Meet Chef Mark Costello
I have cooked for high volume caterers, restaurants, institutions and privately for my own clients. In Southern California, I worked for The Turnip Rose Elite catering company. Their food is all freshly prepared from the best ingredients and cooked on premises. A typical function of the company is a wedding reception or cocktail party ranging from 100 to 200 people.
I am an alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where as a post graduate fellow I also taught dining room service and management. While at the Institute I worked extensively with the chef instructors for events at the institute and at outside locations.
While I lived in New York City, I worked with Chef Christer Larsson at Restaurant Aquavit in Manhattan. The focus of the food was on Scandinavian cuisine. We worked with a wide range of seafood from the North Atlantic, including salmon, halibut, arctic char, herring, shrimps, lobster and fish roe. Specialty meats served included reindeer, snow grouse and arctic grouse. Native Scandinavian produce such as lingon and cloud berries were featured on the menu.
I have lived and worked in Switzerland at the Centre International de Glion, a private Swiss hoterlier school. Here I worked with French, Swiss, English and German chefs in food production for the school and its catering operations. I also assisted in the preparation and presentation of course materials for catering management classes.
I have worked privately since 1992, specializing in small, intimate gatherings in my clients’ homes. I work with clients on genres or techniques of particular interest, ranging from Asian and Indian to French or Hispanic cuisines. I strive for fresh, clean, yet complexly balanced flavors and textures. My food appeals to the all of the senses: sight, taste, feel and aroma.
I grew up in a small town in central Wisconsin, the youngest of six children. My parents were avid gardeners, mostly out of necessity as a young couple raising a large family. Each winter the annual planting process would begin with a Burbee’s seed catalog. It’s pages filled with an intoxicating array of colors, shapes and textures. Tasting these treasures would have to wait for spring to pass and the growing season to be in full swing.
We started our garden in the garage in early April, planting seeds in long rectangular wood boxes filled with rich black earth culled from last year’s garden. By the official planting weekend, Memorial Day weekend, the boxes were overflowing with promise. My father would ceremoniously arrange the seed packets at the garden's edge, deciding where each was to be planted. Great green mounds of tomatoes, cucumbers and cabbage were placed in crisp rows amongst the planted seeds.
Thus started my family’s feast of the season. There were tender young leaf lettuces and crisp spicy radishes; yellow, green and purple beans; tomatoes of every conceivable shape, size and color; sweet new potatoes; turnips, parsnips rutabagas, squashes, pumpkins and melons; Lunch became a walk through the garden. The flavors were so fresh they hardly seemed possible and only to be visited for a short time each summer in our back yard. What was not eaten was canned or frozen.
The spring also brought white bass, pikes and walleyes running up the river that ran through our town. They were judiciously fileted or smoked in our brick smokehouse in the backyard; the sweet aroma of glowing applewood would drift through the yard and into the house. The autumn with its cool air also signaled the coming of small wild game such as rabbit, pheasant and squirrels. Venison and moose meats were regularly on the evenings’ menu.
It was here that I came to love and admire great food, and how it came to be at our table. My family’s kitchen became the soul of our house. It was where I can always remember I felt most comfortable. Where we could create not only great food but also lasting memories.
Meet owner Steven Throw
Steven retired in 2013 as an officer at Marquette Bank after 16 years of service. He worked in the industry for thirty plus years and was primarily responsible for community outreach for most of his banking career and spent much of his time working within the communities in which his company had branches. Steven also played a significant role in their charitable foundation and scholarship programs granting hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most of his career involved being a community partner. As Steven begins his second career here in Harbor Country, he remains focused on community both as a business owner and as a resident. Steven is not only the owner of 'Bantam Brook Culinary Cottage', but a volunteer in the community. He has acted as chair of the marketing committee and board member at the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce.