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

Maria Kopsidas

Maria Kopsidas is the creator and owner 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

Mafhy Diamaano

Dulles Town Center’s Store Manager, and Cookology’s Children’s Event’s Coordinator Mafelida Diamaano joined the Cookology team in 2017 and has been absolutely vital to us since! This is her first venture into the culinary world, but before us she worked in high end retailers such as Burberry and Giorgio Armani and was a corporate flight attendant for a private charter company for ten years.

When Mafhy isn’t in the store organizing our day-to-day operations, she has a son named Liam who she spends all of her time outside of work with going back and forth from New York City visiting her family and friends.

Call her at the store to schedule your next children’s birthday party at Cookology!

 

David Hammerly

Born and raised in Arlington, VA,  David A Hammerly is a true local and has a passion for the history and culture of our community.
Starting out as a bartender at the Adams Morgan early 90s hotspot Bradshaws, David then landed every 20-something’s rock n roll dream job: joining the staff at the renowned 9:30 Club. In his 20+ years at the 9:30 Club, David wore many hats: security, bartender, and bar-manager. In 2000, to satisfy his interest in the world of cigars, he added a part-time gig to his schedule, working at the esteemed W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist in D.C. He eventually combined his love of mixology and cigars and accepted a role as the Bar Manager at Civil Cigar Loungein Friendship Heights. After 5 successful years at Civil, David could not refuse the opportunity to rejoin his beloved 9:30 Club family, and became part of the management team that opened DC’s best live music venue, The Anthem. David brings his vast experience in the restaurant/bar industry – including a management role at Sofitel Hotels – his knowledge of fine spirits, as well as a love for the city’s unique history to Cookology as the Operations Director. When not at work, Hammerly explores a more creative side as the lead singer of the band King Giant.

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].

Paul Miller

Paul Miller, Cookology’s Food & Beverage Manager has 16 years of experience in the specialty foods industry from commercial grocery stores to a specialty food broker. His experience includes work with Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Red White & Blue, and many more!

Paul is our resident “Cheesehead” and has a vast and extensive knowledge on everything cheesy! He has hands-on experience in making fresh and aged cheese that he mastered from Three Shepherds Farm under the direction of Dr. Larry Faillace. This, combined with his previous knowledge about cheese brought together his passion to teach people about its complexities and characteristics while sending his message that, “Cheese is not just for crackers anymore.”

Sarah Donaghue

Project Manager, Sarah Donaghue started with Cookology in 2018 as an associate and has been having a blast at Cookology ever since!

Sarah is currently our project manager, assisting owner, director of operations and store manager with day-to-day operations, and there’s never a dull moment! In her free time she likes to hang out with her dog, and travel! 

Catch her out and about at the Loudoun County and Arlington Chambers of Commerce during the week and don’t be afraid to say hello!

Chef Jenna Dawson

Executive Chef, Jenna Dawson has been with Cookology since 2016 and has been our energetic rock since! If you ever take a class with her, get ready for high energy and lots of laughs! Jenna is a free spirit with a love for teaching guests how to cook.

She got her start at Johnson and Wales and earned an Associates in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors in Hospitality & Food Service Management with a concentration in Spirits and Mixology. After working internships in South Carolina, Jenna found Cookology and decided to drive through the night for her interview in the morning and has been a dedicated employee ever since!

Fun things about her: She love Tex-mex Foods and Margaritas. Her favorite food to teach is Fresh Pasta and other Italian Classics. She never leaves home without her “U” Shaped Peeler. Her favorite kitchen tool is the micro plane. Her favorite recipes are cheesecake, French Macarons, and her specialty, Mini Cinnamon Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream!

Chef Christina Yanez

Chef Christina Yanez has an Associates Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Art Institute of Washington and is a Certified Pastry Chef. She started off in Culinary Arts, but has always had the dream of owning her own bakery, so switching to Baking and Pastry made the most sense!

Christina has worked in Masseria, a Michelin Star restaurant in DC, several restaurant groups such as Chef Geoffs and SRG Restaurant Group, as well as a fine-dining catering company in DC. Her favorite things to prepare are tarts that she makes from scratch, various types of breads, and anything involving chocolate!

