Board of Members

Board of Members

Click on photo to view biography of each Member

Chairman of the Board


Mark M. Baida, CEC, CCA 
Work ph: 909-390-0032
Home ph: 213-713-7392   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Robert W. Phillips, 

Work ph: (818) 904-3694
Home ph: (323) 301-0806
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Vice President

2nd Vice President

Alexis Higgins, CEC
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Martin Gilligan,

Work ph: (818) 364-7721
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Certification Chair

Board Member Apprenticeship

Dr. Eloise Cantrell CEC, CCE, AAC

Chair Ben Diaz

Daniel Csostai

Larry Monaco

Membership at Large

AAC Chair (American Academy of Chefs)
Asif Ahmed Daniel Drumlake
Student Vice President

Scholarship Chair

Ann Marie Luna
935 Sunset Avenue Venice, CA 90291
Work Ph: (310) 314-5533 
Fax: (310) 314-5544 
Cell: (310) 650-7900 
4th quarter Culinary Arts Student

Chef Robert Higgins
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Education Chair
Membership Chairman 
 Joseph Gillard 

Eric Ernest
Executive Chef












Mark M. Baida - President

My Fellow Culinarians,mark thb

I welcome you to our world…”The World of Culinary”.
This is a very special world where everything has a point and purpose, where the disciplined and strong survive, where personal blood, sweat, and tears pushes us to achieve greatness, where smells and sites will captivate you, where tastes can place you in a comma paradise, where you will meet the most amazing people from all over the world, where you repeat to others some of your greatest/happiest times in your life, and where you can personally be a part of it and grow your endeavors for ever – it all starts and ends with you!

Being a member of anything you need to become involve. Sitting on the sidelines and watching you will miss out on many opportunities to network, learn, socialize, and most importantly be an integral part of our profession. If we are the authorities on food in the United States, we need to get out and let people know, we are one of the best kept secrets in our community We also need to continue to grow for this organization to remain instrumental in our industry for those here today as well as those that are just starting out or will be arriving in the future. We need to look at the students and MENTOR them as we talk about how they are the future, yes, they are also the NOW. If ten percent of the student members become professionals every year we would double the size of our chapter again. We have certification for culinarians that is second to none. With it now being accredited, we need to let everyone know, and not just the country club chef or the hotel chef. We need to talk with the grocery store chefs, retirement communities, nutritionist, research & development, cooks, enthusiast who just love to cook, and yes even the fast food cooks who one day may become a Master Chef. I think sometimes we forget where we began. How many of us started out doing dishes at a very young age? We need to step out of our comfort zone and invite others to join us, at heart we are all COOKS!

Our chapter continues to grow and evolve through the years, I am so proud to represent you as your president and carry on the brotherhood that started back 1923. Times are changing and to present to you our brand new website/media center for all members and future members of ACF-LA is very exciting. Just as exciting is our consistent approach to building our chapter throughout the greatest city in the country – Los Angeles. Remember it all starts and ends with you, but in the culinary world…you’re only as good as your team, so come on and lets us help you reach your goals and together we can reach ours.

Thank You & Savor Cuisine!  

Mark M. Baida, CEC, CCA, ACE
Chef de Cuisine of California /
American Culinary Federation, Los Angeles

Robert W. Phillips

Robert W. Phillips

Executive Chef

Robert W. Phillips oversees the culinary department as Executive Chef of the Commerce Casino & Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Chef Phillips arrived at Commerce Casino after his five-year tenure as Executive Chef of USC Hospitality Services.  There he led the culinary team in the daily execution of foods for thirty-three restaurants and catering operations.  A native of Maryland, Chef Phillips attended the famed Culinary Institute of America. He is a certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation (ACF), as well as past President of the Inland Empire Chefs & Cooks Association.

Prior to working at USC, Chef Phillips cultivated his expertise at a host of other leading hotels and restaurants.  At the Anaheim Convention Center as the Executive Chef he orchestrated events serving up to seven course plated meals to guests numbering from 10,000 to 100,000 in walk-up restaurant operations.  He also held the position of District Chef for the renowned World Wide Sodexho Marriott Corporation where he oversaw 149 restaurants in 70 facilities throughout Southern California.  He also served as chef at the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center in Santa Barbara, California.

