Chef Christian Hayes, left, opened The Garrison restaurant in Yarmouth’s Sparhawk Mill on July 25. With Hayes is his sous chef, Jef Wright. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

YARMOUTH — Chef Christian Hayes, a champion of the “Chopped” cooking show on the Food Network, opened a new restaurant in town.

The Garrison is in the Sparhawk Mill on Bridge Street. The restaurant features “thoughtful food inspired by Mediterranean and Asian cuisine,” according to its website.

Chef Christian Hayes in the kitchen of his new Yarmouth restaurant, The Garrison. He said the menu is inspired by Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

Hayes is a seventh-generation Mainer who has worked in the food industry his entire adult life. In addition to The Garrison, Hayes and his wife, Christine, also own and operate Dandelion Catering Co., which offers event catering, food delivery and mobile bar service at the same location as The Garrison.

Hayes won “Chopped” in 2018 and said he initially resisted doing the show because “for me, cooking isn’t about plaudits or ego.” But he “finally said yes on a whim.”

Hayes called participating in the show “incredibly stressful, hard (and) exhausting,” but ultimately it taught him how to conquer his self-doubt.

“I guess it also taught me how to prepare canned pork brains in milk gravy, too,” he said, referring to the dish that earned him the victory.

What he most remembers, Hayes said, is that “the actual cooking rounds were fast and surreal. It was nuts.”

In “Chopped,” four chefs face off to prepare a three-course meal consisting of an appetizer, entree and dessert. In each round they have to use all of the unusual ingredients the show provides.

At the end of each course a panel of three guest judges eliminates one chef. The last chef standing takes home bragging rights and a $10,000 prize.

While the TV show required him to cook with other people’s ingredients, the menu at The Garrison, Hayes, said, is “simply based on food that I like to cook.”

Entrees range from a sweet chili-glazed fried chicken sandwich with paprika fries for $19, to a $31 preparation of cod in tomato saffron broth with white bean, potato, smoked mussels and crispy chorizo.

The Garrison features a 35-seat dining room with views of the Royal River, and a 15-seat bar. For now, the restaurant will be open Wednesday to Sunday, 5-10 p.m. Eventually, Hayes said he would like to add brunch, too.

He and his wife chose space in the Sparhawk Mill instead of building new partly, Hayes said, because they were inspired by “the energy, heart and aura of the mill. Plus, I love the idea that we are off the beaten path a little.”

He said the restaurant’s name is “a term for a fort or home base that houses provisions and ammunition. I wanted this space to take on the feeling that when you’re here there is a barrier between you and the world and you can relax and be taken care of.”

Last week, Hayes and his team were busy getting the restaurant ready to open, including nailing down the opening night menu. He said the team, which includes sous chef Jef Wright, includes “inspiring, humbling (and) brilliant people.”

He said he hopes his guests “feel welcomed, taken care of and appreciated. From the hand towels in the bathroom to the way we instill a nonnegotiable form of hospitality within our staff, to the care in which we make the food, I hope all these little things add up to a bigger picture that (shows) we put every effort possible into the guest experience.”

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