With more than 15 years of culinary experience, Chef Umit’s passion for the culinary arts has taken him from his homeland of Turkey to many Michelin-rated kitchens around the world, including: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, Castle on the Hudson in New York City, and La Colombe Restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa. As Executive Chef, Chef Umit oversees all functions of the main kitchen of Cast & Plow.
Fostering the belief that “life is simple, keep it simple,” Chef Umit created Cast & Plow’s menu as a foundation to continuously build on. “I am inspired by Mediterranean and French cuisine since they have played a strong role in my background. I love to experiment and combine this cuisine with elements of North African, Indian and Asian cooking styles,” says Chef Kaygusuz.
Having earned a Grand Diploma from Cordons Bleus and a degree in architecture, Chef Umit is a proven artist in constructing dishes to delight any palate. He creates every dish with love, respect, and knowledge, a trait attributed to his grandmother, who was also a chef. He enjoys traveling to the Far East and African countries, tasting wines, cheeses, and different types of pâtés and cured meats.
Executive Sous Chef
Born in Toulon, France, located just off of the Mediterranean cost in the country's southern region, Duchene began his professional career in 1997 as an apprentice at at La Frégate restaurant in Hyères, France, Hôtel La Caravelle in the Courchevel 1850 region of France in 1998, Hotel Le Maquis in Corsica, France in 1999 and Hotel Krone in Bretten, Germany in 2000.
Additionally, Duchene has worked alongside acclaimed chef Eric Ripert, co-owner and chef of New York’s three-star Michelin restaurant, Le Bernardin.
Duchene joined the hotel in August 2016 and oversees the hotel’s banquet kitchen, pastry department and recently renovated Club Lounge.
Sous Chef John Martin began his culinary career more than 20 years ago as a commis chef at the Conrad International Hotel in Gold Coast, Australia after earning his commercial cooking certificate at Regency College, the largest culinary school in the southern hemisphere. When the opportunity came up to move to Tokyo, Japan, Chef Martin jumped at the chance to work for a variety of restaurant concepts over the course of eight years that allowed him to gather creative inspiration. With a desire to bring his international experience to the U.S., Chef Martin worked in numerous kitchens in Florida and California prior to becoming the Sous Chef at Cast & Plow.
Chef de Tournant
After attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chef de Tournant Brandon Duley worked under the celebrity chef Michael Cimarusti at Providence, experienced a Michelin Star-rated kitchen at WD-50 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and dipped in some Southern California cuisine at Café del Rey before finding a permanent home at Cast & Plow. Chef Duley is often seen at the local farmers markets collecting produce for the kitchen or skateboarding in Venice.
Born in Stevenson, Washington, located on the Oregon border, Mitch Ober discovered his passion for wine while working various food and beverage positions at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. A certified Level 2 Sommelier, Ober hopes to accomplish his dream to become a Master Sommelier in just a few years. Ober hand-selects limited production wines to add to Cast & Plow’s evolving wine list from regions such as his native Pacific Northwest territory all the way to Bordeaux, France.