|The Principles of Lush Life Group LLC is the following:
Todd L. Richards
CEO… Corporate Executive Chef, Director of Food & Beverage Management
CFO… Executive Chef, Director of Kitchen Management, Corporate Purchasing Agent
Secretary… Director of Wine & Spirits Management, Corporate Service Standard Trainer, Public
As a child, Todd Richards’ first experience in fine dining at a premiere steakhouse in Chicago set the
stage for his commitment to creating culinary works of art. His memory of being served prime rib from
a polished silver, carving cart made such a deep impression that he knew right then what he wanted to
do with his life. That experience, along with helping his father cook family meals, gave Richards the
foundation for exploring a career in creating food for others to enjoy.
Richards comes to the Seelbach Hilton after serving as chef de cuisine at the Ritz Carlton in Palm
Beach, Fla., in 2003. Prior to that, he was sous chef for the company’s property in Atlanta. In addition,
he has also served as a culinary instructor for Atlanta Area Technical College, chef de cuisine at Spice
Restaurant, Villa Christina and Blue Ribbon Grill in Atlanta. In addition, he brings culinary experience
from the Four Seasons Hotel, also in Atlanta.
Along with learning from his father, Richards fine-tuned his talents in the kitchen under the direction of
Chef Darryl E. Evans of whom he studied under for seven years. From Evans, Richards learned the skill
of transforming food into works of art, which he takes seriously with each plate that leaves the
kitchen. “I look at each plate as a canvas to express myself to the guest. It is very important to me that
each guest knows that there is time and thought put in to every plate,” he says.
Richards’ commitment to using naturally raised or grown ingredients is the cornerstone of his culinary
philosophy. He strives to create the perfect flavor balance in all of his meals, following the idea that
each flavor of each ingredient must compliment each other. As Executive Chef of the hotel, Richards
treats each meal as an exquisite example of his talents and ambitions, reflecting both beauty in
presentation and taste.
Richards, along with Duane Nutter, filmed an episode of Iron Chef America, yet to be shown. He is also
a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and was featured prominently in the Who's Who in Black
Louisville Awards. Chef Richards was proud to have been invited to cook at the James Beard House, of
which he is a member of the Foundation.
Duane Nutter is Chef de Cuisine at The Oakroom in Louisville, Kentucky, one of only 48 AAA Five-
Diamond restaurants in the world. Nutter came to the Seelbach Hilton’s Oakroom in early 2004 as
part of a dynamic culinary duo with Executive Chef Todd Richards. Together, their contemporary take
on traditional dishes is generating stellar reviews from food critics and patrons alike.
Nutter gets a big kick out of surprising The Oakroom’s guests with his complex interpretations of
seemingly simple dishes. For example, Nutter’s Fish and Chips is a piece of walleye pike (the fish),
wrapped in potato (the chips), and drizzled with pistachio aioli and fennel. He relishes watching
diners for looks of amazement and delight as they devour a new twist on an old standby.
Duane Nutter knows how to please an audience in more ways than one. In addition to cooking, his
other passion is comedy. For more than a decade he has pursued a combination of both. After a
successful stint at the Four Seasons in Atlanta, Nutter hit the comedy circuit in Atlanta and became
“The Mad Chef.” He was a semi-finalist in Comedy Central’s Laugh Riots competition and served as
the National Peanut Ambassador in 2001. While appearing before large groups around the country, he
demonstrated new concoctions featuring peanuts while telling funny jokes. These days Nutter limits
his comedy exploits to an occasional comedy club appearance. His top priority is food.
Nutter and Richards first cultivated their chemistry in the kitchen of the Four Seasons in Atlanta,
serving under legendary Executive Chef Daryl Evans, the first African American on the U.S. Culinary
Olympics Team. They reunited at the 5-Diamond Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach where Nutter was
Richards’ boss. No matter who is in charge, they remain great friends.
In late 2006, Nutter and Richards were chosen to appear on the Food Network’s Iron Chef. In 2007
they were also invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, where Duane is
a member of the Foundation.
Jerry Slater’s passion for the culinary world sparked when he was a college student at Indiana’s
Purdue University. A job as a server at Chicago’s Five-Star Cottage Café inspired him to seek an
apprenticeship at Giovanni’s, an upscale Italian restaurant in Munster, Indiana. The back-of-the-house
experience Slater gained at Giovanni’s as a prep cook and pastry chef were invaluable as he launched
While finishing his undergraduate studies in English Literature and Philosophy at Purdue, Slater
worked at Gary, Indiana’s Four-Star, Four-Diamond Miller Bakery Café and later accepted a position
as general manager.
Next Slater joined Chicago’s world renowned Charlie Trotters, with its -Five-Star, Five-Diamond
ratings and numerous Relais & Chateau-awards. After seasoning his culinary and management skills
further, Slater received an offer to serve as the maitre d’ at another historic Five-Diamond restaurant,
The Oakroom, at the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville, Kentucky. He left briefly to develop a new
restaurant concept with nationally- known Louisville Chef Anoosh Shariat.
In early 2006, when Todd Richards was promoted to Executive Chef of The Oakroom, Slater was
recruited back to the Seelbach to serve in the expanded role of Director of Restaurants. With his
passion for excellence and knowledge of food and spirits, Slater works with Chef Richards to bring The
Oakroom to new culinary heights.
Slater has completed the First Level test for the Court of Master Sommeliers. He also writes the
spirits column for Louisville’s Food and Dining magazine. Jerry Slater has served as a board member
of the Louisville chapter of The American Institute of Wine and Food and is a member of the Southern
Foodways Alliance. He has made three trips to the James Beard House, of which he is a member, the
last time featured as mixologist to Todd Richards and Duane Nutter's reinvention of classic comfort
In his free time, Slater enjoys cooking and shaking up cocktails. He still loves literature and is often
spotted at local music venues.