Meet The Team

Meet The Team
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What Is A Grand Chef?

The culinary world’s top international accolade, earned by Colin Bedford in 2012!

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Brides write us regularly to tell us how they valued working with our wedding planners and staff and how their competent yet unobtrusive efforts allowed them to relax and enjoy their special day. Fearrington has one of the most experienced wedding teams in the business. Many started out in our catering and kitchens, so they know how all the parts come together to make your wedding special, and they bring an  extraordinary knowledge, confidence and commitment to what they do.  Why trust your special day with anyone else?

Testimonials

  • My son and now daughter-in-law were recently married at Fearrington, and it was nothing short of magnificent. This is due in great part to the phenomenal staff you have assembled... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Groom, June 2014

    My son and now daughter-in-law were recently married at Fearrington, and it was nothing short of magnificent. This is due in great part to the phenomenal staff you have assembled there. From start to finish each and every detail was attended to with alacrity and precision, making the entire event a stress free experience. Having had the good fortune to have traveled around the world with my husband on business, we have stayed at many extraordinary places. However the atmosphere, the staff, the food, and of course those Belties, made Fearrington unforgettable.

    The ceremony and reception were incredible. We felt relaxed from start to finish, all because of Cheryl-Anne.  Her organizational & communication skills, sensitivity, and innate good taste provided us with the perfect platform. She truly is a gem.  Mary Stevens was a dynamo, and a gifted artist. She listened to all parties and came up with one perfect creation after the next.

    So many thanks to you all for such a wonderful experience.

    - Mother of a Fearrington Groom, June 2014

  • Utter Perfection: that is how we would describe our wedding experience at Fearrington!  You are blessed with an unbelievable staff! The groom's mother thought The Fearrington was... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, June 2014

    Utter Perfection: that is how we would describe our wedding experience at Fearrington!  You are blessed with an unbelievable staff! The groom’s mother thought The Fearrington was one of the most charming places she had ever been. The day of our wedding was purely wonderful in every way possible.

    The groom’s family was all in from Boston and had spent the night at the Inn, and we enjoyed seeing them and meeting them all over Fearrington that day. They were blown away with the entire place.

    The wedding was one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. The Crab Apple Garden was gorgeous that evening with all of Mary Stevens touches, and Cheryl-Anne ran the show to perfection and in perfect order.

    My husband and I were so proud of our great state of North Carolina and Fearrington was the finest place to show it off! None of our guests wanted to leave!

    Thank you for providing such a wonderful venue…and an equally wonderful staff!

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, June 2014

  • From start to finish our experience at Fearrington has been nothing but outstanding. Your level of involvement, communication, and attention to detail were amazing. The planning... More >

    - - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, July 2014

    From start to finish our experience at Fearrington has been nothing but outstanding. Your level of involvement, communication, and attention to detail were amazing. The planning process was both efficient and fun! Fearrington could not have done more to make our families feel welcome and comfortable. Thank you again for all of your efforts and for making our day so very magical.

    - - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, July 2014

  • I cannot thank you enough for the AMAZING service you gave to us all during [the bride and groom's] wedding planning and wedding yesterday. It was the most memorable event EVER!... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, June 2014

    I cannot thank you enough for the AMAZING service you gave to us all during [the bride and groom's] wedding planning and wedding yesterday. It was the most memorable event EVER! Thanks so much for everything you did to make it a perfect day for us all!!

     

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, June 2014

  • I hardly know where to begin to say thank you for helping us to orchestrate such a beautiful wedding at Fearrington. We originally chose Fearrington for the beauty of the location... More >

    - Parents of Fearrington Newlyweds, June 2014

    I hardly know where to begin to say thank you for helping us to orchestrate such a beautiful wedding at Fearrington. We originally chose Fearrington for the beauty of the location and knew from our personal experience that the food would be fabulous. To say that you and your staff’s personal attention to our event exceeded our expectations does not adequately compliment you or the staff.

    We did not worry about a thing on our daughter’s wedding day because you and your staff welcomed us and our guests, ushered us seamlessly through the ceremony and reception, and not just by doing what was planned, but perhaps more by anticipating our and our guests  needs. It certainly helped that we had such glorious weather but I am now feeling that if it had rained, we would have been more than covered!

    You would likely respond that this is just what we do but we truly want you and your staff to know how professional and courteous and wonderful everyone was. We have received nothing but compliments from all of our guests regarding how lovely the gardens and flowers were, how fabulous the food was and how relaxed we seemed (haha, but they did not really understand that we had you!).

    Furthermore, we were amazed to find that you were there even after the staff had professionally packed up all our remaining paraphernalia and helped us to load our car at the end of the evening. I hope that your boss knows how valuable you are.

