Jake was born and raised in the Omaha area. A love for 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 with the local ProStart Culinary Program and after high school attended Johnson & Wales University in Denver. While at school he worked under many great chefs and dove deep into the well nourished Hispanic food culture of Denver. The discovery of culture and the importance of food within motivated Jake to search for meaning and he began to focus on the artistic side of cooking. He gained an unending desire to highlight the beautiful traditions of food cultures around the world. After Johnson & Wales, he took his first trip to Europe and had the opportunity to work and eat in some of the world’s finest restaurants. This experience opened up the grand possibilities professional cooking could bring with dedication and thoughtfulness, things that are still a daily focus. He has worked for fantastic chefs in Omaha including; Clayton Chapman, Glenn Wheeler, Nick Strawhecker, and Jon Seymour (at V. Mertz). Working with these Chefs cemented his love for Omaha and the flourishing food scene in his hometown. Most recently, Jake returned home from Charleston, South Carolina where he worked under James Beard Award Winner 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 applicable in life, not just the kitchen. While in Charleston he received a call from V. Mertz GM Matthew Brown, 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 cooking and creating memories around the dinner table. 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. In those spaces she truly gained an 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 discovered an immense amount of camaraderie between her peers and the culinary community. Amanda developed her skills at some of Omaha’s finest establishments: Avoli Osteria, Modern Love, and Ugly Duck before re-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 is invaluable. It truly is a family and I cherish every moment spent here!”
Ally graduated from the Metropolitan Community College Institute for the Culinary Arts in Omaha at just 18 years old. Shortly after she began her role as pastry chef at V. Mertz. Whilst attending Culinary School, she became the president of Tri Omega and was a leader on Culinary Team Nebraska as the pastry chef. Their team competed against other culinary schools from around the country in events organized by the American Culinary Federation. She has always possessed a love for cooking. She grew up being home-schooled which made the walk from the “classroom” to the kitchen an easy one.
“The word ‘cooking’ to me means joy. I get to do that every day and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”