William Bierlein, Executive Chef, Vanderbilt Wing
Born in Pontiac Michigan, Chef Bierlein grew up with 5 other siblings. At the age of 12 his family moved to Las Vegas where his parents opened Sunrise Café to showcase the original chef in the family, his father. At the age of 18, Chef Bierlein began with Steve Wynn during the opening of the Mirage Resort and Hotel Casino, his first opportunity to work in a 5 star resort. From a cook’s helper in 1990 to Executive Chef - Vanderbilt Wing of The Omni Grove Park Inn today, Chef Bierlein has worked diligently over the past 23 years to advance his career. Having worked with many great chefs, Chef Bierlein recalls the moment when he was handpicked by David Kallaway, a Certified Master Chef, and how it was the opportunity for his career to step to the next level. Chef takes his inspiration from a French mentor who always said to him, “You will only be as good as your tastes buds will take you. Try everything.” Chef Bierlein joined the culinary team at The Omni Grove Park Inn as the Chef de Cuisine of Banquets in the fall of 2013, rose to Executive Sous Chef in spring of 2014 and was promoted into his new role as Executive Chef – Vanderbilt Wing in June of 2015.
Jake Schmidt, Executive Chef, Sammons Wing
Executive 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 at The Omni Grove Park Inn.
Chef Schmidt prides himself with using the freshest and most locally sourced food products whenever possible. He believes that “mother nature is the true artist and the chef merely the technician.” In July of 2013, Chef Schmidt became the Chef de Cuisine of EDISON, craft ales + kitchen and a year later accepted the position of Executive Sous Chef – Outlets. In June of 2015, Chef Jake was promoted to Executive Chef – Sammons Wing of The Omni Grove Park Inn.
Tina Haldeman, Executive Pastry Chef
As executive pastry chef of The Omni Grove Park Inn, S. Tina Haldeman creates artful desserts and fresh breads for resort dining experiences including, but not limited to, Sunset Terrace, EDISON craft ales + kitchen, Vue 1913 and Blue Ridge. She also works closely with the resort’s culinary banquet team to develop sweet, handcrafted candies and pastries for onsite corporate meetings, social engagements and events.
Haldeman arrived in Asheville from the RK Group LLC in San Antonio, Texas, where she served as executive pastry chef and oversaw the creation of pastry bake products for RK managed properties including Valencia Hotels and the San Antonio Convention Center, as well as VIP events.
Previously, Haldeman served as an executive pastry chef with various hotel and resort properties across the country, including JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff Resort, Hotel Hershey, and Horseshoe Casino & Gaming Corporation. She also spent six years as an assistant executive pastry chef for Sea Island Resorts’ The Cloister Hotel. Haldeman began her career as a restaurant pastry chef at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, where she served under master chef Jose Gutierrez.
Haldeman has received an array of specialized culinary training over the years and is a graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute, a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy. Haldeman has also appeared on the Food Network Cake Challenge and cooked for the G-8 Summit, serving 8 world leaders and their family members.
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, Florida, 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 Miami, 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.
Nick Blackshaw, Chef De Cuisine, Blue Ridge
Nick Blackshaw was born and raised in Suffolk County, Long Island. His love for food started at the early age of 11, working a few nights a week at the local deli for groceries. By age 16 Nick was working three part-time jobs in independent Italian restaurants. He would stay in independent restaurants, working his way up to Sous Chef and Restaurant Manager by age 18. For the next decade, Nick served in the Army National Guard as an Infantryman as well as Quartermaster, but continued working in the culinary field as Head Chef and Kitchen Manager while off duty. In 2010, he made the crossover to hotels and resorts at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Nick began as a line cook in the Blue Ridge Dining Room quickly working his way up to Lead Cook in the Blue Ridge, then to Sous Chef at the Sunset Terrace, and ultimately to Chef de Cuisine of the Blue Ridge Artisanal Buffet, In-Room Dining, Marketplace, Club Floor and the Pool Cabana.
Nick closely associates food and comfort. This is what he tries to share with our guests on a daily basis. His food philosophy is simple: to create fresh, memorable dishes that leave a lasting impression and a longing to return for more. He firmly believes that if he can create this feeling of comfort that guests will return and bring their friends and loved ones to share in the experience.