Former Crow Hill owner starts at Cafe Johnnie
July 19, 2012By Liz Biro
The always rapid change of Wilmington’s dining landscape was evident again late Wednesday night when Pine Valley Market announced that chef and Crow Hill owner Derrick Cook would join the Café Johnnie kitchen Thursday at Cameron Art Museum.
Cook and wife Anna Sharma just this past Sunday closed Crow Hill, 9 S. Front St. A day later, Pine Valley Market co-owner Christie Ferretti was reaching out to Cook.
He’ll work alongside Ferretti this evening, preparing her menu for this week’s edition of Café Johnnie’s regular 5-9 p.m. Thursday dinner service.
“Next week’s menu you can look to be Derrick’s,” Ferretti said.
Details of Cook’s Café Johnnie role are still being decided, Ferretti said, but “the hope is that his position there will be head chef and that he will basically be managing that location.”
Mechanicsburg, Pa. native Cook was living in New York City when he found Wilmington via his kid brother Dustin Cook, who in 2010 purchased downtown’s Odessa and Pravda nightclubs.
Derrick Cook trained at Johnson and Wales’ College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I., then spent eight years in New England restaurant kitchens. He said he switched to server, became a certified sommelier and then managed restaurants, including New York City’s acclaimed Ouest, owned by well-know chef Tom Valenti.
Crow Hill was named for Cook’s old Brooklyn neighborhood.
Ferretti, Kathy Webb-Ferretti and chef Silverio “Smokey” Masters together own Café Johnnie. The trio met Cook in Wilmington at various charity events, and the Ferretties had dined and enjoyed Crow Hill, which, like Café Johnnie, emphasized local foods, Ferretti said.
“I think he’s very creative in the kitchen, utilizing local, fresh stuff, making minor adjustments to the menu based on what he’s got, which is important to what we do there [at Café Johnnie].”
Masters and Ferretti had been running the Café Johnnie kitchen, but the pair alone can’t juggle both Pine Valley Market’s busy catering schedule and Café Johnnie operations, Ferretti said.