Keith Pooler – Chef, Owner
Keith is the story of “local boy makes good.” A native of Gloucester, MA, he grew up appreciating the sea and its bounty. Childhood family dinners were a concert of togetherness — everyone cooked and contributed. There was an atmosphere of mutual appreciation and loving respect. Best of all, no one left any food on the plate! Keith’s grandfather had a garden where Keith toiled from planting to picking and everything in between. He also worked in his grandfather’s barn with its horses and chickens; a primer in animal husbandry.
From age 14 Keith has worked in restaurants, climbing the ranks and following his passion and talent to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. While in school he completed stages in Union Square, Vong, and The Gotham Bar and Grill. Upon graduating at the head of his class, Keith joined The River Café in Brooklyn. He worked his way through each station and next headed to Lespinasse under Chef Gray Kunz. Then Keith returned to the Rick Laakonen team, opening the highly anticipated Ilo at the Bryant Park Hotel.
Ready to return home to Boston, Keith became the sous chef at Harvest, the legendary dining room with a culinary legacy as rich as the ingredients it served. He jumped at the opportunity to open Excelsior, working under Lydia Shire, beginning an enduring relationship and friendship with this pioneer of modern cuisine. Then it was back to Harvest as Executive Chef, and there Keith earned accolades for his creative take on New England inspired cuisine. Ready for the next challenge, Keith returned to Lydia Shire’s team, helping open Scampo in Boston.
Clearly he loves the thrill of opening restaurants, and this time it is his own—Bergamot.