Executive Chefs and Culinary Team
Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s culinary team features a roster of talented chefs who create the dining experiences that keep guests and groups coming back to the table for more, year-after-year. Let’s meet them…
Combining fresh, high-quality ingredients with simple straightforward preparations, Matthew creates dishes that satisfy all palates. Upon graduation from the prestigious Johnson & Wales University with an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts and a B.S. in Food Service Management, Matthew applied his culinary skills as Sous Chef at some of Charleston’s leading restaurants such as Fish, 39 Rue De Jean and Coast. He joined the Kiawah Island Golf Resort culinary team in 2006 because of his deep appreciation for the resort’s uncompromising dedication to culinary traditions and guest service philosophies. He began his journey in Jasmine Porch, working his way up to Sous Chef in less than one year. In 2009, he moved to Turtle Point Clubhouse as Sous Chef and played an instrumental role in creating the concept for and the opening of Tomasso, while soon after moving his way up to Chef de Cuisine. Now overseeing the Banquet Division, chef continues to explore and develop his talent and creations within The Sanctuary.
Jason has been a member of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s culinary team since 2008. After completing his AAS in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, he spent sixteen years traveling the country, honing his skills and gaining experience—from cooking for seaside resorts on the rocky coast of his hometown, Kennebunkport Maine, to catering for big budget movies in California and working as a personal chef on a yacht off the coast of Florida. Upon relocating to Charleston, Jason held positions with several prestigious restaurants including Magnolias, and the Kiawah Island Beach Club before joining our resort’s culinary team. During his time here, he has been instrumental in the transformation of a lunch-only burger restaurant into our acclaimed Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House. Jason also held positions as Chef de Cuisine of Jasmine Porch at The Sanctuary and Executive Sous of the Villa Resort before being named Executive Chef. His passion for food and quality continues to make our operation a huge success.
Growing up in a small town on the outskirts of Raleigh, NC, Pastry Chef Shannon Yelmini made her way slightly south and started her career at Kiawah Island Golf Resort as a pastry intern at The Sanctuary in March 2013. After completing her internship and earning her associates degree from Johnson & Wales University- Charlotte, she went on to complete her Bachelor’s in Food Service Management. Following graduation, Chef Yelmini returned to Kiawah Resort full-time as the pastry lead of The Ocean Room, South Carolina’s only Forbes Four Star, AAA Four Diamond steakhouse. In March 2016 her talents led her to The Atlantic Room and Ryder Cup Bar at The Ocean Course to take over their pastry department. In July 2017, while working full time, she completed her MBA at East Carolina University. Loving this ever-evolving industry, Yelmini strives to find a balance in simplicity and innovation when creating her desserts. Climbing up the culinary ladder, she is now the Executive Pastry Chef of the Villa Resort and looks forward to elevating the pastry offerings across the resort.
Growing up in Indiana, Kyle worked in a restaurant where he was first exposed to local sourcing. He explains, “I saw the honesty and the pride of using an ingredient that another member of the community had poured their own pride and effort into.” After attending Vincennes University, Kyle further honed his skills in Cincinnati’s Iron Horse Inn and Great Wolf Lodge. He left in 2008 because of one meal—“I had the good fortune to dine in Jasmine Porch while visiting Kiawah,” said Kyle. “I knew right then, I had to be a part of that experience. I went home, immediately resigned and relocated to Charleston.” After almost a year as a line cook at Jasmine Porch, Kyle joined the newly-branded Ocean Room as grill cook before being promoted to Sous Chef in our Banquets Kitchen. He then returned to The Ocean Room with the goal of “continuing the passion and the pursuit of elevating the cuisine, delivering on our promise to providing a refined, gracious dining experience.”
Born and raised in Charleston, Jeremy began washing dishes as a teen at a restaurant on Sullivans Island, where the restaurant bug bit him. This led to work at several other eateries before attending The Culinary Institute of America. After graduating, Jeremy worked at the Four Seasons on the island of Lanai before accepting positions in acclaimed restaurants and resorts across the South and in Las Vegas. When Jeremy returned to Charleston to take the helm at the Six Tables, the restaurant earned the prestigious AAA Four Diamond award. He then accepted an invitation to take over Anson Restaurant in downtown Charleston, where he cooked for seven years before joining the Jasmine Porch team as Chef de Cuisine. Jeremy’s food philosophy is, “Fresh is best. If it grows together it goes together.” Fortunately for him and Kiawah’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, his favorite thing to cook is seafood. He’s also passionate about fishing, saying it’s his “golf.”
A Pinehurst, NC native, Keith has held positions at Gabrille’s at Richmond Hill Inn in Asheville, Hege’s Restaurant in Freshfields Village and, most recently, as Chef de Cuisine of the Kiawah Beach Club before joining Kiawah Island Golf Resort in 2015. Cooking has always been an interest of Keith’s—the food, the chaos and the love of making people happy. With his passion for barbecue, he is completely in his element at the helm of Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House in the Osprey Point Clubhouse, known for its genuine Southern BBQ, house-smoked over local hardwoods.
Derick attributes his love of cooking to the time spent by his grandmother’s side in her kitchen and how food brings people together. His culinary training in restaurants and resorts around the globe—from Alaska to Russia, Hawaii to Bulgaria, and other well-traveled destinations between—is a product of his wanderlust. These diverse personal and professional experiences have positively shaped Derick’s worldview, culinary skills and love for lifelong learning. His passion for authentic Italian cuisine and simple, but beautiful, dishes made with fresh, local ingredients shines through in every plate served at Tomasso.