Senior VP of Union Square Cafe & Daily Provisions Operations
Sabato Sagaria is the Senior VP of Union Square Cafe & Daily Provisions Operations. He oversees the operations and guest experience at both businesses.
Over the past twenty years, Sabato has fulfilled many roles at nationally-acclaimed restaurants and hotels, from cook to restaurant manager to wine director. Most recently, Sabato directed food and beverage operations at The Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, Colorado, during which time he played a pivotal role in refining and developing the hotel’s restaurant concepts, including Element 47 and Ajax Tavern. Earlier, Sabato served in leadership roles at The Inn at Little Washington, The Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, and the historic Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.
In 2012, Sabato became a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, a prestigious honor held by fewer than 250 individuals worldwide.
DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES
As the Director of Human Resources for USHG, Angie’s subject matter expertise is in the areas of compliance, employee relations, policy interpretation, HRIS and Benefits Administration. Angie joined USHG in 2004 and has overseen ten years of growth in the People and Culture department in the areas of Recruiting, Training, Employee Engagement, Talent Development, Payroll Administration, and Internal Communications. Previously, Angie spent over 25 years in Human Resources management, mainly in the finance and insurance industries.
Director of Operations of Marta and Maialino
Terry Coughlin is the Director of Operations of Marta and Maialino.
A native of New Jersey, Terry moved west in 1989 to attend California State University, Fullerton, where he received a degree in education. It was during his schooling that Terry had his first taste of the hospitality industry, working in several restaurants. He officially realized his love for food and wine when, after saving up money for six months, he took his mother to Spago and ordered a bottle of 1982 Chateau Margaux. In 1997, after teaching high school English and Theatre for a year in Orange County, Terry moved back to the East Coast.
He immediately began working at Gramercy Tavern, spending seven years at the restaurant as a server and captain. In 2004, Terry joined Tabla as the Wine and Service Director, and three years later he was promoted to Assistant General Manager. In fall of 2007, Terry was named General Manager at Tabla, a position he held until joining the Maialino opening team in 2009. As the General Manager, Terry was integral to the restaurants launch and subsequent success. He was named a Managing Partner in 2012. In 2014, along with Executive Chef/Partner Nick Anderer, Terry opened Marta at The Redbury New York hotel. In 2016 he was named Director of Operations of Marta and Maialino.
VP OF TECHNOLOGY AND PROCESSES
Maureen applies over 15 years of information technology experience as USHG’s Vice President of Technology and Processes. Prior to joining USHG in 2013, Maureen gained diverse technology management experience in a range of industries, including fashion, retail, and food. She spent six years in IT leadership at FAO Schwarz, followed by two years at the renowned specialty grocery and wine shop, Dean & Deluca. Directly prior to joining the team at USHG, Maureen spent seven years as the Director of Technology for the national luxury retailer, Intermix, where she helped the company scale its technology solutions for sustainable growth. At USHG, Maureen applies her knowledge of operations and technology to create tools and efficiencies throughout the USHG family of award-winning businesses. Maureen is a graduate of Adelphi University in New York.
DIRECTOR OF PEOPLE OPERATIONS
Gretchen Garry has spent the last 14 years with Union Square Hospitality Group, not only exemplifying its core values of Enlightened Hospitality, but working to grow its culture. Gretchen first joined USHG as a reservationist at Union Square Cafe in order to supplement her career as a modern dancer. Quickly realizing hospitality was her true calling, Gretchen spent 4 more years in the host/res/maître d department at Union Square Cafe, before joining Tabla’s front of house team as a manager in 2007.
In 2010, Gretchen transitioned to the corporate office as an Operations Manager and over the last few years, she has taken on a variety of roles that have allowed her to build on her operational knowledge by focusing on employee growth and development, including working as Associate Director of Career Development, establishing and implementing systems that support our people and maximize their potential. In her current role as Director of People Operations, she oversees all of the People Operations Managers across USHG's family of businesses.
DIRECTOR OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
Since arriving in New York in 2001, Chip Huffman has worked for or in almost every major medium, including web, film, television, news, public relations, advertising, consulting and internal communications. He is currently Director of Internal Communications for USHG, where he is passionate about connecting people to people and people to their businesses to improve outcomes for employees, guests and communities.
An award-winning creative director, Chip received a Bachelors of Journalism in Advertising from the esteemed – and extremely landlocked – University of Nebraska. He worked for CBS News with Dan Rather during the Iraq War (2.0) and has advised such brands as Pernod Ricard, Bombay Sapphire, The Rainforest Foundation, PNC Bank, Ernst & Young, and Omnicom Media Group. Since starting at USHG he’s never been happier.
