Chef Brian MacKenzie
I began my career one summer at the Jersey shore while spending the summer with family. It took a bit of convincing for the owner to take me on, but once I started I couldn’t get enough of the place. I learned as much as I could in the fast paced kitchen. When summer was over, I went home to Mississippi to attend Mississippi State University. While in school, I worked as a cook. Although the more lucrative waitstaff positions were always tempting, my goal for the future focused on the kitchen.
After graduating with a degree in business administration, I worked in Colorado’s new casino industry, hoping to get a job in management. After about about nine months I convinced the casino owner to hire me to manage his small restaurant operation at the Breckenridge public golf course. The experience was perfect, leading to my realization that I lacked managerial kitchen experience. At the end of the season, my fiancée Linda and I moved to Hyde Park, N.Y. where I enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, I landed a job as the Sous Chef at Clifton, The Country Inn, in Charlottesville, VA. I worked under Chef Craig Hartman at Clifton for a year and a half. At this point, my entrepreneurial passion started tugging. I was now ready to venture out on my own. In April 1997, Linda and I found the Pleasant Lake Inn and made New London our new home. We changed the name to the Inn at Pleasant Lake and began a fine dining restaurant as a complement to the inn. In July of 1999, I was invited to cook a dinner for the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.
In 2015 we passed the torch to the new owners, Jennifer and Scott Reed. I will being staying on as the Executive Chef and look forward to working with them to continue the tradition of excellence that exemplifies The Inn at Pleasant Lake.