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.
Executive Chef, BLT Steak
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 Doral National Resort
Originally from San Diego, the future Chef de Cuisine of BLT Prime attended his first cooking class at age ten and by fifteen was catering events and parties for the teachers in his high school. After earning a culinary arts degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Chef Ward worked in renowned kitchens as L’Escalier, Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Cielo, Chef Jose Andres’ The Bazaar, and The Butcher Shop. As chef de cuisine at the recently opened BLT Prime at the newly renovated Trump National Doral Resort, Ward enjoys bringing fresh local ingredients and Florida’s distinct flavors to the modern American steakhouse’s contemporary menu.
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 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
A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Montpelier, VT, Chef Manuel Trevino has worked in famed New York kitchens including Le Cirque, Babbo, Dos Caminos, LAVO, and Travertine. Chef Trevino’s work has received a number of awards and accolades, including Adam Platt’s 2010 “Where to Eat” list for New York Magazine, three stars from Time Out New York during his time at Travertine, and a successful run on Bravo’s hit television series Top Chef. In 2014, Chef Trevino joined ESquared Hospitality as Corporate Executive Chef, where his first project was to share his vision of modern Mexican cooking at new West Village eatery Horchata, paying homage to traditional regional cuisine while incorporating unique, playful influences.