Todd Owen, Executive Pastry Chef
Todd Owen was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and raised in Worcester, New York. He began his culinary training at the age of 16 at a local vocational school for culinary arts. Discovering his natural talent in pastries, Todd began to challenge himself by competing in regional and state competitions. As his first win, he took second place in commercial baking in New York State in 2002. He then proceeded to The Culinary Institute of America to complete his training.
Todd landed his first job at the Five-Star Hotel, The Cloister at Sea Island in 2005. For the next five years, he worked with a well-known chocolatier exploring the artistry side of the craft and learning from global level competitions. While pushing himself in the pastry competitions, he continued to dabble in the savory side of cuisine in both the kitchen and in the bakeshop. Crossing the flavors of sweet and savory shaped Todd’s pasty technique in ways that were unique to the industry. After leaving the Cloister at Sea Island, Todd furthered his career at a Luxury French Country Inn, L’auberge Provencal, in northern Virginia, and then as Assistant Pastry Chef at the historic Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia—one of the best known hotels in North America. Moving on from the Greenbrier Resort, Todd accepted his next position as Executive Pastry Chef at the Four-Star Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, North Carolina where he further developed his unique style crossing sweet and savory in a “Farm To Table” atmosphere. Chef Todd is now the Executive Pastry Chef at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.
Jake Schmidt, EDISON Craft Ale + Kitchen
Chef Jake Schmidt attended the Culinary School at Kendall College in Evanston, Illinois where he graduated in 1998 with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. Upon graduation, Chef Jake excelled in the private club sector of the industry. He worked at many exclusive country clubs in the Chicago suburbs including the Sous, Banquet and Executive Sous Chef positions at both Exmoor Country Club and Onwentsia Club. In 2007 Jake became the Executive Sous Chef at The Signature Room at the 95th located atop the John Hancock Center in downtown Chicago. The Signature Room is world renowned for its incredible views, food and service. In late September of 2011, Jake happily accepted the position of Chef de Cuisine of the Blue Ridge Artisanal Buffet at The Omni Grove Park Inn. As of July 2013, Jake has been appointed to Chef de Cuisine of EDISON, Craft Ales + Kitchen, a recent addition to the dining options at The Omni Grove Park Inn.
Kelly Koppinger, Chef de Tournant
Born in New York City, raised in Trinidad, and schooled in the culinary arts in West Palm Beach, FL, Kelley Koppinger brings passion and a strong skill set to her role as Chef de Tournant at The Omni Grove Park Inn. As Chef de Tournant, Koppinger is responsible for assisting all outlets and ensuring standards and policies are up to par. Koppinger began her career in food & beverage following service in the U.S. Navy. Inspired by the long line of hospitality professionals in her family, she accepted a job with Room Service at Loews Hotels, Portofino Bay Resort. A year later, she enrolled at Florida Culinary Institute. Following graduation, Koppinger spent 14 years honing skills and learning the ropes in hotel kitchens across the U.S. and the Caribbean, including Wyndhams, Westins, Loews Hotels and most recently Omni Hotels & Resorts.
William Bierlein, Chef de Cuisine, Banquets
With more than two decades of culinary experience, William Bierlein oversees group and event clientele as Chef de Cuisine, Banquets at The Omni Grove Park Inn. One of five siblings born in Pontiac, Michigan, Bierlein was 12 when his family relocated to Las Vegas and opened the Sunrise Café to showcase his father's culinary talents. Six years later, Bierlein joined the opening team at Mirage Resort and Hotel Casino, a 5-star destination owned by Steve Wynn. Bierlein made the most of that opportunity and others that followed, rising from cook's helper to work alongside many chefs, among them David Kellaway, a Certified Master Chef who handpicked Bierlein to be part of his team at Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Passionate about his art, Bierlein takes inspiration from a French mentor who told him: "You will only be as good as your taste buds will take you. Try everything."
James Lumley, Chef de Cuisine, Vue 1913
As Chef de Cuisine at Vue 1913, James Lumley continues the tradition of developing innovative classic American cuisine using fresh ingredients acquired from local producers throughout Western North Carolina. Originally from Melbourne, Fla., Lumley began his career in hospitality working as a restaurant dishwasher. By the time he completed high school, he had worked his way through every level of restaurant operations. Following graduation from Johnson and Wales University in north Miami, Fla., he joined The Ritz-Carlton, Naples Golf Resort as a culinary intern in 2002. Moving steadily through the ranks, Lumley became a trainer in the resort's culinary division and supervisor of the 4-star/4-diamond Italian restaurant Lemonia, the Bella Vista Lounge and In-Room Dining. After rising to Sous Chef of Lemonia, Lumley joined Naples Beach Resort becoming Chef at the Poolside Café as well as Food and Safety Trainer.