Meet the people you’ll be seeing at your next class, birthday party, or team building event!

Maria Kopsidas

Maria Kopsidas is the creator, owner and Chief Operating Officer of Cookology.  Prior to opening the gate to Cookology, Maria spent fifteen years leading marketing and communications campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, restaurants, and charities including Discovery Channel International as publicist for India and Australia; Grocery Manufacturers Association, the largest and oldest food manufacturer association in the country, as manager of online communications; director of communications for an Electronic Data Discovery firm, and prior to opening Cookology, she was a sought-after marketing consultant with McKinley Marketing Partners.

Growing up in a Mediterranean family with philanthropists, cooks, cookbook authors, health experts and professional chefs on both sides, including a pastry chef in the White House, the idea of a super accessible, affordable cooking school was her dream. Starting in 2003, Maria took her marketing experience and love of cooking, food, health, and people and created Cookology. Finally, after six years of chasing her dream, working on her marketing career while raising a child, she secured an SBA loan, negotiated a lease, oversaw construction buildout, hired her staff, and opened the doors in February 2009.

Feel free to email Maria or visit her LinkedIn

Kori Williams

VP of Operations

Kori Williams, a graduate of Hampton University, was hired as an independent consultant for public relations in 2015. She created our trade show programming and expanded our reach in multiple publications over the years including the Washington Business Journal, City Paper, and Washington Post.  Kori is a seasoned professional and her can-do-anything-watch-me attitude is exactly what this small business needs on a daily basis.  In 2017, Kori left to focus on her growing family and rejoined Cookology in 2019, working on PR as well managing front of house employees, hiring and talking the owner down from a cliff.

Kori is currently VP of Operations, and is ultimately that incredibly important ingredient to any recipe, the stabilizer. If you would like to reach out to Kori, please email her at [email protected]

Chef Olivia Dennis

Manager, Children’s Programming

Chef Olivia Dennis started her technical training at Dr Henry A. Wise Jr. High school where she was awarded Master Chef in her senior graduating class. She spent her collegiate career at Johnson & Wales University and was able to be a part of a pilot program that has changed the culinary curriculum for all future Wildcats.

Since then Chef Olivia Dennis has had the pleasure of working throughout the DMV area at various restaurants as well as schools serving her community one plate at a time. In her spare time Chef Olivia loves being a mom to her beautiful son and hopes to bring her love for cooking and family to you!

Chef Olivia has been with Cookology since 2019 at Ballston Quarter. She is currently manager of Children’s Programming. She can be reached at [email protected]

Chef Nicole Matthews

Chef Instructor for Cookology & MCAI

Chef Nicole Matthews spent 7 years at the only Michelin three star restaurant in the Washington Metro area, The Inn at Little Washington.

Chef Nicole also was a chef instructor or Washington Middle School for Girls in Anacostia, and spent seven years as a school counselor in Palm River Elementary in Tampa, FL.

Chef Nicole holds a Masters of Science degree and a Associates in Culinary Arts from the International Culinary School in Tampa, FL.

Chef Greg Himelright

Manager, Class Programming

Chef Greg has worked in food service and the hospitality industry for over twenty years. He has extensive experience in training and development in both

areas. In addition to being an industry chef, Chef Greg has done considerable work as a private chef and caterer.  He is a Johnson & Wales university Graduate.
“My love of cooking started at my mother’s side at the tender age of 4, when I burned my first grill cheese sandwich. I truly enjoy many cuisines, my preferences, however, are French provincial and Good ole’ southern cooking. My cooking style is simple cooking, utilizing contemporary ingredients, methods, and an organic presentation.” Chef Greg has been with Cookology since 2019, and taught virtual classes during the pandemic. His current position is head of class programming. If you have any questions for Chef Greg, please email him at [email protected]

Chef Mark Chang

General Manager – Ballston Quarter & Dulles Town Center.

Chef Mark Chang joined Cookology in 2011. He has become the General Manager for both locations at Ballston Quarter and Dulles Town Center taking on the deployment of chefs and floor manager operations. He runs a tight ship.

Chef Mark teaches amazing master chef classes on everything from asian fusion to beef wellington to kid’s birthdays.

Mark Chang worked at several restaurants in California before returning to his native Virginia. He is graduate of the Arts Institute, and is obsessed with food. He recently worked as operations manager at Streets Market. 

Chef Mark is known for his thorough teaching and pleasant demeanor. If you want to email him, please contact him at [email protected]

Chef Javier Loayza

Manager, Catering Operations

Chef Javier was born in Spain and raised in Peru. He studied culinary arts in Peru, a country with a rich food culture spanning multiple countries and ethnicities.

He spent 20 years as a chef in the US, the last 12 working for George Mason University, and since 2019 he has been a catering chef and chef instructor for Cookology. He has also been instrumental in creating and operating our in-house catering company.

Chef Javier is known at Cookology for his patience and in-depth knowledge of all things culinary. His tips and tricks will get you cooking like a pro in no time.

Deb Claybrook

Deb Claybrook, Cookology’s Sales Director, has been with Cookology since 2015 and provides the textbook definition of industry experience! Having been in the sales industry since 1980 as an insurance broker in Missouri, Deb brings over 35 years of diverse and applied knowledge to your service! The emphasis of her business practice is highly personalized service to custom tailor your private or corporate team building event!

Trustworthy, personalized business practices while providing exemplary customer service is important in the fast paced world in which we live and that’s the cornerstone of Deb’s business philosophy.

Start planning your next Team Building or Private Event by contacting her at (703) 433-1909 or [email protected].