Though Will Gilson '04 showed an interest in cooking at an early age, it took its first professional turn in 1997, when at the age of fifteen, he apprenticed under Chef Charles Draghi of Marcuccio’s in Boston's famed North End. It was shortly after this experience that Gilson decided to attend JWU and take his culinary aspirations to the next level.
During his time at the Providence Campus, Gilson honed his culinary skills both in and out of the classroom, highlighted by an internship at London’s Lanesborough Hotel under Chef Paul Gayler. His resume also includes stints under John Mathieson of Silks at the Stonehedge Inn, as well as with James Beard Award-winning Chef Ana Sortun at Oleana.
In 2004, he was one of 6 students chosen to receive the RC Kopf Student Achievement Scholarship which funded an extraordinary tour of wineries. Traveling from cities like San Francisco, Venice, and Paris, Gilson worked, studied, tasted, dined and toured some of the world's leading vineyards.
Upon graduation from JWU, he continued to run the family-owned Herb Lyceum, creating distinctive herbal menus for the patrons who have followed his career. He also opened Cambridge's Garden at the Cellar, which focused on fresh, local dishes.In 2011, he handed over Garden’s reins to his sous chef, Brandon Arms, and began a new phase of his career. With his business partner Aaron Cohen, he founded GilCo Rogue Enterprises LLC, which is dedicated to bringing memorable dining experiences to unexpected places. So far the duo have created pop-up restaurants in Boston's British Consulate and the Taza Chocolate Factory, as well as a food truck, the Eat Wagon.
Gilson works closely with organizations like Chef’s Collaborative to help educate patrons and fellow chefs about making sustainable food choices. He believes that through collaborative efforts between local chefs and producers, the network and core of Boston’s food scene will become stronger and healthier.
Next up for Gilson? He’s just opened Puritan & Company, a rustic New England bistro in Cambridge’s Inman Square.