Ever heard of a Bermuda hog? Tim Sullivan ’94 had, and he wondered why it would be included on menus in the U.S., but not on those in its native island! It’s just this type of common sense, yet forward thinking that has catapulted Sullivan to an incredible career in the food industry. Executive chef for 7 ½ years at Great Performances, the leading catering and events company in New York City (with partners as renowned as The Plaza Hotel and Jazz at Lincoln Center), Sullivan is now stretching new muscles as the Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations for the Loren at Pink Beach, a boutique luxury hotel in Bermuda.
“When I investigated the food scene in Bermuda last year, I was shocked that island restaurants weren’t incorporating the farm-to-table trend that has exploded in the United States. While serving many of the same clientele as chic American eateries, they weren’t aligning mission with cuisine, an ideal their patrons had come to expect and demand up north. We’ve made a conscious choice to shift that — whenever possible, we choose local, and we change our menu with the growing seasons,” Sullivan comments.
His innovative initiatives have proved fruitful, in more ways than one. Not only is Loren a hot resort destination (even in what is now considered the off-season, all 40 rooms are sold-out!), its culinary team is developing key relationships with island farmers, fisherman and producers, and truly supporting the local economy.
“We could ship in strawberries in November, not knowing how long they’ve been out of the ground, or we can rotate our menu to include berries when they are ripe, right here on the island! We’re defining what fresh, quality Bermudian cuisine really is, each and every day of the year,” Sullivan explains.
Tim’s journey actually began right here in Pawling, at the well-loved restaurant McKinney and Doyle. Similar to the path of many great chefs, he started off as a dishwasher — when someone called out sick in the salad station, Sullivan was the first to volunteer and pitch in. The rest is culinary history!
“I remember nervously telling Mr. Coratti that I had to leave wrestling practice early to make my shift at McKinney — I don’t know how he felt about it at the time, but sensed that he saw my passion for cooking early on,” Sullivan reflects.
Truly, it is that very special aspect of Trinity-Pawling — the close relationships with faculty — that Tim values most highly. It was at the School, and through the support of teachers, that he learned how to push himself and started really thinking about his future.
“Even though I attended another private school for the first two years of high school, I never experienced the camaraderie that is so ever-present at T-P. The friendships you build and the support you receive from faculty create an incredible culture — at Trinity-Pawling, Sullivan comments. “It was cool to succeed!”
An important lesson learned early on, Sullivan’s “cool success” is certainly taking him to wonderful places in his career! For more information on Sullivan’s restaurants, visit Great Performances and The Loren at Pink Beach.
by Kate Vengrove