Right around this time each year David Joyce, chef and co-owner of Chesca’s in Edgartown, starts spending less and less time behind the camera, and more and more time focused on the restaurant he owns along with his wife, Jo Maxwell.
In the off-season David wakes with the birds, and is out of his Oak Bluffs home taking pictures in the magical light of pre-dawn. “I’m a bit of an early bird,” he claims. “I’m out the door in the dark, and I head off to a location to catch the sunrise. I especially like it about 30 minutes before sunrise when the colors are soft.”
Three years ago, he began taking walks with his dog in the off-season and snapping pictures with his smartphone. He liked the results. He’s since upgraded his camera three times. And he became more pleased with his results after every upgrade. “When I started getting serious and investing in nicer cameras,” David recalls, “I started getting really nice shots and started doing more serious printing.”
David has previously sold his prints around the holidays, and is currently working on larger prints to be displayed at Chesca’s. As of now his work can be seen on his Facebook page PhotoChef, which he created after a suggestion from his wife Jo: “It’s a creative outlet for me. I really enjoy going out in the morning; you never know what you’re going to see. The different clouds coming in, or how the sun might come up, it’s always a surprise. There’s a lot of joy I get out of it, and I like to share that.”
As is often the case, such a talent is at the mercy of summer employment on the Island. David’s photography starts tapering off now, then once July and August hit he puts the camera away, and picks it back up in late September. “It’s really more of a hobby than a business,” David says. “I’m going to see where it goes, but, as I said, it’s an off-season thing.”
For the upcoming season, Chesca’s will reopen next Thursday, April 16, for its 21st season. Co-owner Jo Maxwell said, “We try to do something new every year. We’re making an effort to be 95% non-GMO and organic, and we do a lot of on-Island sourcing. We buy mostly from Morning Glory Farm, and try to source within Massachusetts whenever possible if we can’t get ingredients on-Island.”
Chesca’s will offer a Wednesday-night supper special beginning April 22. Wednesday-night suppers will be served family-style, and everyone at the table enjoys the same entrée. Diners can select from five choices plus salad for $25 a person or less, including chicken marsala, Thai chili grilled salmon, shrimp scampi, vegetable risotto, and pappardelle Bolognese. Guests can also add on a hot fudge sundae for dessert, at $6 per person.
Chesca’s will also be offering smaller-sized entrees at a more affordable price, like a smaller version of their paella and gluten-free baked pasta. “We recognize that people can’t spend that much money, and want to make it more affordable for people to eat out,” said Jo.
The week of April 13, Chesca’s will be open Thursday through Sunday, and starting the week of April 20, the hours will change to Wednesdays to Saturdays through the spring. The restaurant will expand its hours to seven nights a week starting in mid-June.