New chef at Weathersfield Inn; nominees sought for preservation awards; $1 million grant for telemedicine; Vermont dairies honored for quality milk

 Weathersfield Inn hires new executive chef


Jean-Luc Matecat has joined the Weathersfield Inn as executive chef. Photo provided by the inn.

Jean-Luc Matecat has joined the Inn at Weathersfield as executive chef. Photo provided by the inn.

 The Inn at Weathersfield, noted as one of the top 10 culinary inns by Bon Appetit magazine,  has named Jean-Luc Matécat as executive chef. Matécat’s responsibilities include creating and overseeing the culinary experience for both inn and dinner guests, teaching classes at the inn’s non-professional classroom studio, The Hidden Kitchen, and managing the inn’s organic vegetable and herb garden.

As a native Vermonter and son of a French chef, Matécat learned early to respect food and seek out the freshest ingredients from local farms. After culinary school in California and studying under some of the finest chefs in New England, Matécat’s career took him from Nantucket to northern Vermont and over to France. His style is clean, rustic, yet classically rooted. His dishes change weekly and will continue to feature ingredients from local farms, as well as seafood from New England waters.

To introduce the community to Matécat and his cuisine, the inn will be holding Meet & Three Thursdays every Thursday through March 23, when the inn closes for mud season. A special three-course dinner, featuring dishes from the chef’s Friday through Sunday tasting menus, is being offered in the dining room. The inn and restaurant are located at 1342 Vermont Route 106 in Weathersfield.

Matécat said, “It’s a privilege to work in a place with such a rich culinary history. The inn’s deep connection to the local agriculture and farms is a natural fit for me, because it is such an important part of how I choose to live my life and run my kitchen.”

Inn co-owner Marilee Spanjian said, “Last fall, we reviewed over 90 applicants. Of those, we brought in five to cook for our search committee in The Hidden Kitchen … It was a unanimous decision. Jean-Luc’s respect for local farm fresh food is a way of life for him.  … His calm, focused style inside and out of the kitchen and among the guests brings a level of professionalism that Richard and I appreciate.”

The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and the inn is open seven days a week. For more information call 802-263-9217, email and visit

Preservation Trust accepts nominations for awards

Since 1982, the Preservation Trust of Vermont has recognized outstanding contributions in the field of historic preservation. It is accepting nominations for the current year. Awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have made special contributions in preserving Vermont’s historic architecture. Examples include the preservation or adaptive use of an historic property; educational and public information materials and programs; building trades and professional training; programming at historic properties; financial support; and special encouragement and leadership in the preservation field.

Nomination materials can be found on the trust’s website by clicking here. The deadline for submissions is March 4. Awards will be presented at the Preservation Trust of Vermont’s annual conference on May 2 in Island Pond.

The Preservation Trust of Vermont is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to assist communities and individuals in the ongoing effort to preserve and use Vermont’s rich collection of historic and architectural resources.

For more information, contact Paul Bruhn, executive director, Preservation Trust of Vermont, 104 Church St., Burlington, VT 05401, 802-658-6647, or visit

USDA invests $1 million in Vermont, New Hampshire telemedicine program

Dartmouth-Hitchcock and its Center for Telehealth have been awarded two telemedicine grants totaling $998,356 from the United States Department of Agriculture  to deploy telemedicine equipment and services across six counties in rural New Hampshire and seven counties in rural Vermont.

“These grants will give some of the most rural communities in New Hampshire and Vermont access to world class health care usually only found in larger metropolitan areas,” said USDA RD Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. “Too often rural Americans are forced to travel long distances to access health care. In some cases, these distances prevent timely access to routine health care that can turn a minor problem into a life threatening problem.”

A grant of $500,000 will be used to expand the technology infrastructure, including software and equipment, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and to purchase telemedical equipment for 18 sites in New Hampshire. The system is projected to provide access to medical services for more than 5,000 rural residents.

The second grant of $498,356 will be used to purchase telemedical carts for eight sites in New Hampshire and 15 in Vermont, which include rural acute care hospitals, ambulatory care sites, rehabilitation sites and behavioral health centers. Medical facilities in seven Vermont counties (Bennington, Caledonia, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Windham and Windsor) and six New Hampshire counties (Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, and Sullivan) will benefit from the grants.

“Telemedicine is a critical piece of the sustainable health system Dartmouth-Hitchcock is working to create,” said Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s CEO and president, Dr. James Weinstein. “To really serve the people of our region, we need to get health care to them where they live. In emergency situations, access to our specialists has been shown to save lives. For more routine care and monitoring, telemedicine allows us to partner with providers in the community to assure the highest quality care with convenience and lower cost.”

Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Center for Telehealth was launched in 2012, bringing together innovative technologies with the expertise of physicians, educators, communications specialists and researchers who are all working together to bring the highest quality care to patients throughout the region. Through various telehealth offerings, the Center is committed to connecting health care providers and patients throughout northern New England and beyond.

USDA RD administers and manages housing, business, and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. For more information on USDA RD or the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program visit contact USDA RD at 802- 828-6000 in Vermont and 603- 223-6035 in New Hampshire.

Goat and cow dairy farms honored for milk quality

Vermont dairy farmers were recognized for producing high quality cow and goat milk at the Vermont Dairy Farmers’ Appreciation Banquet on Jan. 30 during the 80thVermont Farm Show. The 2013 overall highest-quality (cow) milk award was presented to the Meyer Family of North Hardwick for the 10 year in a row. The 2013 overall highest-quality goat milk award will go to the Huard Family Farm of Craftsbury Common.

The Dairy Farmers’ Appreciation Banquet has been hosted by the Vermont Dairy Industry Association for many years in cooperation with the Vermont Farm Show and Vermont Agency of Agriculture. “This annual celebration brings together many players in the dairy industry and others who support dairy,” says Julie Smith, of the Vermont Dairy Industry Association and an associate professor at the University of Vermont. “Dairy farmers, students, educators, regulatory personnel, and policy-makers rub shoulders at this banquet. Bringing these players together is central to the mission of the Vermont Dairy Industry Association,” says Smith.

Based on nomination criteria rolled out last year for the quality awards, 79 cow milk quality nominees and seven goat milk quality nominees qualified for the 2013 competition. Quality parameters such as bacterial and somatic cell counts as well as farm inspection scores are factored into identifying the winners.

The 2013 Dairy Farm of the Year, Robert and Gisele Gervais Family Farms of Bakersfield,  was recognized with a hand-painted sign. In addition, Tom Gates of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery received the Finley Award.

The Vermont Dairy Industry Association works for the mutual benefit of its members, dairy farm families, and the dairy industry; and encourages and promotes close cooperation with educational institutions and other agencies concerned with the dairy industry. For more information about the Vermont Dairy Industry Association, its events, or the Vermont Dairy Industry Association Memorial Scholarship please visit

For more details on the Vermont Farm Show, visit

Vermont’s Highest Quality Cow Milk Awards

2013 Overall Best Quality:
North Hardwick Dairy, Stephen, Patricia, Nick, Andrew and Taylor Meyer
1st runner up – Andrew and Debra Hogan, Whiting|
2nd runner up – Dale and Alma Briggs, Addison

Vermont’s Highest Quality Goat Milk Awards

2013 Overall Best Quality:
Huard Family Farm, Craftsbury Common
1st runner up – Roland and Joan Therrien, Newport
2nd runner up – Oak Knoll Dairy Farm, George Redick and Karen Lindbo, Windsor

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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