Archive for April, 2015


Tuscan banquet

Posted on Apr 25 2015 | By

Seeking your inner chef in Tuscany 

Linda and George Meyers

Linda and George Meyers

George and Linda Meyers love making friends; more than 150 a year. And their new found companions enjoy earning a graduate degree in Tuscan cooking while living la buona vita.

OK, an actual sheepskin might not convey after a week-long immersion in all things Tuscan. But their guests do take home a sheaf of Italian recipes and lots of memories.

Vacation doesn’t properly define these six days in paradise; ultimate experience does. Eight week-long cooking classes are held in the spring and eight in the fall.

The Haymarket based company Cooking in Tuscany was founded by the Meyers in 2007 and established itself as the rare vacation business that is both owned and operated by the proprietors. They are your hosts from the moment you check into your 13th century villa until you check out.

“We are there to meet them in the morning for breakfast and there to put them to bed at night. We have a translator and create a comfort level. The tour is very comforting to a lot of people. We take care of everything. These are our friends visiting us for a week.

“And it’s all inclusive. It’s not a fancy chef’s school. It’s a five-star luxury trip for people who don’t want to be tourists but want to be locals,” said Meyers.

As a retired Air Force pilot, George Meyers lived all over the United States and in Italy. When not tending to his cooking classes, Meyers heads up a business development firm headquartered in Washington, DC.

“Wherever we lived and had guests visit, we often became the tour guides,” said Meyers. This was particularly true in Tuscany where the couple has an apartment.

After a few years Meyers thought, “We could do this as a business. That’s where it started and that’s where it’s at now,” said Meyers.

Guests hail from around the world but 70 percent are from the United States or Canada; women predominate but couples are frequent participants. “At the end of the week the group has blended together.

“People are from all over, South Africa, India, England, Australia, everywhere; and after a week they haven’t just come to a cooking school. They’ve seen all of Tuscany,” said Meyers.

A day in the life
CIT2Cooking vacations in Tuscany are not hard to find. The legendary culture and stunning scenery attracts many who want to learn first-hand the secrets of Italian cuisine. Virtually all such plans have professional chefs that teach week-long classes. The focus is on the kitchen.

The Meyers have developed a unique alternative to such one-dimensional vacations. Total immersion in the Tuscan culture is the goal and the kitchen is integrated into the lifestyle of the region.

“We don’t have chefs teaching at our school. We know the local women. It’s like my Italian grandmother teaching you how to cook. We call them cooking events or cooking occasions,” said Meyers.

Guests arrive on a Sunday and check in to an historic villa in the hilltop village of Montefollonico. The next morning the group—ranging in size from eight to 16 people—drifts down the street to a little kitchen managed by an older Italian woman. The “chef” has decades of home cooking experience under her apron. Her tools may even include a pizza peel that’s been in use for decades.

For over two hours the group is introduced to the art of making pasta, sauces and more. There’s not an electric appliance in sight. This is down-home cooking at its best.

“The same recipes my grandmother used are used by these women. It’s amazing,” said Meyers. Guests do not have to participate in the classes if they simply want to sip wine and observe. “But everybody wants to learn Tuscan cooking.”

The morning’s efforts culminate in a lunch prepared by the students. There is no clock watching here. For more than two hours, wine and conversation freely flow as newly learned skills that just produced authentic Old World dishes are enjoyed in a leisurely fashion. The mind frame here is “When in Tuscany do as the Tuscans do.”

After lunch, the group retires back to the villa, freshens up and returns street-side to a waiting 16 passenger bus. It’s time to visit another nearby hilltop village.

Afternoons are the heart of becoming Tuscan. Each day a different village is on the agenda. One famous town is Cortona, home to author Frances Mayes who wrote “Under the Tuscan Sun”. The Meyers know Mayes.

The personally guided tours seek to take guests off the beaten path and enlarge their understanding of local life. Visits are conducted to ruins of Roman baths, winery tours and tastings, cheese making shops and more.

“We personally show them all of the things in Tuscany. It’s just like we’d do with a visiting friend or relative,” said Meyers.

One popular event is truffle hunting. A professional truffle guide takes the group out to the countryside and shows them how they hunt for truffles. After the tour, the chef wannabes learn how to cook with the tasty delicacy.

It would be a challenge to eat truffles again without recalling the unique experience.   

CIT3 (1)As evening falls, thoughts of dinner begin to crowd in on the now newly installed citizens of Tuscanland. Around 7:30 p.m., the Meyers’ take them to a local restaurant seldom scene by the tourist crowd. “They would never find these places on their own,” said Meyers.

