Chef from Tara Inn in Port Jeff to be featured on new Food Network TV show


A popular bar in Port Jefferson is making its television debut.

Tara Inn’s chef Andrew Michaels Seeley will be featured on the premiere episode of the Food Network’s new show, “Chef Bootcamp,” Thursday night at 10 p.m.

“Chef Bootcamp” takes chefs from kitchens all over the country and puts them through a series of challenges to test their culinary skills.

With their jobs on the line, renowned chef Cliff Crooks evaluates their overall performance and sees if they have what it takes to run the very heart of every restaurant — the kitchen.

Each episode follows three struggling chefs on a three-day boot camp with Crooks who assesses their skills and guides them on what they can improve on going forward.

The tests include preparing their own signature dishes, demonstrate fundamental cooking techniques, and prove their ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment.

At the end of the show, Crooks gives his recommendation to the establishment if they should keep their chef or let them go.

“Cliff Crooks knows what it takes for a restaurant to be successful and in “Chef Boot Camp,” he brings his tremendous experience and a commitment to excellence to struggling restaurateurs and their kitchen staffs,” said Courtney White, Food Network President. “Cliff’s investment in these chefs is evident every step of the way as he gives everything he can to help them improve and succeed.”

Seeley said when Tara Inn reopened back in July after COVID-19 shut them down, the Food Network reached out to them to be on the show.

The chef said prior to working at the 44-year-old Port Jeff bar, he ran a few food trucks with his father in Florida.

However, after faced with some hardships, Seeley contemplated even stepping foot in a kitchen again.

“They had faltered because my father had a pretty bad drug problem, so I lost everything and I didn’t want to cook anymore,” he said. “I came back to New York, I worked in another type of industry, and then I had the opportunity to work at Tara’s.”

At the time, the chef said Tara Inn had been struggling a bit and needed some energy put back into the place, and he said he brought that to the table.

Since then, he has worked at Tara Inn for around a year and a half.

With new apartments underway in Port Jefferson and it becoming a thriving downtown, he said the area is gradually improving.

He hopes the show spotlights Tara Inn and the owners who have worked so hard to make it the name it is today in the town.

As for his TV debut, Seeley said he is a little nervous because he did get choked up at one point in the episode, but he is looking forward to how it will turn out.

“At the end of the day when you put in your blood, sweat, and tears, and you see the owners put in their blood, sweat, and tears, they had mentioned to us that we had done one of their shows,” he said. “We were lucky enough to get that premiere episode which was pretty exciting to be the first episode on a brand new show.”

Tune in tonight on the Food Network at 10 p.m. to see Seeley test his culinary skills.