This Is Us
Originally from the eastern European country of Moldova, Anastasia Worrell left home at 17 for college in Belarus where she earned a bachelor of arts in marketing. After a year in England for business language, she picked up an MBA in entrepreneurship in Latvia. Her career, however, blossomed early in Belarus. She began to assist in the coordination of private events and quickly moved into full event organization. She also worked as an assistant professor in Belarus and later, Latvia, where she landed after grad school. In Latvia, Anastasia was a strategist in internet marketing and development, bringing companies “online”. While there, Anastasia met her husband, Ray, and together they chose to make Ray’s Wilmington home, their home together.
While Anastasia may have married into the restaurant business and continues to be the Marketing Director of Slice of Life, her Food Story reaches back to her days in Moldova. Moldova is perhaps best known for its wine but regionally it is souther and its cuisine is seasonal and agricultural. Moving to and traveling through more northern countries like Belarus, the local diets were richer, heavier, and included more meat. Attempts to fully embrace local diets did not last. Even after moving to America, ever one to fully experience every culture, Anastasia tried all American cuisine had to offer. After three months, however, she knew it wasn’t quite what her body needed. She cut back meat, eventually dropping it altogether. Within a year, she was pescatarian, and after the birth of her daughter, Cynthia, full vegetarian. Through further research and education, she decided to bring Cynthia a diet that made intentional choices surrounding health, the environment and animal welfare. Ray was, at times, a reluctant passenger on this journey but over time, has come to appreciate the health benefits and education he has picked up along the way.
When Laura brought The Green House concept to Anastasia, she knew that, not only was it a worthy endeavor, the time was right and Wilmington was ready.
Anastasia’s family includes Teddy, a bouncy bit of bright white and fluffy Maltese. 5 pounds of exuberance, Teddy melts the hearts of even the most devout large breed lovers and as an added, sometimes crucial plus: is hypoallergenic.
Raised in Warrenton, North Carolina, Laura Tiblier had a very Southern upbringing, spending the majority of her early childhood in a tree, grazing the day away on self-harvested apples, pears, peaches, blueberries, and figs from the fruit trees that graced her family’s pre-Civil War era home. Laura moved to Wilmington to begin her nursing career. Along the way, she met her husband, Hunter, and together they opened Ceviche’s in Wrightsville Beach. Laura's culinary adventures began much earlier than her foray into the industry and were born out of necessity when her daughter, Clara, developed severe food allergies to nuts and dairy. At the time, they lived in California and options were more plentiful than here on the East Coast.
Laura’s journey to veganism was a transition that happened over time with no definable moment but no less impactful to her life.
Over the years, there was a progression that encompassed issues surrounding animal farming, environmental sustainability, and health, with one thing after another gradually dropping from her diet to be replaced with plant-based choices, until one day, vegan living became her way. A “quiet activist”, Laura is leading by example and is responsible for the conceptualization of The Green House. It came to her all at once, while eating in a vegetarian restaurant. Twenty five years later, The Green House was born. It is Laura’s joy to share this culinary path and experience with our corner of the planet.
Laura’s family “moved to town” when she was 7 years old. Vastly different from the country, there were lots of cars, a town square, a local drugstore within walking distance, and their neighbors two doors down were the descendants President James Polk.
Another North Carolina native, Maître D Colby Perkins is an instantly engaging person. Her first foray into the restaurant service industry came in the form of a surprise opportunity on Martha’s Vineyard. A childhood friend of Colby’s mother ran a large catering company. A chance mention of staffing needs found Colby serving hors d’oeuvres at huge parties for two summers in a row. After graduating from Elon College as an English major, Colby found a position with late local restauranteur, Josh Vach, at K-38. She will tell you that those years were the most formative of her career. She left K-38 after five and a half years with all of the tools to be successful in the industry thanks to Josh and her own hard work. Those tools were honed and shaped through her next position at Ceviche’s. Ceviche’s was new and fresh with good food where people were not just eating, but having an experience. Although she loved working with Laura and Hunter at Ceviche’s, Colby lives by a single question: Am I growing and learning? If the answer is no, it’s time to go. Being drawn into The Green House has been the perfect transition into management, collaboration and mentorship. Colby wants to give those who serve at The Green House, the same tools she was given.
