Originally from a small town in western New York, Mercer grew up in a sailing family and did a lot of skiing in the winters. He attended East Carolina University and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Mercer then attended the Culinary Institute of America and played on the hocky team. He did his externship in the Mobil 5 Star/5 Diamond Harrah’s Hotel in South Lake Tahoe. After graduation, he went to work for Hyatt as part of an opening team. The team opened 36 hotels, the last one being the Park Hyatt in San Francisco. From there he went to work as Executive Chef for the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco — a Mobil 5 Star/5 Diamond Property featuring the French Room Restaurant and the famous Redwood Room cigar bar & lounge.
Next, Mercer became the Corporate Executive Chef for the Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Company. Under his leadership, the company expanded to include a new corporate distribution center in San Francisco, opened the Caviar Café in the San Francisco Ferry Building, and built a Sturgeon farm in Sacramento that included a state-of- the-art caviar processing plant and smoke house. Mercer also conducted private caviar exhibitions and dinners all over the country.
More recently (February 2008 to present), Mercer has owned and operated Mercer’s Kitchen Restaurant Group, including four restaurants in Sedona, as well as a catering operation with several Sedona venues, specializing in high-end private dining events and weddings. They are known as the “Fun Sedona Foodies.”
Mercer has been awarded the James Beard House Outstanding Contribution to the Foundation. The certificate was signed and presented to him by Julia Child & Jacques Pépin, in New York. He has also been named “San Francisco Chef of The Year” by the American Culinary Federation and The Chef’s Association of the Pacific Coast.
Mercer enjoys travel with his wife Emily J. Young, finding new restaurants to try, creating current new items for his seasonal menus, and making great whisky & bourbon, at home with his copper still. He is also an active member of the Sedona Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and the Scottsdale Gun Club.