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 Executive Sous Chef 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 Vinzenz Aschbacher
Born and raised in the South Tirol, in Italy, Aschbacher learned the food and beverage business from restaurateur parents, then apprenticed as a pastry chef at the Café Konditorei Kühn in Wiesbaden, Germany. At 22, he became the youngest person ever to earn a master pastry chef certification in Germany, and he opened a pastry shop that supplied more than 70 top restaurants and hotels. In 1997, Aschbacher headed to the United States.
In the U.S., Aschbacher quickly became a sought-after consultant and in 2000 became the Executive Pastry Chef at the world-renowned Charleston Grill and Charleston Place Hotel. While in Charleston, he created desserts for the James Beard Foundation and earned the local distinction “the resident genius pastry chef.”
Echoing Old Edwards’ Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr’s farm-to-table philosophy, Aschbacher is a stickler for quality and the nuances of an ingredient. He regularly sources cinnamon from Saigon, pumpkin seeds from Austria, chocolate from Belgium, and vanilla from Tahiti.
Klapdohr says, “Vinzenz brings and talents and philosophies that blend well with my own and with our culinary program at Old Edwards. It’s all about starting with fresh, sustainable ingredients, using classical methods and proven flavor profiles, and then adding interesting twists to keep things fresh and new for the luxury traveler’s palate. Vinzenz has already begun to shape our pastry program here at Old Edwards, and we are very excited to have him as a key part of our culinary team.”
Meet David Young - Old Edwards Club Executive Chef
David Young is a North Carolina native, born in Lumberton. After growing up in Lumberton, NC; Greenville, SC and Richmond Hill, GA; David attended the University of Georgia, majoring in Speech Communications. While in Athens, he worked through school at Loco’s Deli and Pub and cultivated a lifelong passion for cooking, and eventually became Kitchen Manager. Deciding that a life in the kitchen was for him, David attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston to pursue the Culinary Arts.
While attending culinary school, David worked at Sonoma Wine Bar & Grill, McCrady’s and Slightly North of Broad. In 1999, David joined the team at the Five Diamond, Five Star Fearrington House Inn and Restaurant in Chapel Hill. After three years there and two at Provence in Carrboro, he and his Fiancée Eleanor decided to move to Highlands and joined the team at Madison’s Restaurant at the Old Edwards Inn in 2004.
After two years at the Old Edwards Inn, David left for Western Carolina University and served as Executive Chef for the catering department there. When Old Edwards Inn and Spa purchased the Club and Richard Delany took over as President of Old Edwards Hospitality Group, David set his sights on rejoining Richard, with whom he had worked at the Fearrington House. At the Club, David is enjoying the home he long sought and enjoys sharing his passion with the Membership. Eleanor and David have since married and had two perfect sons, Lauch and Dash, and live in Glenville, where Eleanor is the Social Studies teacher at the Blue Ridge Early College.