Derek knew he wanted to be a chef since the third grade. Two days after his fifteenth birthday, he got his first cooking job at the Corner Bar in Rockford as a line cook and instantly fell in love with kitchen life. Derek started at GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts at the young age of 17 and in 2007, opened Restaurant Bloom, a former restaurant in Grand Rapids.
This experience taught him how to transition from being a young line cook to making and creating great food. Derek eventually met Pat Wise and together, decided The Green Well would be a great fit for him. Derek loves to prepare and enjoy cured meat and fermented foods.
Shea has worked in the restaurant industry for over 15 years, bringing much experience to The Green Well team. She attended Michigan State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. With a love for good food, Shea has taken any opportunity presented to her to travel and work abroad.
Her passion and adventurous personality have taken her to work in the hospitality industries in Southeast Asia as well as New Zealand. She finds great joy in working with her team, along with the community to create a comfortable, creative and fun dining experience.
Managing Partner, Essence Restaurant Group
James helped open Bistro Bella Vita back in 1996 and formed Essence Restaurant Group with his partner, and Chief Culinary Officer, Patrick Wise in 2006. Essence Restaurant Group owns and operates Bistro Bella Vita, The Green Well, Grove, and Rockford Riverside Grille.
His goal is to continue to build a collection of restaurants that foster a socially conscious environment and healthy lifestyle for all those who contribute to them.
We serve honest fayre with local flair in a green, neighborhood setting that keeps customers coming back. Our innovative gastro pub is green beyond it’s name: Our building is Leed certified inside and out which means it’s environmentally safe, ultra efficient and leaves behind the smallest carbon footprint.