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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

Resort Director of Food and Beverage

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

Daniel Zeal joined Sea Island in February 2006 as the Sous Chef of the opening team of the Georgian Room in pursuit of a Forbes Five-Star Award. Chef Zeal was promoted to Chef de Cuisine in February 2009 and was the Chef de Cuisine until mid-2015. In July 2015, he was promoted to Executive Chef of The Lodge and Retreat. Chef Zeal has been in the industry for 24 years at multiple levels, and was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. A native of Jacksonville, Danny grew up in a relatively large family where food was always extremely important, and southern hospitality was in their DNA. He took a position that landed him at the Amelia Island Ritz Carlton, where he trained in the Five-Diamond Restaurant, “The Grill Room”, for over 3 years. Chef Zeal has been an integral part of our Forbes Five-Star ratings over the last 12 years, as well as achieving a Forbes-Four Star rating in Colt & Alison for 2018 and 2019.

Chef Bill Welch

Executive Chef, The Lodge and Retreat

Starting in the kitchen as a dishwasher at age 13, then graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Chef Bill officially began his professional career as Sous Chef at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Chatham, MA, under Executive Chef Bill Brodsky. Chef joined Sea Island in 2009 as Lead Line Cook in the Georgian Room. He was instrumental in the opening of Tavola in 2011 and promoted to Sous Chef. In 2013, Bill assumed the role of Executive Sous Chef, and then Executive Chef for the Events team a year later. In 2016, Chef Bill moved into the role of Executive Chef of The Cloister and Beach Club. In 2019, Bill moved across the island and now oversees the newly expanded Lodge and Retreat as their Executive Chef.

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 Beach Club.

Get at Taste of The Cloister and Beach Club

Chef Matthew Krueger

Executive Sous Chef of The Lodge and Retreat

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 Lodge and Retreat determination and commitment to creating delicious and memorable food.

Get a Taste of the Oak Room

Chef Paul Newman

Executive Chef, Sea Island Events

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 by attending the Culinary Institute of America. Shortly after his graduation, 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 in 2015. Chef Newman has progressed through the ranks of the Events Team and was promoted to Executive Chef in December of 2017.

Chef Aaron Bellizzi

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, New York City, and now Sea Island. 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 Forbes-Five Star experience in the Georgian Room.

Get a Taste of the Georgian Room

Chef Alan Vera

Chef de Cuisine, Tavola

Chef Alan is from Veracruz, Mexico and has a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts. Joining Sea Island in May 2013 as a Training Chef, he then moved to Tavola, working on the pasta station and transitioned from station to station perfecting his skills. Prior to Sea Island, Alan worked at the Swan and Dolphin Resort under Chef Rob Ciborowski as a culinary lead running a high-volume buffet. Alan was also a Manager Consultant at Rox Restaurant, Royal Caribbean, Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, and various restaurants in Mexico, along with running his own catering service company. Chef Alan has over 10 years of culinary experience working in Mexico, the United States, and Europe.

Get a Taste of Tavola

Chef Michael McKenzie

Chef de Cuisine, Southern Tide

Chef Michael McKenzie, as early as 8 years old, was in the kitchen learning how to prepare food by his grandmother. He studied at the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. He worked for Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court & The Breakers in Palm Beach. While working as the Sous Chef of a small local New England style restaurant, Long Boards, his passion for fresh, local, and sustainable seafood grew immensely. Later Michael moved to Savannah, where he was the Executive Sous Chef at The Mansion on Forsyth Park. To further his career, he moved to Orlando for an opportunity at the Grand Bohemian Hotel as the Chef de Cuisine. Chef Michael came to Sea Island Spring 2019 and has brought his fun energy, vast culinary knowledge and deep passion for the culinary arts to the Sea Island Team.

Get a Taste of Southern Tide

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 in Las Vegas, and The Georgian Room.

Get a Taste of River Bar

Chef Anais Berachiquian

Sous Chef, The Market at Sea Island

Anais Berachiquian holds a degrees in Culinary Arts and Business Administration. Chef Anais joined Sea Island in May 2013 as a Training Chef, beginning in the Banquet Kitchen. In 2014, she was promoted as a CDP for Southern Tide becoming the morning Sous Chef in 2016, moving to The Market at Sea Island as Head Chef at the end of the season. Prior to Sea Island, Anais worked as a Manager Consultant at Rox Restaurant in Hammond, LA. Her work experience includes Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Gaylord Texan Resort & Country Club, Mi Viejo Pueblito & Café as a Public Relations Manager, and other well-known businesses. While working for the companies listed, she was also managing her family business that includes small hotels and restaurants in Mexico along with her own outsourcing company.

Get a Taste of The Market

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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