In the Kitchen with Dan Eaton
Updated: May 5
The Restaurant at the Park Inn is featured in our Chef’s Best story this month. Upon learning that Chef Dan Eaton might be familiar to our readers we requested more information on his culinary journey. From college to your TV screen, and now at the Park Inn, get to know Chef Eaton in his own words.
I got my start waiting tables and cooking at a vegetarian restaurant, while attending college, but really got started a number of years later at an upscale diner called The Daily Planet, in Rochester NY. Initially as a waiter, then as dining room manager, before jumping in full time as the breakfast cook. Luckily, it was the kind of place that prided itself on making everything from scratch.
After a stint at an upscale Northern Italian spot, called Kenny’s, I found a mentor in Chef Gerry Brinkman at The Rochester Club. I worked there for 3 years before becoming the head chef at Rooney’s Restaurant.
From there I helped open 3 other upscale restaurants, also in Rochester, before accepting the position, at Time Warner Cable, as the host of Cooking at Home.
My favorite part about my television work was knowing that I was helping many people, in many parts of the country, be more confident with their own cooking at home. Interactions with viewers out in public, where I heard their appreciation for the segment, really kept me motivated. Being at home with my wife and kids, with a “normal” work schedule, was also a favorite part of hosting Cooking at Home.
After 12 years out of the restaurant business, while hosting Cooking at Home, I re-entered the upscale restaurant scene by working at Good Luck Restaurant, also in Rochester, for 18 months.
It was a perfect transition for me to get back into the groove before taking over the helm at The Park Inn. Being in at the ground level of starting our very own Glenn Scott Farm, for supplying The Park Inn with produce, was a big reason for me joining the team.
-Chef Dan Eaton, The Restaurant at the Park Inn
A SouthernTierLife exclusive, cook this Chef Eaton favorite recipe at home for your family:
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pate (Makes approximately 2 cups)
· Two 4-inch Portobello Mushrooms, chopped
· ½ cup finely diced onion
· 1 small clove garlic, minced
· 2 Tbs butter
· 1 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 tsp dried)
· ½ tsp Kosher salt (or more to taste)
· Black pepper to taste
· 8-ounces chèvre goat cheese (or substitute cream cheese)
· 1 tsp truffle oil (optional but recommended)
1. Do any knife work needed before beginning to cook.
2. Add butter to a large sauté pan on medium - medium high heat. Once the butter has melted, add diced onion and cook for a minute.
3. Add chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft….approximately 5 minutes or so.
4. Add garlic, chopped tarragon and salt and pepper to taste, cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
5. Let cool to room temperature.
6. Transfer to a food processor and add goat cheese and optional truffle oil. Purée until smooth.
7. Keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
8. Serve with crackers or crostini.