By PARIS WOLFE
Hungry Bee is far more than the sum of its parts. The retail outlet and catery in Chagrin Falls does magic with just six full-time staff members.And, given the nature of their carryout and catering business these folks were busy during the worst of pandemic shutdown. That buzz continues today.
Walk into the cozy brick-and-mortar location on a weekday and you’ll see a cooler full of dinner options ready to reheat at home. Selections range from jumbo crab cakes to tender short ribs. Perhaps the most
popular item is Hungry Bee’s chicken salad. The store sells nearly 200 pounds per week. Hungry Bee also carries owner Kimberly Gibson’s father’s local, raw honey and pollen.
What you don’t see in action, most of the time, is their catering service. Not only can founders/owners/chefs Kimberly and Jimmy Gibson help you customize an event menu for a romantic dinner or a grand gala, but they are also busy filling contracts for local businesses.
“We cater events ranging from intimate dinners all the way up,” says
Kimberly. “Our largest event to date was the Republican National Convention for which we fed roughly 1,500 guests, twice daily.”
After opening their business in 2013, the Gibsons and their dream team have spent the last few years building corporate clients. “We stock private jets, cater corporate functions and galas, and manage daily food-service operations for businesses,” says Kimberly. “It shocks people when they learn we hold contracts for large corporations and hospitals while working out of our little building on East Washington Street. That is why our team is so important.”
“On Mondays and Wednesdays, we deliver food to 80 to 100 private residences who are dealing with personal health issues,” she says.“To successfully prepare all the food we do on a daily basis for all of these businesses and private customers is mind-boggling.”
The hardworking team includes
DAN PACHECO … father, husband, chef, farmer … Pacheco loved cooking from a very young age. As a boy growing up in Chile, he learned his way around the kitchen from talented family. After moving to the United States, he worked in New Jersey restaurants and honed his English language skills. Eager to see more of the country and build his restaurant skills, Pacheco moved to Northeast Ohio. Here he fine-tuned his craft at Moxie and sister restaurant Red, The Steakhouse in Beachwood. He moved on to executive chef at Biga in Kirtland. Today, he is a skilled chefwith the Hungry Bee.
He is married to Brandi. In 2008, Pacheco welcomed his son Eli into the world. After a lot of hard work and studying he became a U.S. citizen in 2017. In his free time, he enjoys wine tasting in the Grand River Valley and working with his family to tend cattle on his farm.
NICOLE CHAMPAGNE … mother, wife, chef, butter lover … Nicole has always wanted to cook. So, in high school she chose the Auburn Career Center for Culinary Arts. After that she was accepted into the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. There she trained in classical European cuisine. Her first job was at Moxie the Restaurant in Beachwood. After Moxie, Nicole explored culinary life in the private club industry. Until recently, she worked at a Concord Township bistro where she met her chef-husband Robert.
After becoming a mother in 2017, Nicole transitioned into work with Hungry Bee. That way she has a creative culinary outlet yet still has nights and weekends free for family. And, that family grew in 2020 with the addition of a second child. In Nicole’s free time, she enjoys spending time with family, gardening, boating, fishing, and being an all-around country girl.
BO HILL … father, husband, smoked meat enthusiast …. One of 11 children, Hill was raised on a farm in Alabama. He grew up excelling in sports, especially football and baseball. He moved to Cleveland in 1985. Eventually, Hill joined Rick’s Café in Chagrin Falls. He worked there for 26 years, until Rick’s served its last rack of renowned ribs. That’s when he joined Hungry Bee.
When he moved to Ohio, Hill met his wife Iris. Today they have seven children and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys mentoring youth, watching sports, grilling, spending time with his family and working around the house.
HEATHER DICKSON … mother, grandmother, lover of all creatures … Dickson has loved animals and gardening from her childhood. In addition to her first horse, at age 13, she was surrounded by dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, and ducks while growing up. She is a self-described “animal whisperer.”
While raising her two children, Heather worked at Rick’s Café in Chagrin Falls for 31 years. There she knew her regulars’ favorite cocktails and menu items. When Rick’s Café closed, Heather took her community spirit to Hungry Bee.
Heather spends time with her significant other, Tim. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking, camping, enjoying her grandchildren and walking her dog
JIMMY GIBSON … father, husband, chef, Grateful Dead enthusiast … Jimmy was raised in a family rich in food heritage. His grandfather Bill was a well-known butcher and business owner in Minnesota. After graduating from Benedictine High School in Cleveland, Jimmy studied at Ohio University. Then, he followed his heart into the kitchen. His first restaurant job was at Fire in Shaker Heights. He, then, moved on to Moxie and Red the Steakhouse in Beachwood. During his tenure there, Jimmy was invited to cook at the world-renowned James Beard House, twice, and had the opportunity to cater New York Fashion Week.
In 2013, he and his wife, Kimberly opened Hungry Bee in Chagrin Falls. Jimmy prides himself on sourcing products locally when possible. When Jimmy is not cooking, he enjoys playing guitar and piano, kicking around the soccer ball, gardening, and spending time in nature with wife, three daughters and their German Shepherd.
KIMBERLY MCCUNE GIBSON … mother, wife, chef, empress of honey … Daughter of a beekeeper, Kimberly witnessed first-hand the interdependence of land and people when she visited the farmers who leased beehives for orchard pollination. After graduating from Kenston High School, she studied classical European cuisine at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
During her career she’s been a private celebrity chef, sous chef at Classics and held leadership positions at Moxie, Red the Steakhouse, and a local cooking school.
In 2013 Kimberly gave birth to her daughter Harper Grace and shortly thereafter added Veya Leffler to her family. At the same time, she and Jimmy launched The Hungry Bee. In 2017, Kimberly appeared on The Food Network’s CHOPPED Halloween Episode. Three weeks later she welcomed her third daughter Frances “Frankie” James to the family.
Community is important to Kimberly. She is active in The Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce, Kenston Schools, Bainbridge Area Food for Friends, and has set up “The Blue Cooler Project” to feed those less fortunate. In Kimberly’s free time she enjoys spending time with her daughters and supporting local, independent restaurants on date nights with Jimmy.