CAMDEN — The Whitehall Inn, which is undergoing renovations by Lark Hotels, announced today its culinary approach and the name of its restaurant chef. The new owners of the 113-year-old inn are calling the Whitehall inn simply the Whitehall, and are naming the restaurant there the Pig + Poet.
The “vibe and menu will be crafted by nationally acclaimed chef Sam Talbot,” wrote the new owners, in a Dec. 17 press release. “A collaborative venture, Pig + Poet embraces Chef Talbot's focus on a simpler way of cooking and celebrates thoughtful modern American food. Focusing on Maine's farmland, fisheries and game, the restaurant will feature a raw bar, signature roast pork dishes, Sam's fresh take on lobster rolls, chowder and blueberry-sweet corn cobbler just to name few items. A charcuterie bar will offer sausages and cheese selections.”
The use of the word “Poet” in the restaurant’s name is “a nod to the chef's role in the creative process, as well as a subtle wink to Edna St. Vincent Millay, a Pulitzer-prize winning poet who was discovered at Whitehall Inn in 1912.”
Read more about the Whitehall changes: Under new ownership, Camden’s Whitehall Inn gets major decor facelift
Talbot, who has worked in New York City as a chef, has written a cookbook, and has been featured on television said in the release: "I've always loved the great outdoors and having a real connection to the food that comes out of my kitchen. It's become a bit of a cliche to say that my food is farm-to-fork, but that's truly what it will be. Being in Camden is an inspiring opportunity for me to work with new local vendors, flavors and experiences. I have always been drawn to the water and waterfront towns and I'm excited to join the amazing food movement going on in the Midcoast, Portland and throughout Maine."
Talbot was featured as a semi-finalist on season two of Bravo's series Top Chef, which included him becoming the viewers-choice "Fan Favorite" on the show. He was also featured in People magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive" issue in 2012.
The release said: “Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at a young age, Sam has a profound understanding and appreciation for the intimate relationship between life and food, which has served as a driving force for his cooking style and recipes, which were the main focus of his cookbook titled The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries.”
Talbot grew up in Charlotte, N.C., and began his culinary training at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C., where he worked under chef, owner and mentor James Burns of J.Bistro.
At age 24, he moved to New York City to become executive chef at Black Duck Bistro in Manhattan. Two years later, he opened Williamsburg Café, which was then nominated for best brunch restaurant in Brooklyn by the New York Post. He was former founding executive chef of Surf Lodge in Montauk, N.Y., and Imperial No. Nine in New York City, the release said.
“While at the helm at the Surf Lodge, the restaurant garnered national acclaim as a premier dining destination in the Hamptons and was named one of the world’s 20 Sexiest Bars and Restaurants by The Travel Channel,” the release said.
About Lark Hotels, the release said: Lark hotels are located in seven “coveted” New England seaside communities: Camden, Whitehall; Kennebunkport, Captain Fairfield Inn; Nantucket, 76 Main and 21 Broad; Newport, The Attwater; Portland, Pomegranate Inn; Portsmouth, Ale House Inn; and Narragansett, The Break. “Lark Hotels [locations] embrace the locations they are in, but in playful, unexpected ways. Think ‘sense of place’ with imagination and a touch of mischief. Each Lark hotel invites guests to experience modern luxury in the heart of an iconic destination, to feel the pull of a nostalgic getaway while surrounded by today's amenities, and to find attentive service when they want it and privacy when they don't.”