Durham native Isaac Aldrich has returned to Maine to accept the position as executive chef at one of the midcoast’s venerable destinations, Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg.

Aldrich, who spent the last eight years as an executive sous chef in Denver, has returned to his hometown with his wife, Meghan, and their two young children. In his new job, he will be head of a food operation at a resort with an 85-year history. Aldrich will oversee all of Sebasco’s dining offerings, including its multiple restaurants and its extensive wedding and event management.

A graduate of Brunswick High School and the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt., Aldrich has supervised a staff of 20 and had direct responsibility for managing food production for the Executive Suites at Sports Authority Field, home of the Denver Broncos. He also was the lead catering captain for ESPN’s X-Games.

At 31, his childhood days in Durham aren’t too distant a memory for Aldrich.

“Growing up in Durham was great,” he said. “The scenery is amazing in the summer and winters are enough to toughen you up. Durham is a great community to raise a family, such a peaceful environment.”

He is the son of Paul and Kathleen Aldrich. Paul Aldrich worked at Bath Iron Works for 30 years and Kathleen Aldrich is still running her own cleaning service of more than 20 years.

“My wife Meghan recently became an amazing stay-at-home mom now that we just had our second child Evan in addition to our almost 3-year-old son Silas,” he said.

Busy as Sebasco Harbor opened for the season earlier this month, Aldrich answered questions regarding his roots, and his career.

Q: You’ve worked in some much larger cities. What brought you back to Maine?

A: I worked in West Palm Beach at the Breakers and I worked in Denver for the Broncos. I did not become a Broncos fan as I am often asked. Having a second child made it the right time to come back to Maine and be around family.

Q: When did you develop an interest cooking?

A: I began working at The Kitchen Restaurant in Brunswick at the age of 15. I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up to kitchen manager by the time I was 17. I loved the environment and the pace. And I love it when people are satisfied by a good meal.

Q: Tell us a little bit about working in an NFL atmosphere.

A: It is exciting. The environment is so organized because we are working all over the stadium serving 150 box suites. Anyone from Pat Bowlen to Tiger Woods could be one of our guests. It was a great learning experience and I really enjoyed my time there.

Q: Sebasco touts its “Pure Maine Experience.” What does that mean to you?

A: It’s the water, it’s lobster, leisure, beautiful scenery, great weather and friendly people. It really is a great way for me to return to Maine to be in a place that emphasizes the Maine way of life.

Q: What are some of your favorite dishes?

A: I love lobster. I’ve never had a bad lobster in Maine. I was a snob about lobster in Colorado because anything you get is just not the same. Luckily, at Sebasco I think Ill be able to eat a few. As far as cooking goes, I love to cook something new; learning is the best way to progress as a chef. It can be easy to get stuck doing the same stuff you are used to. It is important to push the limits.

Q: It sounds like you have a considerable job responsibility. How will you spend most of your time?

A: Yes, this is the most responsibility I’ve ever had. Looking after events and two restaurants is no easy task. I have spent a lot of my time training and cooking so far, learning the lay of the land. There is always something to do so you are never bored.

Q: Has Durham changed much since you lived there?

A: The best part about Durham is that it has not changed. The new elementary school is the only change I have noticed.

“I love it when people are satisfied by a good meal,” says Isaac Aldrich of Durham, who has come back to Maine to take over as executive chef at Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg. 

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