Executive Chef David Drake III
Executive Chef David Drake III

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – In the summer of 2020, the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club lost its Executive Chef to the COVID19 Pandemic.  The club was relegated to the arduous task of recruiting the right person to fill the position.  In normal times, the task of finding an Executive chef is difficult, at best.  Not only does the candidate have to be a great cook, but their vision and personality needs to be the complement of the restaurant and its target clientele.  The pandemic makes all of this exponentially more difficult. 

After an absurd number of interviews and auditions, it became clear that Thomas Drake was a great fit for the club and its members.

Chef Thomas Drake III began his culinary career in 1998 when he realized that he no longer desired to pursue a career in Marine Biology.  He promptly enrolled in the Art Institute of Philadelphia’s Culinary Program, and it was love at first sight.

Tom’s passion for food and the creation of one of kind dining experiences began as a child while watching shows like; “The Great Chefs”, “Justin Wilson”, “Graham Kerr”, and “Jacques Pepin” on PBS.  Little did he realize as he watched those shows that he would one day join the ranks of those TV Chefs.

Tom has had a diverse career working in Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey and even Vienna, Austria. 


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He has worked at fine dining restaurants such as Steireck in Vienna, Public, the dining room of the Hilton at Short Hills, LaCroix, and has taught at the French Culinary Institute.

Through this diversity, he has been exposed to a variety of cuisines.  However, there is nothing he enjoys more than redesigning classic dishes to make them more receptive to the modern diner.  The culinary philosophy for the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club, going forward, will be “Elegant Dining in a Casual Atmosphere”. 

Tom Drake lives in Keyport with his wife Nicole, son AJ and their two dogs, Harley and Gertie.

On Thursday, September 15, 2021, The Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club will host a private dinner for its Board of Governors and guests to introduce Tom and sample a four-course dinner.  The menu plan for that evening will include:

Corn Custard by Executive Chef David Drake III
Corn Custard by Executive Chef David Drake III

First Course

Late Harvest Samaha’s Farm Corn Custard

Rock Shrimp, Piquillo Pepper, Marcona Almond

Second Course

Viking Village Scallops

Tomato confit, Fennel, Arbequina Olives, Savory Lemon Granola

Third Course

Roasted Muscovy Duck Breast

Caramelized Fig, Garnet Yam, Hazelnuts

Fourth Course

Olive Oil Semolina Cake

Dark Chocolate Crémeux, Stone Fruit, Maldon Salt

Viking Village Scallops dish by Executive Chef David Drake III
Viking Village Scallops dish by Executive Chef David Drake III

Since its founding in 1953, the mission of the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club has been to attract and bring together individuals who share a mutual respect for the sea, and to encourage and advance all aspects of boating, yacht racing, and on-water activities, including offering a welcome and safe haven to yachtsmen and yachtswomen who visit the Atlantic Highlands harbor.

Located at 6 Simon Lake Drive, AHYC members and guests enjoy a spectacular view of Sandy Hook Bay and The New York City skyline from its second story club house above the Shore Casino. The inviting bar is well stocked, and the galley offers elegant food in a casual setting. 

While AHYC is a members only club, membership is open to anyone with enthusiasm and a love of boating, social and related activities. Boat ownership or boating skills are not necessary for membership. The range of interests includes cruising and racing events in the summer, educational seminars during those off-water months, and social activities and parties throughout the year.

If you are interested in joining the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club, CLICK HERE

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