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Michel Mahé services set for Aug. 3, restaurants to operate as usual

FERRISBURGH — Managers of the four area restaurants founded by the late Michel Mahé confirmed that the businesses will continue to remain open and operate as usual during this difficult period following his death.
Mahé, 50, died suddenly of natural causes at his Ferrisburgh home last Tuesday, July 21. A public service in his memory is slated for 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, at the Old Lantern in Charlotte.
Mahé, a native of France, was a chef at Ferrisburgh’s Starry Night Café before leaving to establish his first Addison County restaurant, the Black Sheep Bistro on Main Street in Vergennes. The Black Sheep proved very successful and led to his founding of the Bearded Frog in Shelburne, the Park Squeeze in Vergennes, and most recently The Lobby in Middlebury. His holdings also at one point included The Bobcat Café and Brewery in Bristol, which he sold to this past February to current chef/owners Erin and Sanderson Wheeler.
He worked long hours in collaboration with a management team of Andrea Cousineau and Dickie Austin. The pair has been busy this past week assisting the Mahé family with funeral arrangements while tending to the day-to-day activities at the four restaurants.
“We know what our marching orders are, and he would want to keep the restaurant team up and running,” Cousineau said on Tuesday. “We are prepared for it.”
Cousineau worked for Mahé for 15 years, doing everything from washing dishes to accounting work. She credited him with making her a good manager and for entrusting her with leadership roles, sometimes at a moment’s notice.
“He would throw me into the deep end,” she said, using a swim lesson metaphor.
She called Mahé’s death a “huge emotional loss.”
Cousineau added that once Mahé has been laid to rest, events and perhaps a scholarship would be established in his honor. She promised the management team would take great pains to perpetuate his legacy of good quality and generosity.
“He helped people,” Cousineau said. “He always advocated for people reaching for more, and having more.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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