Chef Kristen Desmond

In 2008, Chef Kristen turned in her top-secret clearance and management consulting job to indulge her passion for healthy cooking. Trained at New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute, Kristen specializes in cooking and baking with whole, natural ingredients. As a cook, she has worked in a spa kitchen, a restaurant kitchen, a catering kitchen, and a gourmet market. For over 6 years, Kristen owned and operated her own food business featuring healthy California cuisine, Flagstone Pantry, located at Santa Barbara Public Market.
Fun things about her: she’s an eight-time marathon finisher, she loves to bake pies, and she volunteers at an urban farm in Washington, DC. In 2018, Kristen was featured on Cooking Channel’s Cheap Eats: Santa Barbara for her Cowboy Cookie. Kristen is always developing new recipes and has written guides and articles on a range of topics including buying cookware, setting and keeping fitness goals, and grilling the perfect steak.

Chef Ed Hardy

Chef Ed Hardy brings his extensive restaurant experience in some of America’s best kitchens to Cookology! Chef Ed has worked for Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelsson, as well as the acclaimed restaurants Red Rooster (NY Times Two-Star rated), Aquavit NYC (NY Times Three-Star rated), and American Table.

You may recognize Ed from his appearances on the Food Network (most recently on Beat Bobby Flay), his Top 50 selection by Northern Virginia Magazine for his work at Bistro Vivant, or by his Maryland’s Best New Restaurant award for his menu at Quench!

Ed specializes in Southern Fusion cuisine and has self-proclaimed “complicated opinions” about curing, smoking, and hamburger construction. In his spare time, he builds Lego creations with his son Jacques, and still finds time to play the trombone!

Chef John Koltisko

Chef John is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Class of 1989, where he was the recipient of the Scheifflin Wine Award.

He was the owner of “The Grand Champion Grill” Restaurant in Greenfield, WI for 12 years. He also owns The Koltisko Bros. Sausage Company, and the “60 Second Gourmet” Seasoning Company with products placed in multiple grocery stores and specialty shops.

He was a member of the 3 man US Culinary team that cooked for Lucianno Pavrotti, a member of the 8-man team catering to the Duke and Duchesse of Dillion (Proprietors of Chateaux Haut Brion [Premier Grand Cru]). A member of the 6-chef team catering to King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan.

John has personally catered the Situation Room at the White House multiple times, and has also personally catered for the NRO. He has also cooked for every member of the 99th and 100th congresses, including spouses and families.

Chef Olivia Dennai

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 Greg Himelright

I’ve worked in food service and the hospitality industry for over twenty years. I have extensive experience in training and development in both areas. In addition to being an industry chef, I have done considerable work as a private chef and caterer. I am 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 Keshaun Winston

While attending Calvin Coolidge Senior High School, Chef Keshaun’s home economics teacher discovered that he had not only an interest in cooking, but also for the kitchen at a young age. Chef Keshaun never attended Culinary school, and instead, started his journey in the culinary industry at the age of 18 as a self-taught chef.

After being homeless for two years, he landed his first position at the Four Seasons Hotel as a dishwasher where he rapidly fell in love with the pace and atmosphere of the restaurant’s underbelly: The Kitchen. This intense desire to cook allowed him to gradually rise in responsibilities from dishwasher to prep cook, line cook, and then ultimately, Executive Chef. After many years of working in several different restaurants (Andrews Air Force Base, The Queen Vic, and Bohemian Cavern, to name a few), Chef K.Winston decided that it was time to step out on faith and follow his true passion.

In 2012, Chef Keshaun decided to start his own catering company K.Winston’s Catering. In doing so, he was rewarded several opportunities to cater for various celebrities, to include President Barack Obama, Mayor Marion Barry and Russ Parr of the Russ Parr Morning Show. In addition, Chef K.Winston has been able to share his talent and passion by catering wedding receptions, cooking for the homeless, and youth volunteer events, while focusing on remaining true to his motto: “Everybody’s Gotta Eat!”