Robert Meitzer, CEC, has been the Executive Chef of Forest Lake Club in Columbia, S.C., since 2020. Before Meitzer’s decades-long culinary career began, he competed in small, locally judged culinary competitions when he was in high school. It was through one competition where Meitzer met a chef who offered him an American Culinary Federation (ACF) apprenticeship at a large hotel in Denver.
For three years, Meitzer worked in every area of the kitchen of the hotel, from banquets to fine dining. In 1994, Meitzer left the hotel to join the Beacon Grill, a nearby fine dining steakhouse. After only four months, he was promoted to Executive Chef at just 21 years old. In 1996, Meitzer then worked at Denver’s Hyatt Regency’s fine dining restaurant, The Centennial Room for three years and then at The Brown Palace Hotel for two years.
During this time, Meitzer got back to competing. It was at one competition that he was offered a teaching position by the Dean of the Art Institute of Colorado where he taught for two years. Between 2003 and 2008, Meitzer was a culinary instructor for Johnson & Wales University in Denver where he taught various classes and trained the school’s award winning junior culinary teams. He was also sent to the school’s Miami, Charleston and Singapore campuses. He mentored students to achieve their goals while in school and after graduation and was the winner of the Volrath Award for teaching excellence.
In 2008, Meitzer left teaching and took over as Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef of Red Rocks Country Club in Morrison, Colo., where he managed the front- and back-of-house operations for five years and established the club’s 1.5-acre culinary garden. After Red Rocks, he served as Executive Chef at Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club in Cashiers, N.C., for four years, then in the same role at Windsor Club in Vero Beach, Florida, for three more years.
It was then that Meitzer took over the Forest Lake Club in Columbia, S.C., in 2020 with 1,100 members and $2.8 million in annual F&B revenues. Forest Lake Club strives to offer a member-focused culinary program with a commitment to local ingredients from the Carolinas. Meitzer’s menus change often to offer the membership new and exciting dishes along with classic club cuisine.
At the 2022 Chef to Chef Conference in Nashville, Meitzer and James Allen, CEC, Executive Chef of Blackthorn Club at the Ridges, were named the Club + Resort Chefs of the Year with their winning dish featuring a curry seafood mélange with sweet and spicy sambal soba noodles, fresh vegetables and a micro-cilantro salad.