Michael Bates-Walsh, CEC
Chef | Owner
Speaking of Chef’s Michael’s family, take a moment to browse some of the artwork at the 1754 House—the watercolor paintings on the walls are from artist Brian Walsh, his father. Brian’s love for New England’s landscapes (and seascapes!) is evident in his art, and Chef Michael is excited for his father’s creations to be enjoyed by the guests of the 1754. House. Brian would always say “Art lifts your spirits -- Art is a window to the universe -- Collect art and give it away.”
Meet Chef Michael Bates-Walsh, owner of 1754 House. While he oversees the operation of the inn, restaurant & tavern, his creativity and talent account for the masterpieces created in the kitchen, preparing seasonal menus based on regional, locally-sourced sustainable ingredients.
As a child, it was Chef Michael’s grandmother who instilled the love of entertaining in him. Hosting friends and family, she taught Michael the importance of “rolling out the red carpet”. He is known for making dining room appearances to meet his guests and make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. Still, more inspiration came from his mother Jean, whom he calls Nona. “I remember summer weekend mornings, we would sit on the terrace of our farmhouse in New Hampshire, enjoying my mother’s Dutch pancake, fondly named “Nona’s Pancake”, a fixture on the menu and a guest favorite!
Chef Michael began his culinary career in high school, making bagels before his classes and working various restaurant jobs. He fell in love with the fast-paced environment and team mentality. Before acquiring the 1754 House, he was Executive Chef at the Copper Grouse in Manchester, VT until June 2019. Prior to the Copper Grouse, he was Executive Chef at the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, MA, which he helped open in 2016. He was the Executive Chef at the Cohasset Harbor Resort in Cohasset, MA and spent time in Portland, ME, where he opened the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. Earlier in his career, Chef Michael spent five years at The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester, VT.
When not at the 1754 House, Chef Michael spends time with his son Anderson and his wife Hannah. You may see Anderson in the lobby welcoming guests or working from his makeshift office! You may also find Hannah helping out at the inn, perfecting the décor or lending a hand wherever needed.
“This is an exciting adventure for me, my family, and the 1754 team,” says Chef Michael. “To own and operate the inn, restaurant and tavern, is a dream come true. I am looking forward to meeting our guests, and contributing to their enjoyment of local cuisine and life’s celebrations.”
Chef de Cuisine
When you talk with David DeMarco, our extraordinary Chef de Cuisine, you quickly learn that the word “team” genuinely means a lot to him.
“I thrive off the energy and camaraderie of a busy kitchen,” says David. “Our ability to deliver a superior dining experience comes from being a well-trained, organized, and comfortable team. In a way, it satisfies a longtime desire of mine to play on a professional sports team.”
Speaking of teams, the team of Chef Michael Bates-Walsh and David DeMarco began when David worked as a dishwasher at the Equinox Resort and Spa in Manchester, Vermont. There he quickly worked his way up the kitchen ranks. It was at the Equinox that David met Chef Michael and a legendary culinary partnership was born.
Throughout their careers, David and Chef Michael opened and worked together at renowned culinary destinations such as the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel in Portland, Maine; the Atlantica restaurant in Cohasset, MA; the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, MA; and soon it was back to Manchester, VT to bring the Copper Grouse at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel to the forefront of the culinary scene.
One of David’s signature dishes is his vegetarian Wild Mushroom Risotto. “What’s different and surprising is that we don’t use any cream or cheese, just vegetable stock,” says David. “It allows for the natural earthy flavors of the mushrooms to be the star of the show.”
Another dish David loves to cook is pan-seared scallops. “Its their simplicity–start with quality plump scallops, and just hard-sear them in a hot pan with salt, pepper and oil. The searing produces a nice brown crust on the outside and the inside remains soft and creamy.” Delicious!
When David is not cooking, he enjoys unwinding by playing video games, watching the Red Sox, and listening to classic rock. He looks forward to many busy days (and nights!) working alongside his team at 1754 House.
Cara has been with the 1754 House since March of 2020. Cara can be found in any of the corners of the building working on one of the many projects The House has underway, training the restaurant staff, whipping up social media posts, baking for the restaurant and inn, redecorating rooms, or starting a woodworking project in the basement.
"One of the things I enjoy most, is getting to know our guests,” says Cara. “Learning where they are from, and why they are visiting Woodbury. Most importantly, I love making sure their stay with us is a special experience, that they leave here at the end of their visit with a smile and promise to return for another stay or meal.”
Cara has lived in Connecticut for since 2003. She was raised in Central New York and enjoys spending time with her family which includes four children, cooking, knitting and gardening.
“I am busy doing the things I love,” says Cara. “I am thrilled to be working at the 1754 House and looking forward to continuing our success!