Jessica Gorin is the Executive Chef of Big Grove Tavern in downtown Champaign. She has been with the restaurant since it opened in 2012. Although she holds a BS in Ecology, Behavior & Evolution from UC San Diego and a MS in Population Biology from UC Davis, Jessica left science to pursue her passion for experimenting in the kitchen. Bypassing the conventional method of training at culinary school, she acquired her skills working in kitchens throughout Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Before coming to Illinois, Jessica spent over three years as Executive Chef at Thirsty Bear, a certified Green Business and organic brewery with a Spanish menu that utilized local ingredients. At Big Grove Tavern, Jessica has forged relationships with many local farms to provide the ingredients for her seasonal menus. Jessica also serves on the board of The Land Connection, a non-profit that promotes the conversion of conventional farmland to organic and trains farmers in sustainable agriculture practices.
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