Tamarack recently announced new positions for several of its team members, including “J” Jason Underwood, Mandy Lester and Norma Acord.

Underwood, also known as "Chef J," has been named executive chef at Tamarack.

Chef J, who is originally from Beckley, studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in South Carolina, the release said. Following graduation, Chef J worked to learn more and experience different cultures in the culinary arena, from working under James Beard award-winning chef Chris Brandt in South Carolina to being a fishmonger in Oregon.

A few years ago, Chef J decided to get back to his roots and return to Beckley to enjoy family time. He began working at Tamarack as a cook in 2018, and when the executive chef position became available, it was a natural fit.

“Promoting within our organization and growing our team is important to Tamarack so we can keep West Virginians here and work," executive director Tammy Coffman said in the release.

“It was time for me to come back to West Virginia," Chef J said. "I grew up in the area and it was one of my favorite places. My family has been coming to Tamarack since the day it opened. I have a strong passion for creating Appalachian foods and trying new recipes. I’m excited to be back home in West Virginia and at Tamarack.” 

Tamarack also announced Mandy Lester as its new artisan and gallery manager.

Lester, a five-year team member, began her career at Tamarack working part-time to help with expenses while putting herself through college at Concord University. She graduated with a degree in studio art in 2015.

After graduation, her passion to work at Tamarack continued and her role changed as she began working in the gallery. 

After working as a gallery assistant, Lester moved into a full-time position as artisan services coordinator, where she continued to grow and learn the business of engaging with West Virginia artists, learning the ropes of the jurying process, sessions, building new relationships with up and coming artists and the ever-changing landscape of art.

Now, the release said Lester will lead and organize her team to bring the Best of West Virginia to Tamarack’s gallery and will continue spearheading artisan services.

“I am very proud of Mandy for her hard work, perseverance, and dedication to see Tamarack at top of its game for the artisan community and visitors to Tamarack,” Coffman said.

Lester said, “Tamarack is what keeps me here in West Virginia and I plan on staying!” 

Tamarack’s theater component will now be under the guidance of Norma Acord, marketing and events director. 

“Norma is a seasoned and talented team member of Tamarack and will have her finger on the pulse to develop programs for the theater thinking outside the box for performances, speakers, camps and more,” Coffman said. 

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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