Culinary Agents is dedicated to connecting, developing, and inspiring the world's current and future food, beverage, and hospitality professionals.
Industry Advisory Board
Anthony Rudolf has nearly 20 years in the restaurant industry. He started as an aspiring Chef at the age of 15 which led him to pursue two degrees from The Culinary Institute of America, an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors Degree in Professional Studies. He has ran operations in New York for Chef Thomas Keller and Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
While attending the Culinary Institute of America, Anthony changed his focus from an aspiring Chef to a dedicated dining room and hospitality professional. Anthony was the Service Director for Chef Jean-Georges’ flagship, 3 star Michelin restaurant, Jean Georges. In June 2006, Anthony joined Chef Thomas Keller at the world renowned restaurant, Per Se where he led the team as a Maitre d’, General Manager and eventually leading all of the New York properties as the Director of Operations including Per Se and two Bouchon Bakeries. He oversaw the training, mentoring, financial performance and quality of experience for the guests and the staff. During his tenure with Chefs Keller and Vongerichten, both restaurants achieved 4 star reviews from the New York Times along with 3 star Michelin awards year over year. At Per Se, the service team was voted Best Service by the Zagat Guide book 7 years in a row along with a James Beard award for Outstanding Service in 2011.
He is the founder and CEO of Journee: a company that empowers and educates restaurant professionals at all levels. He also Co-Founded The Welcome Conference: a first of its kind hospitality conference bringing together industry leaders to inspire, share and connect. He is currently an Ambassador of The Culinary Institute of America and has spoken on the topic of hospitality at numerous professional institutions along with a speech on Chivalry at TEDxEast in 2011.
Bobby Stuckey is a Master Sommelier and Owner of Frasca Food and Wine and Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, CO. He is also Owner of the fast casual concept of Pizzeria Locale in Denver, in partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill. Mr. Stuckey was Wine Director of The French Laundry from 2000 – 2003 before moving to Boulder and opening Frasca Food and Wine with chef and business partner Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson in 2004.
Before joining the staff of The Little Nell restaurant in Aspen as a sommelier in 1995, Bobby Stuckey began his distinguished career working in restaurants in his native Arizona. During his five-year tenure at The Little Nell, the restaurant received numerous awards for wine and service, including Gourmet’s “Best Wine Service” Award; Mobile Travel Guide’s Five Star Hotel and Restaurant Rating; Wine Spectator’s Grand Award; and a nomination from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Wine Service.
In 2000, Stuckey joined world-renowned chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Yountville, California. Within his first year, Stuckey earned the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Wine Service Award and San Francisco Magazine recognized him as “Wine Director of the Year.” The French Laundry is also where he met his future business partner, chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson. Before Stuckey left The French Laundry in May 2003, the restaurant received the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant Service.
With the vision of opening a neighborhood restaurant reminiscent of the Italian frascas they had visited in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Stuckey and Mackinnon Patterson opened their first restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine, in August 2004 in Boulder, CO. Having researched and traveled throughout Italy many times, both were deeply inspired by this region in particular — the international influences of its cuisine, the profusion of local ingredients in its rustic yet elegant dishes, its passionate relationship between food and wine, and the gracious hospitality of the locals.
In 2004, Stuckey also earned the Master Sommelier Diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. This diploma is considered by many to be the ultimate professional credential in the wine and spirits services industry. In 2008, Stuckey was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Frasca Food and Wine was nominated for Outstanding Wine Service, winning the prestigious award in 2013. These distinctions notwithstanding, Stuckey walks the dining room nightly, enthusiastically dispensing advice, recommendations, and sharing his passion for wine with Frasca guests.
Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson opened Pizzeria Locale Boulder, a contemporary pizzeria inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples, Italy, in January 2011. Pizzeria Locale, a full-service restaurant adjacent to sister restaurant Frasca, was created as a result of the founders’ culinary travels throughout Italy and years of fine dining experience, and it serves the highest quality ingredients in a contemporary, interactive atmosphere.
