Forty summers ago at Great Point, two families met on the beach. As sometimes happen in these situations, food and drink were exchanged - a striped bass for a gin and tonic, to be precise. Sixteen years later and just down the road, the granddaughter of the fisherman and the son on the woman who had mixed the cocktail found themselves working together at the Sconset Cafe: Rolf Nelson as a cook , Cindy Jelleme as a waitress. A summer romance, or so they thought......
In the decade that followed, they stayed in touch but pursed individual adventures. Rolf’s wanderlust took him on journeys to Africa, India, New Zealand and Japan; he also worked a harvest apiece at wineries in Australia and California. Whatever the destination, he found that his fascination with other cultures seemed to go together with his love of food and drink.
After college, Cindy moved to New York, where she began a career in men’s fashion. As it happened, Rolf was in the city as well, working in the acclaimed wine department of Windows on the World after graduating at the top of his class from Culinary Institute of America. This time, it turned out to be more than a summer romance.
The rest of their adventures were shared, leading them to inn keeping and restaurant work in North Carolina, Wyoming and Oregon before returning them to Nantucket, and ownership of the cafe where their partnership began. Thanks to Cindy’s side of the family, their sons Cooper and Reece can claim fifth-generation status on the island.