MEET OUR CHEFS
A talented and unique culinary team
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.
Josh Thomsen, Executive Chef, Sammons Wing
As Executive Chef of The Omni Grove Park Inn’s Sammons Wing, Josh Thomsen oversees kitchen operations, menu creation and the overall dining experience of three of the four signature restaurants, the iconic chophouse, Sunset Terrace, EDISON, craft ales + kitchen, and Vue 1913. Thomsen joined The Omni Grove Park Inn from Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan, Fla., where as Executive Chef he oversaw four dining venues, 30,000 square feet of banquet space and in-room dining for 300 guest rooms and a private club level. He also raised the property from a Forbes four-star/five diamond ranking to five-star/five-diamond status, a rating it held for the duration of his two-year service.
Previously, Thomsen spent three years as executive chef/partner of Agricola in Princeton, N.J., one of the top-rated restaurants in the Garden State, where he penned the cookbook Agricola, Thank a Farmer. He also served four years as executive chef of Claremont Resort in Berkeley, Calif., where he was recognized as a “Rising Star Chef” by StarChefs.com in 2010. Other dining destinations among Thomsen’s extensive work history are Tao at the Venetian Resort and Boa Steakhouses in Las Vegas; The Lodge at Pebble Beach in Monterey, Calif; Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles and The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.
Born and raised in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., Thomsen grew up eyeing work in the culinary world, an ambition he credits to his father. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., from which he earned an Associates and Occupational Studies degree, Thomsen is involved in giving back to the community, having supported Meals on Wheels, The James Beard Foundation, Edible School Yard, and The V Foundation of Cancer Research. He has also enjoyed travel to France, Switzerland, Germany and Russia, heightening his understanding of their cultures and cuisines.
John Cook, Executive Pastry Chef
In his role as Executive Pastry Chef, John Cook leads a pastry team fashioning sweet, tasty and beautiful creations for The Inn’s 8 restaurants and lounges, as well as in-room dining and banqueting operations.
Cook arrived at the historic Inn from Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers, Fl., where he rose from entry-level cook to production manager of the chocolate factory and ultimately executive pastry chef over a span of 13 years. He also spent a decade teaching chocolate, pastry and baking classes at the company. Previously, Cook was a pastry cook at two Ritz-Carlton Resorts in Naples and West Palm Beach, Fla.
Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, F.L., Cook earned degrees in culinary arts and international baking and pastries from Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach. He graduated from advanced chocolate and sugar courses offered by renowned Pastry Chef Ewald Notter, and studied at the Cocoa-Barry School of Chocolate in Montreal. In addition, Cook was recognized as Pastry Chef of the Year at the U.S. Pastry Competition in 2017.
James Lumley, Chef de Cuisine, Blue Ridge
As Chef de Cuisine at Blue Ridge, 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. Chef Lumley joined The Omni Grove Park Inn August 2013 as Chef de Cuisine of Vue 1913 and was promoted to Chef de Cuisine of Blue Ridge in September 2016. Additionally, Lumley currently oversees the culinary components of In-Room Dining, the Marketplace, the Club Floor, and the seasonal Pool Cabana.
Marcus Day, Chef de Cuisine, Vue 1913
Originally from Baton Rouge, Chef Marcus Day was born and raised in creole cuisine. While studying for his Bachelor’s in Business at Southeastern Louisiana State University, Day discovered his culinary passion cooking in various restaurants. Day worked for notable Chefs such as John Besh of New Orleans, Ryan Hardy of New York, and many others to whom he attributes his culinary knowledge and skill. In 2009, Day became Executive Chef at Carter Plantation, a multi-venue resort, he later opened Ignatius Reilly’s, a notable, gourmet food truck in Baton Rouge focused on fresh handmade pastas, and then went on to open Latte e Miele, a seasonal farm-to-table restaurant. Chef Day joined The Omni Grove Park in 2015 as the Sous Chef of Vue 1913 and was promoted a year later to his current position of Chef de Cuisine.