Robin Woodrow “Woody” Isaac, Executive Chef
Woody was born to a German mother and an American father. At the time of his birth, his father was stationed in Wichita, Kansas. Woody lived in Berlin, Germany, for the first four years of his life and spoke German as his first language before moving to Virginia in 1989. In 1993, he became a resident of Fauquier County and began his career in culinary.
In 2004, Woody was hired by Napoleon’s Restaurant, where he was introduced to the world of fine dining. He proved to be a quick study in the kitchen, and was soon moved to manage the kitchen at sister restaurant, Main Street Bistro. By the time he was 20 years old, he was serving in a management position at Hunter’s Head Tavern in Upperville, Va. There he worked under Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems and owner of the tavern and Ayrshire Farm. Woody learned about cooking with local, organic foods; he also had a front-row seat to watch advocacy for sustainable farming methods grow in Fauquier and Loudoun Counties.
In 2007, he assisted Iron Bridge Wine Company, now known as “The New Bridge”, in opening its second location on Main Street in Old Town Warrenton. He soon found himself in the position of executive chef, helping the restaurant secure a spot in the list of top 50 restaurants according The Washington Post and Northern VA Magazine. He also competed as a regional finalist in the US Foods “Next Top Product” contest, where more than 250,000 chefs across the country compete to have their recipes chosen by leading food distributors. This earned him a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the World Food Championships, a tournament-style competition with just 550 competitor spots. Shortly after that, Woody was featured in an interest piece in Fauquier Now’s online newspaper.
After Iron Bridge, he worked under former Inn at Little Washington Sous Chef Austin Fausett for nine months at Trummers on Main in Clifton, Va. Fausett is the executive chef at Trummers, which was number six in Northern Virginia Magazine’s top 50 restaurants in 2014 and number three in 2015, respectively.
In the summer of 2015, Poplar Springs enthusiastically welcomed Woody as its sous chef. His outstanding credentials, talent and passion are the perfect complement to our core philosophy, which is to provide a dining experience that inspires and delights our patrons.
Maggie Yabs Suge, Executive Pastry Chef
Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Chef Maggie moved to the United States in September 2001 to further her education and work experience. Here she built upon the foundation of her craft and learned the importance of perseverance in the pastry kitchen.
Her culinary education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management from Maseno University in Kenya. She also earned a diploma through a Swiss government-sponsored program in food production from Kenya Utalii College. After graduation, she joined the Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi as senior chef, and later the InterContinental Hotel Nairobi.
In the U.S., Chef Maggie spent 13 years as the assistant pastry chef at the Inn at Little Washington. During her time in Little Washington, Chef Maggie worked under the guidance of the Inn’s owner, chef and proprietor, Patrick O’Connell. It was at this five-star outpost that her dual talents of imagination and precision really blossomed.
Now, Chef Maggie brings her culinary experience, skill and imagination to our pastry kitchen. We are honored to have her talents!
John Swords, sous CHEF
Born and raised as a Marine Corps brat, John Swords has been immersed in many areas of the world, from locations around the U.S. East Coast to as far as Japan. John and his family eventually moved to North Carolina, where he attended Appalachian State University. Ultimately settling in Virginia, he went to the Art Institute of Washington in Washington, D.C., to pursue a degree in the culinary arts. It was there he met his mentor, Certified Master Chef Edwin Scholly. After graduation, John flexed his culinary muscles everywhere from corporate restaurants to classic French fine dining bistros and modern European eateries. Over the years, he has learned how marry a variety of culinary influences with classic French techniques for a modern twist. John brings a passion for delicious comfort food to the Poplar Springs team, along with a quirky personality and a technically savvy mind.