When Jason Hicks first walked through the doors of the old Williams College club, he was drawn into the building’s soul and transported back into a rich history that he was immediately inspired to recreate.
One year later, guests are invited to take an unpretentious seat in one of the Peacock’s two dining rooms where modern elements playfully mingle with English culture and American tradition. Comfort and camaraderie fill the air as Old World bartenders mix classic British cocktails and an upscale dinner is served upon a cloth-less wood table.
Surrounded by a mix of original fireplaces and mahogany walls, eclectic furniture and whimsical modern art, you can’t help but feel a connection between what the building once was and what it’s become.
Born & raised on a farm in England’s Cotswold countryside, Jason Hicks began his cooking career aged 15, when he began earning his culinary degree. Upon graduation, he continued his training at some of the Britain’s more prestigious restaurants; including those at The Gleneagles Hotel, The Whitehall Hotel and the one Michelin star-rated Calcot Manor. In 1994, at just 20 years old, Hicks opened The Queen’s in his native Worcestershire.
Being approached by the by New Zealand’s Princes Gate Hotel Group to become executive chef for one of their properties, launched a three-year stint of cooking and traveling throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
Arriving in the US in 1996, Hicks spent three years as sous chef at La Goulue, before joining Gerry Hayden at Aureole and subsequently helping him open Drew Nieporent’s East Hampton Pointe.
Next, Hicks worked as tournant for Daniel Boulud’s Feast & Fetes catering operation, then, after a brief flirtation with San Francisco at AQUA, Hicks returned to New York and to La Goulue as executive chef in 2000.
Four years later, Hicks took over the kitchen at La Goulue’s sister eatery Orsay. He remained there, garnering a plethora of media accolades until 2009, when he left to create Jones Wood Foundry.
An 18 year old Yves Jadot was having dinner with his girlfriend in his native Brussels, when he got the call that would change his life. The year was 1986 and the call was from a friend asking if he could join the staff of a French restaurant in New York State’s Westchester County, whose owner was in the habit of hiring Belgians. Jadot was given an hour to decide.
Two weeks later he was on the floor of La Cremiere, where he had to draw on every bit of the experience he had gleaned managing his mother’s popular Brussels café.
In 1988, Jadot took on New York City based establishments, working as waiter at Hotel Maxim (now The Peninsula) and Park Bistro. In 1990, Jadot moved on to work the door at Lesort’s eponymous hotspot Frederick’s, working his way up to manager. Subsequently, he opened Budha Bar for Lesort in the same capacity and eventually oversaw the management of Jour et Nuit, Frederick’s and Budha Bar.
By 1996 he was ready to do something on his own, and so the first Petite Abeille was opened, setting Jadot on a course to become a presence on New York City’s restaurant and bar landscape as the founder / owner of the four successful Petite Abeille Belgian cafes, as well as the south-of-the-border Vamos, the urbane Raines Law Room, La Maison du Croque Monsieur, and – in partnership with Chef Jason Hicks – Jones Wood Foundry.