About Patrick Willis
Born and raised in Goochland County, in the Richmond Region, Patrick grew up learning the food cultures of his mother’s family in Wolftown, VA where cooking from scratch and food preservation were both preferred and necessary. From his father’s family in Eastern North Carolina, he developed an appreciation for the smoking and slow-roasting of pork and other meats. The fifth person in his family to attend East Carolina University, Patrick enrolled as a freshman to pursue a career as a pharmacist. After two years of heavy science curriculum he changed his major to Hospitality Management, based upon his first work experiences in the kitchens of Richmond-area restaurants. It was there that he re-discovered his passion for fresh ingredients and the art of culinary creation. Following graduation, he stayed in North Carolina where he continued to hone his skills in the kitchen, restaurant operations and guest service. It was also in the kitchen that he met his lovely wife, and they began to build a life together which ultimately led them back to his Virginia roots. In 2009, the lure of being close to family, as well as his wife’s career path to becoming a physician led them back to Richmond. Patrick joined the Lemaire team at The Jefferson Hotel just as the restaurant was launching a newly renovated space and a New American menu featuring Virginia grown ingredients and the Southern influences of Richmond. His training under Chef Walter Bundy and the integral role that he plays in Lemaire’s kitchen and overall operations made Patrick the natural choice to become Executive Chef of Lemaire. When he is not in the kitchen you can find Patrick outside. He enjoys playing with and chasing after his two young sons, kicking the soccer ball or swinging a baseball bat. He also enjoys being near the water - kayaking, fishing or hunting water fowl. Or, you may just find him tending his homemade smoker and a delicious cut of meat for his family’s dinner.