Chef de Cuisine, BLT Steak New York
Inspired by his grandmother, a farmer in Pennsylvania, Chef Braden Reardon learned to appreciate local food from an early age. He began his culinary career working in a local farm-to-table restaurant before moving to San Francisco where his work garnered and maintained a place in the Bauer’s Top 100 List. Looking for an opportunity to expand his knowledge of sustainable fisheries, he then joined a fishing fleet in Alaska as a deck hand before moving to New York City. From Café Cluny to Blue Water Grill, Chef Reardon made his mark on the culinary scene before joining BLT Steak as Chef de Cuisine in March of 2012. Chef Reardon continues to foster his farm-to-table philosophy incorporating local, sustainable products onto the menu.
Chef de Cuisine, BLT Steak San Juan
Jose Miguel Ballester, affectionately known as Chelo, grew up admiring his grandmother’s techniques in the kitchen. Following his culinary dreams, Chelo earned an associates degree from Escuela Hotelera de San Juan which guided him to an internship at The Ritz Carlton San Juan. From 1999 to 2011, he held many positions in the hotel’s restaurant–Garde Manager; from line cook to Banquet Sous Chef. Chelo is ecstatic to join the ESquared Hospitality team at BLT Steak San Juan as Chef de Cuisine. As the first local chef at the restaurant he plans to incorporate island flavors to the American steakhouse.
Executive Chef, BLT Bar & Grill
David Craine has been fortunate enough to work in some of New York City’s most highly regarded restaurants during their formation, including Gotham Bar and Grill, Gramercy Tavern and Union Pacific. Craine learned at a young age the value of having access to local and seasonal items, due in part to his family’s backyard where they grew some of their own vegetables and herbs. As Executive Chef at BLT Bar & Grill at W New York – Downtown, he incorporates this passion for locally-sourced ingredients into the extensive New American menu.
Executive Chef, BLT Fish
As the daughter of a U.S. Army N.C.O., Eubanks’ transient early life forced the future chef to mature quickly—proven when at the tender age of 30 had already earned three-stars from the New York Times at one of the city’s most cherished dining destinations. Amy’s initiation at ESquared began at BLT Steak where she acted as lead cook for nine months while awaiting the opening of BLT Fish. Upon BLT Fish’s opening, she started in the kitchen as Sous Chef and after a year of diligent service and imaginative interpretation of the esteemed menu, Eubanks was promoted to Chef de Cuisine in March of 2006. Four years later in March of 2010, she was promoted to Executive Chef.
Chef de Cuisine, BLT Steak Charlotte
With 15 years of restaurant and hospitality experience, Benjamin Miles brings his passion for local and sustainable food to BLT Steak Charlotte as Chef de Cuisine. Miles began his culinary career by working under his brother, also a chef, in various restaurants where he developed a passion for food, cooking and the restaurant industry. Miles is also the founder of the Sterling Community Garden, a project that started at Sterling Elementary School in Pineville, N.C., which teaches and involves students in growing, maintaining and harvesting a successful garden.
Chef de Cuisine, BLT Steak LA
As the Season 9 winner of Fox’s hit reality show, Hell’s Kitchen, Paul Niedermann traded Florida sunshine for the glittering lights of New York City. As Head Chef of BLT Steak New York, Paul brought Italian and Mediterranean influences to the kitchen, his culinary palette pairing light fresh food together with citrus and other influences from his time spent in southern Florida. He brought the same competitive edge to the kitchen and in January 2013 was named Chef De Cuisine at BLT Steak in Los Angeles.
Watch Paul talk about his experience in New York City and working at BLT Steak.
Executive Chef, The Florentine
Chris Macchia brings more than 15 years of prolific industry experience to his position as Executive Chef of The Florentine. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Macchia began his career with a two-year tenure at the world-renowned Gotham Bar & Grill in New York City, before heading west to join the culinary team at the five-star, five-diamond Four Seasons Hotel in Maui. From there, he moved to Chicago to serve as chef de cuisine for KDK Restaurant Group, specifically managing Red Light and Saiko restaurants, as well as for the Peninsula Hotel. Most recently, Macchia received the Jean Banchet Rising Star Chef award for his work at Coco Pazzo in 2011.
Chef de Cuisine, BLT Steak Waikiki
Johan Svensson was born on the small island of Torsö in Sweden. He worked his way through several positions in the restaurant industry in his homeland before making the move to the U.S. to join the team at Aquavit. After spending over 10 years honing his skills is various restaurants in both New York and London, he returned to Aquavit as executive chef in 2006. In 2009, Svensson joined BLT Steak at Trump International Hotel™ Waikiki Beach Walk® as chef de cuisine, artfully adding a global flavor to the successful French-inflected interpretation of the classic American steakhouse.
Chef de Cuisine, BLT Burger Las Vegas
Born and raised in South Gate, California, Juan Zuniga grew up with a passion for the culinary arts, which was inspired by his grandmother’s Mexican cooking. At age 15, after enrolling in a high school home economics course, Zuniga decided to pursue a career as a chef. After years of experience in California kitchens, Zuniga was recruited as a sous chef for BLT Burger at MGM Mirage in 2008, where he quickly rose to Chef de Cuisine. At BLT Burger, Zuniga regularly develops new and interesting menu items, from bold and quirky Super Bowl burgers to appetizer specials, using seasonal ingredients.
Corporate Executive Chef, ESquared Hospitality
Throughout his culinary journey, Chef Cliff Crooks has continuously grown his cooking skills and style by apprenticing with some of the restaurant industry’s finest chefs on both the East and West coasts. Crooks, who polished his culinary talents in some of New York City’s most popular establishments, including Blue Water Grill and Gramercy Tavern, joined BLT Steak as Executive Chef in August 2010. Committed to incorporating his love for vegetables into salads, side dishes and weekly blackboard specials, Crooks creates dishes that highlight his extensive knowledge of fresh local produce, while maintaining the quality and standards that guests have come to expect from BLT Steak. After almost two years leading the kitchen at ESquared’s flagship restaurant, Chef Cliff Crooks was named Corporate Executive Chef — inspiring culinary growth across the family of restaurants.