In May 2013, and in partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill, Pizzeria Locale Denver opened at 550 Broadway as the first fast-casual location, with a simplified menu and a revolutionary custom-designed oven, cooking pizzas in under two minutes. A second fast-casual location of Pizzeria Locale opened in October 2014 at 3484 West 32nd Avenue in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. Frasca Food and Wine and the original Pizzeria Locale in Boulder remain solely owned by Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson and are not part of this partnership nor are they affiliated in any way with Chipotle.
There is nothing quite like the frenetic and fleeting seasonality of the upper Midwest to inspire a soulful cook. For Chef Gavin Kaysen, an old soul at heart, this idea beckoned him back home to Minneapolis to open Spoon and Stable in the North Loop neighborhood in fall 2014. “Cooking is very emotional for me; I have to cook how I feel,” Kaysen says. “There’s something to be said for how you feel emotionally as one season gives way to the next, when it snows, rains, or is sunny. I never thought about that growing up here, but coming back, I see that now.”
Even though the award-winning chef has cooked in top kitchens throughout the U.S. and Europe, Kaysen gravitates most toward traditional Heartland dishes—the kind he grew up eating and cooking. “I love the classics. Starting with my grandmother, we always cooked very classical American dishes, like pot roast and chicken. I’m taking the knowledge I have now to shift, change, and morph those at Spoon and Stable.”
The chef refined his dexterity in contemporary American fine dining by dedicating time to some of the world’s best restaurants. After graduating in 2001 from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT, Kaysen worked at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, CA; L’Auberge de Lavaux in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the famed L’Escargot in London, before becoming executive chef at El Bizcocho in San Diego, where he was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs. In late 2007, he joined Chef Daniel Boulud as chef de cuisine of Café Boulud in New York City, where he later earned the James Beard Rising Star Chef award and a coveted Michelin star. While there, he discovered so much more than tangible, technical skills. “It was like getting my master’s and PhD with Daniel and his organization,” he explains. “I learned so much about hospitality, about the business, cooking—but more importantly, I learned a lot about soulful food. When he cooks, it’s all about spontaneity, which I have discovered is how I really thrive, too.”
Today, Kaysen helps the next generation of young culinarians refine their skills in the kitchen. He is one of the founding mentors of the nonprofit ment’or BKB Foundation (formerly Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation), for which he currently serves as Team USA’s head coach in preparing for the famed biennial culinary competition that showcases the world’s best up-and-coming chefs. Kaysen brings an intimate knowledge of the Bocuse d’Or competition, as he proudly represented the U.S. in 2007. In 2015, he successfully led Team USA to a record-breaking Second Place victory, the first medal and podium placement for the United States.
Kaysen lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, he tends to the strawberries, peppers, zucchini, cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, and tomatoes growing in his home garden.
Chef Johnny Iuzzini, award-winning pastry chef, hails from the Catskills region in upstate New York. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with over twenty years of kitchen experience, Johnny honed his craft at highly lauded dining locations such as The River Café, Daniel, Payard, Café Boulud and Jean Georges in New York City.
In 2006, the James Beard Foundation awarded Johnny “Pastry Chef of the Year.” In addition he has been recognized as one of the “10 Most Influential Pastry Chefs in America” by Forbes, “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine, and named one of the “Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America” two years in a row by Pastry Arts and Design. He has appeared on numerous national television shows including Today, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, Live with Regis and Kelly, Iron Chef: America and Cutthroat Kitchen. Johnny was the head judge of Bravo’s culinary competition series Top Chef: Just Desserts for two seasons.
During his near decade as the Executive Pastry Chef at Restaurant Jean Georges, the restaurant received four stars from the New York Times, three Michelin stars, and was considered one of the world’s fifty greatest restaurants. After leaving Restaurant Jean Georges Johnny started his own pastry consulting company, aptly named Sugar Fueled Inc. Johnny is a Chef Ambassador for Family Reach Foundation, a member of the Macy’s Culinary Council and an LM100 member of Le Méridien Hotels. As part of his global éclair program partnership with Le Méridien Hotels, Johnny is creating seasonal éclair recipes and being featured in a video series, inspired by his travels through various Le Méridien destinations. He is the author of DESSERT FOURPLAY: Sweet Quartets From A Four-Star Pastry Chef and SUGAR RUSH: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking.
