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…

Chef Matt Fitzgerald
Matthew Fitzgerald
Executive Chef, The Sanctuary Hotel

Upon graduation from the prestigious Johnson & Wales University with an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts and a B.S. in Food Service Management, Chef Matthew Fitzgerald applied his culinary skills as sous chef at some of Charleston’s leading restaurants, including Fish, 39 Rue De Jean and Coast. Matthew joined Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s culinary team in 2006, deeply compelled by the resort’s uncompromising dedication to culinary excellence and outstanding guest service philosophy. He began his career at the resort in the kitchen at Jasmine Porch, advancing to sous chef in less than one year. In 2009, he moved to Turtle Point Clubhouse as sous chef. After playing an instrumental role in conceptualizing and opening Tomasso, he was soon promoted to chef de cuisine for the restaurant. Matthew then moved to The Sanctuary, first overseeing the Banquet Division before assuming his current role as Executive Chef. Matthews culinary approach combines fresh, high-quality ingredients with straightforward preparations—a simple approach that equally satisfies all palates.
Chef Jason Cote
Jason Cote
Executive Chef, The Villa Resort

After completing his AAS in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Chef Jason Cote spent 16 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 feature films in California and working as a personal chef on a yacht off the coast of Florida. Upon moving to Charleston, Jason held positions with several prestigious restaurants, including Magnolias and the Kiawah Island Beach Club, before joining the resort’s culinary team in 2008. During his time here, Jason has been instrumental in transforming 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 chef of the Villa Resort before being named executive chef. His passion for food and quality continues to contribute to the resort’s culinary success.
Pastry Chef Jordan Snider
Jordan Snider
Executive Pastry Chef, The Sanctuary Hotel

Chef Jordan Snider was born in upstate South Carolina, but was raised in Charleston. He began his culinary career in 2002 as a bread baker, and continued working for various restaurants, including Oak Steakhouse, Carolina Yacht Club, and the Five Loaves/Sesame Burgers group. In 2010, he relocated to Las Vegas, where he further honed his skills under the direction of numerous leading chefs, most notably at the Mandarin Oriental, the Paris Resort and Christophe Mandalay Bay. In 2014, he moved to San Diego to become the executive pastry chef of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Jordan competed in the National Showpiece Championship at Pastry Live in 2014, earning the Audience Choice Award, and the Pastry Chef of the Year contest at the US Pastry Competition in 2017, earning Honorable Mention. Later in 2017, he earned his place as an alternate team member for the US Pastry Team, which competed in the 2019 Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in Lyon, France. In 2018, Jordan returned home to the Charleston area to assume his current role as executive pastry chef at The Sanctuary, where he oversees pastry operations for hotel banquets along with The Ocean Room and Jasmine Porch.
Sean Majewski
Executive Pastry Chef, The Villa Resort

A New Jersey native, Executive Pastry Chef Sean Majewski grew up from the age of 15 working in kitchens and fell in love with the culinary world. After completing his training at The Academy of Culinary Arts in New Jersey, Sean moved around to various East Coast cities, honing his craft as a pastry chef. Sean eventually made his way south to work for eight years at the acclaimed Fearrington House Restaurant outside Chapel Hill, eventually being promoted to Executive Pastry Chef. From there he became pastry chef at the prestigious Charlotte Country Club before bringing his talents to the Lowcountry in 2016. In 2022, Sean joined Kiawah Island Golf Resort as Executive Pastry Chef, in which capacity he is excited to lead the pastry team across the Villa Resort.
Steven Brooks
Chef de Cuisine, The Ocean Room at The Sanctuary

A native of Germany, Chef Steven Brooks’ passion for cooking struck him unexpectedly during a school career day. He was invited to try his hand in the kitchen at a local hotel where he learned to prepare Parmesan risotto with pesto and poached garlic shrimp. A cook who recognized Steven’s potential encouraged him to pursue a culinary career. Steven received his formal training at the Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland. After graduation, he traveled the globe. He began his professional career at the Blausee Hotel, then served as sous chef at the Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg in Germany. In 2016, Steven moved to the United States and eventually settled in Atlanta, where he joined the culinary team at One Eared Stag and then Restaurant Eugene. Steven left Atlanta in 2021 to join The Ocean Room as Sous Chef He was promoted to Chef de Cuisine in October 2022. Having gained considerable knowledge of Southeastern ingredients, Steven now artistically integrates them into his global style that melds modern and classic culinary techniques to surprise and delight guests of The Ocean Room. When he’s not working, Steven enjoys devouring a good book.
John Ondo
Executive Chef, The Atlantic Room and Ryder Cup Bar at The Ocean Course

