About Our Culinary Team
EXECUTIVE CHEF DANE WILFONG
Born and raised on the water outside of Baltimore City, Dane Wilfong found his calling to cuisine at a very young age after landing a job at a seafood restaurant in his hometown. This first experience was somewhat of a “trial by fire” in which Dane found himself rapidly moving up the ranks until he was ultimately running the kitchen within a few short months. From here he dove into his studies of the culinary arts and hospitality management at various institutions.
Over the course of his education Dane pursued opportunities in the catering space, which presented a fresh outlook on breaking the boundaries of food and ambiance. Armed with this new knowledge, he was inspired to share his new outlook and jumped back into the restaurant scene.
This led to an Executive Chef position at Cafe Troia where he took the reigns with fresh pasta dishes and gained a true appreciation for the love of ingredients. It was here that he focused on developing his understanding of wine, spirits and food pairings. Next up came a handful of valuable learning experiences through numerous consulting jobs where he honed in and introduced new skills such as mixology, farming, foraging, rooftop gardens, in-house butchery and charcuterie making and farm-to-table catering. Needless to say, Dane is the epitome of a well-rounded chef who is driven to explore the unknown.
His passion for food is shared with that of the environment in which he draws constant inspiration. He marks beautiful moments in nature within his mind in order to dazzle you with pops of color and that “wow” factor in his dishes. He loves nothing more than walking into a room and seeing smiles, hearing laughter and observing guests enjoying his culinary creations.
His vision for The Pines is to bring something new to the Rehoboth Beach community. There will be fire, there will be color, there will be salt and there will be seafood but with new modern twists and a style all their own.
EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF JONATHAN WILLIS
When it comes to the culinary arts, Jonny was hooked at a young age. From experimenting in his own kitchen to taking classes in high school and then onto competitions, his passion for food was the driving force in shaping his career. Growing up and living in Delaware Jonny has been immersed in the restaurant space since the early age of fifteen. To say he has acquired invaluable on-the-job training would be putting it lightly. He has worked with and learned from talented chefs at a some of the busiest restaurants in Wilmington.
Beginning his career as a line cook, Jonny’s hard work and dedication have led to his new role at The Pines as Executive Sous Chef. Additionally, as a participant in Prostart, a culinary educational program, he was awarded the 2014 Delaware Restaurant Management competition winner.
When he isn’t in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time practicing martial arts, which has taught him about hard work and results. He brings this philosophy into his work life along with the personal belief, “work hard, play hard and enjoy every second”.
As a chef, Jonny strives to grow and evolve in the kitchen, to be a trend-setter and set new standards. He is constantly driven by his goal of delivering the best possible dining experience, while maintaining quality and creativity in his dishes. He has a notion that food takes a journey originating from land, sea or garden all the way onto the plate, every journey tells a story. Whether it be smoked, sautéed, grilled or braised, he especially loves the challenge of cooking proteins to perfection.
Jonny brings personality and enthusiasm to The Pines, where he plans to roll up his sleeves and turn on the creative juices. His desire in joining the culinary team is to help raise the bar and to give Rehoboth Beach something they have not yet seen.
CHEF de PARTIE RYAN WALTZ
“If you do things the right way, with the right people, everything else will fall into place”. This is the ideology that Ryan Waltz lives by. Growing up on the east coast, Ryan moved around a bit before settling into the Maryland, Delaware coastal area. When it came to his career, it was no surprise that he found his way into the culinary arts after many memorable nights cooking with his mother. Simultaneously, spending endless hours on his Grandfather’s farm and in his Grandmother’s garden only further cultivated his interest in food. Coincidently, this is also where he discovered his love for fishing after pulling crawfish after crawfish out of the farm’s creek. To this day, all he needs is a line in the water, the peaceful lure of the sea and the occasional glass of fine bourbon.
Ryan entered the restaurant world as a fry cook in his early 20’s and was lucky enough to be mentored by some of the area’s best chefs. He dedicated himself to studying these chefs and their techniques, all while soaking up every bit of his “on the job” training. Before long, he was working his way up the career ladder and brings invaluable knowledge and experience to his new role as The Pines Chef de Partie.
He believes that food is one of the best ways to connect with people. Being able to create something from scratch with your hands and sharing it with others is a driving force behind every dish. Food not only brings family and friends together, but it has the ability to unite strangers as well. For Ryan, family is everything and he is most excited about the genuine kinship of the growing Pines family.
Creating a welcoming environment, coupled with serving consistently great food is his top priority. Ryan enjoys the simple things in life food, family and great friends. Knowing that he plays a role in bringing joy and happiness to others is ultimately what feeds his passion for thoughtful cooking.