Ever since I can remember I have always maintained an affinity for the small, intimate fine dining setting. Wanting to escape the harsh New England winters, my family and I set out to find an Inn in the mountains of North Carolina to take over and make our own. The problem was that finding a place in Asheville seemed viable but potentially very expensive. Then one day my father found Stoneridge on a Bed and Breakfast broker site. We went to visit and immediately fell in love with it. All the possibilities were there except having an operational/popular restaurant meant we would have to widen the quaint one lane road to two lanes, allowing cars to come and go. So, not long after we moved to the area and took over Stoneridge, I went back into the restaurant business in February of 2003 as the sous chef at the Willson-Walker House, a fine-dining restaurant in the heart of Lexington, Virginia. That is where I met Doug Kiely.
While at Willson-Walker and working with Doug, we did exceedingly well, receiving local, state and national recognition. However, there was still the drive to do something more. I mentioned to Doug my thoughts and wanted to know if was interested in starting a catering company with me out of my family’s Inn, Stoneridge. The thought was that a catering company would allow us to have special events at the Inn as well, circumventing anything pertaining to the one lane road rule.
The catering idea took shape and in March of 2005 both Doug and I left the Willson Walker House. We hit the ground running. As a bonus, not working in the restaurant and the flexibility of a catering company schedule allowed me to offer dinner to our guests at the Inn. The menus were seasonal and usually a 4 course meal. Offering dinner at the Inn was some of the best food I have done and I am very proud to have done it. Once the catering business really started to take off I had to stop doing dinners at the Inn because the catering events usually conflicted with a standard dinner time.
Doug and I saw some great years together with our company. Eventually the economy changed and slowed, so did the catering. In 2015, I took over the catering company as sole owner/chef/operator. 2015 proved to be a rebirth for CHEFS Catering Company. It was the busiest year, most productive year since 2009 and fourth best since CHEFS began in 2005.
I thank Doug for his friendship and partnership in CHEFS Catering and wish him much success and happiness.