Meet our Culinary Team
Meet Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr
Chef Johannes Klapdohr was born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany into a family of four generations of Hoteliers, Restaurateurs and Chefs.After his graduation from the culinary school in 1985 he studied at some of the finest hotels and restaurants in Germany including the Relais&Chateau “Hotel Bareiss” in the black forest and the legendary “Restaurant Aubergine” in Munich led by Eckard Witzigman, one of only four chefs in the world to be named “Chef of the Century.” In 1996 he came to Atlanta to experience the Olympic Games. The Atlanta Hilton&Towers was looking for Michelin star trained chefs for their fine dining restaurant “Nikolai’s Roof” and what was thought to be a one-year assignment turned into the position of Chef de Cuisine at Atlanta’s finest award winning restaurant. Chef Johannes quickly earned Nikolai’s Roof a place in the best 100 Restaurants in the US by Zagat, and the Mobile Four Star award in the year 2000.
In 2004 he became the Executive Chef of “The Lodge at Sea Island” the prestigious Mobil Five Star, AAA Five Diamond Hotel off the coast of Georgia. During his tenure the Lodge became the #1 small hotel in the US, including fine dining, and the #1 golf hotel in the world in 2007.
After 25 years in Hospitality, Chef Johannes collaborated with Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio, one of the leading sustainable farms in the United States. There he promoted the importance of bringing farmers, chefs and guests together focusing on the education of sustainability not only in agriculture but as a life style and successful business model through farm-to-table experiences. In April 2009 he rejoined with Richard Delany, former general manager at the “Lodge at Sea Island,” to oversee the culinary operations of “Old Edwards Inn & Spa” in Highlands, North Carolina, a Mobil 4-Star, AAA Four-Diamond resort, including Madison’s Restaurant and Wine Garden. In 2012 “The Old Edwards Inn&Spa” was named the # 4 hotel in the US by Tripadvisor.
Chef Johannes says, “Here in the North Carolina Mountains I have found the perfect environment for combining my vision of a resort that presents unparalleled guest experiences.with sustainable products, many of them grown at our own farm. We offer natural but refined cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere and nature at your door step.
The constant research of selecting the finest products in the region, as well as globally, has become Chef Johannes’s ultimate passion. To nurture, develop and create sustainable, healthy cuisine that is uncompromised and environmentally responsible continues to be the essence of his culinary philosophy.
Meet Chef de Cuisine Chris Huerta
Born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina, Chef Christopher Huerta’s passion for food stems from watching his Grandmother prepare traditional southern dishes. At the age of 15 he took his first job in a local coffee shop and bakery where he was responsible for all the daily baking. In 2000 at the age of 17 Chris was given an amazing opportunity to work with renowned Chef, Guenter Seeger as a prep cook. Chef Seeger partnered with The Garrett Hotel Group to open Seeger’s at The Willcox, in one of Aiken’s Historic Hotels.
Under Chef Seeger’s direction Chris embraced his passion for cooking and developed a wealth of culinary knowledge, skill and discipline. It was here he learned the emphasis of cooking with only the finest and freshest ingredients. During his time working under Chef Seeger, Chris was given the opportunity to spend two summers working for the Garrett Hotel Groups famed Relais & Châteaux’s, Lake Placid Lodge and The Point in the Adirondacks of New York where he worked his way through all aspects of the kitchen. Working for these boutique hotels furthered his interest in guest awareness of the quality of food that they are receiving.
In 2004 Chris moved to Atlanta to work and train directly under Guenter Seeger in his Mobil Five Star, AAA Five Diamond, Relais & Châteaux’s flagship restaurant, Seeger’s. Chris found his experience working for Guenter to be life changing.
When Seeger’s closed its doors in 2006, Chris discovered the beautiful mountains of Highlands, NC. He took on the position of Sous Chef at Madison’s Restaurant in the Old Edwards Inn and Spa. During his tenure at Madison’s, Chris has worked with different talent and developed his own philosophy. When joined by Chef Johannes Klapdohr the philosophies of each chef grew stronger and became one goal. In 2011 Chef Huerta and Chef Klapdohr started Madison’s Organic Garden at The Farm at Old Edwards. Chef Huerta was promoted to Chef de Cuisine shortly after. Together they have worked with local providers to ensure farm fresh and top quality ingredients.
Chef Huerta is rooted in learning all aspects of the agricultural freshness of bringing the healthy and tasty options of dining to the customer.
Meet Executive Pastry Chef Todd Owen
One of Five US Chefs to Compete in the National Chocolate Masters in 2013
Todd Owen was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and raised in Worcester, New York. He began his culinary training at the age of 16 at a local vocational school for culinary arts. Discovering his natural talent in pastries, Todd began to challenge himself by competing in regional and state competitions. As his first win, he took second place in commercial baking in New York State in 2002. He then proceeded to The Culinary Institute of America to complete his training.
Todd landed his first job at the Five-Star The Cloister at Sea Island in 2005. For the next five years, he worked with a well-known chocolatier exploring the artistry side of the craft and learning from global level competitions. While pushing himself in the pastry competitions, he continued to dabble in the savory side of cuisine in both the kitchen and the bake shop. Crossing the flavors of sweet and savory shaped Todd’s pasty technique in ways that were unique to the industry.
After leaving the Cloister at Sea Island, Todd furthered his career at a Luxury French Country Inn, L’auberge Provencal, in Northern Virginia, and then as Assistant Pastry Chef at the Historical Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia—one of the best known hotels in the North America. He now serves as Executive Pastry Chef at the Four Star Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, NC with acclaimed Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr, whom he first met at the Cloister. Echoing Klapdohr’s own culinary philosophies, Todd says he has come to focus on the true meaning of food and enjoys the creative quality that he is able to exude in every pastry that he crafts.