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.
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.
Michael Mouser, CHEF DE CUISINE
Chef de Cuisine Michael Mouser entered the service industry in 1996 at the age of 15, inspired by his working-class childhood. To him, it was like a secret society, with its own tools, rules, lingo, and culture. He found his way to Asheville in 2008, and the charm of this little mountain city struck a chord. He dove headfirst into the budding culinary scene.
In 2014, Mouser started work with our sister restaurant Chestnut, and it wasn’t long before he was offered an executive sous chef position here at Corner Kitchen. He draws his cooking inspiration from many cuisines, namely American Southern, Italian, French, Mexican, Moorish, Indian, and German. He has grown with Asheville’s culinary scene for well over a decade and foresees himself flourishing alongside the city and its food for years to come.
Paul Morgan, SOUS CHEF
Paul grew up in Charleston, SC, where he spent his adolescence on the water with friends going fishing, crabbing, and shrimping. Starting in the dish pit in high school, he quickly became a line cook.
Working at a small Italian restaurant he found his love of making fresh pasta and learned the art of cheese making. Living in the lowcountry, the access to unique local food and West African influences inspired the way he cooks today.
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 started 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, and got her WSET Level 2 from Slate Wine Academy as well as her Level 1 Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. 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.