A native of Charleston, Chef John Ondo comes to us with over 20 years of experience. Through his studies at culinary school and working front-line at several well-known Charleston restaurants, he has been able to hone his own approach to food. Having earned degrees in hospitality management and culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, he extended his education in Italian cuisine with a lot of book-learning and hands-on experience in several prominent Italian kitchens, notably Il Cortile Del Re. He developed further knowledge of broader cuisines and techniques in the kitchens of institutions like McCrady’s and Carolina’s. His unpretentious presentations of “just good food” got their own showcase when Ondo launched Lana in Charleston in 2005. As Chef/Owner of Lana restaurant, he spent 13 years refining his rustic approach to refined Mediterranean cuisine, making every effort to interpret his ideas through local ingredients and to maintain a respect for the basic elements of a dish while still allowing it to be influenced by seasonal changes. He was involved in every aspect from construction to the sale of the restaurant in 2017. In addition to his role as Chef/Owner, Ondo has been an adjunct professor of Mediterranean cuisine at the Culinary Institute of Charleston and most recently, completed recipe, menu, and product development for Kairos, a New Greek QSR franchise. He has been evolving ever since and is looking forward to expanding his working knowledge and experience. Ondo was appointed by the governor to serve as the 2022 South Carolina Chef Ambassador representing the foodways and rich agricultural heritage of the state’s Lowcountry region.
Chef Kyle Bowling
Kyle Bowling
Chef de Cuisine, Jasmine Porch at The Sanctuary

Growing up in Indiana, Chef Kyle Bowling worked in a restaurant where he was first exposed to local sourcing. He came to understand and appreciate the honesty and the pride that came from 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. In 2008, while visiting Kiawah Island Golf Resort, he experienced one meal at Jasmine Porch and resolved that he must become a part of The Sanctuary culinary team. Upon his return home, he immediately resigned and moved to Charleston. After serving 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 the hotel’s Banquets Kitchen. He then returned to The Ocean Room as Chef de Cuisine, where he focused on elevating the cuisine and creating a refined, gracious dining experience. Kyle's most recent transition to Jasmine Porch allows him to return to the kitchen that sparked his initial passion for culinary excellence at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Keith Richardson
Chef de Cuisine, Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House

A Pinehurst, North Carolina native, Chef Keith Richardson 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. While not helming the pit at Osprey Point, Keith leads the award-winning team in barbecue competitions throughout South Carolina.
Colin Creighton
Chef de Cuisine, The Players' Pub

Born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, Chef Colin Creighton’s family moved to Charleston in 2013. Colin, whose chef-father serves as his inspiration, began working in restaurants at age 14 while attending Wando High School in Mount Pleasant. He met Villa Resort Chef Tournant Cory O’Connor at 16, and Cory quickly took Colin under his wing. Upon Cory’s insistence, Colin attended Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, earning both an Associate Degree and a BA while continuing to work at leading restaurants in the Queen City. He returned to Charleston to become Chef de Cuisine at Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen before being recruited to serve as Sous Chef at Players’ Pub early in 2021. There, he soon advanced to Chef de Cuisine, where he is grateful for the opportunity to contribute his talents to the resort dining experience.
Mike Littlefield portrait
Mike Littlefield
Chef de Cuisine, Tomasso at Turtle Point

Born and raised in the small fishing town of Kennebunkport, Maine, Chef Mike Littlefield grew up working his way through every front- and back-of-house position in his hometown restaurants. At his final stop on his culinary journey in Maine, he served as Sous Chef at The Tides Beach Club for five seasons, learning and loving to cook the local seafood bounty with locally sourced produce. He made a change in 2015 by moving to Charleston to expand his skills and exposure to new ingredients. He quickly became fascinated by Lowcountry cuisine. As Sous Chef at Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House at Osprey Point for six years, he learned the craft of traditional barbecue and smoked meats. Always looking for a new culinary challenge, he made the jump to helm Tomasso at Turtle Point as Chef de Cuisine, where he now relishes rolling fresh pasta, making pizzas from scratch, and rendering the bountiful ingredients found in the Lowcountry into exciting new twists on classic Italian dishes.
Portrait of Kelly
Kelly Newman
Chef de Cuisine, The Nest Market | Café

