Executive chef Walden is one of the reasons the five-star Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, Va., was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's 2012 "America's 100 Best Wine Restaurants." Goodstone also earned one OpenTable's Diner's Choice Awards as one of the top 100 restaurants in the United States last year.

How would you describe the Goodstone Inn & Estate Restaurant and your cuisine?

It's a beautiful 265-acre wine estate in Middleburg that literally takes your breath away. Having the opportunity to work in such a magnificent place makes my work so rewarding. I do a modern American French country cuisine, with a farm-to-table emphasis. I have a consuming passion for excellence and the restaurant gratefully consumes all of my time.

What's different about the estate since you started working there?

This was a very, very, very private place until I arrived. I convinced the owner to make the wine estate more accessible and he agreed. It's not cheap, but it's approachable.

Your clientele range from locals, honeymooners to politicians and high-end celebrities -- who's the most interesting person you've cooked for?

I'm under restrictive covenants not to reveal any of our celebrity guests who stay at the inn.

What does your job entail at the restaurant?

My job entails everything at the restaurant. I serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can't imagine how rewarding it is to have the staff hand select the vegetables, herbs from our garden and fruits directly from the estate and bring them to me daily for our meals. I also make fresh preserves out of our peaches, apples, blackberries and raspberries.

Tell me about your wine cellar?

We have the most beautiful wine cellar you will ever see in your life. Pairing food with wine creates a certain synergy that this is what I mean about romanticizing life in the country.

-- Sara A. Carter