England native Colin Bedford had a head start in the artisanal, sensory immediacy of modern cooking: he was inspired to cook at a young age by his mother’s baking and his father’s vegetable garden. From that formative hands-on experience, Bedford earned a diploma in Hospitality from Yeovil College in Somerset, where he later apprenticed at The Castle Hotel under renowned British Chef Phil Vickery.
Bedford might have kept his talents in the British Isles, but a job at The Prince of Wales Hotel in Canada drew Bedford across the pond. There, he worked his way up the ranks to the position of junior sous chef, and he developed a lasting cooking philosophy, a principle that harkens back to the early days of baking and gardening at home: “simplicity is key to maximizing flavors.”
Not that simplicity doesn’t allow for expansion. Now firmly ensconced as executive chef of Fearrington House in Fearrington Village, Bedford delves into all aspects of the culinary world, from weddings and creating pub fare menus for The Fearrington Granary and Roost to preparing house-made jams, house-cured meats, and freshly baked breads (with honors due, in part, to his parents). Indeed, whatever occasion he’s cooking for, Bedford’s menus inevitably mingle the culinary traditions of the American South and his English heritage. And his early passion for the soil is now a commitment to sustainability and health, with Bedford as a key player in getting Fearrington House LEED certified, choosing to serve only non-endangered seafood species, and spearheading public school initiatives to improve lunchtime menus in Chatham County public schools.