    Needless to say the bride and groom went blissfully through their special day!

    - Parents of Fearrington Newlyweds, June 2014

  • I just wanted to send you a quick note to say how very thankful we are for your help in making my daughter and son-in-law's wedding such a joyous and memorable event!!  The... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, June 2014

    I just wanted to send you a quick note to say how very thankful we are for your help in making my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding such a joyous and memorable event!!  The weekend could not have been more perfect, or your facilities and services more outstanding.  They said it was everything they dreamed it would be and could have possibly hoped for ~ truly a “fairy tale wedding”!!  What more could a parent wish for their daughter and son-in-law than such a wonderful beginning to their marriage?

    We also want to thank you for making our guests feel so welcome and comfortable during their time at Fearrington.  We heard nothing but praise for your accommodations, food, flowers, and general atmosphere.  Fearrington is an extraordinary wedding venue with an exceptional staff!!  We could not have asked for a more professional and friendly group of people!  Please extend our gratitude to everyone who contributed their time and talents to creating such a wonderful experience for us!

    You all are truly remarkable!!

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, June 2014

  • We couldn't have asked for a better night!  Our daughter was just glowing and our son-in-law wore a full smile the entire night!  The guests were in awe.  The Garden Terrace... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, May 2014

    We couldn’t have asked for a better night!  Our daughter was just glowing and our son-in-law wore a full smile the entire night!  The guests were in awe.  The Garden Terrace was beautifully decorated.  The flowers!  What can I say!  They were unbelievable, exactly what we had hoped for.  The food was very popular. And the cake was exactly how Christine had described.

    In addition to giving Mary strong kudos, all of the servers were fabulous doing whatever they could to ensure our desires were met.

    Thank you again for making this a night everyone will fondly remember and always cherish!

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, May 2014

  • Ladies - There are truly NO words in my vocabulary to let you know how thrilled I was with every single thing about the wedding and everything leading up to it. The 2 of you are... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, February 2014

    Ladies -

    There are truly NO words in my vocabulary to let you know how thrilled I was with every single thing about the wedding and everything leading up to it.

    The 2 of you are amazing individuals & I love you both. Your gifts and talents are so well put to use in the positions you are in at Fearrington, I’m so grateful we got to be the beneficiaries of your talents.

    Thank you a million times over for creating the wedding of [her] dreams. The comments we have gotten have been overwhelming & I wish I could share every single one of them with you.

    Love to you both

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, February 2014

  • Hi Cheryl-Anne, I just wanted to thank you so much for this weekend. We truly had the most perfect wedding day. Thanks to you and all of the staff at the Fearrington, our wedding... More >

    - Fearrington Bride, December 2013

    Hi Cheryl-Anne, I just wanted to thank you so much for this weekend. We truly had the most perfect wedding day. Thanks to you and all of the staff at the Fearrington, our wedding was the best day of our lives. It was such a relief to be worry-free and stress-free throughout the whole process because of your hard work. Every little detail was planned and well thought out – our day was better than we imagined it would be. We are so impressed with the Fearrington and I know we will be back on our anniversary every year! I will recommend Fearrington to anyone who will listen to me :) My parents and my family all thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making our wedding day perfect. Thank you for everything!

     

    - Fearrington Bride, December 2013

  • Dear Gilda, I am so glad you were by our side during the whole wedding process. Because of you, the wedding was stress free and just perfect. You truly are remarkable and... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, August 2013

    Dear Gilda, I am so glad you were by our side during the whole wedding process. Because of you, the wedding was stress free and just perfect. You truly are remarkable and extremely exceptional at what you do! Your help, guidance, kindness, and expertise played a huge part in making it an unforgettable evening. All we heard day after day are glowing compliments about the weekend and Fearrington.

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, August 2013

  • My most sincere thanks to you and each of the many individuals who made my daughter's wedding this past Saturday an absolutely fabulous event for all. I have had so many positive... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, August 2013

    My most sincere thanks to you and each of the many individuals who made my daughter’s wedding this past Saturday an absolutely fabulous event for all. I have had so many positive comments about the setting and the excellent food. But what guests did not get to experience that I did was the calm professionalism and yet such caring interactions from everyone at Fearrington. You would think that this was a family business, we were one of your first customers, and that this was a fun, unique event for you too. Everyone took the extra time to make sure everything was just right.

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, August 2013

  • Dear Gilda, I simply can't thank you enough for everything you did to make the wedding so perfect. From the pre-planning to the rehersal to that tense hour as we watched the... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, July 2013

    Dear Gilda,

    I simply can’t thank you enough for everything you did to make the wedding so perfect. From the pre-planning to the rehersal to that tense hour as we watched the weather deteriorate, you kept us on an even keel. It truly warmed my heart when you went out into that downpour to move the arbor flowers to the terrace. And then being everywhere with umbrellas for us while getting soaked yourself, down to all the details of the reception including serving food – you’re the best. Thank you again for all of your help to make a truly magical evening for all of us.

