Mark Gaier & Clark Frasier
Renowned Chefs Capture the Power of Maine Ingredients
2010 Winners of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northeast!
Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier met in 1985 while cooking at Jeremiah Tower’s Stars restaurant in San Francisco. Gaier was a pre-pharmacy major and Frasier had studied Chinese and foreign policy. But both “had cooked on the side, to pay the rent,” Frasier says. At Stars they became “tremendously excited and inspired” by what they experienced in the kitchen. They determined to open a restaurant together.
When they saw a handhewn 1765 farmhouse in Ogunquit in 1988, “it spoke to us.” But in those days, the culinary scene in Maine was “bleak,” Frasier recalls. They couldn’t find good olive oils or decent bread or bright, fresh organic greens anywhere. So, out of necessity, they began growing or making as many primary ingredients as they could.
Today patrons come to stroll through their lush gardens and enjoy the rustic but elegant ambiance of what Bon Appétit magazine called “one of the ten most romantic restaurants in the U.S.” In 2006 Gourmet ranked Arrows #14 of “America’s Top 50 Best Restaurants.” And Gaier and Frasier have been finalists four times in the James Beard competition for Best Chef in the Northeast.
From a Maine Garden to the Arrows Table
Arrows now grows more than 300 varieties of herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables, including 36 types of lettuce. Its staff makes their own cheese and cures their own meats and fish in a new smokehouse. With just a few exceptions, such as the extensive wine selection, “almost everything we serve is grown or made at the restaurant,” Frasier says. “It’s on your table just a few hours after it’s harvested.”
He especially loves the salads, “like the heirloom tomatoes with sautéed crispy okra, home-cured bacon and housemade goat cheese, with a little pesto drizzled over the top, or the house-cured prosciutto with persimmons, pomegranate and field greens. We also serve a salad with four different greens and little bowls of different oils and vinegars and salts; that’s a fun signature dish.”