Meet the Team
Chef Kurt Peter was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and still can’t escape the adventure of his youth. His culinary education began by hunting and fishing in his own backyard and working at various private clubs and restaurants on the Eastern Shore. Chef Kurt a private chef for the yachting world. After earning degrees in Sports Management and Business at Lynchburg College,he decided to go to culinary school at the Hotel Culinary Arts and Tourism program at Anne Arundel Community College. He wanted to continue his education in the culinary field because he realized how much he loved applying his business degree in a more creative setting where he can serve people delicious creations. It’s during this time in college where he met Chef Shawn Harlan, and unknowingly to both, the partnership begun. Most recently prior to starting his own business, Chef Peter was the Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director at the Westin Hotel and Azure Restaurant in Annapolis.
Now he is the executive chef and owner of Chesapeake Chef Service, a company dedicated to providing professional, yet personal and detail-oriented dining experiences for large parties to more intimate gatherings as well as educational programs and consulting with clients.
Chef Peter’s cooking style mirrors his passion for the outdoors, and he enjoys creating contemporary, yet rustic menus with the ingredients drawn fresh from the rivers and fields of Maryland. Unique and elegant presentations set Chef Peter’s dishes apart and elevate the farm-to-table experience for his guests. Ultimately, Chef Peter enjoys serving clients on a personal level and surprising them with creative masterpieces that stay true to the essence of Chesapeake Bay cuisine and the seasons.
Chef Shawn Harlan is an accomplished chef and instructor with close to 30 years’ experience in hospitality. He entered the field of hospitality in 1985 as a waiter’s assistant at a classical French restaurant near his childhood home, and was immediately drawn to the culture of the restaurant business. His professional teaching career began in 2001 at Stratford University and then joined the Hotel Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute in 2004. Currently he has partnered with one of his former students, Chef Kurt Peter, to launch Chesapeake Chef Service on Kent Island, Maryland. His professional work experience includes a variety of restaurants and country clubs. Most notable are the 5 Star - 5 Diamond Awarded The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, the 5 Diamond Awarded Lespinasse Restaurant in Washington, DC, the 5 Star - 5 Diamond Awarded Chateau de Sureau & Elderberry House Restaurant in California, Lakewood Country Club in Potomac, Maryland and as an apprentice at Rudy’s 2900 with Certified Master Chef Rudolf Speckamp.
Chef Harlan was the 2005 recipient of the Maryland Hospitality Education Foundations (MHEF) “Advocate of the Year” award and nominee for the Anne Arundel Community College - Student Associations “Teaching Excellence” award in 2005 and 2010. He continues to serve as a judge for the Maryland ProStart Invitational Competition and mentor and coach for the state team thereafter. In addition, he serves on the advisory board for the Applications and Research Laboratory in Howard County. He is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and a graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College (1989). His community service to his craft is clear with his continued support of various organizations mentioned.
His passion for outstanding cuisine and service are evident in his culinary experiences at some of the finest establishments in the country. He believes in sourcing locally and seasonally with sustainable product as often as possible. That combined with the ideals of constant professional development for himself, as well as his colleagues shines in his cuisines. This next phase partnering with Chef Peter is very exciting. While still teaching he will be able to partner with Chesapeake Chef Service, an exclusive catering and consulting company for clients in the Annapolis area and Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Chef Harlan demonstrates a high level of professionalism through his work ethic, attention to detail, and consuming passion for excellence. Many of his mentors including Chefs Patrick O’Connell, Grey Kunz, Rudy Speckamp CMC® and several others during his career, helped mold his personality of the chef and leader which he consistently displays in the kitchen with his students, staff, or guest. As a chef, he is often the most calm when under pressure. A well-documented recent experience, while not culinary related, speaks to his character. During the summer of 2015, he solely rescued five people near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, saving four children ranging in ages from six to 12 and one adult, all while single handling his sailboat. The US Coast Guard was quoted in calling him a hero, but he simply states he was at the right place at the right time. He mentions he had the knowledge, skills, and demeanor to handle the task presented to him. A brief article was written in Spin Sheet Magazine. Next to cooking, his passion for being a wonderful Dad to his two beautiful daughters, he loves sailing and being on the water. There are a lot of similarities to sailing and cooking… you never stop learning and you’re always honing your skills.