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, July 2013

  • Our wedding was magical! and we are so grateful for your help in pulling off all of our ideas and putting them together cohesively. At every moment of our wedding day, I felt like... More >

    - Fearrington Bride, July 2013

    Our wedding was magical! and we are so grateful for your help in pulling off all of our ideas and putting them together cohesively. At every moment of our wedding day, I felt like you had everything under control… and of course you did! I just cant say enough positive words to express how we felt about working with you and your team.

    - Fearrington Bride, July 2013

  • Gilda, I couldn't let another hour go by without telling how absolutely WONDERFUL everything was this past weekend. You are such a delight to work with in every way...So calm,... More >

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, July 2013

    Gilda, I couldn’t let another hour go by without telling how absolutely WONDERFUL everything was this past weekend. You are such a delight to work with in every way…So calm, easy, fun – and yet, so incredibly professional and en pointe!!  We thoroughly enjoyed every part of the process – and have you and your colleagues to thank for that. The flowers (please thank Mary!!!)  & food were superb – as was every individual who so graciously offered to help.  The total package!

     

    - Mother of a Fearrington Bride, July 2013

Meet the Team

Gilda McDaniel, Special Events Manager

From the initial contact through to the reception, Gilda will assist with coordinating all the details for your memorable day. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gilda has been at Fearrington for over 20 years, first working in McIntyre’s, then managing The Market Café (predecessor to The Fearrington Granary) before becoming a wedding planner in 1997. View her blog!

Cheryl Anne Kast, Weddings & Special Events Coordinator

From your very first meeting to the end of your special event, Cheryl-Anne will guide you through all the details of your special day. Cheryl graduated from the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch, South Africa with a Culinary Arts degree. She joined Fearrington in 2006 at the Fearrington House Restaurant and Inn before becoming a special events coordinator. View her blogs.

Mary Stevens, Floral Designer

Originally from the Philadelphia area – home to America’s top public gardens – Mary was in the her vocational high school’s horticultural program, then worked in flower shops for years. But the traditional styles she encountered in the floral trade failed to ignite her passions. A career transition to IT followed, but “then my one true love wooed me back” and in 2001 she joined Fearrington, adding grace and beauty to so many weddings since. View her blog!

Emma Isakoff, Chocolatiere and Cake Designer

Originally from Washington, DC, Emma joined the Fearrington pastry team in 2013. She received her B.A. at Skidmore College and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Boston for Pastry and Baking.  In the past year Emma has worked as a pastry line cook, as well as in pastry production. Recognized for her passion for cakes, Emma was promoted to Cake Designer in 2014.  She looks forward to creating a vision for your special day!

Whit Brannon, Catering Manager

Whit Brannon, a local hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, began working in hospitality at the age of eighteen, at local restaurants such as Bonne Soiree and Bin 54. He came to Fearrington in the spring of 2010 as a member of the wait staff at The Fearrington House Restaurant. He assumed the role of Catering Manager in 2014.

Colin Bedford, Executive Chef

A native of England, Colin came to The Fearrington House in 2005 as Executive Sous Chef and was promoted to Executive Chef in 2008. Colin’s culinary interest began early on, taking him to The Castle Hotel, Niagara on The Lake and Prince of Wales Hotel. Colin partners with local farmers, using the finest ingredients from the region and our gardens.  In 2012, Colin was named a Grand Chef by Relais & Chateaux. Read more about Colin here or view his blogs!

Maximilian Kast, Wine Director

Max joined The Fearrington House in 2007 as Sommelier, and within a year was promoted to Wine Director with responsibilities for the beverage program for the entire property. He organizes and hosts Fearrington House’s popular wine dinner series. And he also teaches popular and inexpensive wine and beer classes at The Fearrington Granary Restaurant. Read more about Max here or view his blog!

Tom Whitaker, Executive Sous Chef

Hailing from Hexham in the North East of England, Tom began his culinary education at Queen Elizabeth High School. After working in some of the top restaurants in the region, Tom moved to the United States in 2006 and began working at The Fearrington House. Tom became Executive Sous Chef in 2009. View his blog!

Thomas Card, Sous Chef

Originally from central New York, Thomas trained in some of the region’s best fine dining establishments until 2005, when he then relocated to Emerald Isle, NC to refine his culinary skills with fresh sea food and local produce. Thomas then moved to Raleigh to join the opening team of the Umstead Hotel and Spa. After four years Thomas left to join The Fearrington House as a Sous Chef in 2011.