Bill began his training at age 21 while working at River House under inkeeper Gayle Winston. His palate was extraordinary, and she encouraged him to broaden his culinary horizons. He left River House and embarked on his journey of discover that led him full circle.
First stop: the New England Culinary School in Vermont, where he earned his culinary arts degree as a protégé of Madeline Kamman. The world-renowned chef, restaurateur and author of The World-Famous Chef, she sparked Bill’s interest in methods of traditional French cooking.
To become expert in French cooking, of course, demands training in France, so Bill went abroad to work with some of the best.
His teachers read like a who’s who of French cuisine: Chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, twins who had just been named the best new chefs in France; Chef Antoine Westermann, who has held the highest Michelin rating for more than 25 years; and Chef Didier Clement, a L’Hotel de Lion d’Or.
Bill returned to the United States after a year, but his training was far from finished. Gary Danko recruited him for the opening of Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, which the James Beard Foundation named the best new restaurant in America that year. Bill was part of the team that prepared the James Beard Foundation Dinner in New York.
Bill then went to work for Ron Siegel, the first American to win the Iron Chef competition, to revamp a struggling San Francisco restaurant called Masa’s. Within months, Masa’s had won the coveted four-star designation by San Francisco restaurant critic Michael Bauer.
Now Bill was ready to return to Grassy Creek and the kitchen at River House.
“My time in France taught me so much about technique and style,” Bill says, “and working in San Francisco showed me what serious cooking in the U.S. is all about.”
But despite his level of training, Bill never forgets that his creations are meant first and foremost for the diners—many of them repeat customers—and he always tries to leave them relaxed, peaceful and content.
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