Culinary Arts Advisory Board Members
Chris is originally from Preston, Georgia and is a graduate from Webster County High School. He earned his Associates of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from the College of Coastal Georgia in 2015. Chris is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Resort and Tourism degree at the college.
He has worked at notable restaurants including but not limited to: the King and Prince Resort from 2014-2015, Jekyll Island Club Hotel from 2014-2016. He also completed an internship at Indigo Coastal Shanty in 2015. Chris currently works at The Farmer and Larder and loves his job. Some of the clubs and organizations he has been involved in are listed below: SlowFoodUSA, CHEF as the Club’s Vice President, American Culinary Federation from 2013-Present.
Chris has also been awarded the following scholarships: NEWH Atlanta: The Hospitality Industry Network Scholarship in 2015 and 2016 and the Lucas Foundation Scholarship from CCGA in 2016. Chris' goal for the advisory board is to be a resource. One accomplishment he is proud of is being acknowledged as a leader at the Golden Isles ACF First Annual Truffle Dinner in 2015. For Chef Chris, writing is an uplifting experience and had he not been called to be a chef, he would be a career poet or writer.
Deb Farina is a Certified Executive Pastry Chef with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) who was raised in an all Italian family in Pittsburgh, PA, where her world revolved around great Italian food and family traditions.
Chef Farina was able to pursue her true passion – Pastry Arts - when she completed an ACF accredited 3-year apprentice program at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA, in 1996. Believing in the benefit of combining Food Science with culinary skills, she obtained her Masters in Food Science from Kansas State University in 2012 and is a member of the Research Chefs Association. For the last 10 years, Chef Farina has worked as a Food Scientist for Rich Products Corporation where she developed the company’s frozen cheesecakes and currently works developing frozen snacks and appetizers from ideation to commercialization.
Chef Farina has worked in a variety of venues over the last 20 years including restaurants, catering, business dining, and wholesale and retail bakeries, and in a variety of positions from Dishwasher to Sous Chef to Executive Pastry Chef to Production Manager. She’s been honored to have worked with some amazing mentors including Master Pastry Chef Gunther Heiland, Executive Pastry Chef Eddie Hales of the Four Seasons, and Georges Perrier of Le Bec Fin, as well as other talented people who have contributed to her career.
Over the last year, because of a family member’s diagnosis of Celiac Disease, Chef Farina has created a blog where she creates recipes for from-scratch, gluten free baked goods – www.glutenfreefarina.com.Chef Farina believes in giving back to this industry by teaching Pastry Arts to a new generation of Pastry Chefs and has taught at the Art Institute of Philadelphia as well as the College of Coastal Georgia.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, James Flack’s mother and sister were servers at the famed Jekyll Island Club Hotel. As a child, James spent his afternoons in the hallways and lawns of the Victorian ‘manse’ and the old wooden booths of Zachry’s Seafood Restaurant. His first grownup culinary opportunity was trying his hand at Garde Manger prep at the Jekyll Island Club, preparing simple dressings, salads and performing numerous kitchen tasks.
His passion wasn’t ignited at this early time, but he spent seven years learning the ropes at Bob Evans washing dishes and Raven's Glenn Winery in Ohio as dishwasher, prep cook, wine bottler, grape handler, and delivery driver. In 2008, James helped open Machiavelli’s, a family-owned Italian eatery in Bristol, Tennessee. Here, he finally discovered his true love for the art of cooking.
Chef James attended the Columbus Culinary Institute, earning his associates in the Culinary Arts and his American Culinary Federation Sous Chef certification. He completed his 3-month externship at his alma mater, The Jekyll Island Club Hotel. Following his externship, James was hired at the highly esteemed Cloister at Sea Island. The highest level of service came easily, learning from Chef de Cuisine Daniel Zeal at the 5-star Georgian Room, French Master Chef Jonathan Jerusalamy, Executive Chef David Carrier, and Executive Chef Jason Russell.
Early in 2013, James came to The King and Prince to help open ECHO and assist with revamping the King and Prince Food and Beverage. James says the biggest challenge at ECHO has been rebuilding the culture of those around him to want better and to bring the locals back. In 2014, with the help of Chef Dale Ford, Chef James was able to play a big role in the rebirth of the local ACF chapter and is currently the Secretary.
“I’ve spent most of my life on these islands looking over the coastal waters. I can’t imagine a more glorious way to take this step in my career, digging my feet into the sand and calling this island my home for years to come. My love for local food, tradition, hard work, and integrity has brought me here and I’m excited to be able to give this passion back to our guests, co-workers and friends with my unconditional love for food."
Chef Dale first developed a passion in the culinary arts by working countless hours in his family’s restaurant in Florida and Indiana. His love for food and partnerships with local farmers and butchers made Chef Dale realize his calling. He enrolled in the hospitality management program at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. After school, Chef Dale continued to hone his craft in the field working with great mentors and developing his skills as a teacher, mentor and culinary leader.
