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Learn from the best - Meet our Chefs

Chef Callyn Graf

Chef Casey Bowthorpe

Chef Daniela Oliveira

Chef Debbie Iverson

Chef Freyka Nuñez Del Prado

Chef Jackie Dodart

Chef Jake Driffill

Chef Lesli Sommerdorf

Chef Marcela Ferrinha

Chef Sage Francis

Chef Shane Robillard

Chef Shane Symes

Executive Chef Aaron Ballard

Chef Callyn Graf

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, Chef Callyn Graf found herself in the kitchen more often than she was in front of her computer.

Her creative culinary concoctions quickly influenced her desire to travel, cook, and learn, and she accepted a position on a private motor yacht in St. Thomas. Traveling from Maine to the Caribbean she discovered new cultures and cuisines, and her passion for cooking and food only grew.

Years later Chef Callyn moved to New York City where she attended the Natural Gourmet Institute to study plant-based culinary techniques, focusing on cooking for dietary needs. With a new set of skills and a new-found respect for food, she found herself back on the water cooking for a professional sailing team as well as on private yachts.

After six years on the water, Chef Callyn decided it was time for a new adventure, and she and her husband ended up in Utah, achieving their dream of living close to the mountains. If she isn’t in the kitchen, she can be found trying new restaurants, enjoying a glass of red wine, skiing, practicing yoga, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers.

Chef Casey Bowthorpe

After joining Harmons as an associate in 2007, Chef Casey Bowthorpe discovered a calling in food. In 2013, he joined Harmons Cooking School as a cooking school coordinator and also assisted other Harmons chefs in cooking classes, exploring his taste for creative fare and soaking in the education.

Chef Casey spent some time in New York working with top chefs, including Alicia Walter of Once Upon a Tart and Chef Cynthia Sestito of Cynful Foods.

In 2018, he graduated from the Park City Culinary Institute, where he “learned to get nerdy” with food.

Chef Casey loves mixing things together and putting it into an omelet or serving it with a fried egg. He also likes to cook seasonal dishes and enjoys finding a classic dish and reviving it with his own little creative spin.

He says the thing he likes the most about teaching at Harmons Cooking School is showing people that the best food in the world doesn’t have to be difficult. “I like breaking some of the myths and explaining why things cook or work the way they do.” From high-heat and fast-cooking to low-heat and slow-cooking, Chef Casey likes giving people the technical knowledge and confidence to understand what is required. He especially feels gratified knowing no matter where they are, they will know what method they are going to use for the best results.

Chef Daniela Oliveira

Chef Daniela de Oliveira grew up in Brazil where she learned the value of mixing ingredients to create food with a multicultural flavor. She dreamed of attending culinary school and opened up a catering company in Brasilia where she provided food for weddings, small parties, university events, and government agencies. With this experience giving her first-hand insight into what it takes to succeed in the culinary industry, she knew she had found the career she wanted.

In 2002, Chef Daniela moved to the United States where she lived in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Portland. She gained even more passion for the industry while attending a variety of cooking classes while living in these cities.

In 2011, her dream came true when she moved to Utah and was accepted into Utah Valley University's Culinary Institute, graduating with an associate of applied science degree in culinary arts.

While working on her degree, Chef Daniela had the opportunity to hone her culinary skills as an assistant to several renowned chefs in events such as the Sundance Film Festival's ChefDance VIP dinners, and the Signature Chefs Gala of Utah.

She began her professional career in 2013 at Culinary Crafts, where her passion for cooking and skills as a culinary chef developed further, and when Culinary Crafts was awarded the exclusive contract for the University of Utah’s The Tower at Rice Eccles Stadium, she was named chef de cuisine.

In 2017, Chef Daniela redirected her professional and personal life, and made the decision to work as director of dietary services for an assisted living facility before joining Harmons at Mountain View, where she is a chef and instructor at the cooking school.

Chef Debbie Iverson

Chef Debbie Iverson has been involved with Harmons cooking classes for many years. Beginning as a contestant in our cooking competitions, Debbie quickly became a fixture in our classes. She has served as an assistant, an instructor, and as a guest with our chefs both in the schools and on many cooking segments for local news stations. Debbie officially joined the Harmons Cooking School team in 2017, and now teaches classes at each location and leads the Harmons Kids Camp development team.

Growing up without box mixes, Chef Debbie spent decades creating her own scratch recipes. She received plenty of encouragement as she made her meals from scratch. She’s had the opportunity to share her passion for food while doing televised cooking segments, including five years spent on KUTV’s Fresh Living with Debbie Worthen and Casey Scott, and has also managed her own food blog.

Chef Debbie is thrilled to be able to continue to experiment in the kitchen and create wonderful recipes as an instructor for Harmons Cooking School.

