Cary Wheaton is the Executive Director of Billings Forge Community Works (BFCW), a non-profit organization located in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford. BFCW is a driving force for community participation and empowerment in Frog Hollow through promoting access to healthy food; engaging youth; and developing employment opportunities and economically sustainable social enterprises.
Having grown up in Granby, CT, Chris has always been surrounded with a strong sense of community. In 2007, he moved to Northern Ireland, where he found his passion for food amongst all of the local butcher shops, markets and catches from the Irish coast. Chris returned to Connecticut in 2010 to attend culinary school and start his professional career. He’s risen in the ranks at Firebox, and now oversees the restaurant’s menus and kitchen in their entirety.
Richard Clemens adds a unique and versatile perspective to the team. Working from the intersection of more than 15 years spent in the food and beverage industry, Rich draws on his experience from both front and back of house positions. He is responsible for all aspects of the restaurant’s daily operations, including cost and product control.
Before coming to Firebox, Rich worked for organizations of all sizes, ranging from small, fine dining establishments to high volume, corporate caterers. Most recently, he oversaw the market entry of one of the leading restaurants in Longmeadow, MA (Meeting House). He had long tenures with Hartford’s Black Eyed Sally’s, Tisane, and the former Nix’s, where he served as Beverage Manager and his team was awarded “Best New Bar” by CTNow and “Top 10 Cocktail” by CT Living.
In a sense, Rich is returning home in this new role at Firebox. FUN FACT: Not only is he from a South End family, but his Great Grandfather worked for Billings & Spencer Co., the drop forging factory that Billings Forge used to house.