Phillips has coordinated several James Beard Foundation functions as Host Chef while serving as Executive Chef for the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. During his tenure at that Crowne Plaza, Phillips earned many accolades including the Mobile Five Star and AAA Five Diamond ratings. He received notoriety for the cuisine served in the prestigious restaurant at the Crowne Plaza, just steps away from famed Rodeo Drive.

Chef Phillips began his highly skilled career in Switzerland, where for two years he apprenticed with a number of preeminent Swiss & French chefs.

Chef Phillips currently serves on the Orange County chapter of the ACF as a committee chair for the 2010 American Chefs Association Convention coming this summer to Anaheim. 

While at the helm of Commerce Casino & Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chef Phillips opened Stakes Supper Club-- a very affordable California Steak House-- to much acclaim.The Chef’s favorite dishes include the classics, like Steak Diane, done simply and to perfection with a fresh trendy edge. His hallmark is bold flavor, fire charred steaks with good simple salads and great service.

Phillips also “dabbles” in the art of ice sculpture, traveling to Alaska to further his skills.  Mastering this hobby, he brings your ice dreams to a fabulous reality.

Alexis Higgins

Chef Alexis Higgins is a certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation. For the past 16 years she have served as an adjunct instructor in Professional Studies/Culinary Arts-Foodservice Management on campus and at off-site locations which are partnered with Los Angeles County Office of Education at various probation camps serving a diverse population of high –risk youth. The off-campus site has been a rewarding experience, which has required non-traditional learning community teaching techniques, team teaching, and hands-on activities that recognize the various differences, and literacy, emotional, and social needs of incarcerated students. Chef Higgins became increasingly aware of her individual strengths to motivate students and generate instructional activities that would lead to a career pathway upon their release. Her rapport with students, parents, and co-workers not only benefitted her classes but the educational institution and probation camp environment. Part of the teaching success has been the organized lesson plans and curriculum that accommodated their dynamic varied learning styles and socio-economic cultures. With my educational, professional industry background, and strong curriculum development skills, I am able to deliver confidence, passion and knowledge to enable each student to reach his or her full potential. An experience that is part of her teaching is her HACCP training achieved through a federal grant. Chef Alexis was selected to assist HACCP training with local food manufacturers to achieve sanitation and safety in the manufacturing of food products.

My experiences as a chef educator are as follows:
Experience: 2000 – Present Camp David Gonzales School Culinary Arts Instructor

Chef Higgins designed a collaborative Culinary Arts program for Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC) and Camp David Gonzales (LACOE). The program allows students to earn college credits while incarcerated and gives them job placement upon completion of their vocational programs when released. This is an innovative way to help students (youth 15-21) in probation camps re-structure their lives and successfully return to their community.

1998 to present, Chef Higgins is an instructor-Los Angeles Mission College, Sylmar, CA .

Chef Higgins has taught a variety of classes at the college such as: Food Production I and II / Foods laboratory, Food Cost Control, Introduction into Hospitality, Supervision /Management, Food Safety and Sanitation. In addition Chef Alexis has taught over 15 years in the on-site food lab at a probation camp. She acquired the funds for new equipment and had the opportunity to design her facility which includes the ability to do online interactive courses using technology in the laboratory and lecture classes. This experience is based upon the “learning community concept of teaching which combines culinary curriculum with math, science, history, and environmental science.

Chef Alexis has taught classes off-site at (Phoenix House), home for disadvantaged youth.

She had been instrumental in food preparation for 2,000 students on a daily basis as part of her teaching the Food Production classes at LAMC. She is currently teaching Culinary Arts 101/102 at two of the area Juvenile Camps - Miller and Scudder.

Chef Alexis worked in 1997 – 1998 at -Boise State University, Boise, ID as an instructor in the Culinary Department teaching a variety of classes including Food Service Supervision, Dietary Management, and Culinary Arts 101/102. Chef Higgins additionally taught classes in a variety of ethnic cuisines including Chinese, Italian, etc.

During 1996 – 1997- she worked at Vintage Gardens, Modesto, CA as the Certified Executive Chef and
provided food for banquets and catered weddings and special events. She performed a variety of duties including ordering, menu planning, inventory control, staff supervision and training. Chef created multi-course menus for intimate wine cellar dinners.

1995 – 1996 gave her experience at-Jane Butel’s Cooking School, Albuquerque, NM as chef/instructor teaching courses concentrating on Southwestern Cuisine developed by noted author and television personality Jane Butel.

