Meet Our Culinary Team
Originally from Rock Hill, SC, Garrett Merck has spent the past 18 years serving in the hospitality industry. Learning to cook at a young age, Merck was inspired by the ever-changing world of culinary arts. Throughout his career, Merck has held many jobs in various culinary concepts and multiple dining facets such as catering, casual dining, family restaurants, steakhouses, private clubs and hotels.
With 14 years of culinary adventures defining his present approach to gastronomy, Merck brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the role of executive chef at The Ballantyne. Committed to sourcing local food, practicing sustainable measures and influencing creativity, Merck directs food preparation for all culinary outlets of the hotel and works to ensure the highest level of quality, consistency and presentation.
Merck previously served as executive sous chef and supported oversight of culinary operations. He also held the position of executive banquet chef at The Ballantyne.
Before that, Merck was chef de cuisine at Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando. In this role, he managed the à la carte kitchen to maintain hotel and property management, Marriott and AAA standards. Within eight months of touching down at Le Boheme, Merck received Best Hotel Restaurant, Best Jazz Brunch and Best Power Lunch for Central Florida Diners’ Choice Awards.
Earlier in his career, Merck worked at The Ballantyne as sous chef of Gallery Restaurant, Charlotte’s only Forbes Four-Star recognized culinary destination at the time, working under his mentor, Chef de Cuisine David Moore. Leading the team to several distinguished awards within the local community, Merck found the resources and determination to continue his passion for culinary and press for higher standards within the hotel. Merck joined The Ballantyne in 2010, where he was involved in the daily operation and production of Gallery Restaurant.
EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF
As executive sous chef, Mike Bobb supports oversight of culinary operations and lead the stewarding operation and team. Most recently, Bobb served as banquet junior sous chef. Before that, he was sous chef at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Earlier in his career, he worked as chef de partie and corporate trainer at Gallery Restaurant and The Ballantyne. Bobb began his career as demi chef at Missouri Bluffs Golf Club. He earned a degree in food service management at Johnson & Wales University.
La Tasha McCutchen
La Tasha McCutchen is responsible for planning and directing food preparation in the kitchen, including quality control, consistency and driving efforts to exceed guest expectations. Winner of “Hell’s Kitchen” season 13, McCutchen most recently served as executive chef of her own private catering business. Before that, she served as head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill in Atlantic City, NJ.
McCutchen began making an impact in the culinary industry throughout an eight-year stint in South Florida. She worked at 3030 Ocean Restaurant, a chic dinner bistro at Marriott’s Harbor Beach Resort & Spa I Fort Lauderdale. McCutchen started her culinary career with Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Myrtle Beach, SC. Originally from Lake City, SC, she earned two degrees in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in North Miami and Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Conway, SC.
With eight years of experience in baking and pastry, Noelle Gogg brings a fresh perspective to the pastry team at The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte.
As pastry sous chef, she is responsible for the day to day operations and organization of the pastry kitchen. Gogg oversees afternoon tea pastries and Gallery Restaurant’s innovative dessert specials. She collaborates with the executive pastry chef on outlet menus, special events and holiday menus for The Ballantyne.
Prior to joining The Ballantyne, Gogg was a pastry cook at Montage Deer Valley Resort and Spa in Park City, Utah. She also worked at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina and served as a baking assistant at Adams Fairacre Farms in Kingston, New York.
Originally from Kingston, Gogg is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.