A taste of what Greg & Joy Margolis are preparing at the new Culinary Center.
“There isn’t a chef in the country who wouldn’t die to cook here,” says Greg Margolis, opening the doors to a gleaming new demonstration kitchen. Margolis, the former sous chef at Topper’s, and his wife Joy are the operators of ReMain Nantucket’s newest community venture downtown, the Nantucket Culinary Center on 22 Federal Street. After two years of extensive renovation and a lengthy process that resulted in the Margolises being selected as the building’s operators, the state-of-the-art Culinary Center is opening its doors this Stroll, and the inside is nothing short of sweet.
“I gasped when Melissa Philbrick [the executive director of ReMain] called to tell us that we’d been selected for the job,” says Joy. “We were over the moon.” Although ReMain will retain ownership of the renovated Mooney Town building on the corner of Federal and Broad Streets, Greg and Joy will operate the Culinary Center as tenants. Joy will serve as executive director, while Greg takes on the role of culinary director. “We’ve been so fortunate to work so closely with ReMain throughout this whole process,” Joy says. “ReMain’s vision for this building is exactly how we would have done it ourselves. Every square foot is not about how we can make a dollar, but rather how we can give back to Nantucket.”
Boasting top-of-the-line equipment in every corner of the building, the Culinary Center would be the envy of any celebrity chef. “This is going to be a cooking school for the young and old,” says Greg. “It’s going to be recreational, home-cooked fun and entertainment, but you will definitely learn some things along the way.” Beginning next year, the Culinary Center will teach cooking classes that utilize the expertise of local chefs who cook simple, wholesome and delicious meals. The main floor is home to a demonstration kitchen with space for an audience and a film crew, while the second floor offers two spacious cooking stations, built-in cabinets, and a number of other high-end amenities. ReMain has collaborated with Nantucket Looms on interior design and furnishings, and there is an adjacent private dining room to host events, holiday dinners, or even board meetings for nonprofits.
“We expect the Culinary Center to become another new, year-round focus for island residents, drawing them into activities and experiences where they can learn about food, different cuisines, and preparation techniques, and also share dinners throughout the year with friends and family,” says Re-Main’s founder, Wendy Schmidt. The opening of the Culinary Center will generate approximately ten year-round jobs and another twenty seasonal positions. In a downtown neighborhood seeing a lot of revitalization lately, the Culinary Center hopes to be a hub where residents and visitors alike can enjoy regular cooking classes, culinary demonstrations, professional retreats, and dinner parties, which Greg and Joy plan on hosting this holiday season.
At the bottom level of the building, the Margolises will also operate the Corner Table Café, serving fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, and other made-from-scratch meals in a community-friendly setting. There will be plenty of seating, both indoors and out, Wi-Fi, and a tap with free seltzer water. “We want it to be welcoming to everyone,” says Greg. “This a place where you could go after a movie for a good cup of coffee and a freshly made créme brulée.” There will also be a refrigerated display case offering fresh fare to grab and go. Sharing ReMain’s commitment to sustainability, Greg and Joy will be locally sourcing the finest quality ingredients as much as possible. The Corner Table Café and the Culinary Center is slated to open early December.