1979 – 1991, Chef Alexis Higgins worked at Alfano’s Italian Restaurant, Myrtle Beach, SC as the Executive Chef which was a high-volume-upscale restaurant. She oversaw preparations for opening of three restaurants. Responsible for ordering, menu design.

Education-1998 – 2000 Los Angeles Mission College, Sylmar, CA Associate of Arts Degree, President’s Honors Award,
Currently she is attending classes to receive her BA in Education

Certificates of Completion include: Certified Executive Chef* Since 1987 to Present, SDIAE, Certified HACCP Trainer, Certified Food Handler Instructor and Proctor.

Professional Organizations: Member of IFSEA, Vice President, Boise Chapter ACF 1997, Chef of the Year, Myrtle Beach Chapter 1995, American Culinary Federation 1984- Present

Martin Gilligan

Chef Martin Gilligan CEC

CHEF MARTIN GILLIGANChef Martin “Marty” Gilligan CEC discovered his passion for cooking whileworking in the kitchen of his father’s restaurant  in the Hamptons, New York. During this period, Gilligan honed his skills and gained valuable insights into how the culinary industry operates. Gilligan went on to graduate, with honors, from the Culinary Institute of America. He went on to be certified with The American Culinary Federation as a “Certified Executive Chef” and with The International Foodservice Executives Association as a “Master Certified Food Service Executive”.

Chef Gilligan has shared his more than 30 years of experience and culinary expertise as an instructor in culinary arts, professional baking and food service management at Los Angeles Mission College. He has also taught at Le Cordon Bleu, The Art Institute, and  Johnson and Wales University. With culinary tenure at the Four Seasons Hotel, in both California and New York.  He went on to hold the title of Executive Sous Chef at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan as well as Executive Chef at The Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens in LA. Chef Gilligan’s career  has given him the distinction of cooking for four United States Presidents along with celebrities, world leaders and dignitaries along the way. Chef Gilligan continues to enjoy a deeply rewarding and satisfying career.

Gilligan has also been profiled on KCAL9 and Fox Television’s “Career Day” on Good Day L.A. look for his videos Click Here


Dr.Eloise Cantrell

20151112 153647 2
Chef Eloise Fernandez –Cantrell holds the distinction of LIFETIME certification as a certified executive chef CEC, certified culinary educator CCE, and a member of the esteemed Academy of Chefs AAC of the American Culinary Federation. She has worked in the hospitality industry her entire adult life. She started as a waitress and food preparer as he worked her way through college majoring in food science which prepared her for her career in dietetics and food service. 


She has held various positions in the field of Culinary Arts, and Food Service/ Management. Chef Fernandez has worked in the corporate culinary world for the Marriott Corporation. She owned and operated a successful catering business, “Personal Touch Design” for 18 years.


Chef Fernandez earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and a double Master of Science degree in Family Consumer Science Nutrition with an emphasis in Gerontology from California State University, Northridge. She holds a doctorate in Administration of Higher Education, Nova Southwestern, Florida.


Dr. Cantrell’s most recent professional career included serving the Los Angeles Community College District at Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC) as Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Culinary Arts/Food Service Management. She served 16 years as Dean of Academic Affairs at Los Angeles Mission College and is the founder (1991) of the LAMC’s Culinary Arts Institute.


After 40 years of dedication to educational service training in the culinary field she retired.


Dr. Eloise Fernandez –Cantrell in 2015 was awarded the Chefs De Cuisine of California-Los Angeles


(OTTO SPITZMAN) Lifetime Achievement award. Chef Fernandez has a long list of recognitions and awards throughout her career as a dedicated culinarian and educator.


She has served as the vice president 2002-2006, and served as certification chair for the Chef de Cuisine of Los Angeles chapter 1992-present and has been a board member for many years. Chef Fernandez-Cantrell has served on several National ACF committees including “Access”. Currently she serves as the Western Region representative on the ACF National Elections committee. Please introduce yourself to her and let her know how she can assist you in your professional growth. She welcomes getting to know and serve you.


Dr. Eloise Fernandez Cantrell is committed to promoting service to others and helping Chefs achieve their personal goals in reaching their professional chef certifications from the American Culinary Federation.  

Chair Ben Diaz

Board Member Apprenticeship

chair1Born in Los Angeles, California, Chef Ben Diaz has always had a fascination with cooking, which stemmed from
watching his father (an already accomplished chef himself) cooking and making breakfast. “Watching my dad cook breakfast and seeing the passion he had for his craft really inspired me,” says Chef Ben.


