New Book From LI Restaurateur


What does Long Island chef Ivan Sayles have in common with famous chef and raconteur Anthony Bourdain?
Both graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, owned restaurants, were drug addicts, and finally, wrote tell-all books.
The journey of Bellmore’s Ivan Sayles is a long and winding road that has culminated in the publication of his new book, Overcooked, an exciting and fun voyage into the world of Long Island restaurants, and also their dark side.
On Sunday, April 23, at 1 p.m., Sayles will give a talk on the book at the Bryant Library.
Sayles is best known as the owner of four-time Best Seafood Restaurant winner, Rachel’s Waterside Grill on Freeport’s Nautical Mile, which he has owned for more than 25 years. With a degree from the prestigious C.I.A., he has owned more than half a dozen restaurants.
Sayles’ career started with the North Bellmore neighborhood favorite Smithville Cafe, prepping salads, but he earned his stripes as executive chef at The Boardwalk and Captree Cove restaurants at Jones Beach and Robert Moses Park. Along the way, enchanted by the appeal of drugs and sex, he embarked on a dark journey that almost cost him his life.
In the old days, when there was a knock on his door, Sayles feared it was the police coming to arrest him. Today, the police drop off donuts, as they did recently at a meeting of the Nautical Mile Merchant’s Association, where Sayles is president.
Overcooked is fun reading as Sayles talks about his many adventures, as well as delving into a very personal account of his misadventures, romances, and battle with drugs. His voyage has included wives, girlfriends, and a cast of characters that would have made Jimmy Breslin smile. Sayles is one of the lucky ones who has been clean for many years, and he has been a major anti-drug voice on Long Island, speaking at many events about the dangers of drugs, as well as donating time, money and food to many charities. As Sayles put it, “The only prize in the game of addiction is death and when you’ve reached its highest level, there is no replay.”
Overcooked can be ordered at:
—Information provided by Richard Branficorte

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