Skip to main content

Meet the Keeneland Culinary Team

Chef Marc Therrien

Managing Director of Keeneland Hospitality

Chef Marc’s passion lies in utilizing his renowned expertise in the hospitality industry to think outside of the box, crafting custom menus for each couple to create culinary experiences that are uniquely them.

Prior to joining Keeneland Hospitality in 2016, Therrien oversaw food and beverage operations as executive chef at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. There he managed seven outlets and more than 140,000 square feet of banquet and catering space; designed and implemented the popular restaurant Bistro 65; and created the bee-keeping program that provides honey for food and drinks. During Therrien’s tenure, La Costa received its first Silver Certificate for Green Seal, a sustainability certification for hotels and restaurants.

The La Costa also is home to the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, co-founded by noted holistic physician Deepak Chopra. While he was executive sous chef at the resort, Therrien managed the Chopra Center’s culinary programs.

Therrien received a foundation in his profession during the two years he worked at a Massachusetts hotel for Chef Neil Connolly, who was the personal chef for the Kennedy family. After relocating to Southern California, Therrien was executive sous chef and executive chef at the San Diego Del Mar Hilton and for the first time experienced Thoroughbred racing at nearby Del Mar.

Marc Therrien
Lyle James

Chef Lyle P. James

Executive Chef, Keeneland Hospitality

Chef Lyle brings wide-ranging culinary experience to his position as Executive Chef.  Prior to joining the Keeneland family in 2017, he was Executive Chef at the James at the Mill restaurant at the Inn at the Mill in Johnson, Arkansas, a member of the Ascend Collection of Unique, Boutique and Historic Hotels. Chef Lyle earned a degree at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, and received his early training at the Coyote Café & Cantina in Santa Fe, New Mexico and D.C. Coast in Washington, D.C. Before moving to Lexington, he worked as a Personal Chef for a private family in Jacksonville, Florida.

Chef Kartell De’Ray Johnson


Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Chef Kartell developed a love for cooking as a young man by preparing meals for his parents and five younger siblings. He honed his culinary skills through training at Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, followed by 14 years of experience in restaurants and large-scale banquet operations before joining the Keeneland family in 2019. Chef Kartell is passionate about studying cuisines around the world as a way to expand his skillset. He also loves the opportunity to mentor young chefs while at the same time learn new things from his contemporaries. As a chef, he most enjoys the comradery built in the kitchen, “going through the hot and cold temperatures, early days and late nights together and coming out the other side.”