Every great dish is known to have a secret ingredient that distinguishes its taste from others. We’re proud to exclaim that all of our recipes benefit from the guiding hand of Chef Meseret – and have for 15 years
The now Executive Chef and Inn Manager is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She moved to Irvington, VA in 2003, with her husband (Northern Neck native). Working at the Hope and Glory Inn was her first occupation—turned career—after her arrival.
While she began as a housekeeping supervisor, her duties included cooking breakfast for the guests. She had always wanted to cook and this opportunity at the Inn’s restaurant allowed her to do just that. Not long after, she began a culinary program through Rappahannock Community College where she became ‘Chef De Cuisine.’ Later continuing her education, she graduated from Auguste Escoffier French Culinary School, as Chef.
When talking to Meseret, about cooking, her eyes light up. She quickly grabs several different types of basil leaves, and rubs them together between her fingers, so that you can smell them while she explains the differences. “Cinnamon basil is best in dishes that contain cinnamon, and of course, Ethiopian food.” She continues, describing it as “chemistry” –learning and mastering the combinations of flavors.
Her favorite items to prepare are oysters and other seafood-related dishes. To each, she adds her own Ethiopian flare but carefully tweaked to “American taste” as she puts it, “not too hot.”
After just a few moments of reading any review of the Inn on Trip Advisor, Google, or other platforms, it is evident that she has ‘mastered’ her science- each page is filled with glowing reports. Like this one:
“Chef Crockett’s culinary dinner delights were the shining star of our romantic weekend! From the pesto infused oysters, to the perfectly prepared and seasoned rockfish. This was matched with decadent chocolate cake. Dine here, you will not be disappointed!” – Pathfinder309490, Trip advisor
Or this highlight from a longer review: “She [Meseret] was personally responsible for not only cooking and serving the meal, but taking the time to explain in detail where the oysters and crab were sourced – within miles of the inn, and her methods of cooking” The MaritimeExplorer from Canada also adds: “Simply put, the meal was one of the best we’ve ever had. The Rappahannock oysters baked with asiago in their own liquor is a signature dish worth coming many miles to sample.”
And there are countless others, just like these. Many of which are left by returning visitors.
Along with the ‘fresh and locally grown’ seafood, Chef Meseret also grows her own herb garden and buys all produce from the local farmers’ markets whenever possible. She is proud to be a female Chef. She loves the community and speaks of the Inn’s owners, Dudley and Peggy Patteson as if they are her family. Dudley even describes her relationship with Peggy as “sisters or the best of friends.”
The three clearly have a tight relationship and mutual regard for one another. Meseret cares for the Inn as if it is her own. You feel it the minute that you walk through the door, and she is often the first face that you will see.
In addition to her cooking talents, the Chef is fluent in five languages; Amharic (her native language), English, German, Italian and French. When she’s not cooking, she’s assembling flower arrangements, studying and witnessing her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, and practicing new dishes from other cultures.
Hard work, passion, and a desire to know more are just a few of the ingredients to Meseret’s success. Lucky for all of us, she loves to connect and share.
Meseret, Thank YOU for all that you add to our Inn and our community.
-Written by Reggie Rossignol