Behind the Scenes at ECHO

 

Resort Executive Chef, James Flack


Education / Training: Columbus Culinary Institute, earning his associates in the Culinary Arts and his ACF (American Culinary Federation) Sous Chef certification; 3-month externship at his alma mater, The Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

Inspiration for becoming a chef:  In the 1980’s and 1990’s, James Flack’s mother and sister were servers at the famed Jekyll Island Club Hotel. As a child, James spent his afternoons in the hallways and lawns of the Victorian ‘manse’ and the old wooden booths of Zachry’s Seafood Restaurant. His first grownup culinary opportunity was trying his hand at Garde Manger prep at the Jekyll Island Club, preparing simple dressings, salads and performing numerous kitchen tasks.

His passion wasn’t ignited at this early time, but he spent seven years learning the ropes at Bob Evans washing dishes and Raven's Glenn Winery in Ohio as dishwasher, prep cook, wine bottler, grape handler, and delivery driver. In 2008, James helped open Machiavelli’s, a family-owned Italian eatery in Bristol, Tennessee. Here, he finally discovered his true love for the art of cooking.

Career Highlights:  Following his externship, James was hired at the highly esteemed Cloister at Sea Island. The highest level of service came easily, learning from Chef de Cuisine Danny Zeal at the 5-star Georgian Room, French Master Chef Jonathan Jerusalamy, Executive Chef David Carrier, and Executive Chef Jason Russell.

Early in 2013, James came to The King and Prince to help open ECHO and assist with revamping the King and Prince Food and Beverage.  

In 2014, with the help of Executive Chef Dale Ford of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, James was able to play a big role in the rebirth of the local ACF chapter. They exploded from 5 to 41 members (an 820% increase). And he is currently the Secretary of the local ACF chapter.  

James says the biggest challenge at ECHO has been rebuilding the culture of those around him to want better: “We wanted to get the locals back in, and we’ve done that.”  Local support is up by about 75%.

“I’ve spent most of my life on these islands looking over the coastal waters. I can’t imagine a more glorious way to take this step in my career, digging my feet into the sand and calling this island my home for years to come. My love for local food, tradition, hard work and integrity has brought me here and I’m excited to be able to give this passion back to our guests, co-workers and friends with my unconditional love for food."