At the young age of 14, Austin Racine got a job in the kitchen of the Bavarian Chef, a popular restaurant in Virginia close to his home, as a dishwasher.
Quickly, he moved up the kitchen ladder, helping with food prep, then to the vegetable station, then the grill, and then at only 15, he became the youngest sous chef ever at the restaurant. Clearly, a relationship with food was inevitable.
The style of food Austin was working with was very traditional and old world, and little did he know it, but he was embarking on an apprenticeship that would help shape his life.
Went To College For What?
At the age of 17, Austin went to college for a couple of years at Radford University for get this, Computer Science. This particular career path didn’t last long. At 19, he moved to Providence, RI, because he was considering going to Johnson and Wales University. However, he decided not to go because he was gaining real life experience working in restaurants in Providence.
After spending some time in this city that loves its food, he got the idea of coming to Martha’s Vineyard. He worked for a man who had a house here, and was friends with Gina Stanley, the owner of the Art Cliff Diner.
How Martha’s Vineyard Became His Home
Austin met with Gina, and before you knew it, Austin was cooking at the Art Cliff Diner during the day. He also began working at Cafe Moxie during the evenings. This was back when Cindy Curran and Paul Currier owned the restaurant. What a time it was for Austin. It was Summer, he was making great food, working at amazing places. It was perfect. He was hooked and made a life here.
But, the Vineyard can be seasonal for a lot of restaurants, and a true Chef likes to be in the kitchen full time. So, Austin left the Vineyard to become the Executive Chef of the Stratton Mountain Club, an amazing opportunity for a self-taught chef.
Stratton Mountain is one of the hottest spots on the East Coast! He lived in Vermont for about three years, but the Vineyard kept calling him. Vermont did not feel like home. This doesn’t surprise me, since his favorite way to spend his free time is on his sailboat. A man who loves the water, will always come back to it.
So, he came back the Martha’s Vineyard in 2008. In May, he bought Cafe Moxie with a partner Katrina Yekel. Owning his own restaurant, where he could cook was a dream come true. Sadly, after months of preparation, on the morning of July 4th, Cafe Moxie burned to the ground. I am sure many of you remember this day, and what a sad day it was. The Vineyard lost a beloved restaurant and two young people watched as their dreams went up in smoke.
Austin stayed for the Summer. He worked as a private chef for some notable Summer residents, including Kenneth and Maria Cole, and Warren Spector. I have to say, I’m a little jealous about the Kenneth Cole thing. However, after the Summer was over, it was time for something new.
Four years ago, 2009, State Road Restaurant owner, Jackson Kenworth, traveled to New York City during the Winter to meet with Chef Austin Racine. Austin had left the Vineyard, and was living and working there as a private chef.
At the time, State Road was still under construction and would not be open unitl June. However, Jackson and his wife Mary knew they wanted Ausitn to come back to Martha’s Vineyard, to cook at their newest restaurant endeavor. Austin was ready to come back and cook again on the Island.
Austin Racine as a chef, has always supported the idea of “farm to table” with his ingredients, that’s why his food has always been so fresh and vibrant. In the morning before the restaurant opens, he’s texting with farmers and fishermen to know what’s fresh and ready for the day, or you can find him harvesting vegetables from the garden out back behind the restaurant.
Also, he is not afraid to experiment with food, and create edible masterpieces. If you’ve ever eaten at State Road, you know what I’m talking about. Austine is at home in this kitchen. His creations are legendary, and the proof is the fact that State Road is practically booked solid for the entire Summer season year-after-year. This fact still surprises this seemingly quiet, laid back, AMAZING, talented self-taught chef.
New for 2013
On March 28th, State Road will open it’s doors once again. That night happens to be Burger Night, so you know it’s going to be packed! If you’re thinking about going, I’d try to make a reservation now. Talking to to Austin, I found out that this year, State Road is going to Raw Bar! Yes, come late Spring, there will be the most amazing selection of oysters, clams, and lobster. A fan of local ingredients, this is a very exciting addition for Chef Austin Racine.
So, get ready for a great fourth season all you “Roadies” (fans are nicknamed) at State Road Restaurant! Don’t forget that they have Easter Brunch, but don’t be surprised if it’s already completely booked.
Also, please consider voting for Point B Realty for Best of the Vineyard 2013 for Best Real Estate Company, voting ends March 31st. Thank you!