Colby has spent her career catering to people. This includes guests, of course, but also a work culture that ensures staff are able to create an atmosphere that guests can experience.
She sees The Green House as a reset where staff are treated respectfully and in turn, will bring that to fine dining.
Colby touts the collaborative energy of The Green House, with its overall sustainability mission, coupled with her own love of food, as exciting and new, blazing a trail to a much bigger, global scale. The Green House Front of House truly is in great hands.
Colby is a twin. Her brother Michael lives in Black Mountain, NC, and is a fresh water marine biologist for the state, with an expertise in crustaceans and mollusks. Colby, herself, was named for Eliza Colby from All My Children.
Chef De Cuisine
One might think that jumping from on-site butchery to sustainable veganism is a dramatic leap and yet here is where we find Chef Parker Lewin, The Green House Chef de Cuisine. Hailing from not so far away Shallotte, North Carolina, Chef came to Wilmington for school thinking, at the time, that he would become an English teacher. While the pursuit was noble, he found his joy in food and not in literary theory. Mainly self-taught and on the line trained, there is an argument to be made that Chef Parker spent more on cookbooks and ingredients learning than he would have on tuition, and perhaps more hours practicing than afforded in any classroom. Working and learning his way through some of Wilmington’s finest establishments, to include Manna, PinPoint, and True Blue Butcher & Table, Chef Parker heard about a possible opportunity with The Green House.
The elevation of vegetables and the big picture of sustainability has informed Chef’s entire culinary career, so The Green House held obvious appeal.
Parker's laser sharp focus, obsession with seasonal, local produce, and desire to make vegan dishes accessible to all, make him a perfect fit with the inclusive culture of TGH. Chef Parker strives to make his dishes “delicious - no context.” He embraces the challenge of presenting fun, colorful and seemingly simple dishes that satisfy any palate, while also involving highly technical, complex processes to bring them to the plate. Optimally, each guest walks away having had a great meal and equally wonderful experience, which is a top TGH priority. That said, Chef also seeks to impress the foodie who asks ‘how did they do that?’ Collaborating with Pâtissière, Lauren Wright, and Maître D, Colby Perkins, Chef Parker Lewin is on task to shining a bright light on elevated, farm to table, vegan fine dining and we are all here for it.
Chef Parker has no pets (I know, right??) but he will tell you it’s because he has yet to find another ride-or-die, furry soulmate after losing his beloved cat, Jingles, Attorney at Paw, last year.
Kitchen Manager / Pâtissière
North Carolina native, Lauren Wright’s journey to The Green House is nothing short of extraordinary. Beginning with an interest in the science of food, Chef Lauren pursued a Bachelor’s of Science in nutrition from Appalachian State University. Before her travels took her to the Culinary Arts Program of Johnson & Wales University, Denver for baking, Chef Lauren moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. On a whim, a friend convinced her to enter a local chefs’ pie-baking competition. Several frantic calls to secure the recipes of her mother and great-grandmother and experimenting in her tiny apartment’s kitchen, she arrived upon two entries. To everyone’s surprise and likely the chagrin of the local chef community, Chef Lauren’s chipotle pumpkin pie with maple meringue took first place and her apple sour cream took second. The upset was so newsworthy, she was interviewed by a local news outlet. The rest is history. The fire was lit and and from that point on, Chef Lauren launched her passion in that little kitchen.
Growing up, Chef Lauren was raised to be food conscious. Her interest in nutrition was coupled with a passion for sustainability and the importance of knowing the origin of her food.