The dinners extend the guests understanding of local cooking. Moreover, diners at nearby tables reinforce the truism “eat where the locals eat.”

The day comes to a close with a return trip to the villa and visions of yet more experiences awaiting them in the morning.

So what’s the price tag for all this tender loving care; an even $3,650 per person, not including airfare. It’s not cheap but the adventure is considered priceless among many of its graduates.

The cost is all inclusive. From the moment one arrives at the villa to departure to the airport, all classes, tours, wine and food are covered. Credit cards come out only when the souvenir shopping begins.

So what’s the future of Cooking in Tuscany? The Meyers have no plans to expand their current offering. “We are not a huge school and we’re not going to get to that point. It’s all about small classes, at most 16 people,” said Meyers.

“In February 2015, USA Today listed us in its bucket list of the top 20 cooking classes in the world. That was a pretty big deal for us. We are accepting bookings for 2017 classes now,” said Meyers.

What Meyers can envision is starting a similar business of cooking schools in France. He has proven “the concept works and it’s fun”.

Indeed it has, for George, Linda and all their new found friends. 

CIT_1 (1)    

For more information on Cooking in Tuscany and schedules for future classes visit:

Published in the Spring 2015 edition of The Business Journal.



Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Clash of the titans

Posted on Apr 25 2015 | By

Fauquier County verus Napa Valley  

027With Fauquier’s surge in wineries, does it have a shot at trumping the motherland of U.S. quality wine production? In a word: no.

Let’s not be negative here. There’s a multitude of reasons why our county’s wine industry will continue to flourish. But to contemplate beating Napa at its own game is a stretch.

Yes, Fauquier makes wine and Napa makes auto parts. But slick slogans won’t raise the quantity of grapes needed to become the Nation’s center of award-winning wines. Why?

At first glance, it seems Fauquier has a crack at a dramatic expansion of wineries. After all, Napa is home to some 400 wineries situated on 788 square miles.

Fauquier, on the other hand, has only 23 wineries resting on almost the same land mass; 651 square miles. In terms of potential growing area, Fauquier is clearly in the running.

But today, an acre of Virginia vineyard costs $20,000 to install, not including the cost of the land. And then the heartache of growing the delicate Vitis vinifera grape comes into play.

In our Continental climate of cold winters, humid summers, fungi and small and large game depredation, the challenge of successful grape growing is fierce. Yes, it really is a jungle out there.

In Napa, the climate is considered Mediterranean; mild winters with sufficient rains to carry its vines through a relatively dry and warm growing season. The only serious issue facing Napa today is a record-breaking drought. Stay tuned on the impact of that phenomenon if it doesn’t break in 2015.

Moreover, a vineyard in Napa might be sprayed three times a season to protect against fungi and insects. During a rainy, humid summer in Fauquier, vineyards might be sprayed 15 times or more.

Partly because of these problems, Virginia is currently experiencing a grape shortage. Experts counsel that 200 newly planted acres need to be installed each year for the next five years just to keep pace with the current wine demand.

So let’s forget pole vaulting over Napa and take pride in what Virginia has achieved today; the fifth largest wine producing state in the United States.

Published in the Spring 2015 edition of inFauquier magazine.


Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Mentoring with purpose

Posted on Apr 25 2015 | By

Cooper Wright graduated from West Point in 1966. The youthful looking 70-year-old sports a trim beard and belies his age by a decade. He still hikes, skis, backpacks and works out at a local gym several times a week.

FullSizeRender (1)He is also preternaturally friendly and talkative. Within moments of meeting him the typical reaction is, “I like this guy”.

During his years as a cadet, mentoring in the conventional sense was not something Wright experienced.

Rather, his instructors—most often military officers—shared combat stories with their students. “That was really the first mentoring I had,” Wright said.

Other support included the ability to pick up the phone and talk with an instructor to get extra classroom assistance.

One such instructor was Norman Schwarzkopf, who later served as Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command. He led all coalition forces during the Persian Gulf War.

Nonetheless, mentoring in the military in the 1960s was not the counseling of today.  But the Academy was to adopt it by the time Wright returned to teach at West Point less than a decade later.

During his student days it was “perhaps a sign of weakness” to reach out and help somebody. There was a sponsor program in place where an officer invited a cadet to dinner in his home. But it was more duty than mentoring.

“I didn’t feel any close attachment with my sponsor and couldn’t really share what was going on in my head. It was just something he did,” recalls Wright.

