Kevin Westmoreland, Co-Owner/CFO
Kevin spent his college years as a manager in a busy retail setting. 15 years before starting The Corner Kitchen, he worked in corporate operations and management roles, including a position for one of the largest for-profit home care agencies in the country and running an internal Information Technology support structure that took calls from all 50 states.
Customer service and guest experiences are primary on his list of concerns. Kevin has always been dedicated to making the total experience in our restaurants resoundingly positive for our guests, employees and owners.
Kevin met Joe via their sons, both named Matthew, through what is now known as the YMCA Adventure Guides program. A crazy idea to start a restaurant was born, and the rest is history. Since then, Corner Kitchen and Chestnut have been intertwined with the lives of both families, giving real weight to the words ‘family business.’
Service to the community is important to both Kevin and co-owner Joe Scully. When he’s not at one of the restaurants helping solve IT issues (some things never change), he works with the boards of Eliada, the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, and the UNC Asheville Foundation.
Joe Scully, Co-Owner/Head Chef
Joe started working in restaurants in 1977, his first job as a host in the busy Houlihan’s Old Place in Hackensack, New Jersey. In 1987, he began study at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.
After graduation Joe was given a fellowship at The Culinary Institute’s Escoffier Room Restaurant before becoming the Executive Sous Chef at the prestigious Cherokee Town and Country Club.
In the following years leading up to opening The Corner Kitchen, Joe held Executive Chef positions at Indigo Coastal Grill, The Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, and the United Nations in New York City.
Joe met Kevin via their sons, both named Matthew, and a crazy idea to start a restaurant was born, and they purchased the former location of Hathaway’s Cafe at the very beginning of Asheville’s culinary renaissance. The rest is history.
Joe describes his partnership with Kevin like this: “Kevin is an anchor to me. He is steady, conservative, loving and intelligent. We have worked together the better part of 19 years and I can honestly say I have no regrets.”
Vanessa Salomo, COO
Vanessa was born and raised on the island of Malta by German and Dutch parents. Malta, like Asheville, has a strong tourism industry, which was Vanessa’s work foundation until college. Upon graduation, Vanessa became a fundraiser and worked in nonprofits for 15 years.
In 2014, Vanessa married into the restaurant business after meeting co-owner Joe Scully, and has since learned all aspects of the business from HR to marketing to accounting, and is recently the acting COO as Joe and Kevin slowly make their way towards retirement.
Vanessa has two grown step-children (from Joe), Matthew and Genevieve. Matthew is a part owner of local pizza joint Del Vecchios, and Genevieve lives in Seattle working as a marketing guru. Joe and Vanessa have a nearly 5 year old who keeps them on their P’s and Q’s! While not at work (but always working!), Vanessa enjoys spending time with Joe and Frankie outside, swimming, or adventuring, and indulging in the amazing selection of food and wine that WNC has to offer.
Brian Crow, Culinary Director
Recognized as a “culinary game-changer” in Zagat Magazine and as one of the “top 30 chefs under 30” during his time in Colorado, Brian’s career began modestly but has consistently grown alongside his talents.
With a family of seven children, it wasn’t easy for Brian’s mother to feed everyone, but she managed. Her resourcefulness and ingenuity in the kitchen inspired Brian; to this day, he gets nostalgic picking beans, peeling potatoes, and reminiscing about her famous bacon-fried chicken.
While at culinary school, Brian started working at The Corner Kitchen where he developed a greater measure of culinary expression. “It was truly the cornerstone of my career, as it taught me to be a well-rounded cook.” It was there that he had the opportunity to cook for the former President and First Lady of the United States Barack and Michelle Obama. After culinary school, he landed a sous chef position at Asheville’s renowned Grove Park Inn.
In 2011, Brian became the Executive Chef at Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery in Denver at only 24 years of age. Following his tenure there, he collaborated with the owner, architect, and contractor in a restaurant project called Bacon Social House.
Brian returned to North Carolina to become Chestnut’s Executive Chef in 2017. “Reuniting with a family that I worked with in the past was something I could not pass up,” he said. “I firmly believe in Chestnut’s core values and culture and feel blessed by this amazing opportunity.”
Renee Childers, GENERAL MANAGER
Renee grew up on the green slopes of Vermont. Her fondest memory is playing in the dirt of her family’s vegetable gardens, and her dog days were filled helping her French-Canadian grandmothers and her mother cook. Inspired by this introduction to hospitality and sustainability, Renee sought a culinary degree at the New England Culinary Institute.
In 2012 she began an internship at the Biltmore Estate and experienced food and beverage hospitality on a grand scale while honing her skills. Here she met the love of her life and husband, Brad, himself a quintessential example of southern hospitality.
Renee graduated with a BA in Hospitality and Restaurant Management and AOS in Culinary Art in 2013. Eventually she was drawn to a position at Chestnut by the farm-to-table approach and family-like camaraderie. In charge of the wine program, Renee aimed to create a list that would please every guest, earning Chestnut three years of Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.
Renee was promoted to the General Manager of Corner Kitchen in July of 2020 and helped the restaurant reopen during the pandemic with al fresco dining on the sidewalk and a new takeout model, allowing the restaurant to not only survive but thrive.
Ryan Howard, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
Ryan is a South Carolina native. While at Anderson University, he played for their Division II tennis team and was a part of the wind symphony, studying there for two years before transferring to Clemson. Ryan graduated from Clemson with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in music.
He moved to Asheville in the summer of 2020, finding a job where he met his current partner. They currently live together with one dog, Cooper, and three cats, Bagel, David, and Janice. He plays flute, saxophone, and percussion as a hobby.
Sarah Ogden, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
Sarah grew up in New Jersey, where she spent many summers and weekends working in her father’s deli. This began her foundation for hospitality, and she has learned a lot from her parents who both are active in the community. Sarah moved to Florida in 2014, where she studied Psychology at Valencia College. She took her first restaurant management job in Orlando, where she became engrossed in service standards in the hospitality center of the world. She developed a training program that she took to other restaurants in the company.
From here, her next goal was to become more educated in wine, beer, and cocktails. She completed her Level 1 examination in 2018 from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Shortly after, she received her WSET Level 2 from Slate Wine Academy with Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly. After many setbacks due to COVID-19, she finally had the opportunity to take her Level 2 Court of Sommeliers exam and passed. As a Certified Sommelier, Sarah applies her knowledge by empowering the staff to interpret wine intelligently and train them on regions and food pairings in order to enhance the guest experience.
Sarah moved to Asheville in June of 2021, and has been a part of the Corner Kitchen family ever since. She appreciates being a small part of the history of this house and the company Joe and Kevin built together. In her spare time, she likes to go out to eat and explore the beauty of Western North Carolina by going on hikes with her fiancé and her cat.
Shawn Cameron, SOUS CHEF
Shawn is originally from Tuscaloosa, AL. He grew up working on his grandparent’s farm picking peas, blueberries, and strawberries, shucking corn, and feeding pigs and cows, which helped foster an early love of local sustainable ingredients.
At the age of 17 he started cooking, and moved to Massachusetts at 20, graduating from the New England Culinary Institute in 2007. In total, Shawn has 20 years in the industry, landing his first job right out of school at The Glass Onion in Falmouth, MA. Since then, he has worked under numerous talented chefs, including Chef Mary Dumont in Boston, James Beard Award winner Chef Ken Oringer, and Chef Marcus Samuelsson in NYC.
After his second child was born, he moved to Asheville, NC to be closer to family, and began work with Corner Kitchen in December 2020.