The Sea Island Culinary Team

Your palate is in very good hands

With such a remarkable range of dining options, from Forbes Five-Star dining to laid-back food truck, it’s no surprise that Sea Island has a deep bench of top culinary talent from around the world. Each restaurant offers a unique take on regional flavors. And each chef offers up a menu that is more than a meal, it’s an experience. Every restaurant’s culinary excellence is maintained through a strong relationship with local farmers, butchers, fishermen and artisans, whose freshest products are incorporated into each innovative menu. And of course, through the skill and talent of our extraordinary culinary team. Sea Island dining is a foodie’s dream. Here’s why…

Chef Jonathan Jerusalmy

Sea Island Food and Beverage Director – Restaurants and Culinary

Chef Jonathan Jerusalmy has traveled a long, winding, and delicious road throughout his distinguished culinary career. From his education at the Institute Technique des Métiers de L’Alimentation in Tournai, Belgium, to internships at Michelin-rated restaurants in France, to kitchens at top resorts, Chef Jerusalmy is one of only 350 Master French Chefs in the world. He has worked and traveled around the globe, committed to using home-grown, seasonal ingredients right here, at Sea Island.

Chef Daniel Zeal

Resort Executive Chef

Chef Zeal’s life has always revolved around sharing good food. His passion for creativity and the satisfying aesthetics of cooking were ignited at an early age. Today, he is a Forbes Five-Star award-winning chef. He’s come a long way since watching his earliest idol, the charismatic TV-cook Martin Yan. Chef Zeal began his professional career at The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, FL, where he served as Chef de Partie of the resort’s AAA Five-Diamond Grill Room. Chef Zeal came to Sea Island in 2006 as Sous Chef of the Georgian Room, and then became Chef de Cuisine in 2009. He moved into his current role, Executive Chef of The Lodge in 2016.

Chef Bill Welch

Executive Chef, The Lodge and Retreat

From his start in the kitchen as a dishwasher at age 13 to graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Chef Welch began his professional career as Sous Chef at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Chatham, MA, under Executive Chef Bill Brodksy. Chef Welch joined Sea Island in 2009 as Lead Line Cook in the Georgian Room, our Forbes Five-Star restaurant. He was instrumental in the opening Tavola in 2011, and was promoted to Sous Chef. In 2013, Bill assumed the role of Banquet Sous Chef and then Executive Sous Chef. Bill’s latest promotion has led him to his current role of Executive Chef of The Cloister, Beach Club, and Sea Island Events.

Chef Eric Fullem

Executive Chef, Beach Club

Chef Eric Fullem started his career at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 2004. Chef Eric has made it a personal goal to work at the highest level of luxury hotels and Forbes Five-Star rated properties across the country. In addition to his time at Nemacolin, Chef Fullem’s career has been molded at properties such as The Inn at Dos Brisas, Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse as well as Sea Island; his previous position held at Sea Island was Chef de Cuisine of the River Bar. Chef Fullem returned to Sea Island in February 2018 as Executive Sous Chef of The Cloister and Beach Club.

Get at Taste of The Cloister and Beach Club

Chef Paul Newman

Executive Chef, Sea Island Events Team

Chef Newman showed an early interest in cooking from the time he could push a chair around to stand in to watch and learn from his grandmothers and mothers. If they were in the kitchen so was he. Chef Newman began his career in private Country Clubs at the age of 16 and grew his passion and love for food. Chef Newman decided to follow is childhood dream of becoming a Chef and attended the Culinary Institute of America where he graduated in 2002. Shortly after his graduation from the CIA, Chef Newman attended Marshall University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management in 2006, all while he was the lead instructor in Marshall’s culinary program. Chef Newman then moved to Atlanta in 2008 where he worked for Legendary Events, Whole Foods, and was the Food Service Director at The Golf Club of Georgia and Horseshoe Bend Country Club before moving to the Golden Isles to start his tenure at Sea Island in 2015. Chef Newman has progressed through the ranks of the Events Team and was promoted to Executive Chef in December of 2017.