Upon gradation, Wright attended Airborne and Ranger schools and was sent to Vietnam as a young Captain in the Army Rangers.

In the theater of war there was little time to sit down and talk with the men under his command. Action simply moved too fast. “There wasn’t time for it. You were just trying to do your job. You didn’t have the luxury to sit back and talk with someone,” said Wright.

He served two nine month tours before returning to teach mathematics at the Academy.

In the classroom
Back at West Point, Wright became involved in a lot of cadet activities. “I had the time and cadets would come over to my house; but not because I was a sponsor. They came because knew they could talk to me,” said Wright.

He had the gift of being able to communicate. “But mostly I listened. The best way to be a mentor is listening. They shared what was going on in their lives and what their problems were. The worst thing is to offer a solution. It was up to them to find a solution,” Wright underscored.

His mentoring technique included bouncing ideas off the soon-to-be warriors. He posed questions such as “Have your thought about this? Or have you thought about that?”

Results from his Academy mentoring did not always bear immediate or obvious fruit.

To point, years later Wright was in New Orleans attending a military conference. It was during Mardi Gras and one evening while strolling the French Quarter a young officer approached him and said, “Major Wright you were my best math instructor.” Wright had no clue.

A similar incidence occurred at a West Point conference. While enjoying a drink during cocktail hour, another young officer came up to him and said, “Aren’t you Major Wright who taught math?

Wright confirmed that he was. “Well, you’re not buying that drink. You took care of me and I’m buying.” Wright hadn’t realized he had assisted the young man at a pivotal time in his career.

Wright recalls another cadet who would come over to his house to simply talk. The young man knew there wasn’t going to be any judgments made. He knew someone was there to simply listen and offer advice. If advice was asked for.

Second career
Wright retired as a lieutenant colonel and pursued a second career in business. During this period he became in involved in Venturing, a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America. It’s designed for young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20.

Today, he is amazed that the young scouts he worked with years ago not only stay in touch but invite him to the baptisms of their kids and other events.

One story involves an older scout. ”I told all the kids, ‘Look, I don’t want you out drinking. You are under age. But if some night you are in a situation where you know you can’t drive, call me. I will come and pick you up and take you home. And I won’t ask any questions.’

“Well, one kid did exactly that. Today, he is a captain in the Marine Corps and the father of three children,” Wright said.

Wright reinforces that mentoring is the business of really being a trusted friend; being someone the person can talk to.

“It’s not easy for a young person to develop a trusting relationship with an adult because they are exposing themselves. They’re opening themselves up. And they are telling you something they may or may not be able to tell their parents,” Wright said.

Getting involved
Mentoring is not a one-way line of communication. Wright believes it is a great opportunity for both the mentor and mentee. “So many kids out there are looking for an opportunity to communicate with adults.” It is rewarding for both parties.

Wright’s wife Linda was also a mentor with a Rappahannock County group called Starfish. One girl she worked with was eight-years-old. Today, the woman is 20 and still stays in contact with her.

Wright is committed to mentoring whenever an opportunity presents itself. He advises those interested in pursuing such work to look for opportunities in the right places.

“Anyone who has an inclination to do this should find an organization like the scouts, Starfish, or church groups because that’s where the kids are.” He also advises that established youth groups will require background checks for adults working with youth.

Wright is now fully retired and pursues a host of activities, including serving as board chairman of the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra. The PSO has launched a Music Mentors residency program that Wright supports.

West PointHe also maintains closes ties with West Point, especially its Professional Military Ethics program. The program involves former graduates meeting quarterly with cadets and discussing ethical problems.

“The cadets are given an ethical problem with no right or wrong answer. They hash it out and at the end of the discussion the old grads are asked ‘Did something like this happen in your career? And if so, what did you do? And what was the impact of your decision? Was it good or bad?’

“I am really pleased to see that West Point has developed training programs where the focus in on leadership,” Wright said. Mentoring is part of the turnaround from his days as a cadet.

When asked what advice he’d share with someone who wanted to pursue mentoring, his response is immediate. “Be a mentor. Be a friend. It’s wonderful for the mentee. And it’s wonderful for you. You become part of that person’s life. A trusted part of that person’s life.”

Sound advice coming from an officer and a gentleman.

Published in the Spring 2015 edition of The Business Journal.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Family-centered Morais Vineyards and Winery

Posted on Apr 13 2015 | By

Morais Vineyards (3)Joe Morais, owner of Morais Vineyards and Winery in Bealeton, loves to ask the question “What’s the smallest room in the house?” Hmmm…let’s think.

