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Dining at The Cliffs: Meet Our Chefs

Jul 26, 2021

From Private Dining to Exclusive Restaurants, Here’s What Our Chefs Have Done

In order to provide every member at The Cliffs with the quality and service we expect, a lot goes on behind-the-scenes of each community’s kitchens. Get to know each of the seven Executive Chefs here at The Cliffs. 

Eric Fulkerson – Executive Chef at The Cliffs at Keowee Springs

Ask anyone in the culinary world, good French cuisine can be hard to accomplish in the world of private dining. Sure the world’s most exclusive restaurants may offer it, but what if you had a top chef in your neighborhood? Having Chef Eric Fulkerson at the helm of The Cliffs at Keowee Springs menu is an incredible advantage for members who get to taste his creations. 

His love for cooking began at a young age thanks to his family’s tradition of home cooked meals almost every night as a child. As a result, he not only learned to cook, but he also learned to appreciate the beauty of passing down recipes through generations — many of his favorites coming from his grandmother. When he did eat out with his family, it was at a nice restaurant with good food. He has come a long way since his first job at Red Lobster and has since built an impressive culinary career. 

Q: What does prepping for a dinner service or event look like? 

A: Dishes and ideas are bounced around all the time. Whether it is verbal or from ideas on social media, there is always a discussion of things to make. For ala carte we assign different dishes to different cooks on different stations. Chef’s help prep but we try to let the cooks learn as they prep. If they have ownership in the dishes they prepare then they tend to care more. We prep throughout the day and do a line up with the front of house staff to go over the menu for the evening. The staff should be able to answer the members’ questions and offer suggestions from the menu.

Banquets are similar, just not as many moving parts as an ala carte menu. Banquets, obviously more of the individual items are prepared at once. In ala carte it’s cooking the same dish over and over when ordered and having it be the same each time. Banquets are about pacing batch cooking so as the event goes on, fresh food is ready as needed.

Q: What do you love about being Executive Chef at The Cliffs?

A: I love the freedom that we have as Chef’s at The Cliffs. We are asked to do our best and we are fully supported to allow that to happen. We have the ability to do so many events, food styles, cuisines, and menus. Being part of a team whose goal is to make people happy is a lot of fun. We are pushed to give the best member experience possible. Having the freedom to be your best is amazing!

Edwin Bloodworth – Executive Chef at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove

Chef Edwin Bloodworth’s passion for food blossomed on his grandmother’s dairy farm, where he learned to make fresh ice cream using milk straight from the source. Today, his versatile work background presents him with adaptability like no other! The broad range of skills he developed from working in various areas such as exclusive restaurants and private dining, has prepared him for a career here at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove in Asheville and beyond. 

Q: What is your favorite dish to make?

A: I love cooking things that I have never cooked before. I rarely cook the same thing twice, unless it’s a grilled steak or pan seared fish. Starches, vegetables, sauces; repetition is boring.  

Q: What does your day-to-day look like?

A: Preparing for a dinner service or event looks like me running around like a calm collected madman making sure that everyone has what they need to be successful. I love being an Executive Chef at The Cliffs because of the variety of events & requests that the members have. They always keep us on our toes and I enjoy that challenge. Saying no isn’t really an option and we embrace that. It keeps things changing.    

Shaun Creef – Executive Chef at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls

A South Carolina native, but southern food isn’t all he can whip up in the kitchen. Our members might recognize the signature style of Chef Shaun Creef, who has spent time showing off his skills at three locations; The Cliffs Valley, The Cliffs at Glassy, and finally, The Cliffs at Keowee Falls. His cooking focus is on being creative and fresh in order to provide members and brand new take on something yummy through private dining. 

In the beginning, his career was inspired by the sweet childhood memories he has shared with us. They involved two grandparents who cooked whatever the grandkids wanted while on the long hours-long drive to visit them. It was at their home where he was introduced to the practice of canning foods and the benefits of preserving them, just as many of our grandparents have taught us. 

