MEET OUR TEAM
Jeremy Paquin has spent over 20 years honing his craft as a culinary chef. He has become the visionary behind the artfully crafted cuisine served at grove, applying his philosophy of using only the freshest ingredients from local farms and vendors to create an all-encompassing dining experience for guests.
Jeremy earned his Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management degree at San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas in 2000. Beginning his career with Essence Restaurant Group in 2015, he served as a Chef at Bistro Bella Vita before transitioning to Executive Chef for all ERG entities in 2019—including grove, Bistro Bella Vita and The Green Well.
Managing Partner, Essence Restaurant Group
James helped open Bistro Bella Vita back in 1996 and formed Essence Restaurant Group with his partner, and Chief Culinary Officer, Patrick Wise in 2006. Essence Restaurant Group owns and operates Bistro Bella Vita, grove, The Green Well and Lucy’s.
Hillary Edwards began working for Essence Restaurant Group in 1997 at Bistro Bella Vita just one month after their grand opening. Today, Hillary operates as Managing Director and Human Resources for Essence Restaurants—a group that is, both literally and figuratively, her family. She thrives off of the pressure presented in the restaurant environment and loves how ever-changing the industry is day to day—as well as always being surrounded by exceptional food and beverage!
Julie Archer has been serving in the restaurant industry since she was 18 years old. After realizing she wanted to make a career out of serving, she sought out a place where she could learn about food and beverage, landing a position at Bistro Bella Vita. She worked there for several years before moving to the East side of Michigan with her husband—whom she met at Bistro. Since returning to Grand Rapids, Julie has served at all Essence entities, including the original Grove, Jimmy Berger’s pop-up and The Green Well. Now, she will serve with grove—a place that feels like home for her.
Returning to grove reignites Julie’s passion for food and beverage. Her enthusiasm is contagious, as she acts as the bridge between the culinary team and our guests to provide an outstanding experience. For her, working at grove feels like working alongside family.
Katy Waltz joined the Essence Group with an impressive culinary background. She discovered her love of baking at the age of seven and has honed her craft over the years in a range of dining establishments, including Amish bakeries, 5-star and fine dining restaurants, country clubs, breweries and remote Alaskan lodges. Most recently, she helped open a coffee/brunch spot during the pandemic. In working with grove, Katy is excited to get back to her roots in fine dining and work alongside this passionate and talented team.
Katy received a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Purdue University. Shortly after, she attended culinary school at the College of Coastal Georgia, as well as participated in a 3-year ACF pastry apprenticeship in Sea Island.
Chris North found his start in cooking at the age of 16 when he took a fast-food job for extra cash. He fell in love with food and, at the age of 19, decided to further pursue the culinary arts. He began working in different kitchens, becoming a mentee of anyone willing to teach him their skills and techniques. After a day’s work, he’d go home and read cookbooks.
Chris started his career with Essence Restaurant Group in 2013. Now Head Chef at grove, he is thrilled to share his talents and provide a unique and meaningful dining experience within our community.
Josh Nicholson found his start in the hospitality industry at the age of 14, working in all aspects of the job, including dishwashing, bussing, serving and bartending. While living in Austin, Texas, he was able to learn from many talented figures in the food and beverage industry, where he began to develop his passion for mixology. As Bar Manager at grove, Josh consistently develops creative cocktails—each with intention and attention to fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Josh has been with Essence Restaurant Group for six years, managing The Green Well’s bar program before transitioning to grove.