Haley to Serve as Chef for ‘Field’ Event On Sept. 6

by Dave on August 12, 2010

With six successful Delaware beach restaurants under his belt, Matt Haley stands out in the competitive mid-Atlantic dining arena. On Monday, Sept. 6, he will be outstanding in the field.

Haley will serve as the chef at the Outstanding in the Field (OITF) event, held on the grounds of the Indian River Life-Saving Station, located on Route 1 in Delaware Seashore State Park (www.destateparks.com/attractions/life-saving-station/).

The concept, started in 1999 by chef-artist Jim Denevan in California, revolves around meals that feature ingredients from local farms served in a natural setting. Featured in the New York Times, GQ and Conde Nast Traveler, OITF today goes coast-to-coast touting local ingredients, local farmers and the fresh food culture. Some of the top chefs in the nation participate in the events.

This is OITF’s first Delaware appearance, and it is the first time that Haley, a Washington, D.C., native, has served as a chef for an OITF event. However, he is no stranger to using local products and holding outdoor farm-to-table celebrations.

“We embrace the idea of supporting Sussex County farmers, whose products we feature on all our menus,” says Haley, founder of SoDel Concepts, which owns and operates six restaurants, and Plate Catering. Haley is also a partner in Highwater Management, a hospitality management company. “I’ve always admired Outstanding in the Field not only because it promotes local agriculture, but also because guests can have truly memorable experience. It’s exceptional cuisine served in an extraordinary setting.”

Located on the beach, the Indian River Life-Saving Station was built in 1876 and has been restored to its 1905 appearance. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

OITF events include a five-course meal with wine pairings, all gratuities and producer discussions. Haley’s menu is affected by what’s fresh right before the Sept. 6 meal. “Part of doing this project is being able to create a menu with what’s freshest within 24 hours of the event,” he says. “If I go to the farm and see something fresher than what I considered, I’ll change my plans. It’s truly farm-to-table.”

Or boat-to-table, for that matter. Haley is considering local rockfish and dishes made with crabmeat, as well as smoked bluefish. Steak will come from Bob Raley’s cattle farm. Cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, corn and peaches are all likely contenders for star ingredients.

Tickets for the Sept. 6 event, which begins at 3 p.m., are $200 each. The dinner starts with a reception, after which the local farmers and fishermen will speak. The first course is served at about 5 p.m.

To purchase tickets, visit www.outstandinginthefield.com. For accommodation information in the area, visit Southern Delaware Tourism (www.visitsoutherndelaware.com).

IF YOU GO

Outstanding in the Field featuring Matt Haley

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 6, 3 p.m.

WHERE: Indian River Life-Saving Station, 25039 Coastal Highway
Rehoboth Beach, Del.

TICKETS: $200 for a five-course meal, wine and gratuities. For tickets, visit www.outstandinginthefield.com

About SoDel Concepts

Founded by Chef Matt Haley, SoDel Concepts was named to the 2009 Inc. 500, which lists America’s fastest-growing private companies. The company’s restaurants include Fish On in Lewes; Betty’s and Lupo di Mare in Rehoboth Beach; Bluecoast in North Bethany Beach; NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View; and Catch 54 in Fenwick Island. SoDel also owns Plate Catering. Haley and partners Bryony Zeigler and Scott Kammerer also own Highwater Management, a hospitality management company that helped launch Que Pasa in Dewey Beach and Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach. Highwater currently manages Fins, Claws, Sports at the Beach and Waterman’s Seafood House in Ocean City, Md.

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