Chef Freyka Nuñez Del Prado

Food preparation has always been at the center of Chef Nuñez del Prado’s life. As a young child, she loved stirring pots on her Grandma’s stove and collecting magazine photos of dishes she wanted to make. By the time she was eight years old, Chef Freyka was cooking in her father’s restaurant.

Growing up in Peru, Chef Freyka was influenced by the incredible mix of cultures that make up the country’s extraordinary cuisine. Peruvian cooking combines traditions and ingredients used by old civilizations with influences from Spain, Italy, Japan, China, Africa, France, and Germany, and the result has made Peru one of the world’s top culinary destinations.

In 2004, Chef Freyka decided to pursue her love of cooking as a career and enrolled in a culinary program at Mountainland Applied Technology College.

Chef Freyka further developed and polished her cooking skills while working for several establishments, including Peppermint Place, Culinary Crafts, and Sur La Table. In recent years, Chef Freyka has been busy creating her own custom cakes and treats while writing and testing recipes for her personal blog.

Along with sharing her passion for cooking with Harmons Cooking Schools, she combines her love of family with her love of food by preparing dishes for her three children and her husband, whose father was a chef.

Chef Jackie Dodart

Chef Jackie Dodart has always loved to cook. She’s not sure if it all started with the gift of an Easy Bake Oven, or if it’s the fact it runs in her genes: her mother and grandmother were both excellent cooks and loved creating enjoyable meals.

Whether it runs in her blood or she acquired it at a young age, her desire to master culinary skills was very strong, and so she decided to make it her career.

A graduate of The Culinary Art Institute of Las Vegas, Chef Jackie has also attended culinary classes and schools throughout the world, learning how to create the foods and specialty dishes specific to regions and cultures.

She finds great satisfaction in sharing what she has learned throughout her culinary journey and teaching the concepts that her education and worldwide travel have provided her.

Chef Jake Driffill

Chef Jake Driffill discovered he had a love for food and cooking at the age of 10, while spending time making holiday desserts with his mother and grandmother.

In 2002 he took a job as a line cook, and after learning some basics recognized the culinary arts as his pathway in life. He enrolled in the California Culinary Academy of San Francisco, where he learned cooking techniques from French, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and Latin American cuisines.

In addition to his culinary education, Chef Jake also studied wine and spirits, giving him a well-rounded palate when it comes to pairing beverages with food.

Living and working in the Bay Area gave Chef Jake the chance to experience all Northern California has to offer in the culinary world. It served as an inspiration to him, and his cooking style reflects the fresh ingredients and innovation of California cuisine.

After graduating from the culinary academy, Chef Jake was eager to widen his experience in the food and beverage industry. He began seeking out renowned chefs to work with and spent as much time in the kitchen as possible. Through hard work and dedication to his craft, Chef Jake has held a variety of positions including executive chef, food and beverage director, and corporate chef. Jake loves to share his passion for food and feels that teaching others is the best way to accomplish that goal.

Chef Lesli Sommerdorf

A Salt Lake native, Chef Lesli Sommerdorf has always been passionate about food. As a child, she fondly recalls heading to the kitchen after watching Julia Child reruns, where she would create inedible concoctions made from condiments in the refrigerator.

Her skills improved, and during her college years, while her roommates opted for fast-food, she would regularly craft from-scratch meals.

She received a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder and then jetted off to Italy. During the five years she spent there, she took cooking classes on Milanese cuisine which influenced her to pursue an interest in culinary arts. After returning to the United States she earned an associate’s degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She went on to work as a copy editor and staff writer for the food and wine sections of the San Francisco Chronicle for several years.

In 2005, she returned to Utah and became food editor, staff writer and restaurant reviewer at the Salt Lake Tribune. After 14 years of food writing, she traded in her computer for a chef's knife and honed her cooking skills at Sur La Table, the Salt Lake Culinary Center, and the Yurt at Solitude Mountain Resort.

Today, she lives to eat good food and aims to teach others to do the same.

As Harmons media and special events chef, Lesli can be seen on TV frequently, creating bodacious food. She also creates seasonal Food for Thought recipe guides (they're free with your Foodie Club card!) for customers, and shares recipes and culinary tricks of the trade through our Home Schooled cooking program.

Whatever Chef Lesli is doing for Harmons, she always keeps this motto in mind: "Life is too short to eat bad food."

Chef Marcela Ferrinha

For Chef Marcela Ferrinha, food has always been a passion, and she has a special love for baking.

She grew up in Brazil and was raised in a family who loved to cook. This taught her an appreciation of great flavors, and in 2001 she completed a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality and began managing a famous sushi bar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This experience solidified her love for the food industry and inspired her to learn even more, so she went back to school and in 2005 received her master of business administration degree in restaurant management.

Chef Marcela continued to work in the restaurant industry in Brazil, managing and consulting for several restaurants until 2007, when she moved to the United States to do an internship in management at Legendary Inc. in Destin, Florida.

