Art on the Plate: Chatham Inn

Cape Cod Life  /  July 2019 / , ,

Writer: Elizabeth Shaw / Photographer: Elizabeth Shaw 

Chatham Inn

One of the Cape’s oldest inns has been brought into the modern era, lead by chef Christophe Letard and his talented team. With a culinary background including multiple Michelin star restaurants and seven Relais & Chateaux properties, Letard is bringing fresh new flavors to Chatham. A native of Normandy, France, Letard describes being born into an environment where cooking was ever-present, and growing to truly love it. “I like the chemistry behind it, but the other part of it to me is the artistry, the composition of a dish,” he says. “It’s a whole process and that’s really what drew me to cooking. It is not just putting food on the plate for me; it’s a little bit of everything—it’s chemistry, it’s heart, it’s architecture.”

Letard describes working with his team as a constant collaboration, allowing each person to play to their strengths and let their own personal cooking styles shine. “I don’t dictate what’s happening, I just guide it,” says Letard. For Letard, it’s important to allow his team members to flex their creative abilities and put their own spin on dishes. 

Letard says the menu doesn’t change seasonally, but rather it’s based on the availability of fresh and tasty local ingredients. “I don’t like the term ‘seasonal’ because you’ve locked yourself into something. It’s more about what’s coming through the door. I think that’s really what a kitchen is about—being able to interpret what’s come in.”

Lobster ravioli with fava beans, morel, and topped with basil froth

Drawing inspiration from his experiences throughout Europe and the West Coast, as well as the rich agricultural history and culture of the Cape, Letard has created a dining room menu that consists of three, four or five course fine dining meals, and a bistro-inspired menu for those who want something a little more casual at the Wine Bar. Pictured is the lobster ravioli—a delicious invention by internationally renowned sous chef Brandon DiFiglio—featuring fresh local lobster, fava beans, morel and a basil froth topped with micro greens and dried edible flowers from the garden that Letard and his team tend to behind the inn. Letard describes the dish as incredibly reflective of Chatham Inn’s culinary philosophies—a meal that captures the rich history of Chatham’s coastal community, that is the product of a harmonious collaboration between two talented chefs, and that is as visually appealing as it is mouthwatering. 

“For me food is reflective of everyone in the kitchen, not just the chef,” Letard says. “It’s important to bring everybody together to create the food. It’s an open dialogue between everyone in the kitchen where everyone is participating.”  

Chatham Inn
359 Main St. • Chatham, MA
508-945-9232 • 359main.com

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth Shaw is a former assistant editor, photographer & videographer for Cape Cod Life Publications. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Elizabeth spent many summers on the Cape, before she and her family moved down full time in 2016. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island as a double major in Writing & Rhetoric and Film Media, and started at Cape Cod Life the following fall. In her free time, she takes as many pictures of her dog, Watson, as possible, in between beach trips.