WHO WE ARE

 

owners

Josh walker + jayne sullycole

 

JOSH

Roswell, New Mexico was my home before I moved to Vail to seek my fortune.  Working lots of jobs was the name of the game, from construction and painting, to architectural welding, and lots of restaurants.  I even worked as a bouncer, where yes I did bounce Jayne because yes I did hope to attract the eye of the beautiful being in front of me that night.

I am so fortunate to now find myself in the Green Mountains and to call this place home.  The opportunity to start this restaurant from scratch has been an invaluable experience, and so exciting for Jayne and me.  

I plan to bring lots of southwest hospitality to Wild Roots, in addition to serving up cocktails. I look forward to getting to know our customers, so if you see me behind the bar, stop by and say hello!

JAYNE

As long as Josh and I can remember we've been drawn to – and working in - the hospitality industry. I’ve always loved the wonderfully unique misfits whom the restaurant world pull in. I'll never forget the first restaurant group I worked for as a teenager and there meeting my first Restaurateur; I was hooked.

I wanted to learn every position I possibly could in the restaurant, 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 in Vail as a host and barista, learning what makes a perfectly drawn espresso shot and how air bubbles affect dairy during milk steaming. I moved into bartending, working impossibly late shifts and mastering the art of pumping out vodka crans. I quickly decided that the hours plus the stage presence required behind the bar wasn't exactly for me and found a home as a lead server at a slopeside steakhouse. I loved my job and was happiest with lots of shifts. I begged the GM to help run company orientation for newly hired 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 in a bottle. I passed my Level I and Level II Sommelier certifications and was extremely lucky to land a job working as a full time Sommelier, where it was possible to gain an incredible amount of knowledge.

After meeting my husband Josh one fateful evening, we decided to make a change from mountain ski town life and find our tribe and community. We had the opportunity to move close to my birth place in Vermont and took a leap of faith to make the 3,000 mile journey.

After nearly a year of looking we found the Fox Stand in Royalton.  We are so excited and eager to begin this new chapter of our lives. 

 

executive chef

Peter Varkonyi

I can remember cooking with my grandparents at a very young age. The idea of making food and offering the simple gesture of a meal captivated me. I can recall my grandfather’s stories of his bakeries in Flushing, NYC. He was a Jewish Hungarian immigrant who escaped with his family and made something great out of nothing. The passion he had for sharing his gift of baking and my grandmothers’ traditional meals around the table have always spoken to me.


Inspired and determined to pursue my love off food I was often found in a kitchens during my teenage years. Growing up in the Washington D.C area I was fortunate to find opportunities through education. Thrilled by the constant pursuit for knowledge I competed at the national level for scholarship programs. With brief stints of travel to Mexico and Europe I found myself continually hungry for a true challenge and purpose to my learning. This led me to the New England Culinary Institute and graduating with a Bachelors degree in Culinary Arts.


In 2011 I arrived at The Home Hill Inn, located along the banks of the Connecticut River. Over the next three years I found my voice in food. I was spoiled by the abundant produce, pastured live stock and the community’s enthusiasm for local quality. By 2013 I had received Yankee Magazine’s Best Seasonal Menu. The honor went to the River Road and Upper Valley community.


Yet I had still had so much to learn and grow. As a young chef you can only teach yourself so much. I went in search of guidance and mentorship. In late 2013 I began working for Chef Brad Farmerie and Chef Jonnatan Leiva in Napa, CA. They were extraordinary, complex, thoughtful and demanding chefs who taught me a new vision. Our purpose was to capture the essence of local agriculture and elevate the ingredients through technique. I was finally able to branch out into a market I was completely unfamiliar to. But along the way I began to see food differently, as an experience based on nostalgia but asking for innovation.


2015 brought all of my experience together while working at the highly regarded Beast + Bottle Restaurant in Denver, CO. Under the guidance of Chef Paul C. Reilly, I found the ability to utilize an ever-growing list of local farmers and ranchers. Our focus was on whole animal butchery, but we always respected the diverse farming community and their ability to grow the most beautiful high dessert produce as well. The prevailing lesson being, “do not cook by the book”, but to open the plate to what is being grown and readily available.


After almost four years removed from the community where I had begun my culinary career I was nostalgic to return with what I had learned and eagerly wanted to contribute. The opportunity presented itself to become the founding Executive Chef at theWild Roots. I know the next chapter will be the most exciting. We look forward to gathering, preparing, and serving food from this community.