Chris Schlesinger

Chris Schlesinger
Did you know?

Chris entered the foodservice industry at age 18, when he left college and became a dishwasher. Fascinated by the intense energy and teamwork that are the heart of any restaurant kitchen, he decided to pursue a culinary career.

Chris Schlesinger
Chris's Featured Recipe
Grilled Pompano with Lime and Olive Oil

Click here for recipe

Chris Schlesinger was born and raised in Virginia, where he first developed his love for barbecue, spicy food and live fire cooking. He started working in kitchens, became a line cook and then decided to pursue a formal culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) where he graduated in 1977.


Following his graduation from the CIA, Chris worked in 35 different restaurants, working with New England's most innovative chefs during the first blossoming of nouvelle cuisine. He also continued his extensive travels to regions featuring overhead waves and temperatures in the low ‘80s, further honing his fondness for loud flavors, seafood, and grilling.


In 1986 Chris opened the East Coast Grill; in 1989, Jake and Earl's Dixie BBQ; and in 1990, The Blue Room. All of these restaurants received national attention and in 1996 Chris consolidated his restaurant efforts and revamped the East Coast Grill, tripling its size and shifting its focus to seafood. In 1999, Chris opened the Back Eddy in Westport, Massachusetts, overlooking the Westport River. Close relationships with local farmers, fishermen, brewers, vintners and cheese makers define the menu at the Back Eddy.


Chris is the coauthor with John Willoughby of five cookbooks: the James Beard Cookbook Award winner, The Thrill of the Grill; Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys, and Chowchows; Big Flavors of the Hot Sun; Lettuce in Your Kitchen; and License to Grill. They also have a monthly feature in The New York Times, and have written numerous articles for magazines such as GQ and Food & Wine. Chris is also a contributing editor for Saveur magazine.


An accomplished cooking teacher, Chris has taught culinary students at his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America, at both the New York and Napa Valley campuses. He was the winner of the 1996 James Beard Awards Best Chef of the Northeast. He has appeared on dozens of television shows around the USA to talk about food and cooking, has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences, and has been featured in over 200 magazine and newspaper articles.


Chris is also a founding member of the national organization Chefs 2000 and actively works with local farmers to preserve farming in New England.

Latest Recipes

Balsamic-Braised Pot Roast with Tomatoes, Lemons, Raisins, and Black Olive–Pine Nut Relish

“Pot roast” does not always have to mean beef cooked with root vegetables. The term simply refers to a tough cut of beef that is browned,...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple-Ancho Chile Salsa and Tortillas

Add some fun to your next get-together with friends when you include this recipe for Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple-Ancho Chile Salsa and Tortillas on the menu. This shrimp appetizer recipe has more than 10 ingredients, but don't let that deter you. It's actually pretty easy to make! With its bold use of flavors and fresh produce, this is one appetizer that everyone will want to scoop up as soon as it is served. If you'd like, you could even serve this recipe as a light main course.

(1 Votes)

Grilled Pompano with Lime and Olive Oil

While the pompano fish might not be available everywhere, when you can get your hands on one it's a real treat. It has a flavor that's unlike any other saltwater fish, and it pairs perfectly with delicate seasonings for a light, summery meal. This grilled fish recipe uses olive oil and lime to give it that subtle burst of flavor, while the fish itself has a pleasing texture that pairs well with the grilling technique. Easy seafood recipes like this are great for outdoor cookouts! You'll love making a truly special dinner with this recipe. Your family and friends will be impressed that you can make a restaurant-quality dish in very little time.

(1 Votes)

Tropical Gazpacho

Just kind of fooling around one day with some underripe mango and pineapple, I came up with this recipe, one of my all-time favorites. I...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Salmon, Lomi Lomi Style

This is a takeoff of sorts on the Hawaiian luau salmon preparation called lomi lomi, The difference is that in this preparation, the sal...

(1 Votes)

Basic All-American Barbecue Sauce

I define barbecue sauce as a traditional American sauce, usually made with ketchup, that is used on grilled chicken, ribs, pork, etc. Th...

(1 Votes)

Chile-Ginger Grilled Tuna, with Korean-style Salad

Up until about ten years ago, tuna might have been considered an underutilized species—we ate lots of it, but only the mushy canned stuff...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Shrimp and Bacon Skewers with Pickled Onion and Avocado Salad

Grilled shrimp is a Mexican standard on both coasts. Here we put the tasty little crustaceans on a skewer with slab bacon that has been b...

(1 Votes)

Chinese-Style Baby Back Ribs with Ginger-Scallion Barbecue Sauce

Where I come from, we don’t really call baby back ribs barbecue. I was appalled, for example, when they allowed them to be entered in the...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Spicy New Potato Salad

Served hot, this dish is like grilled hash browns; served cold, it’s a flavorful and unusual potato salad. The deep flavor of well-browne...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Swordfish with Artichokes, Tomatoes, and Olives

Along with tuna, swordfish is probably the preeminent grilling fish, because the tight texture of its flesh approximates that of meat. Sw...

(1 Votes)

Grill-Roasted Rib Roast (Prime Rib) with Potato-Garlic Hobo Pack, Sour Cream, and Bacon Bits

This is the Big Daddy of roast beef, the most expensive and the most well marbled cut of them all. When cooked over live fire so that it ...

(1 Votes)

Sliced Grilled Skirt Steak on Greek Salad

This is another example of steak served on top of greens, which for some reason we find particularly appealing. Maybe it’s because, parti...

(1 Votes)

Korean-Style Grilled Short Ribs with Ginger, Chiles, and Quick Kimchee

We’ve enjoyed this dish many times at Jae’s, a Korean restaurant right next door to the East Coast Grill, where they do a great job with ...

(1 Votes)

Corned Beef and Sweet Potato Hash with Red Wine–Caramelized Onions

If you are one of those people who has always found traditional corned beef hash to be delicious but too salty, try this version; the swe...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Sweetbreads over Wilted Spinach with Sweet-and-Sour Bacon Dressing

This is the famous “green eggs and ham” dish. Sweetbreads are great, and if you introduce people to them cooked this way, most of them wi...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Buffalo-Style

We’ve done this before and we’ll do it again, because we really like it: grilling something and then cutting it up and tossing it in a Bu...

(1 Votes)
Cookbooks, etc

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