Aishling Stevens Named Top Toque At NJ’s Crystal Springs

Crystal Springs Robby Younes
The Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort

Aishling Stevens is now Executive Chef of Restaurant Latour as well as Resort Executive Chef of Crystal Springs. A veteran of kitchens in Australia, England and New Jersey, Chef Aishling takes the reins as the first female chef to run the resort’s expansive culinary operations, including Chef’s Garden, Crystal Tavern, Springs Bistro and Restaurant Latour.

Aishling Stevens Crystal Springs NJ
Aishling Stevens

In her new role, Aishling Stevens has already started to put her imprint on Restaurant Latour, which includes a new menu that debuted on July 26.

The menu follows the rhythm of the growing seasons and changes frequently, sometimes even daily, and two options are offered: a four course prix-fixe with multiple choices in each category ($115) and a seven course Chef’s Tasting menu ($155). The tasting menu is designed as a progression of dishes (not available on the prix-fixe) that highlight the best ingredients of the season. Each menu can be paired with selections from the restaurant’s award-winning wine cellar (recently inducted to Wine Enthusiast’s Hall of Fame), with 40 wines available by the glass that provide the sommeliers the flexibility to create unique pairings for each guest’s menu and preferences ($55 pairing for the prix fixe, $65 for Chef’s Tasting pairing).

As the daughter of a nutritionist, Stevens, a New Jersey native learned early on to pay attention to the impact that high quality, seasonal ingredients have on the body and how important it is to be mindful of that while cooking. She first started working in restaurants at the age of 12 and over the subsequent two decades held nearly every position possible in both the back and front of house. This wealth of experience, along with her serious culinary talent, laid the foundation for her new position as Executive Chef of Crystal Springs Resort and Restaurant Latour.

After graduating with a degree in Commercial Recreation & Hotel Management from East Stroudsburg University, Aishling Stevens took a position with The Atlantic Club, but found the mostly office job wasn’t a fit. Looking for some adventure, she headed off on a backpacking trip to Australia. The trip eventually turned into 11 years living and working in the country. There, she found herself more and more attracted to what was happening in the kitchen and committed to training to be a chef.

Milea February 2019 728×90

Aishling Stevens spent her time in Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. This resort destination was well known for its dining scene and offered her the opportunity to get to know the local farmers and fishermen supplying the restaurants, which she has continued to do throughout her career. She later moved to the U.K. for a year and worked as a sous chef at The Walpole Arms, a Michelin Bib Gourmand farm-to-table country pub. The restaurant was owned by a farmer and hunter who would bring the game back to the restaurant. She reveled in working with such fresh products.

Planning to return to Australia, she stopped in the U.S. to visit family and though she wasn’t actively looking to work here, the Americana Hospitality Group offered her a job. There she oversaw more than 20 employees as she introduced new culinary philosophies to the team while also developing farm partnerships, catering and operational initiatives. For her work, Aishling was named an Edible New Jersey “Restaurant Local Hero” in 2014.

Aishling joined the Crystal Springs team in 2017 as resort sous chef, overseeing Crystal Tavern and the seasonal outdoor Chef’s Garden. She was promoted to Executive Chef of the Resort in February 2018 and now runs the culinary operations including the kitchen at four-star Restaurant Latour.