Bleu Chefs

Chef Douglas PaineChef Douglas Paine

I was born in the small town of St. Johnsbury, VT and raised in Waterford, VT an even smaller town on the Connecticut river. People are very connected to the land there. It is an agricultural area with hunting and fishing being quite popular. I learned early on in life that there were very good things to eat all around. Wild black berries, raspberries, blueberries, partridge, venison, trout, bass…the list goes on and on. One of my earliest food memories is when my parents told me that people eat dandelions. I tried it and hated it. I love them now, but I’ll always remember the first experience of something so bitter. Another early memory is visiting my uncle’s farm and meeting a pig that we named Boss Hog. A while later we got some bacon that was very good and were told it had come from Boss Hog. I don’t remember feeling sad about it, just how good the bacon was. I remember learning early on in school that food was an important part of what made Vermont so unique. In history we learned about what the native Vermonters would have eaten and to this day I remember tasting pine sap gum, birch twigs and maple sap frozen in the bucket. I didn’t realize it until much later in life but these things really shaped my culinary viewpoint.

I was lucky enough over the years to work for chefs who were very talented and willing to share their knowledge and give me freedom to develop my own style. I owe a lot, as every chef does, to those who trained me. The bulk of my culinary training came in Vermont. Most of which came at Mr. Pickwick’s in Stowe and Michael’s on the Hill in Waterbury Center. At Mr. Pickwick’s my first chef was Mark James. He gave me the opportunity to be a line cook with very little experience. Then there was Sam Palmisano, he taught me that it was ok to be as creative as you wanted as long as the end result was delicious. At Michael’s on the Hill, I learned the fine points of European Cuisine from chefs Michael and Laura Kloeti. They also taught me the importance of attention to detail and shared with me their strong beliefs in the local and sustainable food movement. Because of that I got to meet and work with many great farmers and food producers. Through this came the realization that every great Vermont product has a hard working and humble person behind it. You appreciate that product more when you learn that a farmer narrowly avoided losing an entire crop of to frost, by staying up all night and spraying water on the field by hand, because the irrigation pump broke.

My philosophy on food is pretty simple, find the best ingredients possible. Then make them into something fresh and delicious. I also believe that as a chef I have a responsibility to seek out ingredients that are good  for the guests, the environment, the community and the future generations of Vermont.

Chef Wayne FreemanChef Wayne Freeman

Hello, my name is Wayne Freeman and I have been in the food service industry for thirty years. I have worked in such localities as Bar Harbor, Maine, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. I have worked in large seafood restaurants on the coast as well as hotels in Northern Vermont. My passion and commitment to the service industry is only surpassed by my passion for food and happy customers. I have worked for Westport Hospitality for two years and I’m looking forward to working with Chef Doug Paine to create a new and exciting restaurant.

I believe in simple fresh food with an emphasis on quality local products. Together as a team we will provide excellent food and service. I look forward to serving you.