A native of Neptune, New Jersey, Chef Kelly Newman moved with her family to Charleston in 2007, where she began her culinary career at age 15. She attended classes at the Culinary Institute of Charleston while raising her daughter. Kelly has expanded her culinary experience while working at many different hospitality operations, including Franke at Seaside and as a private catering chef. Honing her skills in fine dining while mentoring under her Executive Chef for nine years, she steadily rose through the ranks to Sous Chef. In 2022, Kelly joined Kiawah Island Golf Resort as Sous Chef at The Nest Market | Café before being promoted to Chef de Cuisine. Kelly’s attention to detail, strong work ethic and passion for creating delicious and eye-appealing dishes helps her thrive in the fast-paced environment of The Nest.
Jeff Cali
Executive Banquet Chef, The Villa Resort

Chef Jeff Cali’s best childhood memories were centered around Sunday family dinners. Coming from an Italian-American family, he has always had a huge appreciation for food. This appreciation turned into a passion when Cali began working at the NHL Hockey Arena in Tampa, FL, chef’s hometown. Working as a line cook to pay for school, Cali found himself an outlet for his creativity. After earning a degree in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management from Hillsborough Community College, he worked his way up the culinary ladder, holding positions at Amelie Arena in Tampa and Longboat Key Club & Resort and Sands Pointe in Sarasota. In May 2011, Cali made his way to the Lowcountry and was named the Executive Sous Chef of Wild Dunes Resort, overseeing the banquet program and 9 additional food outlets. In 2013, Cali ventured into the downtown culinary scene where he led the kitchen at CO Banh Mi & Noodle Bar and Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen. Enjoying the resort/hotel scene more, Chef Cali made his way to Kiawah Island Golf Resort and is currently the Executive Chef of Villa Banquets. Chef brings his passion for food to large group settings and elevates it beyond people’s expectations for banquet cuisine. When he’s not behind the stove or breaking down the catch of the day, you will find Cali camping, hiking, watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rocking out at concerts, and if you’re lucky, playing the saxophone.
Banquet Chef Bob Gibson
Bob Gibson
Executive Banquet Chef, The Sanctuary

Chef Bob Gibson grew up in Northwest Indiana near the suburbs of Chicago. He started washing dishes as a cook's apprentice at age 15, and has been cooking ever since. After graduating from Purdue University, he moved his young family to Charleston to work at Tomasso at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, and then transferred to The Sanctuary to eventually work his way up to become the Banquet Chef. After 8 years with the Resort, Chef Bob relocated downtown to open a new hotel as the Executive Sous Chef, then was promoted to Executive Chef. When the opportunity arose to return to The Sanctuary as Executive Banquet Chef, he was happy to rejoin his family at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Cory O’Connor
Chef Tournant, The Villa Resort

Born at the Naval Hospital in Norfolk Virginia, Chef Cory O'Connor grew up traveling the country during his father’s naval drills. After graduating with his A.S. from Johnson & Wales University at the age of 20, Cory sought opportunities to further develop his culinary creativity. While earning his B.S. in Food Service Management, Cory competed in competitions for JWU as a teaching fellow. One of note was the World IBA Bread Cup held in Munich, Germany, where he and his team represented the United States. Cory spent the three years after graduation working in various restaurants along the West Coast, including a stint as the Executive Sous Chef at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington. In 2015, Cory moved to Charleston, where he served as sous chef at Jasmine Porch. After sojourning for a few years as the Executive Chef at a restaurant in nearby Mount Pleasant, Cory returned to Kiawah Island Golf Resort to open The Players’ Pub at the new Cougar Point Clubhouse, where he served as chef de cuisine, before transitioning to his current role as chef tournant for the resort, allowing him to lend his skills and experience to all Villa resort restaurants.
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