“It’s the dining room,” he quickly replies. The dining room? Yep. And why? Because it’s not used that often. Morais (more ice) thinks that’s a shame. “The master bedroom is the largest room” but it’s used for sleeping.

He goes on to share his life philosophy driving the simple question. Family is everything. He has three daughters, six grandchildren and a large extended family.

“The dining room is where we talk with the family,” said Morais. So many families eat out today and often “you’ll see the kids playing with their iPhones or other devices. Are they talking with their parents? No. My dining room seats 40 people and provides space for our family to share their lives.”

Most of us could not afford a 40-person dining room but it’s emblematic of his belief the family is the center of life. His home is in Lake Manassas and was built with family in mind. His winery fosters the same atmosphere.

Morais and his five brothers are successful businessmen. He arrived in the United States 47 years ago and today his construction and concrete companies employ 400 people. Hard working and focused defines the man.

But work was also stressful so he opened his winery in 2011 to help slow down and enjoy life more. Nonetheless, even the grand opening was an earth shattering event—literally. It was August 23, 2011; the day the famous 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Virginia.

“It was the first meeting of a local business association at the winery. They were meeting in our hall,” said Morais. While it was a “jolt” for the attendees all went well and the winery did not sustain damage. It’s been peaceful sailing ever since.

Dream winery
Morais Vineyards (1)As one drives up the curving lane to the winery and crests a small rise a dramatic building appears. It is the tasting room and event hall embodied in a replica castle from Portugal where his middle daughter was married. They commissioned an architect to eliminate the middle floor from the original castle; otherwise, it looks like a piece of history direct from the Old Country.

Morais owned the 178 acre site for 30 years before building the winery. During that period his children rarely visited the property. Today, the family frequently enjoys what he calls the “farm”.

“People will call me and I tell them I am with the other family”, he said. Taken aback, they say they didn’t realize he had two families. “Yes, I have a family at the farm too. When they see my car coming, they run up to the fence so I can feed them. I have goats, sheep, chickens, dogs and more and they have free run” in the woods and pastures of the fenced property.

Just as he enjoys the farm winery with both of his “families”, he encourages visitors to do the same. He wants families to come out, enjoy the Virginia countryside, bring picnic baskets, sip his wines and spend a day on the farm.

“They can bring all the food they want. I will even help them eat it too!” said Morais laughing.

FullSizeRender (3)The winery also hosts some 30 weddings a year. ”I call this my dream place. But people come here to satisfy their dreams too.”

The wines
The winery has 14 acres under vine. The vineyard includes Albarino, Muscatel, Vidal Blanc, Touriga Nacional, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a few additional plantings. Annual production is 2,700 cases, or 32,000 bottles.

All of the wines are grown, produced and bottled on the estate. Morais is not seeking to increase production but to focus on quality not quantity.

To that end, he brought a young winemaker from Portugal, Vitor Guimarãis, to man his cellar.  Guimarãis is a fourth generation winemaker and holds a Masters Degree in Viticulture and Enology from Lisbon’s Superior Institute of Agronomy, one of Europe’s leading colleges in the field. Many of his wines are award winners.

Joe Morais has an enduring message he shares with everyone. “Get away from the phones; get out to the Virginia countryside—not just to Morais Vineyards. America is beautiful; enjoy the views.

“Our lives pass on. We all should leave something behind before we go. Leave behind the good deeds not just the good times. That’s our point of view,” said Morais.

Sound advice. And no better place to start than by spending an afternoon at Morais Vineyards and Winery.

The winery is opened Saturdays and Sundays 12 noon to 6 p.m. year round. For more information on its wines and events visit

John’ Pick of the Month 

Morais Vineyards and Winery

Red Select


A multiple medal winner blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Aged for two years in French oak barrels, the wine is fruit forward displaying cherry and raspberry notes on the palate and framed by a smooth mouthfeel. Pair with any beef entrée.


Published in the April 9, 2015 edition of the Culpeper Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Grey Horse Vineyards clearing the hurdles

Posted on Apr 04 2015 | By

Midland winery reflects owner-driven work ethic 

Jay Fenske is everywhere present; at least on his 35-acre spread. From dawn to dusk, the lean, talented and youthful-looking retired Federal employee performs an endless array of tasks.

