An interview with our new Executive Chef, Jon Gaboric

We’re happy to welcome Jon Gaboric to Natalie’s as our new Executive Chef. This is his first week here and he’s already been busy meeting area farmers, cheese makers and food suppliers to our restaurant.

A little bit of background: he earned his degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University and just moved here from Austin, TX. His resume includes time spent at Hotel Residence, a Two Michelin Star top-rated hotel in Germany, at Vermont’s Three Clock Inn, at Sobani Restaurant and Wine Bar in Austin and he was founder and operating partner at Austin’s Wefuse Eatery. You may have seen him on Food Network’s Chef Wanted, which he won in 2012.

We thought we’d introduce you to our friends in Camden by sharing some casual interviews with them on our blog and it made sense to start with Jon.

Q.    What drew you to Maine?
I really missed New England. I’ve lived in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. It’s nice to come back to what I consider home after living in Texas. I have a young son, and I think it’s a really nice place for children to grow up, I’m glad to be able to raise my son here.

There is a lot of great energy and excitement here. I’m really looking forward to meeting more people and sampling more of the local food. There is a great connection here between the people who are producing the food and the people preparing it.

Q.    What in particular appealed to you about Natalie’s?
It reminds me of Europe, and it’s driven by perfection, innovation, high standards. I think those are also elements of my personality and this is a great opportunity at this point in my career. I am very honored to be here and I think it’s a great challenge.

Q. What ingredient are you looking forward to working with here the most?
Definitely Maine seafood, it’s world renowned and it’s right here. I’ve always been a big lover of clams and mussels, anything that comes out of the water.

Q. What are some of the items you are considering for your first new menu in the restaurant?
Right now I’m really excited about creating the lobster tasting menu. It will be fun to be playful with that, maybe add some Asian influences, some ginger, coconut milk, ingredients like that, but still keep it within the realm of modern New England.

Q. What is your favorite dish to make at home?
I really enjoy braising, slow cooking meats until they fall apart. It’s hearty, wholesome comfort food, a lot of it stems from my childhood. Grilling is great too in the summer.

Q. What do you like best about cooking?
I think it’s the creative process. I enjoy thinking about food in a conceptual way and understanding flavors, textures, how things work together and how they work with the palate. I also like being part of a team, the collaborative process of making it happen in the kitchen. Working with a staff that gets as excited about the food as I do.

Q. What is your favorite food memory?
Traveling through Thailand and Singapore; that time is filled with incredible food memories for me. A lot of the street vendors, I remember red curry crab on a picnic table right next to the vendor on the street. I was exposed to a lot of different flavors.

Please join us in making Jon feel welcome. Stop by to say hello when you can.


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