DIRECTOR OF LEARNING AND TRAINING
Stephanie Jackson first read Setting the Table while studying at the Culinary Institute of America and immediately connected with Danny Meyer’s philosophy, and values that were very much aligned with her own. Inspired by the culture of excellence espoused in the book, Stephanie joined the Union Square Hospitality Group family as a host at Eleven Madison Park after graduation. Always eager to learn more, Stephanie quickly transitioned through various front of house roles, eventually becoming a Maitre’d during the time that Eleven Madison Park received three Michelin stars. With the operational expertise gained from her restaurant experience and a desire to spread the culture of Enlightened Hospitality, Stephanie transitioned to the corporate office to oversee the Training Department, where she managed all training programs for USHG employees. Currently the Director of Learning and Training, Stephanie is responsible for designing and implementing a world class curriculum to support team members in strengthening their skills and advancing their careers.
Senior Director of Facilities, Procurement, and Construction
Todd is Union Square Hospitality Group’s first ever Senior Director of Facilities, Procurement, and Construction.
Todd joined USHG in 2013 as an Operations Manager at Union Square Events. During his tenure, Todd achieved a variety of promotions while expanding into various senior management positions. As Director of Facilities, Procurement, and Construction, Todd works to guide USHG towards cohesive support systems and streamlined strategies for facilities operations, procurement, and construction.
Todd's idea of a perfect weekend is when he's not tied to any schedules and can spend time with his family cooking at home. Todd is also an avid snowboarder and actively plays competitive ice hockey.
Senior Director of Restaurant Operations
Dino Lavorini oversees all of the operations at Blue Smoke, North End Grill, Untitled and Studio Cafe at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Modern, Cafe 2, Terrace 5, and the Staff Cafeteria at the Museum of Modern Art, Maialino, Marta, Caffe Marchio, and Vini e Fritti.
The Modern, Cafe 2, Terrace 5, and the Staff Cafeteria at the Museum of Modern Art, and liaises between the restaurants and the Museum. He also oversees operations at Untitled and Studio Cafe at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Dino has worked at The Modern since its opening in 2004, first as a Maître d’, followed by Guest Relations Manager, Floor Manager, Assistant General Manager, and General Manager, a role that he held for four years. A native of Butler, Pennsylvania, Dino received his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Penn State University and his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
Director of Operations of Union Square Cafe & Daily Provisions
At the age of 12, Sam cooked his first meal – a multi-course Christmas dinner for ten, complete with a roast leg of lamb. It was pretty clear from that point forward that his destiny lay in the food world. At 16, he entered the restaurant industry, moving from dishwasher to prep cook to busboy to host at his neighbor’s Italian restaurant, Pasta per Tutti. From there, Sam left his native city of Madison, WI, attended Cornell University and graduated with a degree from the School of Hotel Administration, where he came to teach a cooking class and create a popular wine club called Vinophiles Anonymous.
Prior to joining the team at Union Square Cafe, Sam worked in various roles throughout Union Square Hospitality Group, including Service Manager (Cafe 2 and Terrace 5, MoMA), Beverage Director (Cafe 2 and Terrace 5, MoMA), Bar Manager (Eleven Madison Park), Dining Room Manager (Eleven Madison Park), and Assistant General Manager (Eleven Madison Park, Maialino).
While at Eleven Madison Park, Sam was a crucial part of the leadership team driving the service changes that brought the restaurant from two to four stars in The New York Times, three Michelin Stars, and a membership within Relais & Château. During his time at Maialino, Sam played an integral role in developing the operational and Front of House systems that lead to the restaurant’s immediate popularity and critical success.
In 2011, Sam became the General Manager of Union Square Cafe and in 2012 he became a Managing Partner of the restaurant. At Union Square Cafe, Sam has continued the tradition of excellent service and warm hospitality that have made the restaurant one of New York’s (and the country’s) most beloved New American restaurants for the past 27 years, while thoughtfully continuing the restaurant’s evolution through such initiatives as revitalizing the beverage program and spearheading the subtle rebranding of the restaurant.
In spring 2016, after 30 years in its original location, Union Square Cafe will be relocating to a new home a few blocks to the north. During this exciting time, Sam will oversee the buildout of the new restaurant and ensure that Union Square Cafe’s signature warm hospitality makes the trip to the restaurant’s new home.
Sam has been featured in Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, USA Today, Sommelier Journal, Nation’s Restaurant News, and many other publications. He has appeared as a regular guest on Martha Stewart Radio and as a panelist at the New York Wine and Food Festival.
