In preparation for the opening of its new location in Burlington's South End, City Market/Onion River Co-op has created a new position: executive chef. The position went to Michael Clauss, who attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked for famed chef Daniel Boulud before moving to Vermont.
Clauss cooked at the Daily Planet, Bluebird Tavern and the Essex Resort & Spa before starting his own biz, Michael Clauss Events. Now he'll bring his experience to bear at the pair of Burlington markets.
"He walked around the store after his interview and had a lot of great ideas," said Allison Hope, City Market's director of community engagement. "He's our people. He knows the farmers we know; he comes with all of those relationships."
Clauss will work with prepared-food managers Steven Obranovich and Norah Cunha to make sure the fare served at both stores' hot and cold bars is consistent, appealing and affordable, Hope said. He'll also look into the creation of value-added products such as marinated meats, ensure that kitchen staffers have the training they need to move up the ladder, and keep an eye on trends and customer engagement.
City Market's South End location, a spacious 33,000 square feet including a teaching kitchen, is slated to open the week before Thanksgiving, giving customers the opportunity to pick up their local turkeys at either location.
Hope says local artists are in the process of painting murals on the building, and a space is being outfitted there for Juice for the People, which will operate a "store-within-a-store." An espresso bar is a possibility down the line.
One thing that won't change? The commitment to affordable groceries. "The [City of Burlington] did a great job making sure we're meeting the needs of the community," said Hope. "That philosophy is now just part of the co-op. A lot of other co-ops don't carry conventional products, and I think that's hurt them."