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Patrick Willis

Born and raised in Goochland County, in the Richmond Region, Patrick grew up learning southern culinary traditions from both sides of his family. His mother’s relatives in Wolftown, VA taught him the value and beauty of canning and cooking from scratch. From his father’s side in Eastern North Carolina, he developed an appreciation for the smoking and slow-roasting of pork and other meats.       

The fifth person in his family to attend East Carolina University, Patrick enrolled as a freshman to pursue a career as a pharmacist.  After two years of heavy science curriculum he recognized that his passions instead lay in the kitchen, based upon his first job experiences at the FoxHead Inn and Tanglewood Ordinary in Goochland. He changed his major to Hospitality Management, and continued to focus on the culinary arts.

Following graduation, he stayed in Greenville where he worked and trained under the chef/owner of CPW’s.  Here he honed his skills in the kitchen, restaurant operations and guest service.  It was also here that he met his lovely wife, Dee.  

In 2009, Patrick’s Virginia roots and his wife’s career path to becoming a physician led them back to Richmond.  Patrick joined the Lemaire team at The Jefferson Hotel just as the restaurant was launching a newly renovated space, featuring a New American menu with Virginia grown ingredients and the southern influences of Richmond.  His training under Chef Walter Bundy and the integral role that he plays in Lemaire’s kitchen and overall operations made Patrick the natural choice to become Executive Chef of Lemaire.

When he is not in the kitchen, one can usually find Patrick outside. Between caring for his young son, tinkering with old bicycles, and working in the garden, he remains quite occupied. He also enjoys time on the James River - kayaking, duck hunting, or fishing. Or, you may just find him tending his homemade smoker, preparing a delicious cut of meat for his family’s dinner.