\r\nenough to go the extra mile? That’s what we pride ourselves on here at The\r\nOtesaga Resort and we think our offerings show that.