Chef Jeremy Paquin prepares for next venture after fulfilling mission at Essence

Posted: 12/27/23

Executive Chef Jeremy Paquin

(GRAND RAPIDS, MI) – Notable West Michigan Chef Jeremy Paquin announced today that he is stepping away from his Chief Culinary Officer duties at Essence Restaurant Group to take a partnership position at Grand Haven retailer Blueberry Haven. Paquin’s last day with Essence will be January 14, 2024. He leaves Essence fulfilling his goal of elevating kitchen leadership at each of the company’s four restaurants to award-winning levels. 

“When I took this role, I set the standard very high for each of our kitchens, chefs and menus,” said Paquin. “I’m proud to say that, thanks to an amazing team effort, all four Essence restaurants are operating at an elevated level and will do so well into the future. With my goal met, I feel now is a good time to step away and begin a new challenge.”   

Paquin joined Essence in 2015 as a Sous Chef at Bistro Bella Vita. Before that, he pioneered the farm-to-table concept in Muskegon with Mia and Grace. In 2017, Essence leadership tapped Paquin to lead the kitchen at award-winning hot spot Grove. Eventually, he served as the company’s Chief Culinary Officer, overseeing menus and mentoring chefs at Bistro, The Green Well, grove and, most recently, Lucy’s.

Paquin graduated from Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management at San Jacinto College in Houston in 2000 and has worked in the restaurant industry ever since. At Blueberry Haven, Paquin will be stepping out from behind the kitchen to assist with expanding the brand’s retail offerings. He intends to counsel Essence leadership for a short period following this planned transition to ensure continuity. Essence has no plans to replace the role of Chief Culinary Officer, noting that Paquin has empowered each location’s chef teams to carry the torch. 

“His dedication to his craft, creativity, local sourcing, teaching and hard work will be missed by the Essence family,” said Essence Restaurant Managing Partner James Berg. “Mostly, however, we will miss ‘Jeremy’ the person. We knew this day would come, so we couldn’t help but be excited for what he was going to do next. We thank Jeremy for giving so much of himself in a way that the entire West Michigan community has benefited from.”

“I’m super excited to see how great the West Michigan culinary scene has become,” Paquin added. “There are so many passionate operators and chefs that take to heart how they source and offer food. Our community is blessed with some amazing establishments, and I’m lucky to have been part of one of the best with Essence Restaurant Group. Cheers!”

Jeremy will be at grove on January 11, 2024 if you’d like to stop by and say hi and wish him well. More details will be shared soon on their social media channels and through their email list, which you can subscribe to here:

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