When I received an email about the Salt Creek Grille‘s new menu that emphasized locally sourced produce, bread, pasta and more, I decided to pay a visit to their Princeton location. What I found, was not only an exciting new and healthy menu, but some really great people who are all part of the Salt Creek family.
When Curt Ciumei (owner of NJDiscover.com) and I first arrived early Saturday morning, we were greeted by a smiling Robert Strasser, the Assistant General Manager. Being my nosy self, I immediately started asking questions. How long has the Chef been with Salt Creek? Where is he from? (with a name like Fabian Quiros, I had to know.) How long have you, Robert, been with Salt Creek? etc, etc. To me, the food is just one part of the story of a restaurant. I also want to know about the people who help pull it all together.
What I discovered, was a really great story about a company who believes in its employees and in nuturing and empowering them to grow. Fabian came to America in 2000. He didn’t speak any English, but he did know how to speak “food.” His Mother owned a bakery in Costa Rica where he helped out and his Grandfather had been in the food business as well. His first job in the U.S. was as a dish washer at the Salt Creek Grille in Rumson. Fabian learned to not only speak English there, but to also cook exceptionally well. He met his wife along the way who was working her way through Physical Therapy school as a waitress. They recently (last month) welcomed to the world little Lucia Quiros.
The hiring from within story is a common one at the Salt Creek. The oh-so-capable-and-professional Assistant General Manager, Robert, started as a server at the Rumson location eight years ago. As he balanced his time cheerfully between babysitting us and making sure his crew was putting the pieces together for the lunch time crowd and a private party, it was very obvious that he loves his job and the company he works for.
Our visit culminated with a tasting of some of the new menu items like the Spaghetti Squash Ravioli locally sourced from Lucy’s Ravioli in Princeton with slivered almonds, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, capers, kale and tomato marmalade and the Chicken Suckatash which Quiros prepares in the video below. Above you see the Ahi Tuna Stack and the Smoked Ahi Salad. All were delicious, fresh, and packed with a wide variety of tastes and textures. To check out the complete dinner menu, follow this link SCG – Fresh Reinvented Dinner. At the end when I asked Chef Quiros my final question, “Why did you come to America?” he said with a big smile, “For the American dream.” I can say that I for one am sure happy he made the journey and heartened to see him fulfilling his mission.
Princeton Forrestal Village, One Rockingham Row
(along U.S. Route 1 next to the Westin Princeton)
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: (609) 419-4200 Fax: (609) 419-4280
Deborah Smith , Founder and Executive Editor of JerseyBites.com. Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. Deborah is also the owner of 3SquareDeals.com a Deals program that benefits Hunger Relief organizations in New Jersey. In her spare time, (Ha) she works as a Social Media consultant and speaker. You can learn more about her services and marketing through social media on her blog www.DeborahLSmith.com