Grey Horse Vineyards (4)Farmer, horseman, general contractor, vineyard manager, winemaker, hospitality host and businessman are some of the jobs he tackles daily, logging up to 90 work hours a week. The man is on the move, literally.

Does it wear him out? “I love being in the wine business. It’s a great job. Everybody who comes here is on a mini-vacation and predisposed to having a good time. They are wonderful people,” Fenske said.

A can-do attitude and propensity for hard work are a given in the Virginia wine industry. From the challenge of growing grapes in a demanding climate, to trying to cover expenses and achieve profitability, it’s hard work plain and simple.

Time and again one is struck that being an over-achiever is the defining characteristic of a state winery owner. Fenske is no exception.

Lifestyle driven
Fenske and his wife Kathy grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. His father owned a machine shop and he learned metal and woodworking as a boy. He built or acted as general contractor on three of his homes over the years.

The couple also loved the outdoor life. His government career took him on assignments around the country, including Virginia, where they enjoyed hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and kayaking throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Upon retirement, they were drawn back to the commonwealth. “We wanted to live out towards the Shenandoah Mountains,” Fenske said. They discovered the Midland property with a new home on it. Thirty-five acres was more land than they were looking for “but it was too good a deal to pass up.”

Embracing the country life, the couple cast about with what to do with their newly purchased spread. “My wife wanted horses but I knew nothing about them. I had only been on two trail rides in my life,” Fenske said.

Emblematic of his focused life view, he delayed buying stock before learning all he could about the animals. They took lessons and became accomplished riders. Their young daughter, Laura, accompanied them and began riding herself at the age of three.

They slowing began building a herd of seven horses; three of them greys. His daughter’s first horse was a Welsh Arabian named Grey Tara. “She was a sweetheart. We all loved her.” They obviously took well care of the mount since she lived to be 42 years old, a rare age for a horse.

Grey Horse signTwo more grey horses were added to the herd that subsequently led to the name of the winery.

With horses now the focus of the farm, Fenske began clearing the heavily forested property for hay production. That led to the purchase of a modest goat herd to help keep the land cleared. Goats multiply and by the time they sold the herd it had grown to 160 animals.

Next, a young male pig took up residence under the family chicken coop. They were unsuccessful in trying to find its owner and decided to raise pigs. That effort grew exponentially and 120 pigs later he exited that business too. “I decided I didn’t want to be a pig farmer” when the original boar—now 900 pounds—attacked his tractor tire one day; better sausage than personal injury reasoned Fenske.

Enter grapes
During this period of their “Green Acres” lifestyle, they regularly visited Virginia wineries and fell in love with the state’s wines. As a home winemaker for 25 years, his thoughts of going commercial began to stir.

One day while visiting Molon Lave Vineyards in Warrenton, Fenske made the simple inquiry “Where do you buy your grapevines?” The answer resulted in a deep friendship forming with the owner, Louizos Papadopoulos. The successful vintner became his wine mentor.

The two men still maintain close contact. “I would not exist anywhere close to my current form if not for him. He continues to provide me advice to this day,” Fenske said.

Once committed to opening a winery himself, his winemaking education commenced in earnest. He enrolled in college courses, engaged the services of the cooperative extension office at Virginia Tech and joined the state’s winery and vineyard associations.

Grey Horse 2He contracted to have the foundation and shell of a two-story 17,400 square foot production facility and tasting room built then completed the interior work himself, including the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, flooring, tasting bar and painting.

The winery opened in October 2014. The venture has grown faster than his business plan called for and includes a successful wine club; always a good indicator the wines are tasty.

Today, the winery has five and a half acres of grapes under vine with a total of 16 acres planned. Current varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. His current production is 1,000 cases annually with anticipated goal of 4,000.

The entrepreneur is also employing a farsighted strategy to assure future grape production. He has 11 rows of 25 vines each of several varieties. They are planted to determine which grapes will grow best on his land. Likely additional plantings from these test beds will be Petit Verdot, Chambourcin, Petit Manseng, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc.

When asked what he views as his best success, he quickly responds, “The staff I have chosen. We are in the hospitality business and my staff makes each visit a great experience. I’ve chosen well in my hiring decisions.”

Grey Horse Vineyards is located at 12285 Elk Run Church Road, Midland. It is opened daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information on its wines, special events and more visit

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Flavor on Main opens to accolades

Posted on Apr 03 2015 | By

Culpeper’s fine dining scene continues to blossom 

Savvy investors coupled with an experienced chef have created the latest dining option for locals and visitors alike. The new eatery has the potential for five-star dining if early customer reviews are a leading indicator.

