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The Crush House
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Our Instructors

Cucina Director

Jan Prengaman

Cucina Director

A familiar face at Gervasi Vineyard since 2009 when she volunteered in the winery, Jan has since been a visible contributor across many of Gervasi’s venues including Cucina Assistant, Prep Cook, Bartender, and most recently Assistant Cucina Director. Cooking, baking, and entertaining are Jan’s passions. She uses her patio wood-fired oven to make breads, pizzas, pretzels, and overnight casseroles to share with family and friends. Retired from a career as a middle school secretary, Jan brings superb organizational skills, motivation, and a results-driven approach to her work at the Cucina.  She is excited to apply her life passions, enthusiasm, and talent for entertaining to continue and enhance the Cucina program.

Cucina Culinary Advisor

Bob Sferra

Bob SferraBob Sferra is a small business owner, chef, culinary arts professional, food-writer and consultant.  Bob is a 24 year veteran of the hospitality and culinary arts industry with experience and training in France and New York City. Bob is a graduate of John Carroll University, the French Culinary Institute and has been awarded scholarships to attend the Ritz Escoffier (Es-co-fee-a) and Le Notre (Le Note) in Paris. His company, Bob Sferra Culinary Occasions, is a well-known leading caterer on the Cleveland food scene.  Bob also owns The Culinary Occasions Shop; a boutique pastry and special occasion cake destination. During this year’s RNC, Bob’s company was the exclusive caterer for the Daily Show. Bob has made frequent television appearances in northeastern Ohio and currently is the corporate chef for Trevarrow, Inc. (Tra-verrow) Northeast Ohio’s exclusive distributor of Sub-Zero and Wolf gourmet kitchen appliances.

 

Cucina Culinary Instructors

Local Instructors

Jerry Risner

Jerry RisnerJerry Risner is the Executive Chef at Gervasi Vineyard.   He manages multiple kitchens here and a large staff cooks and dishwashers.  Jerry’s passion for cooking began while watching his grandmother prepare memorable homemade meals as he was growing up. He earned a culinary degree from Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky, where he worked at the James-Beard-Award-winning restaurant, Azalea.  Jerry went on to cook at the renowned Woodlands Resort near Charleston, South Carolina. He apprenticed with Browne Trading Company, one of the most highly regarded seafood purveyors in the country, and then sought out internships at some top restaurants around the country.  Jerry returned home to Stark County to become the sous chef at Brookside Country Club. He joined Gervasi in 2010, and in 2011 received the American Culinary Federation (ACF), Akron/Canton Chapter Restaurant Chef of the Year award.  Jerry recently earned the prestigious Certified Executive Chef® Award from the ACF.  This recognition is not only a benchmark for personal and professional achievement but has also become recognized as a standard of excellence in the food service industry.

 

Nancy Davis

Nancy is the Pastry Chef and Sous Chef at Gervasi.  She is responsible for all the desserts on our menus, as well as managing the Villa Grande kitchen and supervising preparation of food for the Bistro. Nancy is a Canton native who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.  She did an externship in Atlanta, Georgia and returned to Canton to create pastries for West Point Market in Akron and Brookside Country Club in Canton.  Nancy went on to open her own pastry business before joining the Gervasi team in 2010.

 

 

Andre Silva

Andre is The Twisted Olive Executive Chef.  He graduated from the University of Akron and began his Gervasi career in March, 2010.  Cooking with his mother and grandmother and his experiences in the different Gervasi kitchens have helped him to be where he is today.

 


 

Peter Eggmann

Growing up in Switzerland as his parents operated a resort in Quinten, Peter got an early exposure to the restaurant and hotel business. As he was helping his father in the kitchen at a young age, Peter's decision to become a chef was made. After earing a certification as a chef from the Swiss government, Peter used the opportunity to travel the world.  His journey took him to work in resorts and restaurants in Switzerland, Jersey C.I., Bermuda, Montreal, New Jersey, Florida, Alaska, and Ohio. In 2015 Peter joined the Gervasi organization working at the Villa Grande Cucina, preparing food from scratch serving the Bistro, Crush House, and the Twisted Olive.

