Culinard in Birmingham - Culinary Arts School Faculty

Program Director


Chef Jared Danks

Chef Jared Danks serves as Program Director for the Culinary Arts and Pastry Arts programs in Birmingham. He is the winner of several national pastry competitions, has appeared on Food TV numerous times and has been featured in pastry arts and design magazines.

In addition to training in France, Austria and Italy, Chef Danks graduated from the Florida Culinary Institute and later apprenticed at the renowned Kings Bakery in Boca Raton. After completing his formal education he worked as a Pastry Chef in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. In 1997 Jared moved to Atlanta to accept the position of Pastry Chef at Riviera under Certified Master Chef Jack Shoop. He then honed his already considerable skills by serving as the Assistant to Master Pastry Chef Chris Northmore at Cherokee Town Club. After two years with Chef Northmore, one of only eleven ACS Certified Master Pastry Chefs in the country, Chef Danks became Executive Pastry Chef at a prestigious private golf club in Atlanta.

Chef Instructors


Chef Matthew Dyer

Chef Matthew Dyer began his career at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT. His love for baking began young, helping his mother bake pies and cakes for Holiday Inn Hotels.

After graduating Culinary School, Chef Dyer stayed at NECI as a Teaching Assistant under Chef Adrian Westrope, a former Pastry Chef for the Queen, where he was responsible for preparing all specialty cakes and wedding cakes for La Brioche Bakery. This is where love of pastry and cakes really took off. Chef Dyer worked as Executive Pastry Chef at Pitcher Inn, a Relais and Chateaux Property, and Bolton Valley Ski Resort, where he was in charge of Bailey's, the fine dining restaurant.

Chef Dyer moved to Alabama to get out of the harsh Northeast Winters. Since moving to Alabama, Chef Dyer has worked at such establishments as danielgeorge, Tria Market, and Icon Restaurant. He also is Personal Chef for some notable figures in the Birmingham area.


Chef Mike Parrish

Originally from Minneapolis, Chef Parrish completed his culinary training at Nine Sixteen Vocational Tech School in 1980. Between 1980 and 1985, Chef Parrish spent his winters in Vail, Colorado working for Vail Associates as Executive Sous Chef and his summers in Cape Cod, displaying his talents at Chillingsworth, a five-star restaurant near Brewster.

In 1987, Chef Parrish moved to Birmingham. Since moving to Birmingham, Chef Parrish has worked as Chef Garde Manger for the Birmingham Race Course and later as Executive Chef of Caps Restaurant before he began his work at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel/BJCC in 1991. In 1996, he was promoted to Executive Sous Chef & Executive Banquet Chef. In this position, Chef Parrish demonstrated not only his creative culinary talent, but also leadership and organizational abilities as he prepared meals for upwards of 5000 people at a time.

Throughout his career, Chef Parrish has prepared meals for political leaders and celebrities such as President Gerald R. Ford, President George H. and George W. Bush (twice in 2002 alone!), Senator Jeff Sessions, Governors Bob Riley and Don Siegelman, Bishop Desmond Tu Tu, opera great Pavarotti, Olympic gold medalist Vonetta Flowers, and the number one golfer in the world, Tiger Woods – just to name a few.

In 2002, Chef Parrish’s talents extended into South America when a caterer for an Alabama mining company operating in Colombia needed a chef to teach their culinarians dishes with a southern flair. Working through an interpreter, Chef Parrish, along with a food committee of local culinarians, created a 30-day rotation of lunch and dinner menus designed to please an Alabamian’s palate. Thanks to Chef Parrish and his culinarian ambassadorship, the influence of Alabama cuisine thrives in Colombia.

His greatest honor came in 2003 when he was chosen as “Chef of the Year” by the Alabama Hotel and Restaurant Association. In his nomination, it was said of Chef Parrish, “As an individual and as a leader, Mike is a very special person…what sets Mike apart from others is his incredible dedication to his staff. His organization skills are exemplary, his discipline, attention to detail and dedication to quality is unparallel.”

In 2007, Chef Parrish was named Executive Chef of the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel/BJCC. He led the culinary team until his promotion to Complex Executive Chef in 2012 with the opening of the 300-room Westin hotel which was added to the Sheraton/ Westin BJCC complex.

Chef Parrish retired at the end of 2013 after 23 years at the Sheraton/Westin BJCC complex. Shortly after his retirement, he was hired as culinary arts instructor at Culinard where he is committed to giving his students the knowledge and training they need to succeed.