HEAD OF STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS
As Union Square Hospitality Group’s Head of Strategic Investments, Peter Mavrovitis is focused on furthering the company’s culture and the vitality of its businesses through thoughtful investment in both existing USHG businesses and new hospitality and technology-related ventures. Peter serves on USHG’s Business Development Committee, is a board member of Joe Coffee, and is actively involved in other investments including Salt & Straw ice cream.
Previously, Peter spent over a decade in investment banking, serving as a Principal in the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Investment Banking group at Piper Jaffray & Co. and as an Associate in the Media and Communications group at Jefferies & Company.
Peter earned a Bachelor’s degree in law, letters, and society from the University of Chicago.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS -- Porchlight & GreenRiver
Mark Maynard-Parisi is the Director of Operations at Porchlight and GreenRiver. Mark, a 24-year veteran of the company, together with the group’s CEO, Danny Meyer, conceptualized and designed Porchlight, a New York bar with a Southern accent. Mark is responsible for the strategic direction and all day-to-day operations at both Porchlight and GreenRiver in Chicago.
Mark’s career at Union Square Hospitality Group began as a host/reservationist at Union Square Cafe, where he was personally trained by Danny to become its maître d’. He was ultimately named General Manager. It was there that he absorbed the company’s approach to hospitality, which he characterizes as honest, straightforward and caring. The focus, first and foremost, is on the staff and guests. Mark later moved on to co-found Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard in 2002. Under Mark’s leadership, both Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard emerged as destinations for well-curated spirits, vibrant cocktails and craft beer.
For 13 years, Mark led the strategic growth of Blue Smoke, which expanded to multiple locations, including New York’s Battery Park City and outposts of Blue Smoke on the Road at CitiField, home of the New York Mets, Washington Nationals ballpark and JFK Airport’s Delta Terminal Four. For two years, Mark simultaneously served as Managing Director of Operations for Union Square Events, the catering and events services branch of USHG.
A graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Landscape Architecture, Mark sees both disciplines as requiring patience, planning and vision. Most importantly, he believes that in both cases, simplicity matters most and a design’s effectiveness is only as good as the end-users’ experience and their connection to it. Mark, an avid cyclist, gardener and bakery aficionado, lives with his wife and two children in South Orange, N.J.
Senior Director of New Business Operations
A certified Master Sommelier, John Ragan has directed wine programs at acclaimed restaurants such as Campton Place and Eleven Madison Park, where he earned a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service. As Senior Director of New Business Operations, John oversees operations at Gramercy Tavern, leads the wine programs across our businesses, and manages our Private Dining Programs. He also supervises internal beverage education, teaches public classes for wine enthusiasts and industry professionals, and leads private events and corporate wine experiences. Committed to organizing charitable involvement within the wine community, John has spearheaded initiatives to benefit natural disaster relief and community-based food programs.
Director of Operations of Blue Smoke and North End Grill
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Kevin discovered a love of food at an early age on his grandparents’ farm in the North Fork. Kevin made his first foray into the hospitality industry at age 12, helping run errands, slice bread, plate desserts, and worked the fryer station at his friend’s family-owned restaurant. After high school, Kevin attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) where he received an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. Upon graduation, Kevin immediately began working at Union Square Hospitality Group’s critically acclaimed restaurant, Tabla. Beginning as a Server Assistant, he worked his way up to Server, Floor Manager, Service Director, Beverage Director, and Assistant General Manager over five years. In 2010, he became General Manager. After that Kevin served as the opening General Manager of Untitled restaurant at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2011, Kevin assumed the role of opening General Manager of North End Grill and was later promoted to Director of Operations of Blue Smoke and North End Grill in 2016.
As Corporate Controller of USHG, Elizabeth Whiteside balances her time between supervising the Fine Dining Accounting Team, working alongside Operators to bring a financial focus to their day-to-day activities, and managing the insurance, banking, and financial reporting programs. Elizabeth joined USHG in 2012, initially as Internal Controls Managers, before being promoted to Senior Manager of Financial Reporting, and ultimately to her current position. Prior to joining USHG, Elizabeth earned her MBA from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, focusing on the hospitality sector based on a newfound passion sparked by reading Setting the Table. Previously, she spent eight years in the Financial Services industry, working for Hedgefund.net (acquired by eVestment in 2011) as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, auditing asset management clients. Liz earned her Bachelor’s degree from Tulane University, and grew up in both Connecticut and New Orleans.
