Meet Our Team
Chef TJ Samonds joined SBYC on June 21, 2017 and brings a wealth of fine dining and restaurant management experience to our club. If his name rings a bell, that might be because you remember enjoying his outstanding cuisine at late, belated Door County temples of deliciousness where he served as Head Chef, including John Martins and 136 Restaurant and Wine Bar. More recently, TJ’s inspired culinary creations graced the menu at Dal Santos, a downtown Sturgeon Bay trattoria devoted to northern Italian foodways.
TJ grew up in Sturgeon Bay and credits SBYC for his first sailing experience: aboard Benny Larson’s Thistle one Thursday night long ago. “Of course the setting here at SBYC is spectacular, but I’ve also been struck by how friendly the members have been to me. There’s a lot of people I recognize from around town and the places I’ve worked before joining SBYC,” he said. “I want the members to choose SBYC for everything from a casual supper to a celebration with their extended circle of family and friends. We have the talent—both front- and back-of-house—to make every meal a special occasion.”
After graduating from SBHS, TJ went on to culinary school, first at Robert Morris near Chicago and then in Italy, where he lived and worked to gain additional experience. “I love experimenting with different styles and tastes; I’ll get fascinated by a certain technique or ingredient for awhile and then try to perfect it,” TJ said. “I’m trained in French and Italian cooking traditions and styles, but I guess you could say my approach is pan-ethnic. Still, there’s always a Mid-Western sensibility at the heart of my work.”
TJ is already enlivening SBYC’s menu with new specials in an effort to gauge how members react to different dishes and preparation techniques. The updated menus will reflect the quality of the ingredients; expecting pricing to hew more closely to other area fine dining establishments. With several special events under their belts, TJ and his staff look forward to serving you and your families.