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Cover Story

Best Chefs

Leo C. Bushey III
The Willows in the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bristol

How much do we love this chef? Soft-spoken Leo C. Bushey III is a culinary chameleon, adapting to working in Greater Hartford environments as different as the Country Club of Farmington, Acqua Oyster Bar in Vernon, Backstage in Torrington, and The Emperor at the Linden and The Hartford Club in our fair capital city. Not to mention Fay’s Place, his seasonal seafood shack in Bolton, which is on hiatus for 2013. But his background also includes stints at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif.

Heading up kitchen operations at the DoubleTree in  Bristol, Bushey has not only introduced, in The Willows, one of the better upscale restaurants in Greater Hartford in some time, but he has also greatly elevated the fare at the hotel’s Time Out sports bar. An avid farm-to-fork proponent, Bushey is sophisticated, subtle and intuitive. Few chefs have a lighter touch or cook with better balance. Few chefs have such a knack for producing food that is elegant and visually striking. We particularly applaud him for his use of pretty flowers and flowering herbs that aren’t merely edible but contribute to the flavor profile of the dishes into which they’re introduced.

Q&A with Leo C. Bushey III

Guilty pleasure?
Ice Cream

Most overrated ingredient?
This whole burger thing

Welcome or discourage customer requests to change their dishes?
Whatever I can do to please the guest

Favorite restaurant outside Connecticut?
Le Bernardin, New York

What living celebrity you would most like to cook for?
The Dalai Lama

Continue Reading: Bill Carbone, Dish Restaurant Group