Joey Fazio – Executive Chef at The Cliffs at Glassy

Living by the ideals of farm-to-table, Chef Joey Fazio has garnered a respect and passion for fresh, local foods — produce, meats, and all. By doing what he does, he has learned the value of good quality ingredients and the amazing things you can make with them. Living a vegan lifestyle for roughly eight years, he developed an understanding and sympathy for commercial livestock before it is consumed. As a result, he is a more responsible consumer when it comes to what he eats and what he cooks with. 

In some way, The Cliffs shares these ideals. A majority of the food in the community is sourced locally, including farms close to and even within the community’s gates. Despite that, he doesn’t take his food too seriously. In his opinion, creating a new dish is about playing with the ingredients you have in front of you. His style of cooking translates into the delicious dishes you will find at The Cliffs at Glassy and its exclusive restaurants. 

Francis Turck – Executive Chef at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards

Meet Chef Francis Turck — Executive Chef by day, Certified Sommelier by night. His love for food is apparent in everything he does, just ask anyone who has had the chance to taste his food at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards

Q: What do you love about what you do?

A: My passion for food started when I was a kid. My mother is a great cook and worked in the restaurant industry for many years, and when I was young my father worked on fishing boats so we ate a lot of incredibly fresh seafood. I started working in restaurants when I was 15 years old and never looked back from then. I love the endless journey of learning that cooking creates. 

My favorite analogy for prepping for a dinner service [at The Cliffs] is “we get to build a house every night.” Maybe I like this because my brother is in the construction industry and he would work on projects for months at a time before finally seeing the finished project. In restaurants, we start with fresh raw ingredients, cook them to order, and present them creatively to our guests. They consume the finished product with enjoyment, all while [you are] working at a very fast pace with your kitchen team and then you clean up and do it again. You “built a house in one night” — instant gratification.

Q: Tell why you love being Executive Chef at Keowee Vineyards at The Cliffs.

A: Because of all the variety of cooking we get to do. From wine dinners to special themed dinners it is always challenging to the team and we like that. We also get to know the people that we are cooking for and get to know their preferences and we are able to do special little touches that they appreciate because you remembered. Making people happy by the power of food is a wonderful feeling to experience.

Richard Gras – Executive Chef at The Cliffs Valley

With his bachelor of science in culinary arts, Chef Richard Gras is an incredible chef with some yummy tricks up his sleeve. He indulges his guests at The Cliffs Valley with his original take on classic dishes like meatloaf or perfectly roasted turkey with a not-so-secret brine

His experience is impressive considering he’s worked at some of the biggest names in the food and hospitality industry. Think exclusive restaurants at the Ritz-Carlton of Hong Kong, Amelia Island, Charlotte, Lake Tahoe, and Palm Beach. Along with the Grove Park Inn of Asheville or The Omni Hotel and Resort of Amelia Island. As you can see, he’s no stranger to quality and service, offering both to the private dining experiences of members at The Cliffs. 

Check out Chef Gras’ Fresh Chimichurri Recipe.

Kevin Furmanek – Executive Chef at The Cliffs at Mountain Park

Chef Kevin Furmanek has been with The Cliffs since 2005. His nearly twenty-year career with us does not come as a surprise, considering his considerable skills and level of talent in the kitchen. A great deal of his inspiration comes from French, Asian, Italian, and Polish cuisines. Combined, they have formed a unique style rooted in a commitment to fresh, homemade cuisine.

His contribution to The Cliffs is many, including his tasty South Carolina Peach Cobbler Cheesecake that is to die for. You can find his dedication and love of a seasonal menu at The Cliffs at Mountain Park.

Get a Taste of the Good Life at The Cliffs

As a resident of The Cliffs, you can look forward to tasting the amazing creations by each of these talented chefs! By becoming a member at The Cliffs, you have access to their restaurants and the incredible events they hold for their members to sample the best of their offerings. 

There is just no place like The Cliffs, and if you want to live the same quality of life as our members, it’s time to start your home search. Here at The Cliffs, we offer a variety of fine homes and homesites for sale. See the latest available listings via the button below. 

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