- Courtesy Of Enna
- Left: Vegetable curry with saffron rice from Enna; Shannon Bates
After 20 years of cooking professionally around the world, Woodbury native Shannon Bates returned home about a year ago. On July 20, she launched Enna, her first venture as chef-owner, at 14 State Street in Montpelier.
Bates described the breakfast-and-lunch takeout operation as an international deli influenced by her childhood and her global experiences. The menu ranges from breakfast sandwiches on housemade buttermilk biscuits with Vermont cheese and eggs to a Thai beef salad to a vegetable curry Bates learned to make from an Indian chef with whom she worked at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong.
Enna, which occupies the spot best known for housing the Pinky's on State sandwich shop, was named for Bates' grandmother. Growing up, Bates said, she spent a lot of time at her grandparents' house in Maple Corner, a village in Calais.
"They had a sugarhouse, a huge garden, ducks that laid eggs, a berry patch. We did a lot of growing, pickling, baking and freezing," she said. "That's where I got my love of food."
Bates left Vermont to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. She went on to cook everywhere from five-star hotel kitchens to private yachts in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Italy, Spain and San Francisco.
After seeing the world, Bates said, "I just decided I wanted to come home and try it out. I keep asking myself why I didn't come back sooner."
The menu will change weekly, even daily, depending on the season and the availability of Vermont-grown and -made fare. "I'm just loving using all the local ingredients," Bates said.