WHO WE ARE
As long I can remember, I've been drawn to - and working in - the hospitality industry. I've always loved the wonderfully unique misfits whom the restaurant world would pull in. I'll never forget the first restaurant group I worked for as a teenager and meeting my first Restaurateur - I was hooked.
I wanted to learn every position in a restaurant I possibly could and left my childhood playground of New York City behind for the glitz and glamour of the fast paced ski town in the Rockies - Vail, Colorado.
I started working in Vail as a host and barista, learning what makes a perfectly drawn espresso shot and how air bubbles affect dairy during steaming. I quickly moved into bartending, working impossibly late shifts mastering making whiskey sodas by the dozen. From there, I moved on to work as a lead server at a slopeside steakhouse - I loved my job and was always asking for more shifts to the point that I started running the company orientation for new employees.
Hungry to learn and experience more, I developed a deep interest in wine studies. Something about the way one can have such a sensory experience in a glass, you can taste, smell and see a place you may have never been. I passed my level I and level II Sommelier certifications and landed a job working full time as a Sommelier for a high-end luxury hotel.
While working as a Sommelier I met Josh one fateful evening and 10 months later we decided to make a change from mountain ski own life and find our tribe and community. We chose my birth place of Vermont and took a leap of faith to make the 3,000 mile journey east. It wasn't hard for us to fall completely in love with the Green Mountain state and to make the decision to open a restaurant of our own - something I had been dreaming of for a very long time.
After nearly a year of looking before we found the Fox Stand in Royalton and 18 months before Wild Roots opened to the public. We are so honored to be a part of the Upper Valley community and to bring this dream to life.
Growing up in Roswell, New Mexico food for me was always very authentic and homemade. I grew up on classic, country recipes with a Southwestern-twist and from a young age remember my mom in the kitchen slow braising a roast or dad making his favorite steaks on the grill. I also developed a healthy respect for nature and the outdoors, spending most of my free time out fishing or hunting with my dad. Before leaving Roswell I worked several jobs from painting to welding work but I fell in love with the hospitality industry after moving to Vail, Colorado and getting a job in a fast-paced bar where I remained for a few years.
After meeting Jayne and thinking about leaving the Rocky Mountains, it was an easy choice to move across the country to Vermont (especially as I am a life-long Red Sox fan). When we arrived here and started getting involved in the farming and agricultural scene we were blown away by the abundance of produce, artisans and makers throughout the state. From there it made sense to continue chasing our dream and open up Wild Roots Restaurant.
Once we set plans in motion, it took Jayne and I nearly a year of searching to find the ideal location for the restaurant. We considered many different towns around the Upper Valley area before settling on Royalton and taking over the Fox Stand Inn.
The building that houses Wild Roots restaurant is rich in history, boasting over 100 years as a tavern and gathering place. Before deciding on a name or even menu concept, Jayne and I always loved the idea of people coming together around a great meal. The food should tell stories as rich as those brought to the table, stories of its place and how it came to be.
At Wild Roots, we think about how to make delicious food approachable and to be mindful in all that we do. In keeping with our core food concept, we aim to source beverages locally and rotate offerings seasonally.
Food has always fascinated me. I grew up watching all the food television I possibly could, and engaged in endless experiments with ingredients that I had read about. After high school I was naturally drawn to the hospitality industry, working at a multitude of restaurants, each with a different cuisine. I finally decided to take the next step in my career, and moved to New York City.
I landed a position in Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, and worked my way through all of the stations at a rapid pace. It was a fascinating experience, working behind the scenes at a Michelin starred restaurant and producing phenomenal food. In my desire to learn more, I explored multiple restaurants throughout the city before being hired as Sous Chef at the Michelin starred Piora. Here I learned the value of sourcing the highest quality product and presenting it in a way that truly highlights its specific and unique qualities.
After my experiences in the big city I decided it was time become an Executive Chef. I took over the kitchen of the restaurant Aro Bar de Tapas in Buffalo NY, where I took the classic tapas theme and incorporated local ingredients with great results. We were fortunate to win numerous awards from local publications in recognition of these efforts.
While at Aro I found myself yearning to develop a menu with exclusively local and sustainable products, while giving the proper respect to seasonality. I was drawn to New England, and specifically to Vermont, due to the amazing biodiversity and the quality of products that are locally available. I am thrilled to now be the Executive Chef at Wild Roots, an establishment where the vision aligns with my own. I am honored to do something truly special for our surrounding community, through 100% local buying, and through presenting sustainably sourced cuisine to our guests that is fresh, delicious and imaginative.