 Chef Ben is a graduate of the prestigious California School of Culinary Arts, he is a coveted freelance chef and consultant who has been inducted into the “Les Amis d’Escoffier Society”, Cambridge “Who’s Who of Culinary Professionals” and “World Master Chefs Society”.


Chef Ben holds six certifications, including Certified Hospitality Department Trainer and Certified Food and Beverage Executive; he has worked alongside the world’s top chefs as a member of the Los Angeles Chefs de Cuisine Association. Chef Ben is also a publish author with “From a Cook To a Professional” a culinary reference book that Chef Ben created and launch in 2011, with all this and more going on Chef Ben also finds time in his busy schedule to work with local charities most notable are the Boys and Girls Club of San Gabriel and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Irvine.


Chef Ben has worked in some of the best restaurants in town including The Silver Trumpet Restaurant, JW Marriott and Stockdale Country Club where the main focus was on fresh seasonal and locally grown produce.


Currently Chef Ben is working on several new projects; one being the opening of his first brick and mortar restaurant slatted for late 2017 and a second cookbook focusing on small plates, Chef Ben is currently on the culinary council board for Basil Magazine, and is brand ambassador for Surfas Culinary District and Guerrero Foods. Chef Ben is an abet competitor most notable awards where for World Chard Champion (pork division), Western Regional Champion for Phillips King Crab, San Diego Food Fest Grand Champion and appearances on food networks chef wanted and cutthroat kitchen. With all the knowledge that Chef Ben possesses he has no plans on slowing down.




Chef Daniel Csotai

Chef Daniel Csotai is the director of the culinary team at Tula 's Restaurant and for all outlets and Catering at The Beverly Garland. Having graduated from the National Culinary School in Miskolc , Hungary , fate eventually led him to Los Angeles . Prior to joining our team, Chef Dani was executive chef at the Woodland Hills Country Club where his talents flourished.

He uses sustainable proteins, local organic produce and whole grain pastas and breads. At the right time on Sunday you may even catch him at the Studio City Farmer’s market sourcing local ingredients to be used in his cooking. His flavor combinations are exquisite and sure to please the most discerning of diners.

He has now been with the Beverly Garland for over seven years.

He shares, "I've found it a pleasure to create our newest menu. The team at Tula's Restaurant has given me a opportunity to bring my experience and training and blend it with the local culture and cuisine resulting in a multitude of offerings that are both hearty and light”.  

Larry Monaco

An Orange County, CA native, Larry Monaco has over two decades of culinary experience cooking for a multitude of high-end, reputable kitchens. Most recently, Chef Monaco worked as a chef consultant for Neal Fraser and Cedd Moses opening the new Fritzi DTLA and Arts District Brewing Company, and has also worked the kitchens at Danny Meyer’s renowned Gramercy Tavern in New York, Nordstrom in Seattle, Hotel MdR in Marina del Rey and Hotel Erwin in Venice, among others. Further, an advocate of volunteer work in his field, Monaco implemented the curriculum for Farestart, the culinary job training program in Seattle.

Now, as executive chef at Viceroy Santa Monica’s CAST Restaurant, Chef Monaco seeks to use the freshest ingredients and techniques to deliver his locally inspired culinary point of view. Chef Monaco’s menu focuses on local and in-season proteins and produce to create delectable dishes perfect for enjoying on CAST’s serene patio. With a passion for sustainable cuisine, Chef Monaco favors beach-driven cuisine, and has also worked to expand CAST’s housemade vegan and gluten-free menu options.

Asif Ahmed

Asif Ahmed - Executive Chef, GateGourmet, LAX.

Education Qualifications: Texas Southern University, Math Major 1981 – 1985

CFPP (Certified Food Protection Professional) 

Career Summary:

2006 – Present : Executive Chef, LAX, GateGourmet. Daily Execution of 1000+ Hot       Food Recipe and 2000+ total recipes producing 20,000+ daily meals       with 10 Airlines generating $70+ million revenue.

2000 – 2005Continental Airlines, Chelsea Food Service

Business Process Manager / Operations Manager – Redesigned Food facility IAH, EWR, CLE and LAX for Continental Airlines.

