Our Culinary Team
Executive Chef Samantha DeChristopher
Raised in Philadelphia, Chef Samantha grew up immersed in food, cooking, and spending time in the mountains. She was born into a family of stonemasons with deep Italian roots. If Samantha wasn’t at her grandmother’s hip in the kitchen helping her cook, she was rambling around outside in her grandmother’s garden. This is where her passion for cooking started — it came from her grandmother, her family, her roots, and her family’s garden.
Samantha attended the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, where she grew her passion for agriculture and using sustainable, local, and organic produce. Her time was spent going to school, cooking in kitchens, foraging, mushroom hunting, and working at local farms. She then moved to New York City and worked at Michelin-starred restaurants before moving on to posts in New Orleans and then to the San Juan Islands, which she now calls home.
Samantha has now been on the island for more than seven years, farming, cooking, and creating deep ties with the local farmers that she showcases in her dishes. Her own background shines through in her creative menus and execution of dishes. Simple beauty is her way of cooking and living.
Sous Chef Robert Lilly
Coho Restaurant supports the San Juan Islands local farm community by participating in the Island’s Certified Local Program. Coho Restaurant’s award-winning wine cellar features wines culled from the great producers of Washington, Oregon, and California along with a fine selection of international wines, all paired to complement the food.
Pastry Chef Jessica Bryan
Chef Jessica’s first culinary-related job came when she was 18, cooking out of a little chuckwagon and over an open fire for a northern Idaho summer camp’s horsemanship program. While attending university in the newly emerging wine country of the Walla Walla valley, she worked at a local bakery and café where she continued to learn new techniques and tips. When she was unable to get a job in her planned career field after graduation, she fell back on the food service industry as a way to pay the bills. But eventually it dawned on her that the culinary world could be her career!
She attended a two-year vegetarian and vegan culinary arts program for some “official” training and went on to positions that included managing a large family retreat center kitchen where she oversaw the production of food for up to 400 people per meal, heading up a private catering team, and serving for several summers as a line cook or “pantry” cook at various San Juan Island restaurants.
In her down time, she has traveled to 11 different countries. Three of her trips involved doing mission work and one was to spend a year in Italy going to school. Locally, she enjoys hiking, beach-combing, and enjoying the beautiful nature of the great PNW. In the evenings, she snuggles up with her cat, Wesley, and escapes into the pages of a good novel.