While getting well mentally, physically, and spiritually, having access to a healthy, balanced diet is crucial. Eating right and practicing good nutrition keeps the body strong and acts as a mood booster. Having a positive attitude paired with a healthy physique is ideal for undergoing drug addiction treatment. At Red Oak Recovery, our Culinary Team works hard to keep you feeling great throughout your stay.
Tom grew up in eastern North Carolina and after high school joined the Air Force and worked for UPS not really knowing what life had in store for him. Eventually, he found his love for food through a good friend and never looked back. Tom moved to Asheville to attend the culinary program at AB Tech.
While in school, he formed a concept with a good friend and opened Burgermeisters in downtown Asheville just as Asheville’s downtown revival was getting started. Before long Burgermeisters was a hit. It was a simple concept but far from basic. After 4 years he started a sell his veggie burgers to mainstream grocery stores and food companies. Long before “local,” “organic,” and “artisanal” were cool buzzwords, Tom and Burgermeisters were all of those things. Tom eventually moved his accidentally hip, cult classic restaurant to (soon to be) up and coming West Asheville. For more than12 years Burgermeisters and Tom were a part of the fabric of the West Asheville community. Equal parts dive and family hangout it was a special spot that captured the zeitgeist of Tom’s love of being a cook (Tom deplores the title chef!), which is bringing people the simple joy of a really good meal. Looking to make self-care a priority, Tom sold the restaurant and took a much needed break to evaluate his and his family’s life.
With a little rest and his family’s love, he found a renewed passion for what he loved. Tom’s position at Red Oak Recovery has brought his culinary experience and softer, gentler nature full circle allowing him to do what he truly loves but with a different sense of purpose. A man of few words, Tom still cares for people through food… but now nurtures them by feeding them as well. He takes his position at Red Oak very seriously and his personal mission is to always be a moment of joy and comfort during what is a brave and challenging journey. He loves working with his co-chefs to create menus of globally inspired comfort foods. He offers equal attention to detail to all dietary restrictions.
While not working, Tom has his hands full with a house full of girls. There is never a dull moment as his wife and two teenage daughters keep him busy with sports, school events, and feelings. Tom volunteers as the Concessions Manager for the Asheville High School boosters, a non- profit that raises money to keep sports participation free for AHS students.
Born in Boulder, Colorado and growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, Joel S. O’Brien has been lucky enough to travel abroad and within the United States to experience a range of personalities and cuisines. He loves connecting deeply rooted traditional cooking techniques across all cultures to the clientele and workers at Red Oak to create a beautiful and nourishing table. As a chef with training in fine dining, Southern, and East Asian cuisine, Joel always strives to not only feed others well, but to challenge himself and continue learning. He lives on a farm in Burnsville with his dearly loved wife Ann, a public-school teacher, his precious stepdaughter Audrey, and sundry farm birds, sheep, a dog and a few cats.
Originally from the beaches of Pinellas County, FL and having spent his high school years in the Coastal Carolina town of Currituck, NC, travel and exploration have always played an important role in Sean’s life. Just in the last two years, Sean and his partner Marley have traveled and worked out of a tow behind tiny-home camper in Oregon and Washington as Expedition Leaders. This role involved camping excursions for adolescents all throughout the Pacific Northwest, in California, and in New York in the Finger Lakes Region.
Sean has called the mountains of North Carolina home for the past ten years. As an alumni of both Western Carolina University’s Film & Television Production Undergrad Program, and Southwestern Community College’s Outdoor Education Associates Program, he has held positions in the region ranging from Photographer for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, NC to Expedition Leader for Green River Preserve in Cedar Mountain, NC.
Peppered in between his passions for media and the outdoors is where he has spent time on his third passion: working with food. The entities he has worked for necessitated catering to special dietary needs such as various allergies and intolerances, locally sourcing food as much as possible, and being mindful of alternative diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and kosher cooking. Sean also derives a lot of inspiration from all his time spent cooking with groups over campfires and portable burners in the backwoods. To him this means doing a lot with a little and finding ways to put love and care into even the most simple of meals.
Living in Asheville now, Sean and Marley like to spend any free time they can cooking new and exciting meals together, backpacking, biking, paddling, snow sports, or just going out for a leisurely day hike with their puppy Wyatt.