Executive Chef, Casa Nonna
Born in the Dominican Republic, Chef Julio Genao sees many similarities between the meals his mother and grandmother served while growing up and the Italian cuisine he eventually fell in love with. “They’re both homey, comforting and down-to-earth. I’m attracted to that. I’ve always been drawn to working with rustic cuisine.” Originally an artist before deciding the plate was his best canvas, Chef Genao worked in the kitchens of Union Pacific, Calle Ocho and Park Avenue Café and Tabla.
At Casa Nonna, Chef Genao relishes the opportunity to share his vision of fresh, seasonal ingredients and traditional Italian cooking.
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.
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.
Executive Chef, BLT Fish
Prior to joining BLT Fish, Chef Luke was the Chef de Cuisine at Millwright’s Restaurant, where he played an instrumental role in the concept, development and design of this Connecticut eatery. Chef Luke’s New England-inspired cuisine was praised by The New York Times, and Millwright’s was the first restaurant in the Farmington Valley region to receive perfect reviews from every local publication.
Chef Luke began his career in the Western half of the country, serving as Chef de Cuisine at Larkspur Restaurant in Vail, CO and The Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe, NM, in addition to assisting in the opening of Redd Restaurant in Yountville, CA as Chef de Partie. Following his move to the East Coast, Chef Luke helped open Two Steak & Sushi Den in Hyde Park, NY.
Chef de Cuisine, BLT Prime New York
Chef Coby Farrow attended the Institute of Culinary Education and then proceeded to work in some of New York City’s most prestigious kitchens, including Megu, Soho House, The Tasting Room, Madaleine Mae, Barbuto, The Spotted Pig, Bedford and Berry, Ward III, Sweet Chick and PJ Clarke’s SIDECAR. Chef Farrow is also a founding member of The Secret Table, a chefs’ collective that produces invite-only dinner experiences and pop-up culinary events. Chef Farrow has also worked with the Department of Juvenile Justice to teach at-risk youth the value of nutrition, cooking and preparing meals for themselves, and is also a frequent speaker at the French Culinary Institute, where he mentors graduating students on potential career paths in the restaurant world.
Chef de Cuisine, BLT Prime Doral National Resort
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.
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 DC
Chef Jeremy Shelton leads the kitchen as Chef de Cuisine, at the acclaimed downtown DC power spot BLT Steak. A rising culinary star hailing from the warm coast of Miami, Chef Shelton has worked at some of the country’s finest restaurants including Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau and Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, and has brought inspiration and innovation to BLT Steak’s award-winning kitchen. Chef Shelton works with the restaurant’s team to perfectly execute the menu of modern American fare, while also imparting his own distinctive cooking style, innovative perspective on fine dining and creative techniques
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.
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.
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.
Corporate Executive Chef, ESquared Hospitality
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 where he continues to foster his farm-to-table philosophy incorporating local, sustainable products onto the menu.