Chef Sam DeMarco (aka Sammy D) has been on the restaurant scene for more than 30 years, making a name for himself as a leader in modern and casual American cuisine. Sam became well-known as the 'Chef to the Chefs' in the late 90's at his inaugural restaurant venture - First - an East Village late-night hideaway that quickly became the hot spot for the cities culinary elite after a long day.
Crowned the "King of Casual," Sammy is legendary for creating dishes that other chefs crave, such as a late night, post-service dish of chicken lollipops with blue cheese and Goat Cheese Souffle.
Working in restaurants since the age of 15, Sam was part of the pioneer culinary school class of New York Institute of Technology in Long Island, N.Y. he then honed his skills as he moved through the ranks of innumerable NYC restaurant kitchens under prestigious and trendsetting chefs such as David Burke at River Café, Gray Kunz at The Peninsula Hotel, Jean-Michel Diot at Maxine's Hotel, Michelle Fitoussi at Regines. These experiences allowed Sam to master the classic French techniques while developing a diverse background in all cuisines including Asian, Latin and American.
In addition to the great success of First, Sam has worked on countless other restaurant projects. In partnership with Steve Wynn at Las Vegas' prestigious Bellagio Hotel, he opened Sam's American and Sam's Snacks. In New York, he developed concepts and served as executive chef for many restaurants including the David Rockwell-designed District in Times Square and Merge in West Village. Sam successfully revamped and relaunched notable New York City hotel restaurants including Fireside in the Omni Berkshire and Oscars in the Waldorf Astoria.
Sam has been in Las Vegas since 2008 focusing on family and the opening of First Food & Bar at the Palazzo Hotel.
Joining forces with Grant for the first time, Sammy has brought his passion and innovative culinary flair to Melbourne to create the city's latest trend-setting dishes.
Grant has been in the business for over 3 decades and feels Melbourne is going to bring out the best in him yet.
During his time as the big wig at dining destinations such as the Bellagio and the Wynn Hotels in the megastar magnate city of Las Vegas, he hasn't felt the excitable rumble in his tummy quite like his new project, The Merrywell.
Grant remains close to the customer resulting in his golden touch being sought out across the globe and has involved him in over 150 food and beverage venues spanning across five continents.
His colourful career is paralled only by his equally charmisatic connection on both sides of the pass.
Grant is now seeking out the produce, getting to know the people and wont stop until he is creating a seamless experience for his guests.
Be proud Melbourne, for a chef that has conquered so much and seen much of the world, you have ignited his appetite for the next big thing and he wants to bring it here, to you in his new favourite city.
Having managed restaurants with top chefs from around the world, Kerin joins the gang from NYC, bringing her high-end service values. Kerin can't wait to work with the team to instill a sense of fun to your experience.
Renowned Scottish-born Ewart has swapped the sands of the Nevada Desert in favour of his new post as The Merrywell's Chef de Cuisine. Ewart is in the house to ensure that The Merrywell menus are inventive and delicious.