Chef Peter Brinckerhoff, photo by Dylan Silver

Chopping Block: Q&A with Peter Brinckerhoff

Talking with Peter Brinckerhoff, executive chef for Gar Woods, Riva Grille and Bar of America

Written by Susan D. Rock  
July 2015

Interview by Susan D. Rock  •  Photography by Dylan Silver

Born in Glen Cove, New York, and raised on Long Island and in Sarasota, South Shore–based Peter Brinckerhoff is corporate executive chef for Tom Turner’s Tahoe Restaurant Collection around The Lake: Bar of America in Truckee, Gar Woods Grill & Pier in Carnelian Bay, Caliente in Kings Beach and Riva Grill in South Lake Tahoe.

What’s your earliest culinary memory?

Making chocolate chip cookies with my grandmother.


Where did you learn to cook?

I actually didn’t go to culinary school. I trained under some top chefs in Florida as an intern at the Longboat Key Club for Chef Charles Vosburgh and at the Hyatt for Roger Michael.


You’ve been here over 20 years. What brought you to Tahoe?

I transferred with the Hyatt.


Married? Kids? Dog?

Still looking for the right woman; I have a stepdaughter and two dogs.


Do you have a go-to ingredient?

It’s the one I just found. I like to get to know everything I can with a new ingredient that I have never used in the past.


Preferred kitchen implement?

Isi container (whipped cream dispenser)


Favorite tequila?

Clase Azul Reposado


What’s in your home fridge right now?

Beer, chardonnay, sriracha, duck confit, homemade yogurt, pork belly, fruits and veggies.


How do you manage menus for four different restaurants?

I have a lot of help. We share a lot of ideas and always have more than enough dishes for our menu changes.


What’s your secret to winning South Lake Tahoe’s Sample the Sierra (September 6 this year) four years in a row?

I try and take a new cooking procedure to the event and execute it in a very small time frame. I have just been lucky enough to finish on time each year.


How do you relax in the summer?

Enjoying the outdoors in Tahoe. Biking, kayaking, hiking with my dogs.


Top South Shore spot?

I really like Fallen Leaf. Quiet beaches, nice trails and you can take the dogs.

Published: July 6, 2015

Grilled rib eye This recipe is a popular menu item at Riva Grill and Gar Woods Grill & Pier Grilled Rib Eye Ingredients: 18 oz. rib eye 2 oz. fingerling potatoes, blanched and sliced 4 stalks of asparagus, chopped 1 oz. pancetta, cooked 2 oz. wild mushrooms 3 oz. rosemary garlic red wine jus (see below) Directions: Season both sides of rib eye with salt and pepper. Place rib eye on hot grill, turning three times: First flip, next turn 90 degrees, then flip again to get a crosshatch pattern on the steak. Crisp the sliced fingerling potatoes in a deep fryer. Add a small amount of oil to hot sauté pan and cook the asparagus and pancetta. Add the mushrooms and sauté until hot. Fold an ounce of the rosemary garlic red wine jus (recipe below) into the sauté. Place sauté in the center of the plate, followed by rib eye. Pour the remaining sauce over the steak and serve. Rosemary Garlic Red Wine Jus Ingredients: 2 oz. shallots, minced 12 oz. red wine 1 quart demi-glace, store bought ½ bunch rosemary 3 oz. garlic, roasted Salt and pepper to taste Directions: In a large sauce pot, sauté shallots until translucent. De-glaze with the red wine. Add the rosemary to the reduction. Reduce to one-quarter of the original volume then add the demi-glace. Reduce by half. Add the roasted garlic, simmer for five minutes and strain.