About the Chef
From the age of fourteen, I was comfortable cooking. The chocolate chip cookie company that my friend, Randi, and I ran throughout the summer of 1982 not only kept us out of trouble, but brought us each a whopping $11.00 per week. By the age of sixteen I was cooking at a local breakfast place and I was applying to culinary schools soon after my second year of college began.
I chose New England Culinary Institute for its small student-teacher ratio and its proximity to my hometown of Manchester, Vermont. I did well there and quickly absorbed as much as I could from the great chefs that I worked for in New England and Aspen, Colorado. Three of the largest influences on my style were Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of Arrow’s in Ogunquit, Maine and Alex Kim, for whom I was sous chef at Syzygy in Aspen, Colorado.
In 1996 I became chef of my own place, The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern. This was an incredibly exciting opportunity for me to “drive the bus” and create a style of cooking that I could call my own. I have labeled my style as “freestyle” as I like to start with classic dishes and twist them just a bit. I am a member of the Vermont Fresh Network and am a firm supporter of local agriculture and locally produced foods. This is reflected in my menus which change with the seasons.
The Perfect Wife Dining Room focuses on fine dining, serving entrees like Sesame Crusted Yellowfin Tuna, the most delicious Crab Cakes you’ve ever tasted and Grilled Filet Mignon with Roasted Garlic, Oyster Mushroom and Guiness Stout Demi Glaze. The Perfect Wife Tavern is a popular gathering place serving out-of-the-ordinary favorites such as Cajun Popcorn (beer battered crawfish tails) and home-style comfort foods including Chicken Pot Pie and Vermont’s own Boyden Farm Beef Burgers. Live music on the weekends is also a big draw in the tavern. We were voted the #1 live music venue in Manchester, VT. We are big supporters of the local bands and music scene.
The Perfect Wife is also one of the area’s premier caterers, hosting events at the restaurant and cooking for groups of up to 275 off premise. In addition, we have been chosen as the exclusive non-wedding events caterer at Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, right here in Manchester.
And what’s a chef bio without a little name dropping? I have had the pleasure of appearing five times on the Food Network, including a Thanksgiving special with Sara Moulton taped here in Manchester in 2002 and two victories on “Ready, Set, Cook!” I was also chosen to represent the state and the USA in Dijon, France in July of 2009 at the 4/14 Festival of Music and Food. I was among a great line-up of American Chef’s including Bill Yosses, the White House pastry chef. It was an honor and a spectacular experience. More recently, I was chosen by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce as Vermont’s Chef of the Year.
Aside from running the Perfect Wife, I am raising my son, Duncan, an avid soccer player, hockey star and short stop. And he can beat me down the mountain on skis or a snowboard. Duncan has an interest in cooking, but he can’t wait to be a bus boy. Lucky me!
I stay very busy with the community as well. The Perfect Wife sponsors many charitable events in Manchester and I ofter donate my time to raise money for local non-profit groups and to increase awareness of the importance of eating locally grown foods. Vermont has so much to offer. I feel it is important to support our neighbors and cultivate a strong economy so that living in this gorgeous land is profitable and enjoyable for all of us.