She believes this is where her culinary background started “for real,” and she spent time in Florida, Massachusetts, and Colorado before coming to Utah in 2010.

In 2011 she enrolled in the culinary program at Salt Lake Community College and took on an internship at the Mariposa, a premier restaurant in Deer Valley. There she had the opportunity to work with Executive Pastry Chef Letty Flat, and Pastry Chef Stephen Harty.

She has also worked as the head of operations for a San Diego bagel shop, as a private fit chef for Marriott, pursuing her own creative and culinary endeavors, and she inspired creations still on the menu while working as the general manager for Taqueria 27 in Holladay and consulting for Cannella’s in Salt Lake City.

Chef Marcela has received many accommodations and awards, including third place, best dessert in state (City Weekly); and second place, best dessert in state (KSL Classifieds Voter’s Choice).

Chef Marcela is an accomplished food stylist and stager, and she has contributed to numerous cookbooks with her work, including one as a writer. She also currently serves as the food stylist for the Sweeto Burrito.

With her amazing resume, awards, and vast experience, we are excited to have her as part of our team.

Chef Sage Francis

When Chef Sage Francis began his career with Harmons in 2016, working as a cheesemonger, he had no idea the path his life would take. His desire to work for Harmons came about because of what they stand for in the culinary world: a grocery store whose main concern is quality, not price. After starting his job, even though he knew he liked cheese, he discovered he was “like a kid in a candy store, and I figuratively and literally immersed myself in cheese.”

Over the following two years Chef Sage studied to take the certified cheese professional exam, which is no small feat. Over 4,000 hours of cheese-related experience is required before you can even apply, and then it involves intensive study on all cheese-related topics including chemistry and composition; history; animal breeds and the varying compositions of their milk; dairy distribution and food safety laws; cheese-making techniques; mold spores and bacteria cultures; and the vast list of over 250 protected cheeses and their specific production laws.

In 2018 Chef Sage received his CCP certification from the American Cheese Society, making him one of only 18 CCPs in Utah. In 2019, with his passion for cheese still overflowing and the certification under his belt, he decided to expand his knowledge of food. He turned first to the Internet, with its plethora of instructional videos, took an online course from the Culinary Institute of America, and proceeded to work as a sous chef under many of the Harmons chefs. He is currently working as a sous chef under Chef Jake Driffill at the Station Park cooking school, and while there has applied his knowledge of cheese chemistry, history, and culture to his food.

Chef Shane Robillard

Chef Shane Robillard’s culinary journey began on his thirteenth birthday. Alongside his mother Maureen Flynn, and armed with a Yan Can Cook cookbook, he gathered the equipment and ingredients of the recipe he intended to master and off he went.

Along his journey, he entered the United States Navy and experienced the foods of Spain, Portugal, Sicily, Germany, France, and New Zealand.

After leaving the military, he applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. While training there, he spent his externship in Putney, Vermont, with internationally acclaimed Chef Ann Cooper.

After graduating, he moved to Springdale, Utah, and served as the chef at Flanigan’s Inn. But his traveling wasn’t done just yet, and he moved to the Bay Area and worked at Café Rouge as a butcher/charcutier and as a station chef.

From there, Chef Shane migrated to Las Vegas and worked with Executive Chef Julian Serrano at Picasso in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.

He eventually found himself in Southern Utah, and at the Harmons in Santa Clara as a chef and instructor in the cooking school, a position he has held since it opened.

Chef Shane Symes

Chef Shane Symes discovered his culinary passion early in life. Every Wednesday, he would help his friend, Trudy, and her mother make homemade donuts and root beer. His childhood in Kearns, Utah, was instrumental in spurring his interest in cooking, and he began to explore the food industry.

His first job was as dishwasher, followed by a job as a pantry cook at Snowbird's Forklift Restaurant. He followed that up with a three-year apprenticeship with the American Culinary Federation at the Hotel Utah, working under Chef Roger Cortello. He was the first person in Utah to receive this honor and he graduated in 1979.

Chef Shane then moved to San Francisco, where he explored his craft at Stanford Court, Fournou’s Ovens, and Fleur de Lys, and then moved back to Utah to foster his love of cooking back at the Hotel Utah.

His culinary journey took him next to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where he learned the art of Tex-Mex cooking and then to Memphis, Tennessee, where he learned about gumbo and étouffée.

Returning to Utah in the winter of 2004, he began work at the Mariposa at Deer Valley, where he stayed for 18 years. While at the Mariposa he received many awards and commendations and had the opportunity to go to New York to cook for the James Beard Foundation.

Always looking for a new challenge, Chef Shane left the Mariposa to be the chef for the Fireside Dining restaurant, where he helped them grow a customer base for their European peasant cuisine.

He took on a new challenge when he joined Harmons in 2017, focusing on “food to go” items, and has been a part of the Cooking School ever since.

Executive Chef Aaron Ballard

Food for Thought