Jared Sippel – Chef & Proprietor
Chef Jared Sippel has spent over a decade honing his craft and distinct culinary style in some of the most highly regarded kitchens across the US and Europe. Originally from Iowa, Jared was raised with strong connections to food and farming, with family who grew produce and raised livestock. Jared cooked throughout high school, and worked as a sous chef at an Italian restaurant while attending the University of Iowa. Upon graduating, he moved to Boulder, CO to attend the Culinary School of the Rockies, and work at the James Beard Award winning Frasca Food & Wine under renowned chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. To broaden his palate and further educate himself on European cuisine, Jared headed straight to the source, where he spent several months working for Chefs Sylvestre Wahid and Jean-André Charial at the two Michelin starred L’Oustau de Baumanière in Provence, it was during this time that the majority of the inspiration behind Italienne was derived, from menus to wine lists and aesthetics. Once back in the States, Jared returned for a second tour at Frasca, before moving to San Francisco to serve as sous chef at the two Michelin starred Quince under Chef Michael Tusk. After two years, he was called back to Frasca once again to assume the role of sous chef and develop the pasta program, and a year later he took on the title of chef-de-cuisine. During this tenure Jared spent time extensively staging across Italy at Michelin starred restaurants including La Primula and La Subida in Friuli, and La Peca in the Veneto. In 2013, Jared was recruited to New York to open the highly anticipated Manhattan location of the three Michelin starred Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. Delays led Jared to begin the pursuit of building his own restaurant—with a vision, concept, and name that had long been close to his heart. A dynamic opening team that includes some of Jared’s former colleagues speaks to the level of esteem he’s earned over the years, as well as his loyal nature and dedication to working with the best of the best. “Italienne represents the culmination of my career training in the distinct regional cuisines of Northern Italy and Southern France,” says Jared. “I lived and worked on my own in the South of France; my time at Frasca with Chef Mackinnon-Patterson immersed me in the nuances of Friuli and Alto-Adige; and Chef Tusk exposed me to the regions of Provence and Piemonte, as well as California cuisine. It’s all come full circle in Italienne.”
James King – General Manager & Proprietor
Descended from a line of Italian chefs, James King’s experience with, and passion for, food began at a young age. His earliest memories stem from his Italian grandmother—who lived with his family in Illinois as a child—and exposed him to foraging wild dandelions and other treasures from the backyard; the joys of off-cuts such as tripe; and cooking and hosting elaborate dinner parties. At age 15, James began working in local Italian restaurants, gaining experience in a myriad of kitchen and dining room positions throughout high school, and went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After a number of years traveling and working around the U.S, James’ passion for food brought him to Europe, where he spent over a year farming and staging throughout Michelin-starred restaurants. Throughout his career in hospitality, James has held nearly every title and role—from dish washer, to F&B Director and everything in between—and worked in many of the country’s best restaurants including Le Cirque (Las Vegas), Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (Miami), Frasca Food & Wine (Boulder), and Brooklyn Fare (New York).
Rebecca Isbell – Pastry Chef
Born in Chicago, and raised in the small town of Keller, TX, cooking and baking was Rebecca Isbell’s hobby from a young age. After graduating from the Texas Culinary Academy with an associate’s degree in pastry, Rebecca moved to Florida where she worked for Walt Disney World’s retail bake shop for 4.5 years, as well as the Waldorf Astoria. During this time, she perfected specialized techniques such as making laminated doughs, decorating wedding cakes, chocolate artistry, and bread baking. In 2011, Rebecca moved to New York City and joined the pastry team at the acclaimed Eleven Madison Park, under the helm of Chef Angela Pinkerton. In 2013, Executive Sous Chef Bryce Shuman recruited Rebecca for the opening team of Betony, where she went on to become Executive Pastry Chef. At Italienne, Rebecca is excited to revisit the classics, and utilize her French training to create everything from beautiful composed desserts, to viennoiseries and house baked breads. She believes, “A guest’s first bite should tell the same story as the last,” and works closely with Jared to ensure her desserts adhere to the regional traditionalism reflected in his savory courses.
