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DONALD Billings

Donald BillingsCareer Highlights:
I grew up in the food and hospitality business. My grandparents owed the Waybury Inn, I started washing dishes there.. My aunt, Donna Seibert, who is still their executive chef, taught me to bake and to manage large functions. I went to work at Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse in Manhattan. Learning Robert Roaquin’s west coast style was completely different from my New England experiences.  In 2010, I opened Roots in downtown Rutland with Dr. Mark Logan of Sanctuary Integrative Medicine, as an equal partner. From the very beginning Roots was committed to using local foods and providing top-notch guest service.

Community Involvement:
Roots is a sponsor of Rutland’s historic Paramount Theater. Roots has held fundraising events for Vermont Community Foundation, Hope, the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, and Restoring Rutland. Fundraisers for Evening Song, a farm damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. Sponsored an event for the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce. Every month, we bring dinner to Rutland’s Dismas House. 

Favorite part of job? Everything. I love working with the farmers whose food we serve. I love working the line. I love the rush of being busy and making everything come together. 

Most inspiring mentor? My aunt Donna Seibert, and my uncle Marty Schuppert, the owner of Mr. Ups. My father, who owned a construction business. Franck Deletraine of Café Centro in New York City and Robert Roaquin. Also, Steve Kellogg, from Holden Financial Services in Middlebury, and my good friend Jeff Benton.

Who is your living hero? I don’t really have a hero although there are many people I look up to and consider role models.

Favorite downtime activity? I do enjoy golfing and skiing. Also visiting my friends from Woods Market Garden and Neshobe Farms. 

Favorite Vermont Escape? My favorite place in Vermont is the north end of Lake Dunmore. I love to swim, boat, and just relax in this beautiful, peaceful place. 

Favorite social network? I recognize the importance of social media, I hire people to make sure the restaurant has a strong presence with Facebook or Twitter.

Favorite website? Google. I do regularly visit the websites of our area farms and other local businesses and organizations. 

Vermont Business Person you would most want to network with? Today I would like to meet Jed Davis of Burlington’s Farmhouse Tap and Grill and El Cortijo Taqueria.

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