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Our Award-Winning Culinary Team

  • Chef/Manager Bryan Haymans

    The Village Summit

    I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Georgia in 1996 where I majored in Consumer Foods. Upon graduating I headed out west to Vail, Colorado where I attended Johnson and Wales University. Here I was one of only forty people to be accepted to their accelerated program to study Culinary Arts. I graduated culinary school in 1997 with Summa Cum Laude status. While I was in Colorado I worked for Marriott's Vail Mountain Resort as a Line Cook where I learned the basics of becoming a chef. Upon leaving Colorado I moved back to the south where I became the Executive Chef for Harris Teeter. During my two year span as Executive Chef I learned the finer points of organization, time management, managing other employees, and fine tuning my skills as a chef.

    After several years of long hours I decided to take a break from the kitchen and from being a chef. Therefore, I came back to the University of Georgia to work as an Assistant Manager for Oglethorpe Dining Commons. Before long my natural calling of being a Chef and having my hands directly involved with food production brought me back into the kitchen. I served as the opening chef for The Village Summit at Joe Frank Harris Commons and then as Chef at Bolton Dining Commons. I presently serve as the Manager at The Village Summit, and I'm loving every minute.

  • Chef/Manager Darnell Tate

    Snelling Dining Commons

    Food services had been my dream occupation since I was a teenager. But before that dream became reality I took a slight detour, starting with a football scholarship at the University of Maryland. Many years later, I enrolled in the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts. I attended school by day and worked at the William Penn Hotel by night. On weekends I leased a kitchen in a local pub, working as a one-person staff.

    Once my coursework was complete, I moved to Peachtree City, Georgia where I accepted a position as cook at the conference center, becoming part of a great staff and gaining experience designing weekly menus and serving guests from all over the world. Quickly promoted to p.m. Sous Chef, my experiences expanded to include catered weddings, private parties, upscale fine dining, a daily grand buffet, and the Governor of Georgia's Dogwood Ball.

    After five years at Aberdeen Woods and one year as unit manager at Waffle House, I found a new home at the University of Georgia. As the Chef at Oglethorpe Dining Commons, I adapted my food preparation skills and talents to the award-wining university's style of service. In addition, I was recently awarded the bronze medal in the NACUFS Chef's Culinary Challenge. In 2008, I was promoted as Chef/Manager at Oglethorpe Dining Commons where I spent the next five years before taking the position of Manager at Snelling Dining Commons. 

  • Chef Don Law

    Oglethorpe Dining Commons

    As the grandson of a baker, my culinary journey started very early in life. The youngest of three sons, I was the cook’s (our mom) helper and remember baking Toll House cookies from the tender age of six.

    My professional culinary career began after I received my A.O.S. (Associate in Occupational Studies) from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Upon graduating from the CIA, I began working as a cook with the French hotel chain, Le Meredien, and it was there that I was exposed to the dedication and passion for food from some of the world’s top French Chefs including Paul Bocuse who set my standard for excellence. After working for Le Meredien in Houston and Boston, I accepted a position as Sous Chef for The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee under noted Chef Jose Guittirez. I have worked as the Co- Chef at Charlie’s L’etoile Verte , the Executive Chef of The South Carolina Yacht Club on Hilton Head Island, and managed a number of kitchens in locations ranging from Maine to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some highlights of my career include cooking for Julia Childs, Vincent Price, George Carlin, Prince, Jerry Lee Lewis, ZZ Top, and many more.

    In the 1990s, I returned to Georgia (my childhood home) and helped open The Georgia
    Club where I also served as the Executive Chef for 7 years. I then came to UGA Food Services and began working at the Village Summit in 2010 and was promoted to Chef of Snelling Dining Commons in March of 2012. I became Chef of Oglethorpe Dining Commons in July of 2014.

    Athens and The University of Georgia have always been dear to me and my family. Both my father and father-in-law taught at UGA’s Terry College of Business. Additionally, my mother, brother,
    and sister graduated from UGA as did my wife and many members of her family. I am so honored to work for UGA Food Services and provide outstanding food for all the students as guests who dine with us each day. My wife, son and I reside in Watkinsville, GA and, when I am out of the kitchen, I like to garden, fish, camp and ride bicycles.