In college, she sat on the board of a local “slow food” market and helped coordinate the local farmers and food vendors. Being a vegetarian taught her to be very intentional about her food choices and sources. Per Chef Lauren, she is a “hardcore purist”: when she makes a dish, she wants to make every, single part of it or know exactly where the part came from. Principle-Partner Anastasia Worrell tells a now infamous story that sums this up: Chef Lauren once delivered a caramel miso galette for a neighborhood dinner. Of course everyone loved it. Fretting, Chef finally admitted that she did not make the flour for the galette. She was met with blank faces and then raucous laughter. The moral of the story? Know that when you are graced with a dish from Chef Lauren, every element, every ingredient, has been cultivated and combined with driven intention and passion. The Green House is so lucky to have her.
Knitting and wool are a “big part” of Chef Lauren’s life. As evidenced by her Origin Story, Chef Lauren does nothing on a small scale. She is a master knitter, who is adept at building spinning wheels, making creations with her own yarn that she has spun and dyed herself, teaches this joy to others, simultaneously managed two companies that built spinning wheels and drum carders, and finally, has participated in “Spinzilla” more than once. Oh, and that management position? She stumbled into it on what was supposed to be a mere weekend trip home to Hickory, North Carolina!
Lead Horticulturist, Michelle Lyon-Heatherly comes by her love of green, growing things honestly. If green thumbs are a thing, she has two that she credits to her grandmother, who she spent her summers and after school hours with. Michelle tells of early memories as a toddler, following along behind a plow, picking up potatoes with her cousins, and so began a life long passion. Michelle’s admiration and respect for her grandmother is clear as she describes her as a homemaker/gardener/researcher, who, through trial and error and extensively detailed records, became a self-taught master gardener. This work ethic, love and knowledge was her legacy which Michelle carries on today. Professionally, Michelle has begun greenhouses and was a partner in a garden center where she taught classes on gardening. It was there she met her husband, an assistant head grower and landscape architect. Together, the worked projects, many of which Michelle designed.
Michelle’s involvement in The Green House was pure happenstance. Michelle’s daughter goes to the same school as Principal-Partner Anastasia Worrell’s daughter. The two struck up a conversation about Anastasia’s ideas for the restaurant greenhouse. As it turned out, Michelle’s knowledge and insight proved invaluable when it prevented something of a misstep with regard to the greenhouse plans for the restaurant. It was not long before she was asked to take on the project. At the time, Covid had all but made the world stop, so Michelle was happy to get involved. Following in the footsteps of her continuously learning grandmother, Michelle has embraced an entirely new and cutting edge aeroponic technology, which she is bringing to The Green House and the Wilmington community at large.
Listening to her describe the benefits, increased nutrients, and sustainability of this type of growing, one cannot help but share in the excitement.
Michelle shares Anastasia and Laura’s vision that the contributions of aeroponics go way beyond healthy eating to the environment and global community at large. The Green House can only flourish under this kind of passionate and expert care.
If you asked if Michelle were a patient person, the answer is a resounding NO, definitely not. That said, she is not easily flustered or frustrated; just likes a fast pace.
We are grateful to have such a strong team
Rebecca Dupre - line cook
Jhon Valbuena - line cook
Cameron Hudson - line cook
Mauricio Huarcaya - line cook
Shawn Lenos - pastry chef
David Walters - dishwasher
Candaus Banks - dishwasher
D'Andre Cuffee - dishwasher
Maddie Egly - bartender
Lydia Hazelwonder - bartender
Joanna Walton - bartender
Jade Thompson - hostess
Phoebe Simpson - server
Alex Walsh - server
The Green House is now hiring fine dining staff for back of house positions. The Green House is more than a restaurant. It is a growth mindset oriented community that revolves around the ideas of sustainability, inclusivity and uncompromisable standards. We respect, appreciate and embrace our difference while also experiencing new paths together towards a culture of likeminded learners who, in turn, will lead by example and educate others. From back of house to front, team members will have the opportunity to cross train and collaborate.
If you have ever wanted to a part of a restaurant beyond a single position, The Green House is delivering that very opportunity by virtue of its chosen culture.
Team members that bring exceptional customer service, initiative, professionalism, and a willingness to learn will find a wealth of opportunity within the restaurant.