Blue Smoke & Porchlight
Growing up in the small town of Thibodaux, Louisiana in a family that practiced seasonal rituals such as catching catfish, duck hunting, making fig preserves, and cleaning shrimp, Jean-Paul grew up surrounded by vibrant Southern cuisine, prepared by two parents who had a passion for living off the land and cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients. These early experiences of flavorful food left their imprint on Jean-Paul, who enrolled at John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree and participated in an exchange program with the Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon, France.
After completing his formal studies, he worked at Étoile restaurant at the Domaine Chandon winery in Napa and then moved to San Francisco to become opening sous chef at EPIC Roasthouse under Chef Jan Birnbaum. In 2007, Jean-Paul moved to the island of St. Thomas, where he served as sous chef of two local restaurants and developed a true passion for soul food, which played a pivotal role in helping define his vision as a Southern chef.
When Jean-Paul first moved to New York, he landed at Maialino in December 2009, working under Executive Chef Nick Anderer. Over his four years at Maialino, Jean-Paul was promoted several times, and was named Chef de Cuisine of Gramercy Terrace at The Gramercy Park Hotel in 2013.
In 2014, Jean-Paul became Executive Chef of Blue Smoke Enterprises, which includes Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard and Blue Smoke On The Road. He is also responsible for the culinary program at Porchlight, USHG’s new Southern-inspired bar slated to open in the fall of 2014.
Blue Smoke & Porchlight
GENERAL MANAGER--BLUE SMOKE 27th Street
Growing up in a small town in northeastern Ohio, Jason developed a passion for food and travel during family trips to places near and far, from London to Paris to Switzerland to 40 of the 50 U.S. states. Upon graduating from Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Jason decided that office life wasn’t for him. He had fallen in love with the restaurant business while bartending in college and decided to return to the industry.
He joined the team at Buffalo Wild Wings, progressing from busboy to bartender to manager. During Jason’s six years at Buffalo Wild Wings, the company grew exponentially, with the number of locations almost quadrupling across the country. The franchise Jason worked for was one of the first in the chain and many of the practices Jason initiated, including the cocktail and drink program he created and the bartending manual he wrote, were adopted nationwide.
Blue Smoke & Porchlight
Michael Shain is General Manager of Porchlight, the first stand-alone cocktail bar by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). Porchlight, a New York bar with a Southern accent, is the brainchild of USHG’s CEO Danny Meyer and Blue Smoke’s Senior Managing Partner Mark Maynard-Parisi.
Michael is responsible for building and managing Porchlight’s hospitable bartending team. He created its cocktail menu alongside his bar team, curated the bar’s bourbon, rye and American whiskey list, as well as beer offerings. Michael is overseeing Porchlight’s first-ever “Distillers Wall” that celebrates distillers who are taking the craft to new heights of excellence.
Previously, Michael was Beverage Director at Blue Smoke’s two locations in the Flatiron District and Battery Park, a position that he assumed in 2014. His accomplishments at Blue Smoke include invigorating the cocktail program, bringing a focus to craft beer and small batch whiskey and implementing a new all-American wine list. Michael joined Blue Smoke in 2010 and worked his way up through the restaurant’s ranks.
Michael’s first job was in marketing, when he recognized his true passion was food and beverage. With the enthusiastic support of his family, he enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), where he earned a degree in Culinary Arts & Management. During his time at ICE, he realized that his talents were in the front of the house, rather than the kitchen. That said, his culinary training has enriched his work with cocktails, especially in being able to create housemade syrups, reductions, etc.
Michael graduated from the University of Hartford with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media and Marketing. During his college years, he worked at a fish market that opened at 5 a.m. He was delighted to get out from behind the counter to help the owner’s catering business, which was his introduction to the hospitality industry.
A resident of Hoboken, N.J., Michael spends his free time with family and friends. At home, he enjoys sipping beer and simple stirred cocktails like rye, Cynar and sweet vermouth. He credits living overseas in his youth and travel abroad for sparking his culinary dreams.
Blue Smoke & Porchlight
General Manager & Chef de Cuisine--Blue Smoke Battery Park City
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Andrew started cooking at a young age, learning how to make classic Italian dishes from his first-generation grandparents. With a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Psychology from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Andrew originally pursued a career in Financial Risk Engineering before revisiting his love of cooking. After receiving his Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Andrew traveled to New Orleans for a culinary internship at John Besh’s Restaurant, August. He returned to New York in 2012 and joined Major Food Group’s flagship restaurant, Torrisi Italian Specialties, before becoming a Sous Chef at Parm. Andrew joined Union Square Hospitality Group in 2014 as a Sous Chef at Blue Smoke’s Flatiron location. He rose through the ranks and was named the Chef de Cuisine of Blue Smoke Battery Park City in 2015, and General Manager in 2017.
