Scott Kammerer, president of SoDel Concepts, recently announced the promotion of Derek Cantwell to executive chef at Matt’s Fish Camp at Fenwick Island, one of the hotel group’s newest restaurants.
“Derek has been with SoDel Concepts since 2020, and he has demonstrated that he is a born leader and a talented chef,” said Kammerer. “He embodies the culture of SoDel Concepts, which is committed to our customers, our team and our community.”
Cantwell, who grew up in South Carolina, attended Temple University in Philadelphia and interned at Alinea in Chicago, which received three Michelin stars. Back in Philadelphia, he worked at the Caribou Café, a Parisian bistro.
“I fell in love with the challenges and excitement of the industry,” Cantwell said. “Every day is different, and this is an industry that rewards you for your hard work and dedication.”
Cantwell joined SoDel Concepts as a line cook at Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Bethany Beach, the hotel group’s flagship restaurant.
He moved to Matt’s Fish Camp in Fenwick at the end of 2021. The restaurant, which opened in the fall of 2021, is the third Matt’s Fish Camp under the SoDel Concepts umbrella. The original location is in North Bethany Beach; the second is in Lewes.
Doug Ruley, vice president of culinary operations for SoDel Concepts, said Cantwell brings fresh eyes and creativity to the culinary team. “He knows making beautiful, simple dishes isn’t easy,” Ruley said. “Without too much fuss, the ingredients and craftsmanship should shine through every time.”
Cantwell said it was humiliating to bring joy to restaurant customers. “A plate of food is so much more than something to eat,” he said. “It’s a way of sharing a passion and connecting around a table. All the hard workers at Matt’s Fish Camp feel the same way, and it’s rewarding to be around goal-oriented people.
Cantwell and his wife Nina have three children: Claire, Logan and Olivia. They live in Berlin, Maryland.