2013 Carolinas Rising Star Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House Restaurant

2013 Carolinas Rising Star Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House Restaurant
November 2013

The Fearrington House Restaurant
2000 Fearrington Village Center
(Fearrington Village) Pittsboro, NC 27312
www.fearrington.com

Recipe

Photos

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.


I Support: American Heart Association

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

Why: When starting a partnership it needs to be a good fit and it felt right when we met the first time.


Interview with Hotel Chef Colin Bedford of Fearrington House – Pittsboro, NC

Caroline Hatchett: What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?

Colin Bedford: It’s one of the only things I was good at. When I was young, mom stayed at home and cooked and I would find myself standing on things to get to the counter to help.

CH: What’s your proudest accomplishment to date?

CB: Winning the Grand Chef Award. There are only 22 winners in North America. 

CH: Who’s your mentor and what did you learn from him?

CB: Phil Vickory. He took over after Gary Rhodes and got a Michelin star. The most important thing I learned was what works with flavor, if there’s apricot on the plate, it should taste like apricot.

CH: What is your favorite food book?

CB: My favorite book is White Heat by Marco Pierre White. He creates something that is so true to kitchen life—so inspiring.  

CH: What’s the most difficult thing you've done?

CB: A service. I took over the kitchen in December 2008. Scott Crawford was in the dining room, the kitchen had no water, the line cooks were switched off, I turned into someone I wasn’t.

CH: Where will we find you in five years?

CB: We have something unique here, a lot of diversity, and there are things I want to achieve before I move on. I figure Thomas Keller stayed in a place for a long time. This isn’t a turnkey operation. I’ll still be here. I’m happy here. I want to continue building a team. Teamwork is huge. 

CH: What parts of the Fearrington Village food operation do you oversee?

CB: Breakfast, afternoon tea, banquets, room service, all the restaurants. It’s important to pay close attention to breakfast and bread and butter service—it’s when we make out first impression, guests will remember it.

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