Chef Ford’s culinary journey has taken him through various kitchens to include The Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Innisbrook Resort & Golf in Tarpon Springs, Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island, TradeWinds Island Grand in St. Pete Beach, the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg Virginia, and the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
To sustain his passion of local sourcing, Dale is an active member of the slow food organization in his community. Chef Ford has partnered his career with the American Culinary Federation and has been an active member for more than twenty years and has held offices of Chapter President, Vice President, and Co-chaired a regional convention, and the Chef and Child Program. Dale has also worked with several charities including the Ryan Wells Foundation, Athletes for Hearts, and American Cancer Society. Most recently he and other chefs partnered in support of the Katie Kaples Foundation in Amelia Island. Chef Dale is an active member of The Resort Food Executive Committee (RFEC) and currently sits on the Board of Directors as Vice President.
Regardless of being in the kitchen, community, or at home with his family, Chef Dale is passionately and enthusiastically committed to being a leader in his industry, giving back to his community, supporting his family, and raising a beautiful son with his loving wife.
Before becoming Garde Manger at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Chef Ashley began her creative endeavors over the stove top in her grandmother’s California kitchen making jams and candies. It wasn’t until she began her journey at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland, Oregon, that she realized she was where she belonged. After completing the program, Chef Ashley continued to hone her skills from one coast to the other, expanding her knowledge in various areas of the kitchen and finding her passion as Garde Manger.
To keep her passion and knowledge of food growing, Ashley continues to research new trends in the field and finds her inspiration from those around her. Chef Hartenstein is a member of the Golden Isles of Georgia American Culinary Federation and will be the Master of Ceremonies at the chapter's inaugural Truffle Dinner in memory of her step-daughter, Alexa Hartenstein. Ashley supports the Hematology/Oncology Pediatric Clinic of Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. Being a former culinary student, she finds it important to collaborate and help direct students in the Culinary Arts program at CCGA.
Regardless of being in the kitchen, community, or at home with her husband, Chef Ashley commits 100% of her passion and enthusiasm into being a leader in her industry, giving back to her community and supporting those she loves.
For Dave Snyder, Owner and Executive Chef of the Halyard Restaurant Group, the past three decades have been filled with culinary pursuits from New England to his beloved South. Born and raised in Michigan, his unabashed passion for cooking began in high school and college at the University of Georgia when he quickly discovered a preference for the kitchen over the classroom. Following graduation from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, he moved to New York City, gaining experience and sharpening his skills at The Essex House, Zoe, Union Square Café, and The Mark, while serving under top chefs who prided themselves on training the next generation of chefs. Heading south, Dave became executive chef at Azalea in Atlanta before moving to St. Simons Island, Georgia as chef at J Mac’s. In 2000, he opened Halyards on St. Simons and, in 2006, opened Tramici. These two sister operations, along with Halyards Catering, comprise Halyard Restaurant Group.
His two restaurants, perennially ranked the Island’s and region’s most popular, enable Dave to share his love of hospitality, food, and how the two intertwine to create memorable culinary experiences, including his monthly cooking classes focusing on how great food enhances life. Drawing on his relationships with local fishermen and farmers, Dave demonstrates to eager guests how the best ingredients make a tremendous difference in the quality of the food, the sustainability of the environment and the financial strength of the local economy. He serves on the Advisory Panel for Snapper/Grouper Species for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and has worked with the South Atlantic Fishermen's Association to improve the sustainability and health of the South Atlantic, the availability of local fish, and the financial future and heritage of the fishing industry.
The Georgia Restaurant Association named Dave a finalist for Restaurateur of the Year in 2012 and selected him as one of four chefs to represent the GRA’s Georgia Grown program in 2013. In 2014, Dave was selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Restaurant Association. Halyards and Tramici were named 2014 Businesses of the Year by the Brunswick and Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce. Dave self-published a cookbook and produces and sells a house-made Marinara sauce from the recipe he created for Tramici. His other projects include plans to grow olives for producing extra virgin olive oil to serve at his restaurants.
Deeply devoted to community service, Dave serves on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce, Coastal Symphony of Georgia, The Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia and Hospice of the Golden Isles. Dave is a founding board member of the St. Simons Food & Spirits Festival, benefiting Hospice of the Golden Isles. He also serves on the Culinary Board for College of Coastal Georgia and is an active supporter of local numerous area organizations including The St. Simons Land Trust, Cystic Fibrosis and The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia. He is also involved in events and fundraisers at local schools where he hopes to inspire the next generation of chefs and restaurant leaders.
Dave’s most recent venture, Hook & Knife Charters, combines his skills and passion for fishing with those of preparing and serving catches to delighted charter guests at his restaurants. Dave also loves to venture to Islamorada in the Florida Keys–his home away from home
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Chef Daniel Zeal attended Wolfson High School and Florida State College of Jacksonville before making the journey to begin his formal culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.In 2002, his training landed him a position at the Amelia Island Ritz Carlton Hotel in the Five Diamond Restaurant, The Grill Room.In 2006 Zeal departed Amelia Island bound for Sea Island, Georgia, on St. Simons Island, Georgia, to open the highly acclaimed Georgian Room to work on defining refined southern cuisine and the pursuit of his first of nine Forbes Five Star Awards.Daniel has worked to create many partnerships with local farms, artisans, and charities.Chef Zeal has begun a new chapter with Sea Island as Executive Chef of The Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond, and Relais & Chateaux designated Lodge and Retreat at Sea Island Golf Club. Chef Zeal brings his refined southern flavors to their Signature Steak House Colt & Alison, the Southern Bistro style restaurant, The Oak Room, and the Davis Love Grill.