Meet our Culinary Team
Meet Executive Chef Chris HuertaBorn 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 top talent which helped shape his own style. When joined by Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr, their respective philosophies and techniques grew stronger and became a unified vision. 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, and then to Executive Chef of Old Edwards upon Klapdohr’s departure in 2015. Chef Huerta is grounded in all aspects of the culture of food, beginning with the agricultural practices until it is presented on the plate as a carefully crafted dining experience.
Meet Executive Sous Chef Derek Schell
A native of North Carolina, Derek Schell learned the restaurant business from the ground up. Seeking a job during college years, he became a dishwasher at a local steakhouse in Boone, NC. His curiosity and initiative quickly landed him in the prep kitchen, and in three short years, his natural talent and new found passion for the culinary arts landed him as Kitchen Manager. He graduated in 2006 with a B.S. in Sociology, but his career track had taken a different trajectory.
In 2010, with a Culinary Arts Degree (Summa cum Laude) from Johnson & Wales in hand, Derek officially began his culinary career serving as Sous Chef of several highly regarded and high traffic resorts in the western ski states.
With three years of experience in menu creation, staff hiring and operations under his belt, Derek came back to his home state and in 2013 became Sous Chef at Old Edwards Inn and Spa. Derek oversaw all breakfast and lunch services at Madison’s Restaurant , working closely with chefs Johannes Klapdohr and Chris Huerta. Derek continued to shape his culinary style and philosophies around the local/sustainable model in place at Madison’s Restaurant. In 2015, Derek became Executive Sous Chef for Old Edwards Hospitality Group.
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.