 

 

 

Meg FellerMeg Feller

A Canton, Ohio, native, Meg has worn a number of different hats in the food service business for 20 years. She currently owns Lemon Leaf Catering, specializing in elegant events, custom cooking classes, and private dinner parties. Earlier in her career, she relocated to Breckenridge, Colorado and then returned to Ohio to work at Glenmoor Country Club and Mustard Seed Market in Montrose. It was during this time that she realized her passion for cooking. She studied in the University of Akron’s Culinary Arts Program and is a self-taught pro at the grill.

 

 

 

Marsha Sommers Fillinger

Marsha is the Chef de Cuisine at Gervasi's Crush House.  She graduated from the International Culinary Academy in Pittsburgh in 2002, interned at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Pittsburgh, and went on to cook at 91 Woodfired Oven, Iris, and Lucca in Canton.  Marsha joined Gervasi in 2012.

 

 

 

Anne Haynam

Anne Haynam

Anne is the owner of On the Spot Gourmet, a personal chef company that specializes in interactive cooking experiences, as well as tasting menu dinner parties. She is a graduate of the Western Reserve School of Cooking and formerly worked as a pastry chef at the Great Lakes Baking Company.  Anne has a passion for international travel and has taken cooking classes in Paris, Istanbul, and Brazil and worked in the kitchen of Benedetta Vitale in Florence, Italy. Her diverse interests in the culinary world include working as the Entrepreneur in Residence at Hiram College where she team-taught “The Art of Making Dough” – a class where students started a campus bakery.  Currently Anne is pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Counseling to enhance her culinary team building sessions and explore culinary therapy.

 

 

Kathy Lehr

Kathy Lehr

An educator, restaurant consultant, and bread expert, Kathy was mentored by French Chef, Danielle Forrestier (Julia Child’s bread consultant) and has been teaching cooking classes for 31 years. Along with training from several national bread authorities, she also studied with Kiko Denzer and has built a wood-fired oven in her backyard from which she teaches bread-making classes. Kathy recently attended classes in Marina del Rey, CA with the Asssociation of Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) to learn the authentic process of making true pizzas of Naples, Italy. She is now the only person in Ohio who has received this training.  Kathy is an expert in helping people understand the chemistry of bread making, thus building confidence and the ability to bake perfect breads every time.

 

 

John Olihan

Chef John Olihan has been an Executive Chef as far south as South Carolina and as far west as Alaska. The last 15 years he has worked in the Stark County area as Executive Chef for Benders Restaurant, Executive Chef at The Canton Club, and as Corporate Executive Chef at 91 Woodfired Oven, overseeing operations for all locations. Currently John is an Executive Chef for Metz Culinary Management, specializing in healthcare operations, special dietary needs, and large, upscale catering events. He also does private consulting and event planning with his wife, Jillian, who is also a chef. He serves on culinary boards for local programs for young chefs and regularly performs cooking demonstrations for those seeking to live healthier lifestyles. In his spare time he enjoys fishing and gardening, but most of all spending time with his three sons Jack, Kessler, and Daniel.

 

Bob Sferra

Bob Sferra

Bob Sferra is a small business owner, chef, culinary arts professional, food-writer and consultant.  Bob is a 24 year veteran of the hospitality and culinary arts industry with experience and training in France and New York City. Bob is a graduate of John Carroll University, the French Culinary Institute and has been awarded scholarships to attend the Ritz Escoffier (Es-co-fee-a) and Le Notre (Le Note) in Paris. His company, Bob Sferra Culinary Occasions, is a well-known leading caterer on the Cleveland food scene.  Bob also owns The Culinary Occasions Shop; a boutique pastry and special occasion cake destination. During this year’s RNC, Bob’s company was the exclusive caterer for the Daily Show. Bob has made frequent television appearances in northeastern Ohio and currently is the corporate chef for Trevarrow, Inc. (Tra-verrow) Northeast Ohio’s exclusive distributor of Sub-Zero and Wolf gourmet kitchen appliances.

