From an early age, Walter Bundy’s experiences on the Piankatank River in the Chesapeake Bay instilled in him a reverence for indigenous ingredients. His summers were filled with profound culinary experiences, from eating fresh fish and crabs pulled from the river by his own hand to helping his grandmother in the kitchen as she baked pies from heirloom recipes. The family garden was prolific with everything from cucumbers to tomatoes and squash, and hunting trips with his father completed the earth-to-table eating that was simply their way of life. Bundy took his rich culinary heritage with him when he left home for Hampden-Sydney College, and he was fortunate to live on a country farm where hunting was plentiful. He took to cooking wild game for friends and family, and the connection between the land and the kitchen further strengthened his commitment to entertaining with locally informed cuisine.
While in college, Bundy helped open The Blue Point Restaurant on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The restaurant continues to be known for its “Southern coastal cuisine” and its use of the freshest local ingredients. After graduation, he was exposed to a whole new palette of flavors when a move to Santa Fe, New Mexico brought him to work at Mark Miller’s Coyote Café. Inspired by the variety of unfamiliar ingredients and flavor profiles, Bundy decided to enroll in the New England Culinary Institute. A desire to learn about wine subsequently brought him to the Napa Valley, where he worked with renowned chef Thomas Keller at the legendary French Laundry.
In 2002, Bundy was one of the featured chefs at the James Beard House in New York, and in the same year he presented a dinner for renowned New York chef Daniel Boulud. In 2003, Chef Bundy was the guest chef for The Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Gala dinner held in Virginia Beach. Bundy also participated in an offsite James Beard Dinner held at Todd Jurich’s Bistro in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2004, chef Bundy appeared on Food Network’s Food Nation with Bobby Flay and also appeared as a guest chef for a dinner to promote Patrick O’ Connell’s The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook.
Bundy was named executive chef at Lemaire in May 2001. As a native Virginian, he is committed to providing upscale Southern cuisine that showcases the bountiful seasons of the area. The menu honored traditions while providing a modern, fresh approach.
During his tenure in Lemaire, Bundy cooked at the James Beard House in New York and hosted a number of James Beard award winners in his kitchen for an annual fundraiser in support of the foundation. He regularly participates in local charity events and has been featured on Food Network’s Food Nation with Bobby Flay and the Cooking Channel’s Road Trip with G. Garvin. He is an active member of Southern Foodways Alliance and a big fan of the work that they do to preserve and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the American South.
Bundy opened his own restaurant, Shagbark, in summer 2016 in Libbie Mill-midtown.