The restaurant’s sleek glass and dark wood interior sets the stage for cuisine often seen in Manhattan rather than the Piedmont. The establishment, planned and executed for over a year, reflects the commitment of the owners and the talented chef they have employed to gift the town a big city-like restaurant.

Be sure to note the date you first ate there because regional food critics will likely be discovering the place soon creating an “I told you so” moment for early adopters.

Flavor on Main (4)John Yarnall, owner of It’s About Thyme, joined forces with local businessmen Sandy Hall and David Young and out-of-town investor John Healy to conceive and create Flavor on Main Bar and Grill. Yarnell’s gastronomic experience dates to the Nixon White House where he was assistant to the chef.

The impressive looking exterior and interior design was the work of Paula Hall, wife of investor Sandy Hall. Rob Kearney with Taft Construction built the tastefully modern décor.

The food served at the restaurant is modern American cuisine. It is a style of cooking that reflects a panoply of cooking styles. In its strictest sense it’s the fusion of traditional European and Asian classic cooking techniques with the emphasis on fresh, locally produced, in-season and healthful foods.

The chef
The heart of any highly rated restaurant is the maestro orchestrating the kitchen. In this case it’s a young, talented and surprisingly experienced chef named Garth Hansen.

Garth HansenHansen, 29, spent his formative years on a horse farm near Leesburg. He graduated from college in New Hampshire, and after a stint of washing dishes and making salads at a local restaurant while attending school, switched majors and devoted himself to becoming a chef.

Upon graduation, he landed a job at the highly rated Marea Ristorante in Manhattan in 2007. The restaurant scores a TripAdvisor 4.5 rating based on 886 reviews and set the stage for Hansen’s upward career arc.

Intrigued with working at the famous Le Cirque restaurant, also in Manhattan, Hansen applied for and was hired as a sous chef. International food experts rank the eatery among the best restaurants in the world.

“I learned more French cooking there and modern molecular gastronomy,” said Hansen. The technique employs chemistry and biology to suss out and enhance the aromas and flavors of food.

After six years away from home accumulating a growing expertise in the kitchen, Hansen was homesick for Virginia. “I hadn’t spent any holidays with my family because they all are busy times at restaurants,” recalls Hansen.

In keeping with his penchant for working at high-end establishments, the young chef landed a job at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. The beautiful five star, five diamond hotel is recognized as one of the finest in the country.

“At Jefferson I learned more from Executive Chef James Schroeder than anyone I had previously worked for, including budgeting and food ordering. I listened, asked questions and did everything to get myself into a position where I could confidently take on an executive chef’s position,” Hansen said.

The hard work paid off when he was approached to assume command of two establishments in Fredericksburg; Grapevine Café and Café New Orleans. With his growing reputation, Yarnall lured the young talent to Culpeper. Since his arrival last year, he has directed the firm’s catering and event center business while the restaurant was being built out.

“I want to make Flavor on Main a destination spot for Virginia. We are in a food revolution. People want and expect really good food with all natural products made in-house, not pre-packaged.

“Taste buds have changed and people have a way of picking up the phonies and knowing when people are legitimate,” emphasizes Hansen.

Today, Hansen and his wife and two-year-old daughter still live in the Fredericksburg area but plan on moving to Culpeper County. “I think Culpeper is the place where I want to live with my family; it’s the town I want to have my daughter grow up in.”

Flavor on Main has been opened only a few weeks and critical acclaim still awaits. In the interim, the restaurant’s Facebook page is replete with comments from happy diners. A few of the observations include.

“Food so good we literally had to kiss the chef.”

“I love this place! Amazing food—hope you are ready for it. Atmosphere is so mellow and ritzy. Cocktails are out of this world phenomenal!!

“The food was fantastic. I had the flank steak and it was cooked to a perfect medium rare. The price points were also very reasonable.”

“Our waiter was extremely attentive to our table so between the great food and outstanding service, I have to give it an easy 5 star rating.”

Indeed, its Facebook page has already scored 648 likes with a 5.0 star review from 24 diners.

Hansen’s motto has been the same no matter where he has worked: “Stay fresh and stay local.” With that philosophy in play, the restaurant should have diners coming back often.

Flavor on Main is located at 137 S Main St and opened Tuesday through Friday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Its website will be up and running in the near future. For reservations call (540) 321-4510.


Published in the April 2, 2015 edition of the Culpeper Times

Categories : HAGARTY TALES