Friday, June 6, 2008

Meet the Team!

Carrie Nahabedian

Most recently executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Carrie Nahabedian returned to her native Chicago 8 years ago to open her award winning and highly acclaimed restaurant NAHA .

Her impressive resume spans more than 24 years and is peppered with names like the Ritz-Carlton, Le Perroquet, Le Francais, Sinclair's and the Four Seasons Hotel, where she served as executive chef for three company properties.

Chef Carrie's cooking style is a combination of her Armenian roots and a California lifestyle that she enjoyed during her years as executive chef for the Four Season's Santa Barbara and Beverly Hills properties.
Among her many accolades, Carrie just recieved the 2008 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Great Lakes region!

Sarah Stegner

After graduating from the Dumas Pere Cooking School in Glencoe, which at the time was one of the few professional culinary schools in the Chicago area, Sarah Stegner began as an apprentice at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chicago, under the guiding hands of executive chef Fernand Gutierrez and never looked back.

Over the years, Stegner received numerous accolades that built her reputation and that of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton - including receiving the Rising Star Chef of the Year award from the James Beard Foundation in 1994. Additionally, in 1995 she received the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award Of Excellence. In 1996, 1997 and 1998 she was nominated for Best Chef: Midwest by the James Beard Foundation, winning the prestigious award in 1998.

Both Carrie and Sarah put a lot of emphasis on using locally produced ingredients in their restaurants.

Sarah and Carrie currently serve on the Green City Market board of directors and dedicate an incredible amount of time and energy to the Market - supporting events, participating in cooking demonstrations, and more.

Rohit Nambiar

Rohit Nambiar builds on an amazing professional history in the hospitality industry. The Bombay, India native recently left the exquisite Four Seasons Hotel, after working with the company since his arrival to the United States in 1997, to collaborate with his wife, co-executive chef Sarah Stegner, and join the Prairie Grass Cafe team.
As general manager and director of the restaurant’s wine program, Nambiar shows only excitement for this new adventure that is also a family affair. “Colleagues have always joked that Sarah and I should work together at some point, so this is all very natural,” he adds with a warm, reflective smile.

Regardless of Nambiar’s worldly training and professional history working with the hospitality elite, his philosophy about customer service and the role of his staff is actually quite simple. He is confident that the friendly service will make the customers feel relaxed and adds that, “good service comes from within, it’s not only about being polite and efficient, it’s about anticipating guests’ needs before they even realize what they want.”

Linda Calafiore

Linda Calafiore joins us from California – but her Chicago roots are strong! After working as a Contract Administrator for the Illinois State Board of Education managing vocational programs for government employment and training programs, Linda founded The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, a professional culinary school, in 1983. At the time of its sale in 2000 to a publicly traded company, Career Education Corporation, it was the largest culinary school in the Midwest with a staff of 65 and a regionally accredited associate degree program.

Like Carrie and Sarah, Linda has also spent quality time working with The Green City Market, and was a member of the Board of Directors, serving as Secretary and Treasurer from 1999 – 2004. While in Chicago she was also a member of the Slow Food Chicago Board of Directors, and remains an active member of her local Monterey chapter.

Linda is currently Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Carmel Chapter of The American Red Cross where she focuses on fund raising and program delivery efforts, and is an active member, of the Heritage Garden League of Monterey where she provides program support to help maintain the historic gardens of Monterey.

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