A “Top Chef” contestant, Whitney Otawka, and former Cinco y Diez chef are the leaders of a farm-to-table mission and rising culinary program at Cumberland Island’s historic inn, Greyfield.
Cumberland Island is well known in the south for its lovely maritime forest and 17 miles of empty seashore, its notorious wild horses, and the landmark ruins of Dungeness (a former Carnegie mansion). Now this wilderness island’s only inn, a secluded private property located about two miles north of the Dungeness area, is welcoming talented chefs.
Greyfield Inn (circa 1900, originally built by Thomas and Lucy Carnegie as a gift for their daughter), was converted to an inn back in 1962, an estate with 200 acres of property. Most of Cumberland Island, Georgia (an island bigger than neighboring Amelia Island, Florida), is federal park land –the Cumberland Island National Seashore. See the photo gallery further below, scenes of Georgia’s largest undeveloped and southernmost barrier island.
In the spring of 2015, Greyfield Inn invited chefs Whitney Otawka and Ben Wheatley, to join them on one of the most unique barrier islands along the US Eastern Seaboard.
As culinary director, Otawka will be focusing on expanding the inn’s programming and plans to incorporate dinners with renowned Southern chefs and food and wine focused events. Meanwhile, Wheatley will be using his talents in the kitchen as executive chef and will be integrating the coastal flavors of Florida and the Caribbean into the Southern-influenced menu.
The Greyfield Garden
The chefs will be working closely with Greyfield Inn’s gardeners to include the home grown produce and ingredients available on Cumberland Island.
“We look forward to working with the fresh, local ingredients that are unique to the island and unavailable in many parts of the country,” said Otawka. “Our gardeners previously worked at Summerland Farm and Serenbe Farms, so they are cultivating crops that are specifically designed to enhance our farm-to-table initiatives.”
Both Otawka and Wheatley gained valuable experience working for Top Chef judge and restauranteur Hugh Acheson at Five & Ten and recently closed Cinco y Diez in Athens, Ga. In addition to their experience in Athens, Ga., Otawka has also worked with James Beard Award winning chef Linton Hopkins and Wheatley spent the early part of his career with chef John Fleer at Blackberry Farms in Walland, Tennessee.
Travel To Cumberland Island National Seashore
Browse through scenes of Cumberland Island in photo gallery below (hover over first photo, then use click-through arrow).
Guests of the Greyfield Inn are picked up at Fernandina Beach Harbor downtown by Greyfield Inn’s private ferry boat, the Lucy R. Ferguson. Other than roughing it camping, the Greyfield Inn is Cumberland’s only overnight lodging.
More About Greyfield Inn
Greyfield Inn offers a unique combination of elegance, wildlife, hospitality and history. The inn has been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, Garden & Gun, Food & Wine magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, CBS News, the Today Show and more. For more info about a stay and reservations, visit the Greyfield Inn website.