Cafe 2 & Terrace 5
Diana Delli Santi
Diana Delli Santi
Diana Delli Santi is the General Manager of the Cafes at the Museum of Modern Art. Prior to her role at the Cafes at MoMA, Diana served as the Assistant General Manager of Untitled and Studio Café at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Before that, she spent five years as the Front-of-House Manager and Service Director at The Modern.
In her role at the Cafes at MoMA, Diana creates sales budget and forecasts, works with leaders within USHG to create and drive service initiatives, helps coordinate and execute events with Art Food Catering, and manages day-to-day operations of the restaurant.
Diana, who grew up in Randolph, New Jersey, graduated from Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration with a Bachelor Degree of Science Degree with a concentration in Independent Restaurant Operations. She got her start in the hospitality industry by catering at weddings and events throughout high school, leading her to pursue a higher education within the field. Diana currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Cafe 2 & Terrace 5
A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Dan Jackson was raised an avid Tar Heels fan. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003, he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia and took a line cook job at a popular French restaurant, Bizou. There, he quickly realized that he had a passion for cooking, and over the course of two years he moved up the ranks from line cook to garde manger to chef de cuisine.
In 2008, Dan moved to New York City. He wanted to work at one of the best restaurants in the city, so he applied and became a line cook at Eleven Madison Park. Eleven Madison Park opened his eyes to a whole different level of food and service. While Dan was there, the restaurant received four stars from the New York Times, one Michelin star, and was ranked among San Pellegrino’s Top 50 restaurants in the world. Dan stayed on at Eleven Madison Park and worked his way through every station in the kitchen, before leaving to take a chef position in Aspen, Colorado.
In 2011, Dan returned to New York City and became Sous Chef at Union Square Events, the catering business of Union Square Hospitality Group. There, he was quickly promoted to Executive Sous Chef. In that capacity, he oversaw a kitchen staff of over 25 people and oversaw a diverse array of projects ranging from intimate gatherings to seated dinners for 4,000 people.
GRAMERCY TAVERN & UNTITLED
EXECUTIVE CHEF - GRAMERCY TAVERN
A nationally-acclaimed chef, Michael Anthony is the Executive Chef of Gramercy Tavern. Mike cooked at acclaimed restaurants in Tokyo, France, and New York before joining Gramercy Tavern as Executive Chef in 2006. Under Mike’s leadership, he and Gramercy Tavern have earned Three Stars in The New York Times and James Beard Awards for “Outstanding Restaurant” and “Best Chef: New York City.” In 2015, Mike won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Chef,” a national recognition. Mike is the author of The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2013) and V is for Vegetables (Little, Brown and Company, October 2015), which won the James Beard Award for Best Vegetable-Focused Cookbook in 2015.
Gramercy Tavern & Untitled
EXECUTIVE CHEF - UNTITLED & STUDIO CAFE
Suzanne Cupps is the Executive Chef of Untitled and Studio Cafe in the Whitney Museum of American Art. Born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina, Suzanne was exposed to the concept of farm to table at an early age, while spending summers on her grandfather’s farm. As a child, Suzanne often dodged her mother’s requests for help in the kitchen, and it wasn’t until the end of her undergraduate years at Clemson University that Suzanne began to consider cooking as a potential career.
Suzanne’s first job in the hospitality industry was an HR administrator position at the Waldorf Astoria, where she quickly realized that her interests lay firmly in the kitchen. Soon after, Suzanne enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education and found the creative and competitive atmosphere of a professional kitchen to her liking.
After graduating from ICE in 2005, Suzanne began her culinary career with Union Square Hospitality Group as an extern at Gramercy Tavern, developing a deep respect for Chef Mike Anthony’s careful sourcing and New American approach to cooking. This experience further cemented her passion for the industry and after her externship, Suzanne went on to hone her skills at Anita Lo’s restaurant Annisa. Three years into her time at Annisa, the restaurant was destroyed by a fire, and Suzanne played an integral role in rebuilding and re-opening the restaurant nine months later.
In 2011, Suzanne chose to continue her fine dining education and returned to Gramercy Tavern as a line cook. Most recently, Suzanne held the position of Untitled’s Chef de Cuisine under Michael Anthony, before ultimately assuming the role of the restaurant’s Executive Chef in 2017.
Gramercy Tavern & Untitled
General Manager - Gramercy Tavern
Since his first job washing dishes in his family's restaurant on Long Island at age 12, Scott Reinhardt has known the hospitality business was in his blood. Scott owned his own restaurant before moving to New York City and joining the Gramercy Tavern team in 1997. Starting as a waiter, he became maître d' before being promoted to manager and then Assistant General Manager. In spring 2017, Scott was promoted to General Manager after 20 years on the Gramercy Tavern team.
