Chef’s Bio

J. Russell Bradshaw C.E.C. (Certified Executive Chef) has been with Sun Mountain Lodge as Executive Chef since October of 2008. Since joining the staff, Chef Russell’s varied experiences and love of his craft have been evident in all aspects of the resorts food operations.


ChefStarting Out as a line cook at age 13 in his hometown
of Stratford, Connecticut, Bradshaw realized his career path would be in the culinary arts. After working for Ernie Spada, Stratford’s most successful restaurateur, Bradshaw was off to The Culinary Institute of America where he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. This early start allowed Bradshaw the opportunity to work with great chefs in top establishments from Washington D.C. to California. This included studying under John Novi, considered “The Father of New American Cooking” at the five star DuPois Canal House in New York, Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, and the Mobile Five Star New Orleans Hilton Riverside
and Towers.

Bradshaw also spent 6 years with the Hyatt Hotel Corporation before going on to be executive chef for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. His career then led him
to the position of Eastern Regional Chef for Louis’s Trattoria Corporation, where he studied with Italian Master Chef Giano Franco Viassani, Mauro Vincenti and Antoni Palmisani at the Rex Li Restaurante in Los Angeles. Having acquired a predilection for southwestern flavors, Bradshaw found himself at the Crown Plaza Pyramid in Albuquerque, NM to continue his studies in indigenous fare.  Chef Bradshaw then went on to The Resort at Longboat Key, a 4 star, 4 diamond resort off the coast of Sarasota Florida were he was in charge of
7 kitchens and in excess of 50 staff.

While working throughout the United States, Bradshaw also made it a priority to study the foods of the world. He visited China towns from New York to San Francisco, frequented ethnic eateries, and worked part time in Chinese and Japanese restaurants. Bradshaw exposed himself to cooks from Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, India and Africa to name a few. “I would always pick their brains,” says Bradshaw, “have them help me with the daily specials, ask them what their mom used to cook, then research, read and experiment. I just wanted their knowledge and they were always happy to share it. This is where I established my philosophy that we are all teachers and we are all students.”

With a passion for turning cooks into chefs, one of his first projects at Sun Mountain Lodge was to initiate an apprenticeship program modeled after the Culinary Institute of America. “Culinary students study in three year blocks of time,” explained Bradshaw. “We will be aggressive in our commitment to the apprentice to train them in the areas they’ll need to be successful in the culinary world. With the excellent ice carving, pastillage, classical kitchen and cutting edge world cuisine offered at Sun Mountain along with full bake shop, students will receive the hands-on experience needed to be successful in this field.”