Our Chefs

Under the guidance of Culinary Director Alain Verzeroli, our global team of award-winning chefs deliver an unmatched level of expertise in the culinary landscape. These chefs traverse various markets to cultivate creativity, innovation, and collaborative expertise across different concepts.


Culinary Director, The Bastion Collection

Michelin-starred Chef Alain Verzeroli has worked in many of the world’s most prestigious restaurants over his notable career. In June 2018 he joined The Bastion Collection to serve as Culinary Director for several of the group’s upcoming projects. Verzeroli serves as the Culinary Director for The Bastion Collection, overseeing the Le Jardinier and L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon brands, as well as other concepts, across New York, Miami, Houston, and Geneva Switzerland.

Verzeroli’s stellar career has included leadership positions at Michelin three-star restaurants across Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo. He most recently served as Director of Culinary Operations at Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon in Tokyo, where his guidance led to the annual receipt of three Michelin stars for eleven consecutive years. Prior to working with Robuchon for 21 years, Verzeroli was the Executive Sous Chef at the esteemed three Michelin star Arpège with chef Alain Passard in Paris. He also trained at the famed three Michelin star Taillevent and three Michelin star Guy Savoy in Paris.

Verzeroli was born in Vietnam and grew up in Paris. His culinary story began during his freshman year at Universite Paris-Dauphine studying economics. After his first dining experience at Michelin-starred Alain Rayé restaurant, Verzeroli was inspired to approach the renowned chef and asked to apprentice for him. Following a successful month-long apprenticeship with chef Rayé, he decided to change directions and pursue his passion which prompted him to drop out of business school. Verzeroli attended the acclaimed École Grégoire-Ferrandi’s École Supérieure de Cuisine Française (ESCF) in Paris, France.


Executive Pastry Chef at The Bastion Collection

A longtime protégé of the legendary Chef Joël Robuchon, Chef Salvatore Martone serves as Executive Pastry Chef, overseeing the bakery and dessert programs for all of the restaurants within The Bastion Collection across New York, Houston and Miami. He is behind the Michelin-star winning desserts served at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon** and Le Jardinier*, and leads creative efforts at our chocolatier Stettler-Castricher.

Prior to joining The Bastion Collection, Martone was the Executive Pastry Chef at the three Michelin starred Joël Robuchon Restaurant and the Michelin starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, a position for which he was initially recruited when it first opened in 2005, moving up the ranks from Executive Pastry Sous-chef to Executive Pastry Chef in 2010.

Prior to working in Las Vegas, Martone served as Pastry Chef at the two Michelin starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City. Renowned for his highly creative, whimsical, and delectable plates, Martone’s technical mastery allows him to combine aesthetics and flavor—resulting in desserts that are both visually stunning and delicious. He will often spend months conceptualizing and perfecting a dish, creating custom serviceware and new technique sin order to execute his vision.

A native of Naples, Italy, Martone began his education at the Hotelery School in Naples, Italy, and later attended Instituto Superiore Arti Culinarie in Venice. He came to the United States to pursue his passion for pastry-making and attended the French Pastry School: Art de La Patisserie in Chicago, Illinois, the only culinary school in the country dedicated exclusively to teaching pastry technique. Chef Martone has garnered numerous accolades over the course of his career. He received a James Beard Award nomination for Best Pastry Chef in 2015, was named one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America by Dessert Professionalin 2015, and won the 3rd Annual StarChefs.com International Pastry Competition in 2012.

Renowned for his exquisite and visually striking pastry creations, Martone most recently created and opened Frohzen, an innovative ice cream shop. Frohzen offers unique treats, including our signature ice cream cupcakes, macaron ice cream sandwiches, and cakesicles.


Executive Chef at The Woodward, Geneva

Originally from Valence, France, Olivier Jean always knew he wanted to become a chef, and it was not without a lot of hard work that the impossible suddenly became possible. Trained among the best, Chef Jean began his career in the kitchens of the celebrated chef Alain Ducasse, first meeting his future mentor at his famed restaurant Le Louis XV in Paris.

Chef Jean joined the Joël Robuchon family in 2010, first at Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo, then as sous-chef at Atelier de Joël Robuchon Étoile in Paris, and eventually moving to Taiwan to further develop his skills at L’Atelier Taipei, where Chef Jean, at the age of 27, became the youngest executive chef in the history of the Robuchon group.

