Chef Daniel Crook Blends Coast 2 Coast Cuisine with Vast Culinary Skill and World Adventures
BY ROBERT COOK
Jan 28, 2018
Neighbors of the Kennebunks Magazine
In an age where some of the world’s most well-known celebrity chefs combine their flair for exceptional cuisine with the art of storytelling, Daniel Crook may be the prototype. Crook, the owner and executive chef of Coast 2 Coast Caterers in Wells, can honestly say that he has traveled and cooked all over the world. But don’t think for a moment that this Kennebunk native spent all of his time in the kitchens in places like the Cliff House in Ogunquit, the Colonade Hotel in Boston or the Ritz Carlton on Maui in beautiful Hawaii. Crook’s brand of classic French, Italian and California-style cuisine, traditional New England fare and Pacific Rim dishes all have a dash of exotic adventures combined with real-world knowledge. When he wasn’t perfecting his culinary craft at the Gran Wialea Resort overseeing seven restaurants and banquet functions or working at the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay, Crook was scuba diving off the coast of Thailand and exploring the mainland where he would learn how to make several Asian dishes. Crook even attempted to sail around the world with his cousin on a 40-foot sailboat named the Satacean in 2001. Their voyage, which was harrowing at times, brought him to the South Pacific islands of Bora Bora and Tahiti and eventually to Australia.
Before he made his way back to Maine and started his catering business three years ago, Crook had spent no less than 15 years working and living in Hawaii and California. The Pacific Rim entrees, appetizers and culinary delights that he frequently serves at weddings, banquets, corporate functions and gatherings are a big hit.
“I can do anything, but that’s what I have the most fun with,”Crook says. Crook has always been a go-getter who has never shied away from putting in the hard work necessary to be successful. At 13, he ran a takeout business at Ocean Park in Old Orchard Beach that later became Danny’s Deli. While he attended Kennebunk High School, he also worked at the former Landing Restaurant in Kennebunkport where David’s is located today. “One day, I made 98 club sandwiches” Crook recalls. One only has to review the Coast 2 Coast Caterers menu to see how far Crook has come since those sandwich-making days. Some of the items include a Pacific Rim lunch item of Tom Kar chicken coconut soup, Chinese salad, snow peas, bean sprouts, sesame dressing and crisp wontons. Cold hors d’oeuvres like chilled tiger shrimp satay, lime cilantro or Hawaiian poke, spiced Ahi tuna, sesame and chili are just a few examples of palette-pleasing fare that are rare in this region.
Crook’s three-course and four-course plated dinners also reflect the Coast-2-Coast Caterers theme of”East meets West. Just imagine how wonderful this would taste and your wedding guests’or corporate colleagues’ delight. Seared diver scallop, celeriac truffle puree kaffir lime essence Montrachet; baby greens, roasted peppers, chevre, pancetta lardoons, grape tomato with basil vinaigrette buttered braised lobster tail, petite fillet mignon, pea potato puree with port wine demi glaze strawberry shortcake with whipped cream, rolls and butter, coffee and decaf.
As Crook’s reputation for creating his vast repertoire of cuisine has spread, he and his wife Suree, a former chief concierge and front desk manager at The Park Hyatt in Bangkok, Thailand, find themselves and their crew extremely busy. Practically every weekend this summer was booked solid with one function after another up and down the Maine coast. “In one weekend, we did 16 functions,”Crook says, including a special one for an employee’s family in Fryeburg. For more about Coast 2 Coast Caterers, visit www.coast2coastcaterers.com.
Robert Cook is the publisher of Neighbors of the Kennebunks magazine.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published Jan 28, 2018 in Neighbors of the Kennebunks magazine and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be read here.