Dan Meiser and Mystic's Farm to Table Movement
Monday, April 23, 2018
Two years into a job at the State Capitol, Dan Meiser asked Richard Rosenthal, owner of the Max Restaurant Group, for five minutes of his time. Dan was seeking a career change and was eager to enroll in culinary school. What he anticipated to be a short talk ended up as an in-person, hour-long conversation in Rosenthal’s office. He cautioned Dan on jumping directly into culinary school: “Have you ever worked in a professional kitchen before?” Dan left the office with his first restaurant job at Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford, Connecticut: “I started off in the basement making minimum wage, peeling potatoes as a prep cook and I loved it.”
Confident his interests aligned with a new career path, Dan enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City, now known as the International Culinary Center. He went on to work at Café Boulud, and stayed in the city for the next few years. After leaving New York he knew what he wanted his career path to be— he wanted to learn the business of the industry. Calling up Rosenthal again, he went on to assistant manage Max Amore in Glastonbury, Connecticut. He knew his skills from the back of the house would translate: “I had never served before, never bussed a table, never gotten behind a bar, and suddenly I was managing a restaurant. I knew standards, I knew quality, I knew food. So, it worked out.” Dan managed Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford, Trumbull Kitchen, and later became General Manager of Firebox in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2009, after three and a half years at Firebox, he was invited to help open the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. This brought him to the Mystic area where he would open his first restaurant.