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Currently in its funding phase, The Chef & The Bee is a family-friendly casual fine dining restaurant concept that will combine local, Vermont produce and meats with a modern and exciting flair. The Chef & The Bee will source all of its produce and meats from Vermont farmers and meat producers as well as having our own culinary garden and orchards. Our goal is to capture the character of Vermont and showcase its bountiful resources in our restaurant and to inspire diners to eat locally and sustainably.
Food has a special ability to bring people together. The Chef & The Bee believes that local businesses should give back to the community that helped shape who they are. This is why we are committed to donating 5% of our quarterly profits to Hunger Free Vermont, a non-profit organization that strives to end the injustice of hunger and malnutrition for all Vermonters. More information about Hunger Free Vermont can be found at: https://www.hungerfreevt.org
As our name implies we are huge fans of bees and what they do. Without bees or other pollinators for that matter, life as we know it would cease to exist. That is why C&B will also, within 2 years of opening, create a bee and pollinator sanctuary to help promote the life of these vital creatures and provide a safe haven for them.
After our first year in business, we also plan on starting a scholarship open to any Vermont resident that is currently enrolled as a Junior or Senior in high school that wants to go into the Culinary Arts and wishes to attend any United States culinary school. This scholarship program is still in the developmental phase but will most likely consist of a three-day culinary competition that will challenge each applicant in various aspects of the Culinary Arts where at the end the winner of the competition will receive a $5,000 scholarship to the culinary school of their choice.
The Chef & The Bee has been a long-time dream of Chef Dan Williams. Chef Dan is a fifth-generation Vermonter who has always loved food, a trait he inherited from his Great-Grandmother Dorothy. He was in his Great-Grandmother's kitchen at a very young age helping her peel potatoes or shuck peas. It wasn't until Chef Dan was eight years old, however, that he truly found his love for cooking. "I remember the first time my Gramma let me cook on the stove, I was barely able to see the burners so she set a stool in front of the stove and I climbed up onto it and she taught me how to make her delicious sautéed potatoes. She set her old cast-iron skillet, which I inherited when she passed away, on the front burner of her 1950s stove. She instructed me to take a spoonful of bacon fat, she always had a jar full of it, and put it in the pan. I remember watching in astonishment as the tanish glob melted into a wonderful smelling clear liquid. She then had me toss in some sliced onions and brown those up and finally, she had me add the thinly sliced potatoes that my Great-Grandpa had grown into the pan. As I flipped the potatoes in the pan I remember being amazed at how after only a few short minutes in the hot bacon grease the potatoes were already becoming golden and crispy. After that first time on the stove, I knew all I wanted to do was to cook." Chef Dan attended Bellows Free Academy in Saint Albans, Vermont for high school where he took several culinary classes and started to develop his talent for cooking. After high school, he went on to attend the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) where his love for food grew even stronger. He recalls fondly the first time he was shown how to "break down" a whole pig. " It was honestly the most fascinating thing I had ever witnessed. I mean, during the pig demo it was explained how every part of the pig is edible, the tail, head, and my personal favorite, the trotters." During his time at NECI, all students were required to complete a six-month internship at a restaurant of their choosing. Chef Dan chose to do his internship with Chef Marcus Hamblett who owned One Federal Restaurant & Lounge in Saint Albans, Vermont. During his internship, he was mentored by Chef Marcus and was taught classic French techniques which Chef Dan still uses to this day. He was also taught the importance of using fresh, local ingredients and from-scratch cooking. After his internship, he was offered a full-time line cook position at the restaurant which he accepted and did not return to NECI. "I chose to stay on at One Federal instead of going back to school because, honestly, I had learned more from Chef Marcus, who used to teach at NECI, than I did at school." After about three months as a line cook at the restaurant, he was promoted to Sous Chef and continued to work there for four years. After his time at One Federal, Chef Dan moved to Florida for a year where he managed a Creperie and also worked at a seaside Italian restaurant. After one year of living in Florida, he decided to move back to his home state and was offered a job as a Head Chef at a pub and restaurant in Sheldon, Vermont. He spent three and a half years there where he learned the art of catering. In 2018, Chef Dan decided it was time to do his own thing. For the next two years, he spent a lot of his free time planning The Chef & The Bee. He wanted to create a restaurant that didn't serve the same food that everyone else in Vermont was serving. His vision for The Chef & The Bee focuses on using meats and produce that come from Vermont. "I just don't understand why chefs aren't using the amazing pantry that is in our own backyard. It seems that Vermont chefs have become too reliant on big commercial purveyors instead of the family farm down the road or the old man who forages mushrooms in the next town over. I don't know if it's just laziness or a lack of knowledge about what Vermont has to offer in terms of ingredients." Chef Dan's main goal with The Chef & The Bee is to educate diners on Vermont's luscious bounty and to promote the idea that Vermont is the next big culinary hub. He also is a huge advocate for the protection of pollinators, such as bees, and vows to create a pollinator sanctuary within two years of the restaurant's opening. "Without bees and other pollinators, the world will literally die. We will have no food. The current denial of climate change is a disgrace and with The Chef & The Bee I hope to make more people aware of the drastic changes that need to be made for the continual survival of our home."
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and open The Chef & The Bee. Your generous donation will fund our mission.
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