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.
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 Michele Jemison
Chef Jemison grew up in Connecticut surrounded by farms, gardens and orchards. Her passion for fresh and local food began in her childhood years and continues in her style of cooking today. She is a graduate of Boston University with a degree in sociology and anthropology. Throughout her college years Michele enjoyed traveling and culture. Her hunger grew for more knowledge as she was blessed with the opportunity to extend her education and study Culinary Arts in a Dubrulle, a French Culinary School in Vancouver B.C. Michele remained interested in the human disposition as she followed Culinary with a minor in nutrition and holistic health counseling at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. All of these degrees mirror her unique approach to the culinary industry. Chef Michele has had the privilege of working under two James Beard award winning chefs who truly sparked her fervor for cooking. She has owned three restaurants in Savannah and a very successful catering company primarily catering to the film industry. Her fine dining restaurants focused on Farm to Table utilizing local and fresh ingredients.
Michele has traveled extensively in and out of the country and takes these experiences to the table and now into the classroom. Michele has gained recognition in several local magazines including a Silver Spoon Award in Ga Trend Magazine. She remains certified in sanitation through the ANSI / Serv Safe. Other features of highlight are: Well Fed, South, Connect Savannah, and Savannah Magazines.
It is with these successes and strong community ties that we celebrate and educate with Chef Michele Jemison. Chef Michele’s experiences now help the next generation of Chefs throughout our classroom, laboratory, and “real world experiences”. It’s with service spirit and hospitality hope that we’ll meet and share with one another soon.
Chef Geir 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 Randy Nichol
Chef Randy A. Nichol’s culinary journey began at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park N.Y. After graduating first in his class of 650 in 1974, Randy began his 43 year culinary career in Hotels, Multi-Unit Restaurants, Resorts, Clubs and finally his own Restaurant business for 25 years. In addition to owning and operating his own Restaurant, Randy developed a line of High End Seasonings that were marketed successfully for 20 years. During his 43 years in the Hospitality Industry, Randy held many positions of responsibility such as: Executive Chef, Regional Executive Chef, and Vice President of Operations. Working with Hotel companies Randy developed menus and new menu concepts for new hotel openings as well as executing the grand openings of numerous hotels. Randy additionally composed annual events with corporate Chefs and Food and Beverage Directors meetings for his hotel company. Randy brings his collective experience and food loving passion to bear each and every day while sharing them with his students. Randy’s mission is to make the most positive impact on his students professional futures that he can.