Some impressions never leave you. Such was the case with Chef Steve Saelg of The Crooked Spoon. When I interviewed him last year at The Crooked Spoon’s grand opening, he exuded an intense passion for his craft. I felt it in his words as he described leaving behind a lucrative career on Wall Street to pursue something he truly loved. Few people are brave enough to take such a leap of faith, but it was clear Steve knew what he was doing. Even when the naysayers squawked about his decision to open a gastropub in “podunk” Clermont, he charged forward with the staunch belief that Clermont was where Crooked Spoon needed to be.
I remember that night being hectic, but he carved out some time to chat with me exclusively. He was visibly tired, but it was a good kind of exhaustion. His dream was finally coming true after years on the Orlando food truck scene.
The food was equally impressive (and still is). No one in Lake County was making the kind of food he was making. It was creative, bold and absolutely delicious. But what really warmed my heart that night was the amount of community support the restaurant received. Even with the news of Chef Steve’s fight against pancreatic cancer, the community rallied to help him and his family. That is why my heart is heavy today with the news of his passing. He brought something special to South Lake and for that, he should always be remembered.
My deepest sympathies go out to the Saelg family and the employees at The Crooked Spoon. He will truly be missed.