Colin Bedford is the executive chef of The Fearrington House Restaurant, one of the most venerable fine dining restaurants in the south. Guided by seasonality, his cuisine interplays the legendary culinary traditions of the American South with his European training with a focus on local ingredients.
Anyone who has chatted with 34-year-old Bedford might quickly guess he grew up in England. Bedford’s culinary interests started at an early age, he says, enamored by his mother’s home baking and helping his father water the vegetable garden. After graduating from Yeovil College in Somerset with a diploma in hospitality, he took on his first full-time job in 1996. He became an apprentice at The Castle Hotel, a Norman fortress built in the 12th century, where he worked under esteemed British chef Phil Vickery. The Castle, like Fearrington, is a family-run property, known for fostering up-and-coming chefs. Bedford joined The Fearrington House in 2005 and was promoted to Executive Chef in 2008. Since then, his exceptional menus have won critical acclaim. The Fearrington House earned a national ranking as one of the top hotel food destinations in the world (Condé Nast Traveler). The restaurant boasts a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond status. Bedford was named a Grand Chef by Relais & Châteaux, the international culinary world’s highest honor. Bedford has since cooked at the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef dinner in London in 2013 and at Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest in Caramel by the Sea in 2015 and 2016.
The Fearrington House Restaurant is the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in the country to be Green Certified by the not-for-profit Green Restaurant Association.
Describe your culinary philosophy in FOUR words...
My culinary philosophy: evolving, flavors, season-driven, fun
What is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration has to be the different seasons in our region and the ingredients we get from them. That is what really defines our entire menu and culinary style.
What three things would you take on an island?
I’ve got to go with a bottle of Pappy van Winkle, my iPod (as long as it lasts) and a knife....
Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Sometimes the amateur cook gets wrapped up in the preparation, cooking and probably setting the table. It is important to write an action plan the day before with a clear head so you can remember everything you have to do as you can forget things when you feel the pressure. Logistics is another simple aspect people overlook, if you have five sauce pots that need to be on the stove and you only have four burners then you have a problem. Don't be afraid to make mistakes – we do all the time! However, lots of good ideas come out of them... Remember the five key elements sweet, salty, acid, texture and most important balance...
- AAA Five Diamonds
- Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux
- Forbes Five-Star Award
- Top 10 Best Restaurants in the US, OpenTable
- Rising Star of the Carolinas, StarChef
- 2014 Semi-finalist for James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast
2000 Fearrington Village Center