Culinard in Savannah - Culinary Arts School Faculty

Program Director


Chef David Pressley

Chef David Pressley, originally from Charlotte N.C. is happily married with two children now resides on Wilmington Island GA. David began his culinary career in Raleigh NC, where he worked alongside of Jim Hallett the RTP's, Research Triangle Park's, Chef of the Year for three years. David accepted his first Executive Chef role at Oscar's Supper Club where regional and themed menus served clientele in ala carte and buffet style dining. Food at Oscar's was enjoyed with great musical acts such as The Drifter's and Waller Family. Chef David was fortunate enough to cook with Justin Wilson prior to his passing in a benefit dinner to raise money for charity. After 10 years in Hotels and Restaurants in and around Raleigh David enrolled at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston SC. David earned his culinary and accepted a teaching assistant or fellowship position while completing his BA in Food Service Management.

Following graduation David worked with Houlihan's Restaurant Group in Atlanta GA where he developed his managerial talent. Following the birth of his daughter Jayni, David joined Sodexho Marriott in their Corporate Services division also in Atlanta. David worked his way up to Area General Manager as he realigned processes and business to become both solvent and client stable. In 2009 Chef David was approached by the division Vice President as he proposed relocation to Savannah GA. It was for the challenge of re-alignment of Savannah's own Gulfstream Aerospace account. Although the economy was tough on most businesses it was truly a great experience to manage the business of food in a large campus setting. David's team tripled the size and scope of business over the next seven years locally. Unique for Gulfstream customers, Global menus were required. The Gulfstream Customer is indicative of elite. There is very little out of reach for the famous, empowered, and affluent.

After much reflection, it was David's desire to return to his culinary roots and his passion to teach. "Most gratifying has been witnessing others in my command better themselves and their lives as their talents develop". David is staged to share his knowledge and experiences with our students here at Virginia College, Savannah GA. Home at last…

Chef Instructors


Chef Sarah Hernandez

Sarah began her love of baking at a young age. Growing up in a Pennsylvania country home, she quickly discovered what to do with home grown produce. Having fresh apples, pears, blackberries and much more just a pick away, Sarah began turning out delicious pies, cakes, fillings, and endless creations with the help of her mother's recipe box.

Shortly after high school, Sarah enrolled in the Le Cordon Blue Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh, PA where she earned her degree in Patisserie and Baking. She excelled in her classes and became a member of Student Council, earned the honor of being placed on the President's List and graduated in 2004 as class Valedictorian. Sarah served her internship at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, FL, where upon completion she was offered a permanent position and continued honing her skills here until 2005.

With a strong desire to learn more, Sarah began to travel and for the next few years and worked at a local bakery in Pennsylvania, Wequassett Inn Resort in Chatham, MA and eventually settled at one of the largest hotel and convention centers in the country, Marriott's Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

Sarah spent the next seven years at Opryland, perfecting her skills with chocolate, sugar and cake decorating. As Pastry Sous Chef, she was honored to receive the President's Award for Creativity in 2012, Gaylord's highest recognition given. In 2013, Sarah was nominated for the J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence, Marriott's most prestigious award.

At the end of 2013, she returned to Pittsburgh, PA for one year as the Executive Pastry Chef at Rivers Casino. While here, Sarah was featured in Whirl Magazine for her creation of a life-sized, edible roulette table and pie demonstrations at the Pittsburgh Science Center.

Sarah recently relocated to Savannah, GA with her husband Javier, who is also a chef, and their daughter, Maddie. Sarah is excited to begin her career with Culinard where she hopes to inspire the students to achieve their goals and always continue learning.


Chef Geir S. Kilen

With more than 25 years of culinary experience and extensive four-star hotel knowledge, Chef Kilen brings a wealth of expertise and insight into cutting edge cuisine to Culinard.

Before arriving in the United States, Chef Kilen received a culinary degree from The Culinary Institute in his hometown of Kristiansand, Norway, in addition to a certification in Business Management from Kristiansand Handelsskole.

After moving to the United States, Chef Kilen served as the former executive chef of 700 Drayton Restaurant and the executive chef of The Commerce Club in Atlanta, where he brought a "diverse, culinary fare" according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. He was also responsible for the opening of the Palm Beach Restaurant, a successful Caribbean fusion restaurant in the Atlanta suburbs, which he owned and where he served as general manager and executive chef for three years. Chef Kilen has served as executive chef in several other notable Atlanta establishments, including The Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center Hotel, Bold American Food Company, Emory Conference Center Hotel and Marriot International, among others.

