WILLIAMSBURG — She began her career in college in the food and beverage industry, becoming an apprentice in Williamsburg. Now, Chef Juli Gutierrez has now risen to Executive Chef for the Williamsburg Inn.
“It hit a point where school was the work and work was the fun so, that is when I realized I wanted to look more into the culinary industry,” said Gutierrez.
As the first female chef to earn the title of Executive Chef for Williamsburg Inn, Gutierrez said while it is groundbreaking, she feels the additional pressure to perform well from a “long lineage of great chefs” that have had the distinction before her.
“There are a lot big shoes to fill!” exclaimed Gutierrez.
In her role as Executive Chef, Gutierrez will oversee the food operations of the Williamsburg Inn, clubhouses and the museum cafe.
Gutierrez said it is important to continue elevating the food she provides to guests and make changes and progression to the dishes.
While located in a tourist area, Gutierrez encourages the local community to come out and experience the diversity right here in town.
“Typically, people don’t think, ‘lets go to eat in a hotel,’ so we want people to think about that differently. We treat all our spaces just as if they were stand-alone restaurants. Yes, we have hotel guests that dine with us but, we do not treat anyone any different if they walk in from down the street to dine with us. Our goal is to provide a five star experience to everyone,” she explained.
“We are making very approachable food in all the dining rooms and provide many different experiences.” Gutierrez continued, “The social terrace outside, where we do an artisanal pizza concept. In the Goodwin Rooms we have upscale casual food. And then, our pride and joy, the Rockefeller Room serves a five-course prix-fix tasting menu which is great for special occasions.”
A new, seasonal, fall menu has just been rolled out and its ties to historical influences are evident. Gutierrez spends quite a bit of time researching and sampling recipes that are historically accurate to share with diners.
In describing a salmon dish, Gutierrez explains how one ingredient comes directly from the Colonial Williamsburg gardens — fish peppers, named such because they were grown by the fish houses to create spicy sauces for dishes before other seasonings were available.
“It gives guests a full-on experience, it is delicious food but also food with a story. They can learn while they dine,” said Gutierrez.
To learn more about dining with Chef Gutierrez, visit Colonial Williamsburg Resorts.