SYLACAUGA, Ala. -- Pursell Farms - the renowned boutique resort located on 3,500 pristine acres less than an hour from Birmingham - has welcomed new Executive Chef Andrea Griffith to its elite hospitality team.
Featuring more than 13 years of experience, Griffith has earned 11 American Culinary Federation (ACF)-accredited medals, including honors in ice carving, cold food salon and hot food. She was awarded the distinction of Certified Chef de Cuisine, the third level of achievement at the ACF.
"Andrea has proven herself as a top-echelon chef, which fits our boutique resort's standard of excellence," said Pursell Farms' co-founder and CEO David Pursell. "She is passionate about our farm-to-table Southern cuisine, and we look forward to having Andrea create many special events at Pursell Farms where she can showcase her artistic, experiential flair and incredible talent."
Griffith is working with local farmers to obtain the freshest ingredients to create country-style, flavorful food. She is also utilizing Pursell Farms' one-acre garden that offers a variety of corn, tomatoes, peppers, okra, peas, squash, green beans and more as a source for farm-fresh produce. Griffith prefers her food to be prepared with no preservatives or additives, which is why she also makes her own condiments.
"This is the beginning of a whole new culinary experience at Pursell Farms," said new General Manager Keith Izydore. "Chef Griffith is revamping what we offer and how we offer it, so our guests will enjoy an amazing assortment of menu selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with the outstanding service, for which we're known."
Griffith got her start working as a 16-year-old pastry chef at a Whole Foods in Philadelphia, which helped her build a strong background in baking. At the resort's recent "A Chocolate Romance" Valentine's Day event at The Parker Lodge, she taught a chocolate truffle-making class and prepared a candlelit dinner for guests.
She trained at The Art Institute of Philadelphia for Culinary Arts where she earned a full scholarship, and has worked at a variety of venues, including The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, Primland in Virginia and the renowned Circa in Philadelphia.
"There is such a value placed on family and togetherness at Pursell Farms and it drew me here immediately because the Pursell family truly cares for their guests and their employees," said Griffith. "Pursell Farms is a first-class resort destination and I want the food here to not only be delicious, but invoke a feeling and hold a memory with our guests."
Although she started her new position a few short weeks ago, the Philadelphia native has already made changes to the dining experience at Pursell Farms, including rearranging the dining room layout to give a more "country chic" feel, tapping into local craft beer makers and canning vegetables to preserve freshness. She will also begin teaching cooking classes at Pursell Farms.
The Grille at Pursell Farms is open to the public and serves an ever-changing, upscale menu of specialty sandwiches, salads and Southern-style, home-cooked entrees. Private, full course dinners are offered to overnight guests in the luxury cottages and the resort is available for weddings, luncheons, dinners, corporate events, business meetings, parties, receptions and more.
The addition of Griffith is the latest of a host of recent hospitality enhancements at Pursell Farms, including the addition of a liquor license and the appointments of Izydore as General Manager and Terry Davis, Jr. as Director of Golf at FarmLinks Golf Club in 2012.
Pursell Farms is home to the state's top-rated, public-access golf course, which is also the world's first and only research and demonstration facility. For the last 10 years, the resort has annually hosted thousands of golf course superintendents and agronomy professionals for its "The Experience at FarmLinks" program, which teaches industry best practices and introduces cutting-edge technology.
Other on-property amenities include a specially crafted 5-stand clay shooting range, world-class hunting and fishing, meeting space, event and wedding services.
To learn more about Pursell Farms visit www.pursellfarms.com, www.facebook.com/pursellfarms, or call 877.292.FARM (3276).
About Pursell Farms
Established in 2003 by the Pursell Family and located at Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Ala., Pursell Farms includes a one-of-a-kind research and demonstration facility and FarmLinks Golf Club, an 18-hole, 7,444-yard championship golf course that is open to the public. The company's cutting-edge environment also offers high-tech meeting spaces, deluxe lodging options and first-rate fishing and wildlife habitat with 5-stand clay shooting range and unique hunting adventures.
To learn more about Pursell Farms, visit www.pursellfarms.com.