owner / operator
Jesse’s entire professional career has been dedicated to the hospitality industry. With family in the restaurant business, Jesse was exposed to “the life” at an early age. Naturally, he was attracted to the restaurants and started bussing tables when he was 17. His father always stressed the importance of working each position with in the restaurant in order to really get a true understanding of the business as a whole. Ultimately, this was invaluable training and gave him the foundation he needed to be successful. Over the next ten years, Jesse opened ten restaurants while holding the title of Director of Operations for Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab & Fatty ‘Cue restaurants. Looking for new opportunities and challenges, Jesse then went on to oversee the Northeast region for a publically traded, subscription based, meal delivery company. Under Jesse’s leadership & with his operational efficiencies, he was able to save the company just under $1M within his first twelve months of employment. With a fiancé in the apple farming business & his extensive career in the food business, Jesse always knew that he would end up in the Hudson Valley. There is something special about being able to purchase the food for your restaurant from a farmer down the road, that you know by name. With his fiancés deep roots in the community, they were able to put together this amazing project & make Jesse’s life long dream come true!
Chef Shawn Burnette’s long and formidable career began in Richmond, VA at age 15 and although he dabbled in other fields, the food and beverage industry kept reeling him back in. Shawn has worked every position possible in the restaurant business and opened over 20 restaurants in his diverse career. Working with Chefs such as Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s, April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, and Mark Ladner of Del Posto deeply influenced Shawn and his relationship with food and methods in the kitchen. Insistent on using produce and ingredients of the finest quality, Chef Burnette has developed a relationship with farmers and purveyors that inform everything about his cooking style. Working in The Hudson Valley, he will continue to deepen those relationships in some of the richest farmland in the country. Thrilled to have access to countless family farms, purveyors, and orchards, all of his previous experience has prepared him to be a steward of a remarkable land and history. According to Shawn, “I have consistently been the luckiest man to ever stand behind a stove. I have been fortunate enough to cook next to some of the greatest teachers in the industry for the past 8 years. I now have a once in a lifetime opportunity that is uniquely suited to my fascinations and strengths. I won’t rest until I make the farmers and every chef that has taken the time to help me get here proud.” -Angel Powell
Jessica Gonzalez has been in the service industry for over 20 years. She began bartendingat 18, putting herself through school for a degree in Fine Arts and later Interior Design. She worked all over NYC in bars and restaurants while pursuing her love of painting. As part of the opening staff of New York’s acclaimed cocktail bar, Death & Company, a job Jessica worked while earning her degree in Interior Design, she was able to find a new outlet for her creativity: inventing cocktails. There she honed her craft of the cocktail and spirits knowledge, as well as service. Jessica went on to become the opening Head Bartender at the NoMad where she was instrumental in receiving a James Beard Nomination the first year and earned the award for Best Bar Program the following year. Under her leadership at NoMad, the bar earned nominations and awards from Tales of the Cocktail for Best Hotel Bar and Best Restaurant Bar. Jessica’s drinks can be found in various cocktail books including Gary Regan’s 2011 Annual Manual for Bartenders, at which she received a Gazzer for being “Fabulous.” Jessica currently lives in Beacon, NY sharing her curated cocktail experience in the Hudson Valley while continuing to consult on NYC bar programs, Spirits Brands and events coordination
design & construction
Amanda Baxter is a Hudson Valley entrepreneur who operates many local businesses. She is a co-owner of Heritage Food + Drink, President at R.L. Baxter Building Corporation, owner of Baxter Property Management, and has consulted for Mill House Brewing Company. Baxter’s name is no stranger to the Hudson Valley. Amanda aspires to develop projects that aid in revitalizing the area she grew up in and where Amanda raises her two children. As a Duchess County, native, Amanda understands that local businesses give a community its flavor and its roots. By expanding into the hospitality industry, Baxter’s talents have brought about niche destination restaurants that benefit local communities. Amanda has successfully completed projects, from modest residential renovations to some of the most sophisticated ground-up commercial spaces. Amanda is the mastermind behind two expressive design and gut renovation restaurants in the Hudson Valley; Heritage Food + Drink and Mill House Brewing Company. Amanda’s design at Heritage Food + Drink, a farm-to- table restaurant in Wappinger’s Falls, showcases multiple spaces from leisurely, intimate dining to large private dining rooms. Heritage is all Baxter Built and is a stunning example of what Baxter can do. Amanda Baxter is driven in her career and feels proud to be part of flourishing local businesses here in the Hudson Valley.
Alisha Albinder grew up on an apple orchard in the heart of the Hudson Valley so local food has always been a huge part of her life. Her family has been rooted (quite literally) in the area for 4 generations growing, packing & selling the highest quality apples. She currently works with her family at Hudson River Fruit Distributors, a local business that sells a majority of the apples grown in the Hudson Valley. Her love for growing and supplying local food has inspired her newest project Heritage Food + Drink. Being able to integrate her love for working with local farmers and distributing local food through a new avenue is very exciting. From farm to supermarket or farm to table, she is passionate about sharing the beauty and bounty of the Hudson Valley.