Meet Our Chefs
Chris Worrell | Director of Restaurant Services
Chris Worrell is originally from Northern California and began her career working in a small family owned café. Later she moved on to manage a busy bar and grill, eventually moving to Eugene and started working for SweetWaters on the River in 1995. Five years ago, Chris took over as the Director of Restaurant Services and has since raised the level of service to reflect fine dining standards. She is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers and appreciates the bounty of Oregon and Northwest wines. Chris personally tastes and selects every single bottle of wine featured on SweetWaters' extensive wine list. She enjoys the many unique features that make SweetWaters a one of a kind dining destination. "I enjoy managing one of the finest restaurants in the Willamette Valley.", says Chris. "Not to mention the 180 degree view of the river, which is as awe inspiring to me now as it was the day I began working here. I can not think of a more pleasant place to work than SweetWaters on the River."
Michael Thieme | Executive Chef
Chef Thieme received his culinary training at Le Cordon Rouge in Sausalito California, graduating in 1985. He then furthered his education while traveling to Southeast Asia, Nepal, the Mediterranean and Britain, gleaning many culinary techniques, spice compositions and flavors. Chef Thieme contributed to the popularity of several hotels and French restaurants in the bay area, including Christopher, La Terrace, Alexander's and Rive Gauche. Chef Thieme then moved to the Pacific Northwest where he incorporated his passion for exotic and eclectic foods creating a fresh new dining experience for patrons in the region. He joined the SweetWaters on the River staff in 1988.
Maria Rauda | Banquet Chef
Meet Maria Rauda, Valley River Inn's Banquet Chef. Chef Rauda was born and raised in La Marana Cabana, El Salvador. Her mother and grandmother taught Chef Rauda the techniques and flavors or El Salvadorian food.
She emigrated to the United States and began her professional culinary career in Los Angeles working for a local catering company. While in Los Angeles, Chef Rauda was also introduced to the culinary flavors of Mexico. She has taken the lessons she learned from her family and applied them to the fresh, Northwest ingredients she works with in Oregon.
Chef Rauda began her career with Valley River Inn in 1996 and has held the positions of Front Line Cook, Front Line Supervisor, Banquet Supervisor and Banquet Chef.
Chef Rauda had this to say about her experiences at Valley River Inn, "I love my job because there is never an end to what you can learn. There is always a new challenge every day and all the people I work with bring something new to the job from their individual cultures."
Outside of work Chef Rauda enjoys fishing, sports and especially spending time with her children.
Book your next meeting or event with Valley River Inn and experience the culinary creations of Chef Rauda.
Lucas Buhr | Mixologist
Lucas Buhr is our resident mixologist in the Bar at SweetWaters. Lucas started his career in a humble fishing village on the South Texas Coast and eventually moved to Austin where he worked in several local haunts in the neighborhoods of downtown and Hyde Park. In 2003, Lucas moved to Eugene and began working at SweetWaters. For the past seven years, Lucas has been honing his craft; creating his own infused vodkas by using local and native ingredients as well as designing cocktails that are simple, yet bold and pleasantly surprising. His ever changing tap selections feature the best microbrews the Northwest has to offer. Lucas invites you to stop by for a drink and a chat in the comfortable river view Bar at SweetWaters.
Book your next meeting or event with Valley River Inn and experience the mixology creations of Lucas Buhr