Nothing lasts forever—especially in the food service industry, where flux is the norm and chefs can change jobs at the drop of a toque. News of the recent departure of Jim Trainer from the venerable Kimberton Inn came as a surprise to patrons, since he’s helmed the kitchen there since 1990.
Stepping into his place is the talented Tom Wolter, 35, who now oversees the busy kitchen. No stranger to Kimberton Inn, for nearly five years, Wolter served as the sous chef, and prior to that was a sous chef for Eric Rippert’s signature restaurant, Ten Arts at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia.
“We see this as a positive change,” says Kimberton Inn owner, Jeff Effgen, who has logged his own impressive tenure of 37 years there, as well. “Tom brings great experience here with him.”
Don’t expect a flurry of culinary alterations to the menu, although Wolter says that he does plan to modify it a bit. “We definitely don’t want to make big changes right off the bat, but I am open to doing some really cool stuff—approachable and fun foods for the everyday person.”
Look for some playful riffs to the straightforward American-style menu, particularly to the daily specials. Think pork belly with an Asian flare, soft shell crabs topped with white corn and scallop chowder, and an increasing usage of local farm produce. “We’ll continue to support the area growers as much as possible,” adds Wolter, who has a strong local connection to the area.
Growing up in Berwyn, Wolter was a student at nearby Kimberton Waldorf School. Today he resides in Collegeville with his wife, Julia. Fittingly, the pair met at the Kimberton Inn, where she works as a bartender and server.
The passionate chef has a long way to go before he can claim the same sort of run as his predecessor, but if his skill levels, dedication, and rave customer reviews are any indication, Wolters is sure to have an impressive career of his own at this historic dining landmark.
2105 Kimberton Rd., Kimberton, (610) 933-8148, www.kimbertoninn.com.