Erica O’Neal – Wine Director
Born in Atlanta, GA, Erica initially eschewed her early interest in hospitality to pursue a more traditional academic path. After graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering, she found herself working on an oil field in Louisiana; however, the city’s rich food and beverage culture reignited Erica’s latent passion, and she soon moved to California to immerse herself in the world of wine. Instructed under Master Sommeliers David Glancy and Catherine Fallis at the Professional Culinary Institute’s sommelier program, Erica immediately passed her first and second level certifications. From there, she moved to Colorado, with her sights set on the renowned Friulian restaurant Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder. Originally hired as a reservationist, Erica demonstrated her talents and dedication to Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Matthew Mather, and “clawed her way up” to the position of junior sommelier. At Frasca, Erica spent three formative years honing in on her service and hospitality skills, while getting a chance to work with lucrative Italian wines. In December 2013, she was recruited to New York to work at Danny Meyer’s Maialino, a roman trattoria with an all-Italian list. At Italienne, Erica is excited to showcase her love and knowledge of Italian and French wines and their surrounding country counterparts, emphasizing the regional selections that complement the food of these native people. “Much like Jared and his cooking, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to wine,” says Erica. “I want to create a list that tells the story of a place and its history— and how the simplest wines match regional foods.”
Travis Oler – Head Bartender
Travis joins the Italienne team from Iowa City, where he was most recently behind the stick at a speakeasy style bar specializing in bourbons. Another Iowa native—and English major—Jared recognized a kindred spirit in Travis stemming from their mutual fascination with history and tradition as it relates to food and drink. In preparation for the opening of Italienne, Travis spent months researching the lineage of Italian and French spirits, and how they correspond to the regional specificity of Jared’s menu. The result is a concise list of classically-driven cocktails, featuring a minimal number of ingredients, and showcasing Amaro, Grappas, and Eau de Vies. “What’s most important to us is focusing on the quality of the products we’re using as opposed to ‘look what we can do with all of these ingredients,’” says Travis. “The overall philosophy of the beverage program, and cuisine, is to do more with less”.
Eric Upper – Sous Chef, Dining Room
Eric Upper was born in the Bronx, NY to a traditional Italian family from Emilia Romagna. After graduating from the International Culinary Center in Manhattan, Eric moved to Miami to work for a large hotel corporation, where he had the opportunity to travel around the Caribbean learning about various cuisines. Wanting to hone his skills in a fine-dining setting, he returned to New York to work at Charlie Palmer’s Michelin starred Aureole, helmed by Executive Chef Marcus Gleadow-Ware. Eric then accepted a position at The Mansion, Joël Robuchon’s world renowned Las Vegas restaurant, where he further refined his technique, and was quickly promoted to sous chef. After executing French cuisine at its highest level, Eric was eager to pursue his passion for Italian cuisine, which stemmed back to his childhood. His background and expertise were the ideal fit for Italienne, and he moved to New York to join the opening team in 2016.
Matthew Perez – Sous Chef
An outdoorsman at heart, Matthew Perez grew up in Connecticut before moving out west to Colorado. With his sights set on a career in hospitality, he returned to the east coast to attend culinary school at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and then returned to Boulder to work at Frasca Food & Wine. After several years as a sous chef, Matthew jumped at the opportunity to help the Frasca team open Pizzeria Locale. He spent months learning the techniques of pizza making, and was eventually promoted to head chef. Matthew later moved to New York to spearhead the pizza program at acclaimed Italian restaurant Charlie Bird, and most recently, its sister restaurant Pasquale Jones. Matthew is excited to be working alongside many of his former Frasca colleagues at Italienne.
Michael Werrell – Pastry Sous Chef
Born and raised in New Jersey, Michael discovered his love for pastries at a very early age – it was this love what led him to his first job at a local Italian Pastry Shop. Michael’s education went further as he went on to sharpen his skills and became a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America.
