Jenn Hall

Courier-Post: Chef Greg Vernick’s new restaurant is a love letter to the sea

When Chef Greg Vernick turned 14, his summer vacation began with an announcement. That year, rather than attending camp or lazing on the beach, he would work.

Each summer, the Vernicks ventured from their home in Cherry Hill to Margate, seeking salt breezes and a respite from inland heat. “My family and I decided that I could live down in Margate for the summer and get a job,” Vernick says. “So, we mocked up a fake resume and drove down to the shore.”

With mom Beth at the wheel of her blue Subaru, a young Vernick cruised Margate’s Atlantic Avenue, stopping at seasonal restaurants along the way. In the shadow of Lucy the Elephant’s glorious heft, Vernick found his luck. Lucy Beach Grill was in pre-season set-up mode, he recounts, and the owners started asking questions on the spot.

Did he know how to grill a burger?

“Yes,” he replied.

Did he know how to temp a burger?

“Yes,” he replied.

With that, the future James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic honoree landed his inaugural culinary gig. There was just one problem.

“I got back in the car, and I was like: ‘Mom, I got a job. They asked me all of these questions and I gave them the answers,’ ” Vernick says. “This is my mom for you, teaching lessons. She was like, ‘What kind of stuff did they ask you?’ I said: ‘Well, they asked me if I knew how to temp a burger and I said yes.’ And my mom’s like: ‘Do you?’ ”

Thankfully, industry experience was in the budding chef’s blood.

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Published 10/9/19

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