My passion for the culinary arts began at an early age with my mother’s creative and experimental approach to home cooked meals. Born and raised in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, I was always intrigued by the high-energy atmosphere of restaurant kitchens and began working in restaurants washing dishes while still a teenager. Between the ages of 17 and 22, I received on-the-job training, working a variety of positions in over thirty restaurants, country clubs and hotels, mastering each kitchen before moving on to the next. During this time, I worked with Chef/Restaurateur Jerry Wilson to open four fine dining destinations in South Bend, Indiana.
At the age of 23, I decided it was time to leave Indiana and moved to Southern California, where I spent roughly four years working at Hemmingway’s, a small mom-and-pop restaurant in Newport Beach. I was blown away by the diversity of West Coast ingredients that I'd never seen in the Midwest.
In 1987, I moved to Northern California accepting a position as Executive Chef at Corona Bar & Grill in San Francisco. After nearly a year at Corona Bar & Grill, I was asked to fill in at Kuleto’s Italian Restaurant and shortly thereafter assumed the position of Executive Chef. New to Italian cuisine, I took several educational trips to Italy and immediately fell in love with the country’s simple, rustic approach to cooking and commitment to fresh, handmade ingredients. Back in California, I took inspiration from my culinary roots and recent travels to create fresh, simple and flavorful Italian-inspired cuisine with a seasonal Californian flair.
After 13 years in the kitchen at Kuleto’s, I was given the opportunity to open several high-profile, fine-dining restaurants across the country including Jsix and Jbar in San Diego, Ponzu in San Francisco and Poste in Washington D.C. I returned to the kitchen at Kuleto’s with great enthusiasm in 2006, where my contemporary Italian cuisine continues to attract both locals and visitors alike.
While not in the kitchen, I spend time with my wife and son at our home in Fairfax, just north of San Francisco, where I also spend time outside gardening, hiking, fishing and grilling delicious meals for my family.
Awards, Honors and Societies
I contribute to local charitable organizations with his “Chef for a Day Program” which benefits the San Francisco food bank, as well as lending my culinary expertise as a teacher at the Tenderloin Community Center’s “CHEFS” program, giving San Francisco’s homeless an opportunity to get off the streets with valuable restaurant skills.