1990 – 2000LSG / Sky Chefs - Executive Chef, Dallas

Executive Chef o the LSG Flagship kitchen producing 20,000+ daily meals with 350+ daily flights generating US $60+ million revenue

1987 – 1990Lowes Anatole Hotel – Area Chef Manager

1760 Room Hotel in Dallas with $76M revenue and Eight Restaurants. 

1980 – 1987 Sheraton Astrodome, Houston: Hilton Southwest, Houston, Hyatt Regency, Houston, Texas; 

Consultant / Advisor -Food Leadership Network 

Tyson Corporation (1994 – 1998) 

Gilley’s Restaurants ( Menu design and Kitchen Design) -2000

Food Critic – For Mobil Restaurant Guide/Southwest (1994 – 1998)

Daniel Drumlake

Daniel Drumlake, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, WCC, ACE

Daniel Drumlake started his culinary journey in the Detroit area of Michigan where he was born and raised. After deciding forestry was not his career path (but still holds a love of nature and the outdoors), he joined the the American Culinary Federation in 1980 as a junior member when he was taking classes at not one, but two culinary schools at the same time. He did this while he was married, raising two young children and working in a restaurant as a line cook working over 40 hours a week!

After graduating from culinary school, he started working at his first country club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he worked all of the positions in the kitchen within a year and a half. Then he moved on to Dallas, Texas, where he started working for Club Corporation of America, the largest private club organization in the U.S., then with an excess of 250 clubs under its belt. He worked as Executive Chef for Braemar Country Club in Tarzana, CA for over 15 years and a total of 19 years with Club Corp.

Daniel was first associated with the ACF/Chef’s de Cuisine Association of California – Los Angeles, during a social event that he was invited to in April 1990. Later he would be a board member for approximately 10 years and participate in all of the board positions during that time. His key role of success was establishing the CCAC Golf Tournaments, along with golfing partner and fellow board member and mentor Luis Vega. Most of these tournaments at the time were hosted at Braemar Country Club.

His next chapter was to pursue more education, both by teaching and finishing some of his own education where he left off many years ago. He finished his associate degree at L.A. Mission College in Sylmar and finished his bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He started teaching part-time at The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles while he was still Executive Chef at Braemar Country Club. His new endeavor to leave the private club world and be a part of culinary education was a leap of faith – but one he has never looked back.

Daniel spent the past 14 years as assistant culinary director/culinary instructor with the Art Institutes of which he now is teaching part-time at the North Hollywood campus. He has taught off and on at College of the Canyons in Valencia in the culinary department and also does equipment demonstration for BKI Corporation. He has coached many culinary hot food and knowledge bowl teams for the Art Institutes. He has been appointed the AAC Chair position by CCAC President Philips in 2016.

He also works as a private consultant with specific clients. His hobbies are fishing, golfing, and is a muscle/sports car enthusiast (has owned four corvettes in past 20 years). He has been married for over 21 years and has two children.

Awards/ Honors: Chefs de Cuisine Association of California – Los Angeles, Chef of the Year (1999); A.C.F. Western Regional Chef of the Year, runner-up (2000), nominated as A.C.F. Western Regional Educator of the Year, (2010), Chapter Educator of the Year for ACF/Chefs de Cuisine of CA-LA, (2012), Coach- ACF Student Knowledge Bowl Team – Ai Santa Monica and North Hollywood – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, Advisor 2016

Hungry for Life, author Chef Pati Zarate (2013), Homeboy Industries
Dansko Shoes; Dallas, Texas, (2011)


4th quarter Culinary Arts Student
The International School of Culinary, Art Institute of California, Los Angeles

Ann Marie Luna is a 4th quarter Culinary Arts Student at The International School of Culinary, Art Institute of California, Los Angeles. Her emphasis is on both The Art of Cooking and The Art of Baking/Pastry. Prior to attending culinary school, Ann Marie was a Paralegal for eight years with an emphasis on Family, Estate Planning, Probate, Estate Litigation, and Corporate Law. This led her to the field of real estate where she became a licensed salesperson for nine years in the real estate industry with her primary focus on finance and real estate sales. Four years into her real estate career, Ann Marie opened her own mortgage office where she led and trained 15 loan officers toward success in the business. After almost six years of running her office, she decided to sell her business and devote her time to a dream career she has always yearned for, and that is cooking. She enrolled in culinary school in January, 2012, and found her passion. She absolutely loves all that she is learning and is excited to venture out into the industry soon. She is currently a student board member of the American Culinary Federation, and is honored to be involved with this organization, meet the experts involved, and a part of the opportunities they provide for fellow professionals and students. Her overall objective is to educate, teach and bring awareness back to families and their children about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and eating well by providing knowledge and alternatives. Her dream is to start a non-profit organization to teach cooking and provide understanding in nutrition and food, helping them to comprehend the amazing affects it has on our body. This would help toward making change for a healthier country.  