 

Carla Snyder

Carla Snyder

After a semester studying in Spain, Carla Snyder discovered just how delicious life could be. With a BA in journalism in hand, she began a 30-year culinary journey as a caterer, cooking school teacher, artisan baker, food writer, corporate culinary event planner, author of 8 books and blogger at ravenouskitchen.com. Her cookbook The Big Book of Appetizers,co-authored with Meredith Deeds, was nominated for a James Beard Award, and their 300 Sensational Soups was chosen by Good Morning America as one of the top 10 cookbooks of the year in 2009. Carla’s most recent release is titled One Pan, Two Plates Vegetarian Suppers.

 

Victoria Todd-Smith

Victoria Todd-Smith

A culinary educator, caterer, and chef for more than 30 years, Vicki spent many years in Europe and Asia before returning to the United States in 2000. She has had the honor of cooking for such luminaries as the late Benazir Bhutto, Anderson Cooper, Ken Burns, and the former Foreign Minister of Japan. Additionally, during her years in Asia she was the caterer of choice for many ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps. Upon her return to the United States, she accepted the position of Senior Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager at the Stark Conference Center of Kent State University. Subsequently, she became Market Kitchen and Catering Director for Mustard Seed Market in Solon and went on to run corporate dining for Jones Day law firm in Cleveland. At present Vicki works for a privately held conglomerate as the Executive Chef of their corporate lodging and catering operations.

 

Ellen Velez

Ellen Velez is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and The Culinary Institute of America with high honors. She has eight years of restaurant experience under her belt and has also developed recipes and done food styling for Woman’s Day and Art Culinaire magazines. After cooking for clients on the side, she decided to start The Secret Chef, a catering company, in 2005 and grew the business for 10 years before selling it to her resident chef.

 

 

 

 

Cucina Wine Instructors

Andrew Codispoti

Andrew Codispoti

As the winemaker at Gervasi Vineyard, Andy aspires to produce elegant wines of the highest quality that will complement gatherings of family and friends. An Italian immigrant, he humorously links the beginning of his winemaking career to the age of four when he stomped grapes in his birth town in southern Italy. The family owned several small vineyards in the area and over time the winemaking traditions of his father and mother exposed him to the art of old world winemaking. 

After retiring from a career in the bearing industry, Andy joined the Gervasi team.  He has responsibility for all phases of making award-winning Gervasi wines from vineyard to bottling, managing our portfolio of 26 wines and planning for future growth.

 

Abraham McCune

Abraham McCune

Currently the Wine Steward and Service Coordinator at Gervasi, Abraham began his career in the service industry at the age of 20 as a bartender in Sydney, Australia, where he also helped to open the very first Outback Steakhouse in Australia. He has worked in the restaurant business since then, including stints at Carrabba’s and at 91 Wood-Fired Oven. Abraham recently completed and passed his Advanced Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 3 Certificate. In all the phases of his career, Abraham’s passion for learning has remained constant. He loves exploring new wines and reacquainting himself with familiar ones.

 

 

Conference Center at Gervasi Vineyard

Make Meetings More Productive

Gervasi Vineyard is the perfect place to bring your organization or small group to be inspired.

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TOUR THE WINERY

Public and Private Tours

Experience Gervasi and learn more about the wine making process while taking in the breathtaking views. Learn More →

GV EVENTS

Music, Art and More!

Enjoy live music on the Piazza, stroll the Bellissimo Art Show and experience Gervasi Vineyard. Learn More →

LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Cucina Culinary Classes

You'll dive in and get cooking with personalized instruction from one of our experienced chef instructors, and create a meal that you'll sit down to enjoy with a glass of wine.

Wine Classes

Whether you're new to wine or a long-time wine enthusiast, we have classes that will stimulate your palate and your thinking about wine.

JOIN THE CLUB

Become a Member and Enjoy the Benefits of Loyalty Rewards

Become a GV Club member and sign-up for loyalty rewards to receive cash rewards on every purchase you make at Gervasi Vineyard.Learn More and Sign Up →

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