Meet Our Culinary Team
Kennardo Holder oversees the hotel’s banquet and pastry kitchens, Gallery Restaurant and culinary operations, ensuring the highest level of quality and consistency as it relates to food preparation and presentation. With nearly 17 years of experience, Holder has an extensive background in culinary at Ritz-Carlton properties.
Before joining The Ballantyne, Holder served as Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester. In this role, he significantly increased employee engagement and food quality while driving food and beverage operational revenues. Before that, Holder worked as Executive Sous Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Avon, Colorado.
Holder also held the positions of Executive Sous Chef and Sous Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain at Kingdom of Bahrain. He began his career at The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort in Rose Hall, Jamaica.
Originally from Jamaica, Holder earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from the University of Phoenix.
Chef de Cuisine
Matt Tilman oversees the daily culinary operations of Gallery Restaurant, as well as all à la carte food service operations throughout The Ballantyne. With more than 11 years of working in some of the most popular restaurants in Charlotte, Tilman brings a wealth of expertise and new inspiration to the role.
Most recently, Tilman served as sous chef. Prior to joining Gallery, he held sous chef positions at Global Restaurant and e2 Emeril’s Eatery. Tilman also worked at Myers Country Club.
Tilman earned a degree in food service management at Johnson & Wales University. He is an Eagle Scout and has received several awards from the American Culinary Federation.
Alice Danter is responsible for planning and directing food preparation in the kitchen, including quality control, consistency and driving efforts to exceed guest expectations.
Before joining Gallery, Danter worked in food and beverage in Tennessee. Most recently, she was sous chef at Babalu Tacos & Tapas in Knoxville. Danter also served as a line cook at Blackberry Farm in Walland and Interim Restaurant in Memphis.
Danter received a degree in culinary arts at L’École Culinaire – Memphis.
Executive Pastry Chef, The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge
With more than 13 years of global culinary experience, Chef Ben Kallenbach brings an extensive culinary skillset and fresh talent to the role of executive pastry chef at The Ballantyne. He oversees the hotel’s pastry team and creation of all desserts, including the dessert menus and artisan breads served at Gallery Restaurant.
Prior to joining The Ballantyne, Chef Ben spent many years with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Most recently, he was executive pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. In this role, Chef Ben was responsible for managing all pastry operations for five restaurants, in room dining and extensive banquet service and served on The Ritz-Carlton’s regional advisory board in the Caribbean and Latin America.
In addition, Chef Ben served as assistant pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. He also worked in pastry at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation in Georgia.
Earlier in his career, Chef Ben was lead pastry chef at The Renaissance Grand Hotel & Suites, a 1,000-room hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. He began his career at the prestigious Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, during the time it was Travel & Leisure’s number one hotel in North America.
Originally from Fulton, Illinois, Chef Ben took an unusual approach to a career in culinary arts, with a brief stint studying aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. While attending Kendall College in Chicago, Illinois, he discovered his passion for pastry and bakery arts. Throughout his career, Chef Ben has studied with some of the world’s best pastry chefs, taking classes with the likes of Stephane Glacier, MOF, Jean-Francois Arnaud, MOF and Jean Marie Auboine. He has also attended courses in sugar work in Thailand and making chocolate in Switzerland.
Pastry Sous Chef, The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge
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.
Restaurant Manager, Gallery Restaurant
With more than 12 years of food and beverage at renowned luxury properties, Stephen Toth oversees the daily operations of Gallery Restaurant.
Toth works to ensure the highest level of quality, consistency and guest satisfaction and is currently the creative mind behind the successful Whiskey Club of Ballantyne.
Prior to joining Gallery Restaurant, Toth worked as senior food and beverage manager at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, overseeing the resort’s beverage program. He also served as food and beverage manager at The Lodge at Sea Island, recognized by Travel + Leisure and U.S. News & World Report as the number one hotel in the continental United States. His responsibilities included working in a stagiaire capacity at the prestigious Georgian Room, one of Zagat’s top 40 restaurants in North America.
Before that, Toth was an intricate part of The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte’s food and beverage growth and helped develop the property’s Lobby Lounge, Holiday Tea, Urban Sip (Punch Room) and Bar Cocoa concepts. Toth also partnered with BLT Steakhouse to expand its in-room dining operation’s dinner service.
Earlier in his career, Toth worked at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Charlotte. A Charlotte native, Toth earned a bachelor’s degree in food service management from Johnson and Wales University. Toth resides in Charlotte where he hopes to start a family in the near future.