Gramercy Tavern & Untitled
General Manager- Untitled and Studio Cafe
Gia SanAngelo is the General Manager of Untitled and Studio Cafe at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Gia joined the Untitled team in August 2015, following four years in management with Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group. Gia started her career at Dinex as a Manager of Boulud Sud, before moving on to become the Opening General Manager of db Brasserie in Las Vegas and DBGB in Washington, DC. Most recently, she served as the Assistant General Manager of db Bistro Moderne before joining Union Square Hospitality Group.
Prior to working with Dinex, Gia spent several years working in food and beverage management at Hilton Worldwide properties, including the Hilton New York, the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah, and the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Waikoloa, Hawaii. Her first role in the hotel industry was at the Sanibel Harbor Resort and Spa in Fort Myers, Florida.
Gia, who is a Naples, Florida native, graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Resort and Hospitality Management. She got her start in the restaurant industry at the age of 16 when a friend of her father referred her to a host position at a neighborhood restaurant.
Aaron Lirette is the Executive Chef of GreenRiver. Aaron oversees GreenRiver’s talented kitchen team and the restaurant’s seasonal American menu, which received a Michelin star in 2016.
A native Chicagoan, Aaron has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in the city. Before joining Union Square Hospitality Group, Aaron was part of the opening team of Celeste, a seasonal American supper club in Chicago’s River North neighborhood that earned much critical acclaim. He also served as the chef de cuisine at Acadia, a contemporary American restaurant on Chicago’s Southside, where he helped the restaurant earn a Michelin star.
Aaron’s initiation into the culinary world technically began at 16 years old when his mother secured a job for him at The Clubhouse in Oakbrook, Illinois. Though it was a copy of Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook that set him on his culinary trajectory, prompting him start experimenting in the kitchen at 10 years old and studying The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook by the age of 12.
Maialino & Marta
Nick Anderer is the Executive Chef of Martina, Union Square Hospitality Group’s Roman-inspired pizzeria in New York’s East Village. As an Art History major at Columbia University, Nick spent an influential year abroad in Rome, where he was incredibly inspired by the food culture of the city, and after two years cooking at Mario Batali’s Babbo, he returned to Italy to cook throughout kitchens in Rome and Milan, learning more about the cuisine and traditions of the country.
When he returned to New York City, Nick was hired at Gramercy Tavern, where he worked under Tom Colicchio and Mike Anthony. There he helped reinvigorate Gramercy Tavern's pasta program, while developing a deep and lasting respect for vegetables and the farmers who grew them. He went on to open Maialino, a Roman-style trattoria in Gramercy Park, in 2009 and Marta, a Roman-style pizzeria and grill, in 2014. He was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as a Best Chef: New York City semifinalist in 2014 and 2015.
Maialino & Marta
General Manager- MAIALINO
Born and raised in Rutland, VT, Andrea Czachor grew up working in her family’s restaurant. Beginning at the age of 14 as a server, Andrea worked her way up to manager, and continued to take shifts when she would come home on breaks from Hobart and William Smith College, where she studied English. After graduation, Andrea re-located to New York to work for the Patina Group. She managed Patina’s food service operations at the US Open in the summer of 2005, after which she briefly served as Assistant Manager at Café Centro in the MetLife Building. Andrea then moved on to Brasserie, where she spent three years in the position of Assistant General Manager, before joining the opening team at Maialino as a Dining Room Manager in October 2009. Within a year, Andrea was promoted to the position of Service Director, later becoming Assistant General Manager. In November 2011, Andrea was promoted to the position of General Manager.
Maialino & Marta
General Manager - Marta
Erik Lombardo is the General Manager of Marta. Erik joined the Marta team in 2014 as the opening Assistant General Manager.
Shortly after graduating from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Erik took a job as a server at Blue Ribbon while studying for his MCATS. While at Blue Ribbon, Erik immediately fell in love with the restaurant industry. He later moved Philadelphia and started working at the acclaimed French restaurant Le Bec-Fin as a Bartender, assumed the role of Captain and eventually Bar Manager. It was at this time, Erik realized he no longer wanted to be a doctor and instead turn his passion for restaurants into a profession.
In 2012, moved back to New York City and began working at Maialino as a Bar Manager, overseeing Maialino’s cocktail and beer programs and the restaurant’s team of bartenders. In 2014, he joined the opening team of Maialino’s sister restaurant, Marta, as the Assistant General Manager. He was ultimately promoted to General Manager.
