Chef Craig Shelton: From Whitehouse to Washington

Craig Shelton Lands Back at the Table and Makes it Texas
Craig Shelton, a Relais-Gourmand chef who pioneered farm-to-table fine dining on the East Coast, is the new managing partner and executive chef at The Inn at Dos Brisas a Forbes five-star restaurant in Washington, Texas.
Shelton, whose relentless quest for perfection as chef-owner of the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse, New Jersey, earned him a James Beard “Best Chef” award and two sequential “Extraordinary” ratings    (4-stars suburban equivalent) from The New York Times, said it is the vision of Doug Bosch, philanthropist and the owner of The Inn at Dos Brisas, that inspired his move.
“I had a mission at Ryland: to start something pure, a prototype where the chef is farmer,” explains Shelton. “At Dos Brisas, it’s everything I believe in, and everything I’ve devoted my life to, but improved and expanded by several magnitudes of scale. Standing on the shoulders of giants like Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and many others, we are part of the growing community that supports sustainable practices, superior food, a return to the family table and self-sufficiency.”
Shelton is surprised and overjoyed at the organic farming, which is more evolved, with a climate-controlled greenhouse powered by the earth and the sun - the greenest fuels we have. The kitchen is an enclave of culinary tools that shall allow me to achieve and prepare for this new and permanent decision as a chef. The wine list is exceptional. The culinary philosophy is New-American with French rigor and Asian minimalism. And, Shelton will support Doug’s wants to help heal our nation’s food system. It is a goal that Shelton has worked toward his entire professional life.
The chef, who holds a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, honed his culinary philosophy in the kitchens of haute chefs - Joel Robuchon, Paul Haeberlin, Ferran Adria, Gaston LeNotre, David Bouley -- and at legendary restaurants: Ma Maison in L.A., La Côte Basque, Le Bernardin, The Rainbow Room and Le Chantilly. But it was the consistently poor quality of the tired, transported produce that in 1990 drove him out of those gastronomic temples and toward a languishing 10-acre property atop Burgundian-style soil where he says he learned 999 ways not to grow a carrot before getting it right.
“Having a farm is not about saving money by growing vegetables and fruits ourselves, but the quality, the freshness, the purity – the life found in each natural morsel – was superb,” says Shelton, who in nearly 20 years at the Ryland launched the careers of many a chef by teaching them to use their senses and their powers of critical thinking in pursuit of maximum flavor on the plate… and to maintain a pleasure in their work.
Doug Bosch, who has owned the property since 2000, remarks, “I advertised for an executive chef and found a partner.  Craig Shelton brings to The Inn at Dos Brisas an exceptional palate, a keen intellect, a reverence for the land, a drive to improve, and a deep desire for public service.”
The Inn at Dos Brisas — Washington, Texas — — 979.277.7750
The Inn at Dos Brisas is a member of Relais & Châteaux, the prestigious international association of privately owned hotels and restaurants embodying the highest culinary standards and the French "art de vivre."
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