Peter Daniel does the Dimmick A delicious blend: Former Fork owner and chef joins his old friend and restaurateur Andrew Jorgenson
Peter Daniel (left) and Andrew Jorgenson (Photo by Marilyn Rosenthal)
By Marilyn Rosenthal MILFORD — What happened to Peter Daniel when he and his wife, Sharron, closed their restaurant, The Fork, in Shohola after 31 years? After a brief stint in a local private club in the hinterlands, Peter realized he wanted to be in town, wanted to cook for the public. Suddenly he remembered an offer made nine years ago by Andrew Jorgenson, the owner of the Dimmick Inn in Milford. At that time, Peter and Sharron were walking on Harford Street in front of the Dimmick when Andrew waved, leaned over the balcony, and said, “Hey, Pete, if you ever want a job, just call.” Peter said “Thanks,” but he and Sharron were determined to make some changes at their restaurant, like accepting credit cards, and structuring the menu mostly based on small plates .They also changed the name from Le Gorille — which no one could pronounce — ditched the humongous stuffed gorilla in the bar area, and changed the name to The Fork. That was then, this is now. Pandrew (Peter and Andrew)Now that Peter is executive chef at the Dimmick, the offer Andrew made nine years ago seems prescient. Peter and Andrew have known each other for a long time and respect one another. They also have the same wicked sense of humor. “No one in the area has the knowledge and experience that Peter can bring to the table," said Andrew. “Andrew is a really good guy to work for," said Peter. Peter is impressed with the volume of business the restaurant does — much more than The Fork did — and how Andrew deals with it so deftly. They share a vision of what good food is. Peter is a craftsman, which Andrew appreciates. Peter is passionate about using the best ingredients. They both have an extensive background in managing costs and dealing with the state bureaucracy. But Peter is happy that Andrew is the one doing all that. Andrew is happy to manage the restaurant, but he also has a tremendous background in cooking himself: he's a Culinary Institute of America graduate who's worked at the Yale Club and other major restaurants in New York. The Yin and the YangPeter came to the Dimmick in August. He knew Andrew’s customer base and brought a significant portion of his own. But they decided to tell Peter’s followers to wait a few months, while they worked out changes to the menu, before announcing their association. The new menu is a blend of the Yin and the Yang, a combination of Peter and Andrew. “We adjusted the Yin, and incorporated the new Yang," Peter said. “And they are loving it," said Andrew of his customers. Diners can salivate over Peter’s osso bucco, or the new Dimmick Inn Burger (an eight-ounce blend of short rib, brisket, and chuck on a brioche role) while still looking forward to “Peterized” versions of Dimmick faves like wings, And then there's Fannie’s Meatballs, named for Fannie Dimmick. The desserts on the new menu are made by Sharron Daniel, and many are those she made at the Fork — impossible to resist. They are still working on the menu and will make changes depending on what sells and customers’ tastes. There will be seasonal menus — they're working on a spring menu now — and special catering menus for baby showers, bridal showers, repasts, buffets, and kids. You can feel the excitement in the place. “I’m happy," said Peter. "I come here every day and look forward to cooking, to making people happy. I have fun here. Andrew is a good guy, and he runs a good house. That’s hard to find.” Related storyPlease see related story at pikecountycourier.com: "The Fork, pioneer of fresh, local cuisine, celebrates 30 years"