Chef Jerome Queyriaux

Born in Gourdon, France and educated at the famed French National Culinary School in Souillac, Chef Queyriaux adds both classical training and European real-world experience to the Culinard faculty. Beginning as a Commis cook at the Grand Hotel in Souillac and at La Coupole, one of Paris’ largest Brasserie, Chef Queyriaux quickly earned the position of Demi Chef de Partie, Chef de Partie and eventually Sous Chef at L’ auberge de Cendrillion, VIP restaurant for Disneyland Paris. After more than a year at this high volume, traditional French cuisine establishment, Chef Queyriaux became the Sous Chef at Colonel Hatis, an Italian restaurant in Paris. This need for diversity in cooking also led Jerome to the Silver Spur Restaurant, where he was the Sous Chef of this high-end Tex-Mex restaurant right in the heart of Paris.

With a wealth of well-rounded experience, Chef Queyriaux left France to go to the Ukraine where he quickly moved from the Sous Chef position at The Studio in Kiev, to Executive Chef and Restaurant Manager. It is at The Studio where Chef Queyriaux’s experience in International cuisine aided him in the execution of The Studio's menu, which boasts French, Italian, American and Russian cuisine. After three years, Chef Queryriax returned to France and worked as the Executive Chef of Au Fil de L’eau, a specialty fish restaurant in Brantome.

In June of 2000, Chef Queryriaux arrived in Birmingham, Alabama and began working as the Executive Chef at Rue de Provence in Mountain Brook. Chef Queyriaux became a full-time member of the Culinard staff in January of 2004, where his knowledge of classical French and International cuisine is shared with both students and fellow faculty members.


Chef Paul Seery

Chef Paul Seery, Certified Executive Chef, graduated from a Culinary Arts Program at Walt Disney World. He also attended the Culinary Institute of America and Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida with a focus in Restaurant Management.

Chef Seery has a diverse background in clubs and hotels. He has worked for Hyatt Regency Hotels as Banquet Manager, and Food and Beverage Manager for Sheraton and Hilton Hotels. For 15 years, Chef Seery worked with Club Corporation of America and holds the 1987 Club of the Year Award for Country Clubs, and 1992 Club of the Year Award for City Clubs, for the South East Region. He recently retired as Executive Chef/Manager for Eurest Corporate Dining Division.

Chef Seery brings over thirty years of highly diversified Hotel, Restaurant, and Country Club experience to Culinard.


Chef Sanath Senanayake

Originally from Sri Lanka, Chef Sanath Senanayake graduated from Ceylon Hotel School (now known as Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management) in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1992. After graduation, Chef Senanayake worked as a Pastry Commis Chef at five-star hotels such as Oberoi and Taj Samudra in Colombo and Baroo Beach Hotel and Riverina Beach Resort in southern Sri Lanka.

In 1995, Chef Senanayake moved to the Middle East and worked as a pastry chef in a variety of five-star chain hotels until 2001. During the period that he worked in Dubai, Sharjah and the Sultanate of Oman, he became the employee of the quarter, and received gold, silver and bronze medals for his pastry creations. Chef Senanayake was an intermediate member of Emirates Culinary Guild in Dubai and participated in making the world’s longest and heaviest cake. The cake was 30 meters long (just under 100 feet) and created to celebrate the Sultanate of Oman Renaissance Day held on July 23, 2000.

In 2001, Chef Senanayake took his talents and experience to the beautiful Virgin Islands. While there, he garnered many medals and best pastry chef awards from the Taste of the Caribbean Competition. He also was a pastry coach, and trained the Islands’ pastry chefs for the competitions.

Chef Senanayake joined New England Culinary Institute as a pastry instructor in the Virgin Islands and Montpelier, Vermont in 2005. He also worked as an executive Pastry Chef at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College from 2007 to 2013.

Chef Senanayake joined the Culinard faculty in October 2013. He brings a wealth of pastry and culinary experience to share with his students.


Chef Jane-Ellen Shumate

Chef Jane-Ellen Shumate discovered a passion for baking after receiving an EasyBake oven one Christmas morning. The kitchen was a good fit for a rambunctious and curious child who loved making people happy.

After a junior year summer abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, Chef Shumate began working at the Vestavia Country Club. After three years working in garde manger and pastry, she enrolled in the pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America and graduated with honors.

While in school, Chef Shumate worked at the Beekman Tavern, the oldest continually operating inn in America. After school, she began baking at the Inn at Perry Cabin, a high-end boutique hotel in St. Michaels, Maryland.

After a few years away from Alabama, the snow got the best of her and Chef Shumate returned to Birmingham. For 20 years, she was the pastry chef at Vestavia Country Club, producing specialty cakes, plated desserts, candies, and breads. Her interests in art and cultures have enriched her passion for pastry and design.

Chef Shumate brings her enthusiasm and creativity to Culinard, where she will help guide students to success in the culinary arts.

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