Hermit Woods Winery & Deli hires a new Chef, a Rising Local Star

Posted 11/30/20
Debra Urquhart

Hermit Woods Deli, on Main Street in Meredith, has hired Chef Manager, Debra Urquhart. After many years as a nurse, Debra is a local Meredith resident who concluded that the kitchen is the place for her. She is mostly a self-taught chef who brings a background of science and nutrition and a creative spirit that is sure to be reflected in her menus.

Although Debra’s time as a professional chef is brief, her interest in cooking goes back to her early years. Debra said, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to cook. As a child, I remember having this big stock pot in our house. You were only allowed to use the stove once you were tall enough to see over the pot. I remember wanting to cook so badly that I would stand on a milk crate hidden under a long dress to be ‘tall enough’.” 

Debra said the constant pressure to create an instant reward as each plate goes out is inspiring. The “chaos” in the kitchen. The heat from the oven. The sizzling of scallops meeting a hot sautee pan. The steak that you know has been cooked to perfection because it feels right. You can smell that the carrot cake is almost done. She is continuously using every one of her senses.

Debra reflects that – “The world is a better place when I cook healthy nourishing food. It’s fun to create art on a plate balancing colors and textures, and flavors that create a symphony. I often joke with people that I’m not a chef but a food Maestra, a master, coordinator, and a teacher of a food orchestra.”  

Debra concludes, “everything about food is an experience from sourcing ingredients, preparing, cooking, and a way to gather my friends and family together. It makes me happy that there are people willing to share that experience with me.”

Bob Manley, Co-Founder of Hermit Woods Winery & Deli, had this to say. “Since founding our Deli in 2017, we have had the pleasure of working with numerous talented and hardworking cooks and chefs. Debra’s enthusiasm, creativity, science background, and passion make her uniquely qualified to take our Deli to the next level. We are honored and excited to have her on our team.”