Photo: Michael on the Hill
Two award-winning restaurants in Waterbury! Or rather two award-winning Chefs I should say – to be more accurate.
The first one is Michael Kloeti, from Michael’s on the Hill. In 2007, Michael was awarded Vermont Chef of the Year by the Vermont Hospitality Council.
His restaurant is charming, located in a farmhouse dating from 1820, up on the hill, with views of the Green Mountains and his innovative food is simply delicious. It has that perfect blend of European and American Regional influences with a strong focus on local and fresh products.
And, on top of it, Michael is a wonderful person. If you have the chance to attend one of his cooking classes, don’t miss it, you won’t regret it. Michael, with his warm Swiss accent, can talk to you for hours about his passion for cooking and his passion for fresh, organic, local ingredients.
What is his background? Well, Michael is a native from Switzerland, where he started his cooking training and first work. He then moved to New York and joined Gray Kunz at Lespinasse Restaurant, a restaurant that received four stars from the New York Times.
He has also worked as Sous Chef at the Lodge at Koele Resort in Lanai, Hawaii, and as Chef de Cuisine at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.
He and his wife Laura, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, finally moved to Vermont to raise their family and opened their restaurant Michael’s on the Hill in 2002. They also offer catering services, and it is quite a privilege to have Michael prepare your wedding dinner for instance!
The second chef is Eric Warnstedt, from Hen of the Wood. He is one of ten chefs from all over the U.S. to have received the 2008 Best New Chef award from the prestigious Food & Wine magazine and will be featured in their July issue. The award recognizes up-and-coming chefs in America who are “innovators with a distinct culinary style and vision creating exceptionally delicious food”.
Definitely, a restaurant we need to check out. We are sure it must be quite an experience, with such recognition, and the setting seems wonderful – the restaurant is located in a historic 19th-century grist mill.
And finally, like Michael Kloeti, Eric Warnstedt likes to cook with the best local ingredients. A native of Florida, Eric worked previously at the Wildwood Restaurant in Portland, Oregon; Mark’s in Fort Lauderdale; and Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont.
That is nice to see local gastronomy getting this kind of recognition. Vermont is the place for great outdoors, maple syrup, delicious cheddar, and of course Ben & Jerry’s world-renown ice-cream… it can now add “fine gastronomy” to the list of great things to enjoy here!
And if you have dinner in one of these places, drop us a comment. We would love to know your opinion.