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Head Chef Vanessa Hadden

Vanessa Hadden, a Livingston Manor native who earned her Pastry Arts Degree from SUNY Sullivan before working at top-tier resorts and restaurants from Alaska to South Carolina, has brought her culinary talents back to Sullivan County.

As her recent profile in the River Reporter explains, Hadden’s initial travels stemmed from a feeling “that the pasture would be greener somewhere else,” but “every time I went there, it just was never quite right.”

She runs one of the top-rated eateries in the Catskills, plans on being a Michelin-Star chef, makes a stellar batch of locally sourced whiskey sausage fries, and she likes to scrapbook.

“There was a brief time that I thought that maybe this was not the career path for me,” Hadden said. “I had some experiences that didn’t exactly scream self confidence… [but] I don’t like to give up. I don’t like to give anyone that satisfaction. So, I just kept pushing and driving myself… to be better than what was expected of me.”

I can’t see myself having a nine-to-five desk job,” she continues. “I think that’s the biggest driver for me. I can’t do that. I grew up doing this for years.” From donuts in Livingston Manor to Alaska, and back to where she began. Which, it turns out, was in the exact same place we’re standing as she tells me this.

Now settling into her role as head chef for local hospitality entrepreneur Sims Foster, Hadden’s profile is a must-read!