Bob Boye Turning Up The Heat at Cru
It’s his second “season” as chef/owner of Cru at The Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers and Bob Boye is turning up the heat in both the front and back of the house. Since taking over the reigns of this famous restaurant, regulars have noticed a few changes in the décor and menu, while enjoying consistently impeccable quality and service.
Boye is a rare Southwest Florida native who studied business administration and marketing at University of South Florida. Bored by a desk job, he began bartending a couple of days a week at Cru.
While watching the culinary artistry that Cru is known for, Bob took an interest in the culinary art, and the education and on-the-job training began. He quit his day job soon after being afforded the opportunity to learn to cook, working his way through almost every position in the restaurant. Putting his business skills to work now, Boye says, “I love every part of it – the accounting work in the mornings, the wine tasting and education, the teaching, and especially cooking every day. I was sick a couple of weeks ago and missed four days in the kitchen—it drove me crazy”.
He spends time with his kitchen staff, the way his mentors did with him, challenging them to think about everything from creative combinations of food, to how to plate them.
For example, instead of presenting a somewhat typical shrimp and grits dish, Boye artfully places seared octopus on top of more course, rather than creamy grits, with a brown butter emulsion on the side.
He says, “We have our classic dishes, they make up about half of the menu…but the other half is my mental playground; how can I take something like plant city strawberries, and incorporate them into things that don’t taste like, or seem like strawberry.”
For instance, he grills them, adds roasted tomatoes and makes a so-called elixir for gnocchi. And instead of a typical roasted duck, he dry ages it for seven days.
A voracious reader, Boye not only gravitates towards books dealing with food, but leadership and philosophy; knowledge he puts to practice daily, when dealing with patrons and staff.
A big focus over the last year and a half has been, “making sure everyone in the building understands how I want the business run on a daily basis so that every guest is taken care of to the fullest extent whether or not I am in the building. Every guest should receive the same experience and service.”
It’s not just about the food, but the entire experience–from the cocktails and wine, to the hospitality and service, to which he and his team consistently hit the nail on the head.