Jake was born and raised in the Omaha area. A love for cooking and food came early through the timeless act of cooking with his mother. From there, it swiftly moved into a devout practice to master a trade. He participated locally with the ProStart Culinary Program and after high school moved to Denver, to attend Johnson & Wales University. While attending school he worked for numerous chefs and dove deep into the Hispanic food culture that Denver nourishes. The discovery of culture and the importance of food within motivated Jake to look deeper at the trade and focus more on the artistic side of cooking, in an attempt to highlight the beautiful traditions of cultures everywhere. After school, he took his first trip to Europe and had the opportunity to work and eat in some of the world’s finest restaurants. This opened up what grand possibilities professional cooking could bring with dedication and thoughtfulness, things that are still a daily focus. Back from Europe he has worked for many fantastic chefs in Omaha including; Clayton Chapman, Glenn Wheeler, Nick Strawhecker, and Jon Seymour. Working with these Chefs rededicated his love for Omaha and the flourishing food scene in his hometown. Most recently, Jake has returned back home from Charleston, South Carolina. There he worked under owner and operator Mike Lata at The Ordinary, a seafood focused restaurant inside the Coastal City. Chef Lata taught discipline and the importance of fundamental techniques, every day lessons that are versatile in life and not just the kitchen. While in Charleston he received a call from V. Mertz GM Matthew Brown and that alone brought him back to Omaha in the fall of 2016 as the Head Chef of V. Mertz
Growing up in a large Italian Family, Amanda has always had a passion for food, cooking and creating memories around the dinner table. Some of her fondest memories include cooking in her Nonna’s kitchen as a child, and working in her family’s Italian restaurant as a young adult. It was in those spaces that she truly gained a sense of appreciation for cooking and service as more than a profession, but a way to lead a rewarding life. She went on to develop her skills at Metropolitan Community College’s Institutes for the Culinary Arts where she found an immense amount of camaraderie between her peers and the culinary community. This led her to work at many great places including Avoli Osteria, Modern Love, and Ugly Duck before joining the V. Mertz family
“This restaurant holds a special place in my heart. The freedom we have here to create, to be heard, supported, and appreciated are invaluable. It truly is a family and I cherish every moment spent here!”
Ally has been working at V. Mertz for two years as the Pastry Chef. She graduated from Metropolitan Community College Institute for the Culinary at just 18 years old. There she became the president of Tri Omega and was involved in Culinary Team Nebraska as the pastry chef, which competed against other culinary schools from around the country ran by the American Culinary Federation. She has always loved being in the kitchen. She grew up being home-schooled which made is easy for her to walk away from the “classroom” and make anything she wanted.
“The word ‘cooking’ to me means joy. Now, I get to do that every day and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”