On the grapevine
Discover what people are saying about Farmer’s Table in the news and find out the latest happenings.
Celebrity Chefs of South Florida
The phrase “farm to table” is the latest buzzworthy statement in the culinary universe, and one that our latest “celebrity chef” has quite a bit of experience with. Adjacent to the Wyndham Hotel, Farmer’s Table Boca Raton offers inside dining at the bar, in the spacious main dining room or in private dining areas, while outdoor seating is available on their tropical patio.
Recently, Palm Beach Happening caught up with their chef, Jamie Pruitt, to ask him a little about his culinary identity, as well as the Farmer’s Table.
How did you get started in the food industry?
I was born and raised in the small town of Ocean City, Maryland. I started cooking at an early age in the kitchen with my mother. I always remember making fudge and cookies for family and friends around holiday times in my red overalls. My father was a butcher and I remember growing up hunting and fishing with him. We use to grill together when it was hot outside in the summertime. Our neighbor had a small vegetable garden, which is where we would get our vegetables during the summer months. Nowadays that is what most chefs call “Farm-to-Table but back then it was just a way of life.
By age twelve I was bussing tables for a family friend. My second job was working for a restaurant on the harbor in West Ocean City, Maryland. The owner would let me cook in the kitchen with him one night a week and from that point on I knew that I wanted to be a chef. When I was eighteen years old I started to work for a local restaurant in town called The Olive Tree. The concept is very similar to that of The Olive Garden. At that time the sous chef was Patrick Bender who was leaving to open another restaurant in town called Benders on the Bay. I was asked to join Chef Bender as his sous chef. I gladly accepted.
That winter I met Miri Smerling through a mutual friend. We started dating and eighteen years later she is Miri Pruitt. The next summer I opened a restaurant for a close childhood friend in Ocean City, Maryland. By the end of the summer Miri asked if I wanted to move to Florida to be closer to her family. I jumped at the chance to adventure out of Maryland. I have never looked back only forward and kept inspiring one dish at a time.
Can you tell us a little more about your restaurant?
Farmer’s Table has been open for two and half years and was founded by co-owners Mitchell Robbins and Joseph Giannuzzi. They had a vision of creating a community friendly restaurant offering clean and consciously sourced food in Florida. I joined the team about 9 months ago, and am thrilled to be behind the stove. Farmer’s Table sets the standard for conscious and clean dining. We are proud to serve delicious and wholesome food with the highest nutritional value. We source only the highest quality ingredients from farms and purveyors that adhere to our high standards of “never ever” proteins, grass-fed and grass-finished beef, no GMO’s, and the EWG’s “dirty dozen” is always purchased organically. We do not use cream or butter in our savory dishes, and we use 2/3rds less salt. We have no microwaves or deep fat fryers.
We are a community-driven restaurant, offering a great environment where people feel comfortable and at ease when they dine with us. We have live music Wednesdays through Saturday nights, and live jazz on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
What is your philosophy on cooking?
I cook from the heart. I spend time in the dining room finding out what the guests like and don’t like. The guests are the most important people and our toughest critics. They are the people we cook for. I always try and find the freshest ingredients and let them stand on their own. It’s not about finding the most expensive ingredients.
Of all the dishes on your current menu, which is your favorite?
I love the BBQ Shrimp Flatbread. We use organic shrimp supplied by Third Wind Seafood in Fellsmere Florida The flavor combination on this flatbread is outstanding.
Are you enjoying your time in South Florida?
Yes I am enjoying my time here. There are a lot of great things to do. I love to fish and hunt and spend time outdoors. I just recently signed up to get my scuba diving license and can’t wait to explore the world under us.
Can you tell us a little bit about your previous experience in fine dining?
I started my fine dining experience in 1999 as a line cook at Gigi’s Tavern and Oyster bar in Mizner Park. I was quickly promoted to sous chef through hard work and dedication. I worked at many different places throughout the 10 years in Florida. I loved working with different chefs and learning as much as I could. Some of the places I worked were Prezzo, City Oyster, Suite 225, Henry’s and Opus 5. At Opus 5 I met celebrity chef Todd English. I spent the next 6 years with Chef Todd moving to Las Vegas and working my way up to Executive Chef at Todd English P.U.B. and later moved with the company to Birmingham, Alabama as the Executive Chef.
What is the funniest thing to happen to you in your cooking career?
The time that Chef Todd and I almost missed the live taping segment on the Home Shopping Network. Chef Todd had a cookware set that he sold on the HSN at that time. He would invite different chefs from his restaurants to help him out. One morning I was waiting in the lobby of the hotel to go to the studio. Chef was running late and we barely made the taping. His comment to me was “Don’t worry Jamie, they can’t start with out me.”
I know that many restaurants in south Florida now focus on using more local cuisine. What foods are you planning on highlighting this season?
We are getting ready to release our Summer menu at the end of May which will feature lighter dishes to coincide with the hotter weather. We know how much people like to sit on our patio so we want to make sure we create lighter options for the Summer heat.
More and more chefs in Palm Beach have become involved in cooking contest featured on the food network. Do you have any interest in that?
I would partake in a contest if the opportunity arises. However it does take a lot of time away from work and family. These contests are not easy compared to the way they play out on TV. I am content being James Pruitt with out the fame. I have been very lucky to have a successful career so far with out the TV spotlight but you can’t help to always wonder “What if?”
What new and exciting plans do you have for your restaurant?
At Farmer’s Table we are always looking for ways to get out and partner with the community. We recently launched a new community outreach program including our new “Farm-to-Kitchen” cooking classes. There truly is something for everyone at Farmer’s Table. We are lucky to have a great team at Farmer’s Table and we are constantly working on new and exciting things for our customers and the community. Stay tuned for some exciting things happening in the next few months… We promise you won’t want to miss them!”
We’d like to thank Chef Pruitt for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us, and hope to be dining there in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for a full review.
If you’re a local chef whose cuisine matches up to the best out there, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us and perhaps you can be the next celebrity chef!