Executive Chef Daniel Wecker blends the tutelage of his classic apprenticeship under a noted French chef from Grenoble with an extensive culinary experience to bring The Elkridge Furnace Inn a menu rich with authentic French flavors and artistically creative presentations.
Dan’s loyal following among locals has given rise to his career making him one of the most respected chefs in the Baltimore area’s critically acclaimed restaurant landscape.
A Lancaster, PA native, Chef Wecker’s passion for cooking began in his childhood when he became the designated camp cook at scouting retreats. Today he can be found in his kitchen at The Elkridge Furnace Inn creating new menu items, looking for ways to expand the rich historical heritage of the distinctive property, or gathering fresh ingredients at the Inn’s on-site gardens and greenhouse.
“I love to walk through our gardens; I see what’s ready to be harvested and what’s available and let my imagination do the rest!” comments Chef Wecker.
Dan first started cooking when he worked at a concession stand at a local ice rink. At the ripe young age of 14, he was in the kitchen kneading dough for pizzas and making chicken and specialty burgers. After high school, he expanded his horizons, by traveling overseas to Australia with a foreign student exchange program. While there, he kindled his passion for cooking by winning the distinction of Best Apple Jelly and Best Mustard Pickles at his school in Towoomba.
Upon returning to the states, his formal culinary education began in earnest at a local French restaurant under the auspices of French Chef Michel Beaupin. There, he trained in all disciplines of French cuisine from pastry to saucier to boucher (butcher) in a four and a half year period. After his marriage to wife Donna, Dan and his new bride began a successful catering company in 1980 and then found his biggest challenge to date in 1988 in Elkridge, MD.
Dan and his brother Steve, who has since moved on, discovered the sorely neglected remains of what is now The Elkridge Furnace Inn in 1988, and persuaded the state of Maryland to allow them to lease the property and begin immediate restoration. In 1991, the buildings that encompass The Elkridge Furnace Inn were Ellicott City’s Decorator Showhouse. Shortly thereafter, Dan began on-site catering on the property. In 1994, the restaurant opened during a blizzard, but that didn’t stop Wecker from growing the business to its present day six-day a week schedule featuring brunch, lunch, and dinner.
In addition to Wecker’s exemplary cooking skills, he has been a ‘Howard Hero’ as designated by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce for his work in the community. He donates regularly his time, talent, funds, and food to the Elkridge Food Pantry, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Howard County’s Voices for Children, and the Foreign Exchange Student program, to name just a few.