The 86’d Life had a chance to catch up with Bistro Pomme Verte’s executive chef, Tim Howells. Chef Howells is a Lehigh Valley native and one of the many successful products from Northampton Community College’s excellent culinary program.  His extensive resume includes, Dan’s BBQ,  Manor House Inn, Starfish Brassiere, Shepard Hill’s Country Club, and work as a corporate chef at Wegman’s. Chef Howell’s has been in the industry for 15 years now and shares his thoughts on the lifestyle and the challenges of opening a business from the ground up.

The 86’d Life: “How did you get involved in the service industry? Where did you get your start?”

Tim Howells:  “As a child I grew up watching cooking shows (Martin Yan, Julia Child, etc.) then I would go in the kitchen and practice what I saw. My mother didn’t enjoy the mess I’d leave in the kitchen when she got home. Once I was old enough I went to the vocational school at Lehigh Career and technical institute where I studied culinary arts. My first job was a prep/dishwasher on the weekends at the farmers market.”

 The 86’d Life: “Why did you want to work in the service industry?”

TH:  “I loved food and loved being able to create things with it.”

 The 86’d Life: “What is your favorite part of the job? How about your favorite part of your current restaurant, Bistro Pomme Verte?”

TH: “Making guests happy and giving them a one-of-a-kind experience. We are currently offering house-made charcuterie. The art of curing and preserving is very fun and different then just your everyday cooking.”

The 86’d Life: “What has been the biggest challenge for you (and your staff) with opening a restaurant from the ground up?”

TH: “In one week, we went being an Italian restaurant to organizing a kitchen capable of producing modern French cuisine in less than five days! It was tight for everybody. We wish we had more time to perfect a few more things for opening night.”

Chef Howells harvesting fresh indgredients
Chef Howells harvesting fresh indgredients

The 86’d Life: “What is the biggest challenge when creating a new menu? What was your aim for Pomme?”

TH: “Everyone can write a menu, but making it all come together on a plate can be the real challenge. My aim is to bring modern and traditional French food together while utilizing local, fresh ingredients. Making as much from scratch as possible.”

The 86’d Life: “In regards to the Lehigh Valley, an up-and-coming ‘foodie’ area, do you believe your kitchen will stand apart from the local competition? Why is that?”

TH: “From the first day till now we are constantly trying to do better than the day before. It’s definitely a challenge, but trying to be progressive and make everyone who comes in the door happy is our main goal.”

The 86’d Life: “Explain the charcuterie process at the bistro. How do you guys prepare the meats. It sounds like having an authentic charcuterie portion on the menu was a vital part of the restaurant – why make such a serious focus on essentially, a meat and cheese board?” 

TH: “Well I wanted to do something that would set us apart from other restaurants. Anybody can put a meat and cheese board together, but where does it all come from? We prepare everything in house and the cheese we buy from a small, local creamery. The meats are prepared a couple different ways. Some things like, the ham and bacon, are smoked after being cured or brined for a week. Our apple pork sausage we grind the meat in house and poach (the protein) in apple cider. It’s a work in progress, but every day we get better and try something different.”

thowells plating

The 86’d Life: “Biggest obstacle you had to overcome while working in the service industry?”

TH: “Not burning myself out and always challenging myself.”

 The 86’d Life: “The worst part of the job?”

TH: “Not having a life sometimes; missing important events with family and friends.”

 The 86’d Life: “Why have you stayed in the industry?”

TH: “There is nothing better than surviving a busy night and making customers happy. Not many people can say they love what they do. I love my career.”

The 86’d Life: “You have worked in the industry for a while now and you stress the importance of always challenging yourself. In what ways have you done so? Has there been a particular position/kitchen you purposely sought out to better improve your culinary skills? How is your current kitchen, Pomme, challenging you as a chef?”

TH: “I started a pop-up restaurant called, West End Gastro Club a few years ago. I did it because I was bored with Wegman’s and I missed the restaurant life. It was one of my biggest challenges. My first chef position was at age 21; I didn’t know nearly anything to what I know now, but it was a challenge for sure. Pomme was my first new restaurant opening so that was definitely on my bucket list. Other than that I challenge myself and the staff to do better every day.”

 The 86’d Life: “If you could work in a different profession, what would it be?”

TH: “Musician. If only I could sing or play an instrument.”

The 86’d Life: “Do you have a favorite dish to eat/to cook?”

TH: “I like trying different food and different cuisines. I feel the same way with cooking.”

The 86’d Life: “Any advice to anyone coming into the service industry?”

TH: “Constantly challenge yourself to do better!”

 The 86’d Life: “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?”

TH: “Owning my own restaurant.”


A day in the life as a chef at Pomme Bistro Verte
Just another day in the kitchen at Pomme Bistro Verte


The 86’d Life: “Like most chefs you said you wish to own your own place some day. Given the opportunity, what type of business/restaurant would you like to open; any specific cuisine?” 

TH: “Something small , upscale casual focusing on fresh-from -scratch American cuisine with global influences.”

 The 86’d Life: “Sounds like you have an affinity towards music. Do you incorporate that passion with your current profession? Allowing music in the kitchen during hours? Does Pomme offer any live entertainment?”

TH: “Yes we definitely listen to music in the kitchen, I need it. It (the music) gets us and keeps us moving. Right now we do not have live entertainment, but maybe in the future.”

We’d like to thank Chef Tim Howells for sharing his culinary stories and experiences with us here at The 86’d Life. His current restaurant, Bistro Pomme Verte is located in Palmer Township and opened Tuesday-Saturday for more information visit their website