Maialino & Marta
Executive Chef - Maialino
Jason Pfeifer is the Executive Chef of Maialino. Raised in Raleigh, NC, his fondest childhood memories centered around eating at family reunions in which his grandfather, who was a talented cook, would prepare whole barbequed pigs, hushpuppies, and sweet tea. From a young age, Jason would experiment with flavors and concepts. At age 18, Jason completed a hike of the Appalachian Trail, walking 2,174 miles for five months where he spent time studying mushrooms and wildflowers and creating gourmet meals with the mise en place he foraged during that day’s route.
Driven by this passion for food, Jason attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in December of 2006. While a student at the CIA, Jason apprenticed at Union Square Hospitality Group’s (USHG) renowned Gramercy Tavern, and joined the team there upon graduating. He rotated through all of the different savory stations under Executive Chef Michael Anthony and worked pastry under former Pastry Chef Nancy Olson.
After Gramercy Tavern, Jason accepted a Chef de Partie position at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, before finding himself back at USHG as an opening Sous Chef at Maialino. In the fall of 2011, Jason voyaged to Denmark to perform a seasonal apprenticeship with Rene Redzepi and his world-renowned team at Noma. He later returned to Maialino and was named the Chef de Cuisine in the spring of 2013 before becoming Executive Chef in 2016.
Maialino & Marta
Executive Chef - Marta
Joe Tarasco is the Executive Chef at Marta. During his childhood in New York, Joe was inspired by his grandmother, a talented home cook, and began experimenting in the kitchen and cooking for himself at a young age. Wanting to further explore his love of food, Joe took a job as a server and expediter at a local restaurant and thrived in the fast paced atmosphere. Joe went on to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, graduating in 2005. While there, Joe completed his externship at Philadelphia’s Le Bec-Fin and upon graduation, he took a position as a line cook at Union Square Hospitality Group’s beloved Gramercy Tavern.
After two and a half years there, Joe left to serve as a sous chef at Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli’s acclaimed Brooklyn restaurant Frankies Spuntino and then helped them to open Prime Meats. In 2009, Joe returned to USHG, joining the Maialino opening team led by Chef/Partner Nick Anderer as a sous chef. In July of 2011, Joe was named Executive Sous Chef of Maialino. During his time at Maialino, Joe took several food-focused trips to Rome, reinforcing his passion for the eternal city and the distinctive food of its neighborhoods, and ultimately preparing him for his current role at Marta.
North End Grill
As Executive Chef of North End Grill, Eric Korsh deftly crafts rustic cuisine with classic technique and a lively use of ingredients in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Korsh entered the hospitality industry in 9th grade as a dishwasher at a Japanese restaurant and then as a line cook at a local diner. Following his graduation from Hobart College, he cooked in Boston for a time before landing a Saucier position at Terrance Brennan’s flagship restaurant Picholine, where he refined his skill at tasting and learned technique. From there, Korsh cooked at restaurants throughout New York City, including Prune and Aretsky’s Patroon.
Ready for a fresh experience and to build something new, in 2008 Korsh decided to open his own restaurant. He moved across the country to Sebastopol, CA and opened Restaurant Eloise, a 60-seat eatery with traditional French fare named after Kay Thompson’s iconic children’s book protagonist. One year later, Star Chefs named Korsh 2009 Rising Star Napa Sonoma and San Francisco magazine anointed him Rising Star of 2009.
In late 2009, Korsh returned to New York City, where he soon became Executive Chef of The Waverly Inn and received acclaim for the nuanced, classic style he applied to the restaurant’s seasonal American comfort food. After two years, Korsh jumped back into ownership, opening the European bistro Calliope, which was named one of ’12 Restaurant Triumphs of 2012’ by the New York Times. In April 2014, Korsh was named Executive Chef of North End Grill.
North End Grill
Born and raised in Warwick, NY, Tim was surrounded by food both at home and in his family’s business, a small deli. He started working for his family at a young age and eventually took a position as a cook in a local restaurant; from that point on he knew he wanted a career in the restaurant industry. Tim enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America where he received an associate degree in Culinary Arts and a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. Upon graduating, he moved to New York City to launch his hospitality career. Struck by the philosophy and culture found in Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table, Tim jumped at an opportunity to work at Maialino, one of the restaurants in Danny’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Tim quickly progressed through the ranks, from Back Waiter to Kitchen Expeditor to Server to Manager and eventually to Service Director. In 2015, Tim transitioned to work at North End Grill as the Assistant General Manager. In July 2016 Tim was named General Manager of North End Grill.