Chef Phillip Jackson

Executive Sous Chef, The Lodge

Chef Jackson is passionate about putting his considerable artistic skills to good use and gets a lot of satisfaction and joy from witnessing big smiles after a great meal. He began his career at Sea Island in 2006, where he helped open the new Beach Club. He then moved to Houston, Texas to become the Chef de Partie at the Renaissance Hotel. Jackson returned to Sea Island in 2010 to join The Lodge culinary team. Chef Jackson was recently awarded the 2015 Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year Award, presented by the Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association.

Get a Taste of The Oak Room

Chef Aaron Belizzi

Chef de Cuisine, Georgian Room

Aaron is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America 2007. After receiving a bachelors degree he moved to New York City to begin his culinary journey. His work experience includes Le Cirque, Benoit by Alan Ducass, Gilt at the Palace Hotel, Le Bec Fin, NIX, Eleven Madison Park, and most recently as the Chef de Cuisine in the Georgian Room.
He was born in Mt Kisco, NY and raised in upstate New York. He has lived in Denver, Philadelphia and NYC and now Sea Island, Georgia. Aaron is a veracious reader and loves to learn, enjoys the beach, time with family and traveling. He truly loves to cook- which is perfect for creating the 5 star experience in the Georgian Room.

Get a Taste of the Georgian Room

Chef Armando Gomez

Chef de Cuisine, River Bar

Chef Armando found a passion for the art of cooking at the ripe age of 12. Growing up in Mexico City, he was influenced by one of the most unique and versatile cuisines in the world, where his best memories were created in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother. However, even from this early age, he realized his love was French and European style cooking. After continuing his culinary studies at the Glion Institute of Higher Education, his post-graduate travels took him to such notable venues as Gabriel Kreuger in New York; Guy Savoy’s, Las Vegas, Nevada; and The Georgian Room at Sea Island.

Get a Taste of River Bar

Chef Matthew Krueger

Chef de Cuisine, Oak Room

Chef Krueger’s love and passion for cooking food developed at age 16 while working for a local bakery café. That passion led him to study at the Art Institute of Salt Lake where he quickly moved on to hone his craft in the mountains of Park City, Utah. His professional career began at Montage Deer Valley. Three years later he worked as both a Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine at Promontory Park City. He was the Sous Chef at St. Regis Deer Valley’s J&G Grill before moving to Sea Island in the spring of 2018. Chef Krueger brings together with his team at The Oak Room, determination and commitment to creating delicious and memorable food.

Get a Taste of the Oak Room

Chef Paula Garrett

Chef de Cuisine, Broadfield

Chef Garrett grew up in the small town amongst farms and fields of fresh food. Being the 6th child of 10, her responsibilities included cooking dinner for the family, helping in the garden, and preserving food. With a desire to learn the classic cuisine, she began classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights, MN in 2001 and interned at Sea Island during the G8 Summit. Her first restaurant was PK's Place in 2004 and then moved on to Cabin Bluff in 2007. In 2009, she started at Little St. Simons Island and returned to her farm to table roots. In 2013, she moved a few islands to the south to Jekyll Island Club Hotel, working at Courtyard at Crane and with the Banquets department. In 2015 she returned to Cabin Bluff while opening her restaurant Isaac's Country Bistro in 2016. Late 2018, she joined Sea Island's team at Broadfield Plantation as Chef de Cuisine.

Get a Taste of Broadfield

Chef Cortney Harris

Executive Pastry Chef

While completing an externship program at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Harris worked at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Grand Geneva, WI. Upon graduation, Harris was promptly recruited by Sea Island and continued her career in the Sea Island Bake Shop. Over the next seven years, her talent, strong work ethic, and attention to detail enabled her to work her way through the leadership ranks and moved into her current role in January 2014.

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