Robert Higgins

Chef Bob Higgins has been immersed in the food service industry his entire life and began teaching more than 17 years ago as a Culinary Arts instructor for Los Angeles Unified School District. He has been honored by the Los Angeles Unified School District as an Inspirational Teacher with his work with students with special needs. Becoming a teacher was a natural progression after working in his own Restaurant. He helps his students find their culinary voice “by pushing them and telling them its’ about great food and the customer.” He adds, “I have never stopped learning, I will always continue to learn and be inspired.” Chef Higgins emphasizes sharing his practical experience with his students, telling them the importance of teamwork, being professional and broadening their education through reading, volunteering and anything else that will enhance their knowledge.

Robert Higgins is currently a Culinary Arts Teacher at John Francis Polytechnic High School, Sun Valley, California where he has served since 2005. His Culinary Arts course is designed to prepare students for entry-level employment in the food service industry. Chef Bob is dedicated to enthusiastic and dynamic teaching as a means of creating and nurturing a lifelong love of Culinary Arts.

 He is a member with the following Affiliations: American Culinary Federation, President of International Food Service Executive Association (California Chapter) and Professional Food Manager Association, and certified Serve Safe Trainer & proctor.

Chef Higgins sponsors a Culinary Club, volunteering with activities such as preparing Thanksgiving dinners for Penny Lane, Veterans Holiday event serving more than 5, ooo veterans and numerous local activities.

He has a combination of education, and experience with twenty-eight years of business background in the Food Service Industry. Chef Robert Higgins has worked for the Hilton Corporation as a kitchen Manager, General Manager for Country Market Restaurants for three properties in three states in addition to Manager/ Chef at Cafe Del Sol Restaurant North Hollywood.

Chef Higgins has attended a culinary cruise with Master Chef Jacques Pepin. He received his Baking Certificate DHCT Culinary Arts Academy in Vitnue, Switzerland and has completed advanced classes at Johnson and Wales University, taught by Certified Master Chef Steve Jilleba.

Joseph Gillard

joeChef Joe grew up in rural western Michigan on a working farm. Chef Joe was exposed to responsibility and hard work at an early age by caring for farm animals, garden and orchard. This early Experience instilled a deep sense of respect for quality food and built a strong work ethic to carry Chef Joe into a future of culinary arts.

Chef Joe is currently Corporate Executive Chef with Alliance Foods Group wher he oversees creative development and operational effectiveness for brands such as Coral tree Café, Comoncy, and Red Room.

Previously Chef Joe has had tenure in many local Los Angeles restaurants including “Nick & Stef’s” steakhouse within the Patina Group, as well as, Napa Valley Grille and Mirabelle.

Eric Ernest

Eric Ernest
Executive Chef

ericEric is the Executive Chef of USC Hospitality and works with our Assistant Vice President, Director & campus chefs to ensure execution of our culinary vision. Eric works with our hospitality staff to create training programs and culinary mentorship for Hospitality and surrounding departments.

Coming from a large family full of cooks, Chef Eric see the importance of nostalgia and aroma in cooking. Chef Eric sights amazing California produce, local products & solid culinary fundamentals as the secret to our success.

Prior to USC, Chef held positions as Executive Chef for SBE, the Royale Group, Innovative Dining Group & the world renowned Citrine in Hollywood, CA. He also worked under the tutelage of Wolfgang Puck, Lee Hefter, and Yoshi Kojima. Chef reopened the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the SLS Hotel & revamped the ever-popular Gladstone’s in Malibu.

Eric is an avid scuba diver, does bikram yoga & enjoys deepsea photography. Eric’s hero is Julia Child and his constant positive attitude has helped him man the stoves at some of the West Coasts most prominent institutions. Eric has a degree in Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management, is involved continuing education at the Culinary Institute of America and is a recent CEIP graduate from the CIA. Chef also has several gold medals and certifications awarded by the American Culinary Federation.

Eric D. Ernest CEC, CCA
Executive Chef
Associate Director of Purchasing, Logistics & Special Projects
USC Hospitality