Chef Alexander Morris brings an international spectrum of culinary perspectives to his new position as Chef of The Inn at Meander Plantation, our historic Virginia country inn and restaurant noted for its elegant accommodations and exceptional cuisine.
With a background in Italian, French and Continental cuisine, gained from family tradition, formal training and years of cooking experience, Morris plans to incorporate these elements into menus and dishes that reflect the fine dining tradition of the Inn.
“This is a chef’s dream job – a chance to use the freshest local ingredients, to create menus without any limits, to develop my own signature style. I can just look out the window (of the kitchen) and get inspired,” says the 29-year-old chef enthusiastically. “Just look at those views! This place is amazing.”
Chef Morris, who recently relocated to Orange, VA, along with wife Christina and one-year-old son Cole, joined the Meander staff in early April. As Chef he will be responsible for all aspects of food service at the Inn, with special emphasis on planning, preparation and presentation of the five-course prix fixe dinner served five nights a week and instruction at the Inn’s monthly Cooking School.
His love for food and the art of its preparation began as a youngster growing up in West Chester, PA, first helping his Italian grandmother in the kitchen and then working in his father’s Italian restaurant and uncle’s delicatessen. After formal studies at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia, he began working in restaurants in the Philly and Chester County, PA, area.
But it was in 2002 under the guidance of Chef David Walti at The Gables in Chadds Ford, PA, that his passion for creating fine food and a memorable dining experience took shape. “He taught me so much about foods and different styles of preparation. He inspired and encouraged me to grow as a chef. He really ignited my imagination.”
On the operational side, Morris’ mentor is Anthony De Stefano, executive chef at Riverstone Café in Exton, PA. “Running a large operation where two restaurants operated from a single kitchen to turn out up to 1000 covers per night, I learned the value of organization, proper staff training and precise teamwork. These skills are perhaps even more important in a small kitchen like we have, where everyone has to work together at top capacity to produce plates of incredible quality and consistency.”
The Inn at Meander Plantation (http://www.meander.net) is located at 2333 N. James Madison Highway, Locust Dale, Va 22948 (on Hwy. 15 between Orange and Culpeper). Reservations for lodging in the Inn’s 10 elegantly appointed guests rooms or for dining can be made by calling 800-385-4936 (local 540-672-4912) or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.