  • Chef Sam Somar

    The Village Summit

    My curiosity for cooking began as a young boy in British Guyana, South America. My father was an amazing cook who inspired me and allowed me to develop my enthusiasm for cooking. Around the mid 1970’s, as a young man in my 20’s, I left my country and moved to Bronx, New York. I began my career in the restaurant business as a Garde Manger in a five star restaurant in Manhattan. Eventually, I was promoted to Line Cook and then began my upward climb through the kitchen ranks. I worked in many restaurants throughout New York City over the years, including Tavern on the Green in Manhattan’s Central Park where I gained culinary experience from the restaurant’s head chef.

    By the 1980’s, I became the Executive Chef at an outstanding restaurant in Flushing, New York named the Amber Lantern, where I met my beautiful wife. When the restaurant closed in the early 90’s, I secured a position as Executive Chef at the Douglaston Country Club in Queens, New York. In 2009, while chef at the country club, I helped prepare a four course, wine tasting event alongside Italian author, wine expert, restaurant owner and television chef Lidia Bastianich. After 20 years at the country club, I relocated to Georgia and opened my own restaurant called Captain Billy’s Steak and Seafood near Helen, GA. After some time, I received an offer that I couldn't refuse for the restaurant which resulted in me selling the location. I came to UGA as a cook in 2012 and now work as the chef at The Village Summit.

  • Chef Shelly Orozco-Marrs

    Bolton Dining Commons

    My mother and grandmothers, all of whom were excellent cooks, taught me their craft, and I learned to love it. After graduating high school, I applied and was admitted to Kettering University in Michigan with a focus on Environmental Chemistry. Though I loved my time there, I soon felt that chemistry was not the right fit for me. After two-and-a-half years at Kettering I decided to leave college and pursue a career as a chef.

    I chose to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Academy of Culinary Arts in Punxsutawney. After breezing through the program I began my career at Florida’s prestigious and legendary Boca Raton Resort and Club. During my time there I had access to many talented, skilled, and knowledgeable chefs. My experiences ranged from fast paced resort casual dining to upscale fine dining to high volume, high profile banquets and catering. I also had the opportunity to cook for a few of my favorite celebrities including Adam Sandler, Jose Carreras of the Three Tenors, the late Tony Snow, and my personal favorite, Alice Cooper.

    After five years in Florida, my former Executive Chef, the talented James Reaux and one of my restaurant chefs, Bryan Fyler asked me to help establish the Food and Beverage Operations at The Ridges Resort and Club in the northern Georgia / western North Carolina area. During my three years in the Georgia mountains I held the positions of Banquet Chef, Chef de Cuisine, and Executive Chef.

    My dedication to quality and working with the best is what brought me to the University of Georgia. I wanted know what it was like to serve 4,000-plus customers a day in a modern university food service operation. In July of 2009, I began working with UGA Food Service as the Chef of the Village Summit and am now the Chef at Bolton Dining Commons.  

  • Chef Tim Neal

    Snelling Dining Commons

    I guess you could say I started my culinary career at the age of ten. I first learned about cooking as a Boy Scout. I learned to cook in every kind of weather and with every kind of fire. I took a side trip in my culinary career when I went off to college at Central Michigan University; I decided to major in my other passion: Science. After graduating in 1992 with a BS in Biology and spending about four years in the field, I moved to Atlanta. I spent about two years in the Atlanta area before I decided to pursue my passion for cooking. I attended the Atlanta Arts Institute and enrolled in their culinary program. While going to school, I worked at a small restaurant called the 1848 House in Marietta, as a prep cook. After I graduated from the Art Institute, I continued working at the 1848 House for five years, moving up through the ranks to Pastry Chef. I left the restaurant for Aramark, and over the next five years I worked through the ranks as cook, caterer, chef and finally as chef/manager of a senior citizens center. When my son was born I took a few years off so I could be a stay at home dad. After three years, I moved to Hartwell, GA and began working for Lee Epting Catering as an on-site kitchen director. After two years, I came to work for the University of Georgia as an Assistant Manager at Oglethorpe Dining Commons. In August of 2008 I was promoted to Chef at Oglethorpe Dining Commons and am now Chef at Snelling Dining Commons.