JUSTIN WALKER, Executive Chef
Chef Justin Walker discovered his love for cooking at an early age while preparing holiday meals with his grandfather. Whether foraging for herbs like lamb’s quarters and reindeer moss, or spending the winter making cheese on his family farm, Justin Walker takes farm-to-fork cuisine seriously.
As the Executive Chef of Kennebunkport’s Earth at Hidden Pond, Justin is widely known for his approachable and refined cooking style. Chef Walker combines his love of Old World practices with more than 20 years of professional cooking and kitchen management experience. He creates inspired and soulful dishes with textured flavors, using a simple and artful presentation style.
Justin is not a man who is afraid to get his hands dirty. He and his wife Danielle (Earth’s General Manager) are at the helm of her family’s 17 acre farm in Cape Neddick, Maine. The duo raise goats and chickens (and their young son Jackson), forage the land and harvest their own crops. A self-taught farmer with a passion for sustainable cuisine, Justin builds his menus around seasonal ingredients from Hidden Pond’s organic farm and chef’s garden, along with provisions from local food purveyors and his family’s annual harvest. Justin nurtures every ingredient in a single dish: he is continuously seeking new ways to make Earth’s menu evolve. His newest passions include roasting dishes over open-air wood fires, crafting homemade goat’s milk ice cream, pickling crops, and curing his own Serrano hams (inspired by his 2014 culinary journey through Spain).
Chef Walker has had the honor of cooking at celebrated venues in New York City including the famed James Beard House, City Grit, and the prestigious “Autism Speaks to Wall Street: Celebrity Chef Gala.” He is also a featured chef at De Gustibus Cooking School. In 2014, Justin was recognized by StarChefs.com as a “Coastal New England Rising Star.”
In spring of 2013, Chef Walker was handpicked by award-winning chef and restaurateur Ken Oringer, to take the reins as the property’s Executive Chef. Prior to his position at Earth, Justin spent 15 years in the kitchen of the acclaimed Arrows in Ogunquit, Maine, owned by James Beard Award-winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, Justin worked his way through the kitchen ranks to Chef de cuisine. His restaurant experience also includes Chelsea Grill in Stowe, VT, and Siros in Saratoga Springs, NY. He is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier, VT.