In Savannah, Chef Kilen has been honored with hosting and participating in the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour. The ultimate collaboration dinner, featuring several award-winning James Beard Foundation chefs, the Celebrity Chef Tour is one of the most exciting and highly anticipated culinary events in Savannah.

Chef Kilen's portfolio boasts a number of awards and accolades, including a silver medal in the U.S. Chefs Open in 1991, as well as achieving highest banquet guest comment card score of all Hilton hotels in the continental U.S., beating world-famous properties such as the Waldorf Astoria and Beverly Hilton.


Chef Gregory Malley

A native of Pittsburgh, Chef Gregory Malley is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a BA in French language and literature. Following graduation, he and his wife spent two years in the Peace Corps in West Africa. Chef Malley has worked as an executive chef since 1976, with the bulk of his experience in private clubs and corporate and private catering. He joined the ACF in 1977 and was certified as an executive chef in 1984. During his varied career, Chef Malley worked at Sunnehanna Country Club, Pittsburgh Golf Club, Oakmont Country Club and accepted the position of Food Service Director of the Equibank Corp. Chef Malley honed his teaching skills as Chef Instructor and Assistant Dean of Students at Pennsylvania Culinary.

After moving to Savannah, Chef Malley was an executive in a continuing care retirement community and then accepted the position of adjunct Chef Instructor at the Savannah Technical College. He brings a diverse background and passion for good food to the faculty of Culinard in Savannah.


Chef Amberley Rowe-Stewart

Growing up on a family farm in Skaneateles, NY first sparked Amberley Rowe-Stewart's interest in the culinary industry, spending five years working in the kitchens at the Sherwood Inn and Mandana Inn. Chef Stewart is a honors graduate of SUNY Cobleskill and attended the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies in Birmingham, England.

In Asheville, N.C. she began her professional career at the Asheville Country Club as the Executive Sous Chef. Over the next four years she honed her craft as an Executive Chef with The Gove Park Inn, The Swag and Chelsea's Village Tea Room in Biltmore Village. Stewart relocated to Georgia to continue her culinary career and quickly let young love lead her back to Asheville as a Fine Dining Chef with Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community.

While in Asheville, the 27 year-old followed another dream. An avid field hockey player through high school and while living in England, Stewart enrolled at Western Carolina University as a Sport Management Major with a focus in International Business. During this time she utilized her hospitality talents with Battleground Restaurants and Harrah's Cherokee Casino.

The sound of the ocean and her love for sea turtles brought her back to Savannah, Ga. where she has lived for the last eight years. Stewart worked with Parker's as a Deli Administrator to assist in building a new business model in 2006. In 2007, wedding bells rang and the next year a baby boy came along as Chef Stewart served as Cooking School Director at Kitchens on the Square. In 2010, Chef Stewart served as Director of Operations with Lovin' Spoons in Savannah and Pooler, Ga.

She joined Culinard in 2011 as Chef Instructor and was promoted to Program Director in the Summer of 2013. As she puts it, "I feel that I have truly found my passion with Culinard. My goal is to network our students within our community on a level that executes professionalism, builds hope and shows compassion while creating integrity within an industry that employs over 23,000 people in the Savannah and surrounding areas."


Chef Jeffrey Szabo

A graduate of Johnson and Wales University's Charleston campus, Chef Jeffrey Szabo comes to Culinard with over 25 years of culinary experience. He performed his externship at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. After graduation, Chef Szabo spent a semester earning a certificate in Hungarian Pastry under international pastry chef Mate Katalin at the world renowned Danubius Grand Hotel on Margitszigeti in Budapest, Hungary.

Chef Szabo began his culinary journey at the age of 16 when he worked in a local bakery. Since then, he has had a wide and varied career in the culinary and pastry fields. He was the Pastry Chef at the Hotel Thayer at West Point, Norfolk Marriott Waterside, and The Tuxedo Club. It was at The Tuxedo Club that Chef Szabo began to explore his culinary side with increasing amounts of time spent behind the line. At the Rockland Country Club, Chef Szabo was assumed the dual roles of Pastry and Sous Chef allowing him to further hone his culinary skills. He also dabbled in Asian fusion cuisine as the Sous Chef at Park Place in Goshen, New York.

He next began a foray into the institutional world with his placement as Executive Chef, and later Food and Beverage Director at Southwinds Retirement Home in Middletown, New York. While there, he won a bronze medal in the Ginsberg Culinary Challenge Food Competition. In 2011, he relocated with his family to the Lowcountry where he accepted a position as the Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director for Savannah Square in beautiful Savannah, Georgia.

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