Grand Rapids, MI, October 8, 2015– Vander Mill has hired a true culinary pedigree Justin Large as the Chef and Culinary Director for its Spring Lake and upcoming Grand Rapids restaurant.

After fifteen years working as a Chef and Culinary Director in several of Chicago’s James Beard award winning restaurants, Chef Justin Large is joining the Vander Mill team.  Justin is thrilled to be a part of the growing West Michigan culinary scene, and is excited to join a brand that champions many of the great products Michigan has to offer.  Justin plans on crafting a menu that highlights local and regional products, as well as creates a platform to display cider’s culinary versatility.

I am excited to have Justin as a part of our team.  We can’t wait to showcase the combination of high quality ciders, food, and hospitality.  – Paul Vander Heide (Owner at Vander Mill)

Before his career in restaurants, Large spent his youth in both Massachusetts and Florida.  He obtained degrees in global business management and economics at the University of Florida. Though a business degree was his focus, food was his passion.

In 1999 he joined the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.  Upon completion, Large accepted an internship at Paul Kahan’s Blackbird in Chicago.  This evolved into holding various leadership positions within the esteemed restaurant group, One Off Hospitality, including working as Sous Chef at Avec, Consulting Chef at The Violet Hour, Tournant for The Publican, and opening Chef de Cuisine at Big Star. Large was promoted to Director of Culinary Operations for One Off Hospitality in 2013.  During his tenure as Culinary Director, Justin was a key member of the opening team at Nico Osteria and Dove’s Luncheonette, which was recently nominated by bon appétit for best new restaurant of 2015.

Justin has appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef, on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, and has led cooking demonstrations at the Taste of Chicago and for the children in Chicago’s public schools.

“I’m beyond excited to be a part of a company that produces an incredible product, and is building a great brand.  My goal is to make sure the food I create enhances the Vander Mill experience.” – Justin Large

Justin enjoys spending time with his wife Molly and son Auden, is an avid bike enthusiast, and of course, enjoys drinking Vander Mill Cider.

Vander Mill

With humble beginnings in 2006 as a traditional cider mill, Vander Mill began distributing their hard cider in 2008.  After expanding their facility in Spring Lake in 2013, Vander Mill is now distributing their hard cider varieties in convenience and grocery stores, bars, and restaurants throughout Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.  Currently Vander Mill is working on their largest expansion yet with the renovation of a 40,000sf production facility and restaurant in Grand Rapids, MI.

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Amy Atkinson at 231-759-3160 or email at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.