Master Chef Craig Shelton, influenced by his grandmother’s kitchen in Cognac, France, left a medical career behind to take a summer job at Ma Maison in Los Angeles, the start of an unparalleled culinary career that has spanned nearly 40 years. Chef Shelton’s childhood memories of impeccable cuisine around his grandmother’s table drove him in his quest for perfection of serving a “real – world dining experience”.
Chef Shelton trained in eight of the world’s greatest restaurants, including El Bulli, Jamin, Ma Maison, L’Auberge de l’Ill, Le Pré Catelan, Bouley, Le Bernardin, and La Côte Basque. He pioneered the farm to table movement on the East coast as Chef proprietor of The Ryland Inn, with its three-acre certified organic garden, giving diners the experience of homegrown cooking that “speaks to the soul”. Chef Shelton put New Jersey on the national culinary map and provided training for a majority of the Garden State’s top chefs of today. Chef Shelton, a Yale graduate, has earned countless awards including a James Beard Best Chef medal, NY Times 4-Stars ratings on four separate occasions, a 5-Star Forbes rating, the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef title, and Number One Top Restaurant in America in 2004 from GQ.
Chef Shelton radiates a passion for achieving excellence in every aspect of the customer experience. Chef Shelton and the Mountainville Manor team will work with you to create a pure “farm to table” experience using only the finest locally sourced ingredients.
Chef de Cuisine
The Hudson Valley has an abundance of resources and Tom has a passion for using them to source the best local organic and grass-fed ingredients for Mountainville Manor. Tom is a Hudson Valley native, born and raised in Warwick, NY and feels that it is his duty to give our guests a true taste of what the Hudson Valley has to offer.
Tom entered the food and beverage industry at age 16 and fell in love with every aspect of it. He decided to dedicate himself to becoming a chef and started working his way towards going to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After attending from the CIA, he began working at Mineral Springs Hotel and Spa in Vernon, NJ, gaining much experience with à la carte service as well as larger events. Weddings became his passion and he took a job at Cedar Lakes Estates. Tom then developed fine dining prowess at Glenmere Mansion, a Relais & Chateaux hotel, where he worked his way up to Sous Chef. During his 5 years at Glenmere Mansion he had opportunities to stage events in New York City, at some of the top Michelin Star restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and Restaurant Daniel. Tom’s combination of fine dining and weddings make him the perfect fit for Mountainville Manor.
Dwayne grew up in the kitchen watching his mother cook for him, his brother and two sisters. Although she had no formal training, she always made fresh, delicious meals from scratch with what she had available. Coming from North Carolina, she cooked what she knew and passed it on to Dwayne. Dwayne’s love of cooking was inspired by his mother, grandmother and aunts.
While in high school, Dwayne took a class trip to the Culinary Institute of America and from that experience he knew that he wanted to be a chef. Dwayne joined the culinary program at the Orange Ulster B.O.C.E.S in Goshen New York. He learned some of the basic skills needed to pursue his dream of being the first one in his family to go to college. After finishing high school and the culinary program he went onto Johnson and Wales University receiving his 2 year A.O.S. degree in their Culinary Arts Division.
Growing up in Warwick New York, Dwayne learned to appreciate the outdoors and small town living. He enjoyed taking long walks in the woods and just being around nature. Dwayne lived in San Antonio Texas for a short while, but realized that the Hudson Valley is his home. He loves the natural beauty of this part of the country with the abundant farms, orchards, wineries, and restaurants that make the Hudson Valley a culinary jewel.
At Mountainville Manor, Dwayne has found a place where he could learn and further hone his culinary skills with a “down to earth” team that shares his passion for always wanting to give patrons the very best.
Pride, passion, knowledge, and personality are key components to being an amazing professional mixologist. Sally encompasses all of these. Sally has over 30 years of experience working in Baltimore, Los Angeles, and New York. She is a four time Best of Hudson Valley winner for several of her signature hand-crafted cocktails. She also made several appearances in Hudson Valley Magazine with Best Newcomer award of Dutchess county for her gastro pub, Karma Lounge, in 2010.
Sally uses only the finest ingredients from her garden and local farms to make organic syrups, garnishes, and infusions. Her number one goal is to always make the guests happy. She truly loves what she does and it shows. Sally’s creative craft is an art form that she keeps fun, professional and consistent.
Audio / Video Communications Director
Casey was born with a fearless drive of creativity combined with an outgoing personality. A natural for communicating, this actor, director and filmmaker graduated with B.A. in Communications from Caldwell University.
Through video shorts and podcasts Casey conveys the culinary talent of the Mountainville Manor chefs along with the exquisite details of the Manor and property.
Lauren & James Abramson
“Words cannot even begin to describe how wonderful Mountainville Manor is. We got married there last night and we’ve been planning with them since the summer. Every step of the way Lauren and James have been so helpful. They try to accommodate every part of your dream wedding.” Delia & Matthew, November 2020
It all began with Lauren’s vision and the rest is history. For Lauren and James, Mountainville Manor is much more than a wedding and private events venue, it is about making the world a brighter place.
New Jersey natives, Lauren began her career as a school teacher in Florida after graduating from Caldwell University with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Elementary Education. James began an accounting career while pursuing his Bachelors of Business Administration. For her dedication to her students and a passion to connect individually with each, Lauren was awarded Teacher of the Year in her third year of teaching. Returning to New Jersey, James became an executive in a Fortune 500 company and Lauren started LaLaBoodle’s Toffee Company that sold her specialty gourmet toffee directly to Disney, Gevalia, Amazon, and Fairway Market, as well as appearing on QVC.
Lauren has a passion for authenticity that inspires the quality and purity of the food and the customer focus at Mountainville Manor. “Events are about making memories, living in the present, inspiring hopes and dreams for the future, and having gratitude for the family and friends that share life’s special moments.” Lauren and James are grateful to have Mountainville Manor become a part of these memories.