Top Chef Kevin Sbraga has made chef hires at two of his Sbraga Dining restaurants—at Sbraga, his eponymous, modern American restaurant in Philadelphia, and at Sbraga & Company, his recently opened Jacksonville raw bar & restaurant, focusing on a contemporary approach to the cultural influences of Northeast Florida.
Sbraga has hired Michael Rouleau as chef de cuisine. Rouleau's hire is the first of many exciting changes to come to Sbraga in 2016. A 2008 graduate from Lincoln Culinary Institute in Cromwell, Rouleau took an interest in cooking at an early age, inspired by his mother’s Italian food in his hometown of Meriden, Connecticut. His culinary experience spans catering, country clubs, and restaurants like Son’z Steakhouse in Maui and Art Cavaliere's In Riva in Philadelphia. As chef de cuisine, Rouleau develops, executes, and oversees the overall quality of the food as well as staff and vendor relationships. He replaces Dan Kennedy, who recently relocated to upstate New York.
"With Chef Michael being a part of the company for five years, there has been time to cultivate the growth it takes to lead a kitchen at a restaurant like Sbraga. We've developed a partnership—he has a deep understanding of my cooking philosophy, while consistently bringing his own ideas to the table," Sbraga says. "I look forward to witnessing him take the reins and continue to make it a place where guests come for the ultimate Philadelphia culinary experience."
"Sbraga is part of what brought me to Philly in the first place and it's so exciting to be at the helm of it," Rouleau adds. "I have all the resources and tools I could ask for, and I can't wait to utilize them to produce outstanding meals and experiences."
Meanwhile, Sbraga & Company has hired Justin Petruce as its new executive chef, and Erika Weisflog as its in-house pastry chef. Petruce, a 2007 graduate from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, comes to Sbraga & Company from Petruce Et Al in Philadelphia, where he served as a co-owner and co-executive chef with his brother, Jonathan. His professional experience includes time at MéMé, Fish, and Twenty21 in Philadelphia, and Moto in Chicago. As the new leader of Sbraga & Company’s culinary operations, Petruce oversees vendor relationships, staff development, and day-to-day maintenance of Sbraga Dining’s high operations and service standards.
Weisflog is a 2005 graduate from Johnson & Wales University, Charleston. After working as a chef for various catering companies, corporate dining concepts and AAA-rated restaurants in Northeast Florida, Erika served as the executive chef at Rue ThirtyTwo in Southern Pines, North Carolina; executive chef of Bella Monte International Market & Cafe in Virginia, Beach, Virginia; and executive pastry chef at Thirty 7 North and Eurasia restaurants in Virginia Beach. Weisflog manages the restaurant’s in-house bakery operations and recipe development for all breads, crackers, pastries, and desserts served at Sbraga & Company.
“Justin and Erika both understand the importance of honoring ingredients as the cornerstone of cooking at Sbraga & Company. I feel confident entrusting them to maintain our standards and provide leadership to back-of-the-house and the bakery, while bringing a fresh perspective to menu ideation and execution,” Sbraga says.
“I’m excited to maintain the quality of food preparation and service that Chef Kevin and his team have started at Sbraga & Company,” Petruce says. “As the restaurant grows, I look forward to working with Southern ingredients, getting to know farms in the area, and spreading our wings with new recipes as the seasons change.”
“Foundation is everything to grow,” Weisflog adds. “Flavor starts at your food source, but it takes a passionate team to ensure your goal. Working with Kevin and the entire Sbraga Dining team is a breath of fresh air.”
Petruce replaces Greg Garbacz, who returns to Sbraga Dining’s Philadelphia headquarters to continue to serve as corporate executive chef for Sbraga Dining restaurant group. Weisflog steps in to expand upon the work of Marqessa Gesualdi, Sbraga Dining’s corporate pastry chef.