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Benchmark names new Director Culinary Experience for The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa

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Benchmark, a global hospitality company, has named James Massey as Director of Culinary Experience for The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa. Mr. Massey brings more than 16 years of extraordinary culinary experience to the resort, a Gemstone Collection property, located in Essex, Vermont.

“We are so pleased to welcome James to The Essex,” says General Manager Ron Droegmyer. “He’s arriving with an exemplary background in the culinary arts, and as Vermont’s summer season is providing fresh produce, grass-fed beef, fish and artisanal cheeses to the resort’s table.”

Mr. Droegmyer notes that James Massey’s culinary vision is significantly influenced by his family’s farming background and Native American heritage. A former executive chef, Mr. Massey is strongly committed to sustainable farming, using Native American seeds and growing techniques to create a true farm-to-table experience, bringing new dimensions to the resort’s noted gardens. When an executive chef, Massey could often be found foraging local and regional surroundings, finding fresh culinary experiences for guests, a tradition he is sure to continue at The Essex. Sustainably focused, Mr. Massey is also keenly aware of the need to preserve seafood as well as freshwater species, especially important in the New England region.

Most recently, James Massey was the Executive Chef and Owner of the Field and Cellar, a noted fine dining restaurant in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He earlier served as Executive Chef at the legendary Canyon Ranch Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Mr. Massey’s distinguished culinary background spans restaurant kitchens in Arizona, Massachusetts and Ohio, managing a range of food and beverage operations including menu development, restaurant design and banqueting. He has held executive chef and senior management positions within the culinary departments of several prominent hospitality brands, including Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham and Canyon Ranch, serving at both the Lenox and Tucson locations.

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With this exceptional background, James Massey brings a strong farm-to-table sensibility, in-depth knowledge of regional ingredients, a kinship with Native American culinary techniques as well as a cosmopolitan flair to his new position at The Essex. He holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Arizona. Massey is relocating to the Essex area.

A culinary destination, The Essex is a gastronomic experience in every aspect of its food and beverage offerings. Guests learn new skills at the classes in the J.K. Adams and Chef’s Kitchens of Cook Academy. The award-winning Junction restaurant and an internationally ranked wine list create a unique experience in fine dining. More informal pub food is available in the convivial Tavern and fresh baked goods and sandwiches at the Lobby Café.

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