Clubhouse Cuisine: Spotlight on Our Executive Chefs

Shawn Creef, The Cliffs at Keowee Falls


The wholehearted passion amongst the culinary teams at The Cliffs is aplenty. To these individuals, the kitchen is not just a job but a familiar memory-provoking calling. These chefs have inspired menus, bringing satisfaction to the appetite of members with not only meals but also an enriching experience. We had the opportunity to sit down with the communities’ seven Executive Chefs to find out what led them to our clubs.


What inspired you to pursue a career in culinary arts?

It started with the fact that I really like to eat, and the easiest way to eat great food was to learn how to cook it myself. It’s evolved into a true appreciation for how great food creates great memories.


How do you approach creating new dishes or menus that cater to the diverse tastes and preferences of the club’s members? 

It starts with the season; I try to bring as many seasonal elements as possible to every menu. In general, I write menus in reverse. I find the best ingredients available and then turn them into dishes. I find the membership at The Cliffs to be open to a variety of flavor profiles.


Do you have a favorite dish to cook? What makes it your favorite–familiarity, tradition, new and exciting, or simply your favorite thing to eat?

I don’t know if I have anything specific that I like to cook more than others. I enjoy the techniques of braising and stewing–like in my bolognese recipe–as well as making pizzas. Cooking with real wood is also something that I enjoy. My favorite thing to eat will always be chicken fried in a cast iron skillet just like my Maw Maw used to make.


What do you consider your “signature dish” at your club?

The smoked beef short rib is served with pepper jack macaroni and cheese souffle, crispy Brussels sprouts, and sweet heat barbeque sauce. 


What are the member favorites?

Wow, there are so many things. Scallops with carrot ceviche, sticky cauliflower, and beef stroganoff are popular dishes right now. Beef stroganoff is a good example of a classic dish to which we add our own spin. We make ours with large, diced beef tenderloin and hand-rolled pasta. The flavor profile is familiar, but the appearance is very different from the classic version.


Outside of work, what are some of your favorite foods or cuisines to cook or explore?

A little bit of everything, to be quite honest. I tend to follow food trends more than any one style of cuisine. I enjoy pulling several different styles together. For example, Asian flavors blend very well with traditional Southern cuisine. Think sweet chili glaze over southern fried chicken and waffles.

If you are not a member of one of our seven private luxury communities at The Cliffs, we invite you to connect with us to learn more about what mountain and lake living looks like. Click the button below to contact us.

Related Stories