Julie is an accomplished executive with more than 20 years of experience related to her field. Prior to joining the TKRG team, she worked at the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corporation in Homewood, IL—one of the largest providers of Senior Services in the US—where she held the position of senior vice president of strategic resources. During her tenure, she successfully led the organization’s strategic planning, human resource, sales and marketing departments.
She also worked at Advocate Healthcare in Oakbrook, IL, where she started as a human resource specialist, and she rose to the level of director of human resources, in recognition of her many accomplishments.
Julie received her certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources in 1999. She has pursued a Masters of Science degree at the Keller School of Management in Oakbrook, IL, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management from the Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, IN.
She has many professional affiliations including the Society for Human Resource Management and the Society for Healthcare Marketing Strategy. She is an Advisory Board Member for the Women in Leadership Program for Loyola University.
A skilled professional speaker, Julie has led various speaking engagements for the past seven years for numerous associations including the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administrators and the Catholic Healthcare Association, and the Kentucky Health Association.
A Chicago native, Kimberly Galban was introduced to hospitality at a very young age. Some of her earliest memories were around the dinner table with her French grandmother and Filipino grandfather for “Sunday Suppers.” While enjoying cuisine from each of their backgrounds, Galban would listen to her grandfather’s stories from working as a restaurant host. He described it as “the best job I ever had. I got paid to do something I truly loved, taking care of guests.”
In 1998, Galban enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago to obtain her bachelor’s degree. Looking to balance her studies and finances, and with her grandfather’s voice in her head, she took a job in the food industry.
Galban first joined the restaurant group in 1999 as a hostess for Blackbird. She quickly fell in love with the hospitality industry, and after graduating from the university she focused on restaurants full time. Her food expertise and superior guest service was evident, and Galban was promoted to Blackbird’s manager in 2002.
In 2004, after helping open acclaimed avec restaurant, Galban recognized an opportunity for growth with the Park Hyatt Chicago, and became the assistant manager at the esteemed NoMI Restaurant. In her five years with Hyatt, Galban filled several roles—from Banquet Director to Group Room Sales to Director of Private Events— each position afforded her the opportunity to refine her innate sense of hospitality and genuine enthusiasm for service.
Galban rejoined the restaurant group in 2008 as the Publican’s General Manager, which opened in October of that year. Serving as the face of the Publican for its first three years of operation, Galban continued to cultivate a level of service that surpassed guest expectations. In June of 2011, with the creation of One Off Hospitality Group, Galban signed on as Director of Operations and shortly after was promoted to Vice President of Operations.
In addition to her duties as Vice President of Operations, Galban is a managing partner for Nico Osteria, bringing her hospitality experience back into a hotel setting.
Ron Hayes is a writer, educator, and student advocate who currently works as the Associate Director—Career Services at The Culinary Institute of America. Ron has dedicated the past 10 years to assisting CIA students and alumni with developing their career paths. Ron is the author of three books, including the career management manual Creating Your Culinary Career (Wiley 2013).
Sabato Sagaria brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role at bartaco, with two decades of culinary, beverage, and leadership roles at esteemed restaurants and hotels around the country. Sagaria oversees the concept's overall vision and growth to support its expansion.
Prior to joining Barteca Restaurant Group as President of bartaco, Sagaria served as Chief Restaurant Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), where he oversaw the company's New York-based restaurants, facilitating their growth from nine to 17 concepts in four years. In addition to his operational responsibilities, he directed USHG's centralized functions of facilities management, information technology, public relations, and marketing to help elevate restaurant operations, guest experience and the USHG brand.
A graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and in 2012, Sabato is also a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, an honor held by fewer than 250 individuals worldwide.