Chef Abram Bissell became Executive Chef of The Modern in 2014. Most recently, Abram opened The NoMad as Chef de Cuisine in 2012, directly following his role as Executive Sous Chef at Eleven Madison Park, during which time the restaurant earned three Michelin Stars, four New York Times stars, and membership in the Relais & Chateau association. Earlier in his career, Abram worked in the kitchens of Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar Restaurant in Big Sur, and L’Espalier in Boston. Abram attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, and grew up in a small fishing community in the Florida Keys.
In 2014, Abram made a welcome homecoming to The Modern, returning as Executive Chef. He brings with him a unique lens of American cuisine, cooking food that celebrates the story behind every ingredient and feels familiar, all the while winking of discovery.
Tony Carson is the General Manager of The Modern, the two Michelin-starred restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art. In his role, Tony oversees all front of house operations for The Bar Room, the Dining Room and Private Dining Rooms. In 2015, Tony moved to New York to begin his career at The Modern on the eve that the restaurant announced its adoption of the no-tipping model, Hospitality Included. Since then, Tony has developed pathways to growth for his team members and championed the Hospitality Included model. In 2017, Tony was promoted from Assistant General Manager to General Manager.
Born and raised in Berkshire, United Kingdom, Tony began his career in the hospitality industry at the age of 15 as a cook. Three years later, he moved to London where he got his start in front of house as the Head Waiter at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill. Later he moved on to work for Heston Blumenthal, where he started as a Sommelier at the three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck. In 2009, Tony served as the opening General Manager of Blumenthal’s, The Crown at Bray. His move to the dining room ignited his passion for hospitality, and from there, Tony’s goal was to continue to pursue his career in management.
Union Square Cafe & Daily Provisions
At Union Square Cafe, with the Greenmarket at his doorstep, Executive Chef Carmen Quagliata explores and develops his passion for his native Italian cuisine in one of the country’s most beloved restaurants. Carmen’s culinary style was formed by the Sicilian matriarchs of his family, who made sausage and bread by hand and grew pole beans from seeds carried across the Atlantic by their Italian kin.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Carmen became an apprentice at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia under Chef Hartmut Handke. Three years later, he headed west to work for Michael Chiarello at Tra Vigne in Napa Valley. There he quickly advanced from Sous Chef to Executive Sous Chef to Executive Chef/Partner.
In 2001, Carmen was hired to work for Lydia Bastianich at Felidia in New York City. He then moved to Boston and became Chef at The Vault, which quickly earned three stars from both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. After researching opening a restaurant in Boston, Carmen realized his heart lay in New York, and a fortuitous introduction brought him to Union Square Cafe.
It was immediately apparent that Carmen was the perfect complement to Chef Michael Romano’s kitchen, and in January 2005, he was hired as Chef de Cuisine. Carmen was promoted to Executive Chef in September 2007. Within a year the restaurant received four stars from Time Out New York, and reclaimed the title of New York City’s Most Popular Restaurant from the Zagat Survey – an honor Union Square Cafe has received an unprecedented nine times. Carmen’s cooking continues to show his respect for all that has come before at USC, as well as his creativity, taste and appreciation for the seasons, as he shapes the restaurant’s future.
As Union Square Cafe prepares to reopen in its new location in spring 2016, Carmen and his team are busy recipe-testing and building out a beautiful new kitchen.
Union Square Events
John Karangis is the Executive Chef of Union Square Events, the catering, culture, sports and events business from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG).
A native New Yorker, John graduated from New York City Technical College with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. While studying Fine Dining Management, John fell in love with the culinary aspect of hospitality and was accepted as a student under Chef Andre Daguin and Chef Yves Pinard at the Restaurant Le Grand Louvre in Paris. Upon returning to the States, John worked as a line cook under Chef Michael Romano at USHG’s first restaurant, Union Square Cafe. After three years, he moved across the country to work for acclaimed Pacific Northwest cuisine restaurant Square One.
After spending two years on the West Coast, working with Executive Chef Joyce Goldstein at Square One, and then at Star Restaurant, John returned to the East Coast and spent a year at the newly-opened Gramercy Tavern under Executive Chef Tom Colicchio. John then became the Executive Chef at Restaurant Associates. In 2003, John accepted the role of Executive Chef of Aramark at Goldman Sachs, delivering world class dining and hospitality to an elite clientele, a role he held for almost 8 years. He then returned to his culinary roots at Union Square Hospitality Group, where he brings a passion for excellence and hospitality as well as a wealth of culinary experience to his role directing the growth of Union Square Events’s Culinary operations.
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