Welcome to Lilly Valley Inn. As Executive Chef and Owner, I am living my childhood dream. To meet new people from, literally, all over the world in this intimate setting is such a thrill. I grew up overseas in the countryside of communist Romania with my family. It was my grandmother who was my earliest influence. From the age of three, we worked the fields together, raised livestock and prepared traditional rustic meals. My passion for wine was born at this same time as my grandmother and I worked the vineyards in our backyard, making our own wine. Everything was farm to table before farm to table was hip.
To me, preparing amazing new dishes fuels my creative side. I am always looking to bring new flavors together, or to use new techniques. I simply don’t rest on creating a great dish, I look to create the next amazing dish. They say that variety is the spice of life, and I couldn’t agree more. Since opening in February, I can honestly say that I have prepared more than 100 different breakfast courses. These have included unique approaches for those guests who are vegan, plant-based, dairy restricted, etc. My philosophy is that just because someone has some type of restriction, they can’t have an amazing meal.
I started my culinary career from a different angle. I was a wine sales representative in Jacksonville, Florida. Not recognizing it at the time, but this added a new element to my palette. I experimented pairing wines with foods and flavors.
I have completed formal training courses at the Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon, and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. But it was my grandmother who inspired me when I was that little girl, and it is because of her that I am living my dream as Chef and owner of Lilly Valley Inn. I ask you to come stay with me for a couple days and share in this dream.