On the cusp of 40, Broomall native John Patterson has traded the life of big-city executive chef (Fork in Old City) for a new job: executive chef at the Inn at Shelburne Farms, in a considerably more scenic locale, on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont.
Patterson started at the farm several months ago, as his successor at Fork — Jeremy Hansen — was announced last month.
Patterson credits his wife, Leah, with finding the ad, prompting his first-ever trip to New England to scout it out. Now he calls it a dream job.
Shelburne, set on a 1,400-acre working farm and the home of Shelburne Cheddar, is a nonprofit whose mission is teaching and building a sustainable future. Farm-to-table pioneering chef Dan Barber consulted with management at Shelburne while developing his vaunted Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York’s Hudson Valley.
“They’re on the forefront of farm to table,” said Patterson, who’s been talking the talk for years at not only Fork but at previous stops Gramercy Tavern in New York and Talula’s Table in Kennett Square.
Being on a farm, amid dozens of other farms, has been an education. “There are all these little ecosystems up here — all these locally supported businesses working together,” he said.
He’ll wear more of an education hat himself, teaching groups, after the high season winds down in October