My family have been Yankees since 1635, having washed up on shore at Pemaquid, Maine during that great tempest of August, the same year. Settling in Massachusetts, we valiantly fought in many forgotten wars such as King Phillip's and the French and Indian. We also fought in every war till the 20-th century. Having moved, and founded, many towns in Massachusetts and Maine, the Bailey family has struggled just to feed their families. We were never rich and I think that is why we are ingrained with frugality. Now I am not being derisive with regards to the more well-to-do, but many texts and encyclopedic inferences of Yankee life paint a picture that is just plain wrong. There are sketches of two story dwellings, spacious parlors and proper attire linked with archaic New England home life and the general populace. The truth is, about 80 percent of Yankees had one floor dwellings, one large room that was used for all purposes and the majority of children didn't have shoes, unless they were a crude leather sandal of a type.
My great grandfather, J. Frank Bailey, was a musician and a cook in Maine. Born in 1870, he struggled and worked hard his entire life. He passed down his love of music, and food, to his son(my grandfather) Samuel Bailey.
Sam was born in 1902 in Maine and studied violin in Boston and Maine, only to choose the chefs route the majority of the time. He did teach violin but his second love was Yankee cooking. Owning a number of restaurants and Sam's Clam Shack, he was the consummate Yankee Chef. Having died in 1967, I didn't have the privilege to dig into his brain for food related information, but my father did.
Dad was born in may of 1938 in Maine and died in 2001, but not before I sucked his brain dry. Leaving behind volumes of books on the yankee life, stories and recipes. He enabled me to follow in his passions and I am truly grateful. It was said by all who knew him that Chef Jack could make 10 dishes from 1 pot of water. I am sorry to say that I am only up to 3. He is the inspiration behind my writing, cooking and musical endeavors, and for that my family thanks him. I am proud to have my children refer to him as Grampy Jack and "although but a glimpse in their lives, we will see him live on in his grandchildren forever".
My name is James Bailey and I AM THE YANKEE CHEF! I have been cooking since the age of 14 years, when my Dad opened his third restaurant in Maine. Instead of going to play ball with my friends I had two preoccupations to deal with. Practicing the violin and cooking. Dad, too, was a violinist and I am glad to say I followed this Bailey art as well as cooking. Over the years, I have amassed a huge library of everything Yankee. I have gotten to the point that a relaxing night reading a book means grabbing a non-fiction book about New England (although I read folklore and ghost stories of New England as well). I am a third generation Yankee Chef and the premier New England Food Historian. My passion lies in the ability to demonstrate how everyone can enjoy those masterful recipes seen made on television without the special equipment, deep pockets and 20 word titles. Let me show you how to whip up food that will bring the family back to the table and, at the same time, dazzle them with flavor and simplicity. We all enjoy watching certain programs showcasing pro chefs skills and expertise but let's be honest, that is where it ends. These shows are for entertainment purposes only. I would venture that possibly 5% of the viewing audience is able to replicate these recipes. I cater to the other 95% who would like to know some tricks of the trade, shortcuts to the same dishes and all they have to do is either reach into their cupboard and grab what they need. Most of my recipes deal with items that you already have or are easily accessible at any supermarket, without breaking the bank. Adding some Yankee ingenuity and flair while keeping the price at an affordable level will have you creating some beautiful and artful dishes that, indeed, rival any Michelin-star meal.
More and more people are diverting their attention from the dinner table and the same amount of the newer generation are spending less and less time in the kitchen. AS with my cookbook, The Yankee Chef™, I am focusing on bringing back everyone to the table as it was a generation ago and beyond. Good food will bring them, good fellowship will keep them. Remember the days of story telling, reminiscing and just plain good conversation at a meal? Everyone knew how to cook? That is what I am here for. I want to show everyone that cooking a great and exciting meal is easy and though provoking. I will show you, from the ground floor upward, how to learn this art and regale to you some stories you can repeat at the table. Adding some New England ingredients only heightens this experience and adds to the warm, comforting air that surrounds each of us as we indulge.
I consider myself cross between Alton Brown, Martha Stewart, any top rated television chef and at the same time, adding Yankee ingenuity to the lot. Ingenuity that encompasses thrift and simplicity that others have forgotten. After all.....It's Just That Simple!™ I am married with 4 minor children and reside in Maine. I am a no nonsense kind of guy but very open minded, so suggestions are always welcome. I do hope you enjoy perusing my site and promise to answer as many queries as possible and and provide daily updates to this site. Thank you for your time now go and find some new and delicious recipes with a Yankee flair!