The connections we create in our personal lives help define us: the people we work with, our families, who we come home to. These connections all shape aspects of everyday life. Choosing to broaden these connections outside of our work and personal lives often leads to a more fulfilling place in our communities. Connecting to the food we purchase, cook, and eat – either by buying from local farmers or eating at restaurants serving farm-fresh food – opens up a world of connections that become deeply fulfilling.
Essence Restaurant Group has made this connection their topmost priority. In addition to being the first B Corp certified restaurant group in the world (a rigorous, third-party verification that measures things like employee turnover, volunteer efforts, carbon footprint, and ethical hiring practices), Essence and its restaurants serve farm-to-table meals designed to honor and elevate even the most humble ingredients. And by doing so have created a dining experience where the connection from farm to table reflects truly exceptional food.
One of Essence’s restaurants, Grove, is a beacon for this outlook on crafting farm-fresh cuisine. Since opening in 2011, Grove has continued to emphasize their commitment to focused dishes that are responsibly sourced, prepared with purpose, and brought to the table with impeccable service. These pillars of integrity and respect will continue under the guide of newly appointed head chef Jeremy Paquin.
Chef Paquin (pictured) originally came to the Essence group from Mia and Grace in Muskegon. Mia and Grace paved the way for respected, farm-to-table dining in Muskegon, and caught the attention of fellow chefs working for Essence restaurants. After his tenure at Mia and Grace, Chef Paquin accepted the role of Sous Chef at Bistro Bella Vita. His influence and passion for elevating simple yet elegant ingredients brought about the decision to make all of Bistro Bella Vita’s pasta in-house. And now, as the head chef of Grove, he is looking forward to reintroducing some older dishes, and keeping the focus on quality ingredients made impeccably.
Chef Paquin’s core beliefs line up well with the values and mission of Grove: that by placing importance and worth on farmers who treat their food well and with care, our dining experience becomes elevated – either in a restaurant or in our own kitchens. And by placing trust in the people who raise and grow our food, we should trust that food outside our normal range of expectation can be delicious. It’s a connection Chef Paquin likes to utilize.
“If I introduce something unusual in an interesting but familiar way, guests are more apt to order it,” he says. “It triggers something in your mind.”
While Grove might not the only restaurant to serve farm-to-table food, they distinctly stand out in their preparation and treatment of local ingredients. And it’s this vision, this sense of worth and determination, that Chef Paquin will carry forward.
For mouth-watering pictures and news of all happenings at Grove, follow their Twitter and Facebook. For specials, happy hours, and more information about their sustainable practices, visit essencerestaurants.com.