Immediately after becoming a CIA graduate, Michael quickly became the Pastry Chef de Tournant at Betony. He then went to run the pastry programs of The Ocean Room in Charleston, SC and Pearl & Ash in NYC followed by contributions to the pastry menu at Rebelle NYC. It was this talent and dedication what would eventually call Rebecca Isbell’s attention and what would lead to his recruitment to Team Italienne.
Kathleen Serino – Cheesemonger
Originally from Illinois, Kathleen attended college in Iowa City, where she worked front-of-house in myriad restaurants. In her spare time, she developed a love of curing, and cooking with offal—often asking her local co-op for all of the animal parts they were discarding (tongues, hearts, etc.), and teaching herself how to transform them into something extraordinary. Jared first knew he wanted to hire Kathleen after noticing a leg of prosciutto curing in her home in Iowa City. Kathleen then moved to New York, where she gained additional experience behind the cheese counter at Eataly in preparation for the opening of the restaurant. At Italienne, Kathleen offers a limited, ever-changing, and meticulously sourced selection. She focuses on the seasonality of cheeses, working with small farmers who sell their products only at the peak of quality. “There’s a reason why we’re serving each cheese at that specific time of year,” says Kathleen. “Just as with vegetables, wine, etc., every cheese has a season in which it’s in its prime. In Europe, it’s all about quality over quantity, and I’m excited to bring that philosophy to Italienne.”
William Edwards – Service Director
Born in New York and raised in Albuquerque, NM William began working in restaurants part time at the tender age of 15. Those weekend and summer jobs alongside a passion for food and cooking, developed by his mother, eventually led him to forgo traditional education and enroll at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, CO. His tour of kitchens began with a short stint at Frasca Food and Wine, took him to France for a year, and finished in several acclaimed New York restaurants. Hungry to learn everything about restaurants, he took to dining rooms and sommelier certification with Per Se vets Jonathan Benno and Paolo Novello at Lincoln Ristorante. After learning every position in the dining room at Lincoln it was time to step into a supervisory role, which he did as the opening Service Manager at Betony. From there he teamed up with David Waltuck as the Wine and Bar Director for his 2014 endeavor élan. William now brings a unique mix of technical proficiency, subtle flair and truly genuine hospitality with him to his role as Service Director at Italienne.
Lindsey Kilmurray – Special Events Coordinator
Lindsey got her start in the restaurant industry at age nineteen as a delivery driver in Colorado. She later traded in her wheels for flour, training in pizza making and eventually becoming a full-time cook. To further hone her skills in the kitchen, Lindsey attended The Art Institute of Colorado, garnering a baking and pastry diploma from the school’s Culinary Arts program. After graduating, Lindsey was part of the opening team at the original location of Pizzeria Locale in Boulder. She began as a host – with no prior front of house experience – then worked every position beginning as a polisher and eventually becoming a full-time server. While there, she met her life and future business partner chef Jared Sippel, who was working at sister restaurant Frasca Food and Wine. Lindsey says, “It was here where I fell in love with front of the house and service. I love attention to detail and being a part of a restaurant group that truly cares about the quality of ingredients as well as the entirety of each individual guest’s experience.” She stayed on for over three years before moving back to her native Connecticut, where she worked at restaurants such as Graham Elliot’s Primary Food and Drink in Greenwich and Stephen Lewandowski’s Harlan Social in Stamford. To round out her knowledge of the industry, Lindsey recently took the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s Level 2 course at The International Wine Center, passing with Merit. She is excited to be opening Italienne with Jared, and sharing their mutual dedication to unrivaled hospitality with New York diners.
Nicole Perez – Operations Manager
Hailing from the Garden State, Nicole is at the core of Italienne’s operations and Human Resources.
Having crossed paths with Jared and James for the first time as an operations manager at Frasca Food & Wine, Nicole went on to become an operations manager at Scarpetta wine, Frasca’s wine arm. After a successful tenure at Scarpetta, Nicole went on to Join the team at Italienne while making significant contributions at Charlie Bird as an Operations Manager and Special Events Coordinatior.