After more than seven years in Taiwan, and overseeing openings in Montreal and New York, Chef Olivier Jean now serves as the Executive Chef of the Bastion Collection’s Woodward Hotel, overseeing the culinary program at Le Jardinier, as well as L’Atelier Robuchon - the only two Michelin Star restaurant in Geneva. 

Chef Jean has found great success in adapting his native cuisine to the local palate while remaining faithful to the Robuchon brand and philosophy.

Andrew Ayala

Executive Chef, Le Jardinier, New York

Andrew was born and raised in San Francisco. He was introduced to the world of food and cooking from a very young age by his mother, who worked as a butcher for over 35 years. Today she remains his main inspiration along with his trips to England and Taiwan. While attending high school, he began cooking at a small local restaurant. After enrolling Audio Engineering School in Emeryville, California, Andrew quickly realized that this was not his passion and decided to join Le Cordon Bleu California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Andrew went on to work at 5 Star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants in the Bay Area including the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Chez TJ in Mountain View and Campton Place in San Francisco where he met and worked with Chef, friend and mentor Srijith Gopinathan. In 2013, Andrew decided to move to New York to further develop his career. There, he first joined the team at Restaurant DANIEL and then Per Se restaurant. Andrew joined The Bastion Collection in 2017 as part of the opening team for L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Le Grill as Executive Sous Chef. In 2019, he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine of Le Jardinier New York where we gained one Michelin star 5 months only after opening.

Andrew has also been supporting the development of Le Jardinier Miami and Le Jardinier Houston.

James Friedberg

Executive Chef, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Miami

James serves as the Executive Chef of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami, the only two star restaurant in Florida. Upon graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management, James moved to New York City to attend The French Culinary Institute. It was there that he learned the foundation of French cuisine from legendary chefs including André Soltner and Jacques Pépin.

After finishing school, James began working at the iconic Le Cirque. During his 3-year tenure, he worked his way up to Saucier.  After leaving Le Cirque in 2010, James joined the 2-Star Michelin GILT restaurant in the New York Palace hotel, where he became immersed in modern cooking. At age 28, he took the position of Chef de Cuisine at Aureole, Charlie Palmer’s flagship location in New York City.  The restaurant maintained One Michelin Star during his four years there.  After that, James went on to become Executive Chef at Blenheim, a West Village staple known for its innovative farm-to-table cuisine, where he learned the importance of locality and proper sourcing of ingredients.

James joined the Bastion Collection group in 2018 as Chef de Cuisine of l’Atelier New York. He strives to apply his background of classic French Cuisine while maintaining a strong responsibility towards sourcing and experimenting with non-traditional flavors. He aspires to make this evident in Miami and is thrilled to showcase his dedication to the craft of haute cuisine.  


Felipe Botero

Chef de Cuisine, Le Jardinier, Houston

Under the tutelage of Chef Alain Verzeroli, Chef Felipe Botero joined The Bastion Collection in 2019 as prep sous chef for the opening of Le Jardinier’s flagship restaurant in New York City. Within six months of its opening, Le Jardinier was awarded a coveted Michelin Star. Following its opening, Botero took his talents to Le Jardinier Miami before being tapped as chef de cuisine for Le Jardinier’s new Houston location. 


Prior to joining The Bastion Collection, Chef Felipe held positions at numerous New York City establishments, including Union Square Café which earned a four-star rating from The New York Times during his tenure. His resume also includes Sam Hazen’s Michelin-starred Veritas and The Chester.

Titouan Claudet

Executive Pastry Chef, The Woodward Hotel

Hailing from Besançon, France, Chef Titouan Claude oversees the pastry program at The Woodward Hotel. Prior to his work with The Bastion Collection, Chef Titouan worked with prestigious French houses as he followed pastry chef Benoit Charvet at Georges Blanc in Lyon,

the Auberge de l'Ill in Alsace, France, as well as in Courchevel at the only Michelin starred dessert-restaurant in the world: Sarkara. 


Chef Titouan most recently moved to Switzerland to join the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne with Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, French chef best known for being the fourth female chef to win 3-Michelin stars. 

Luca Di Benedetto

Executive Chef, Tavola

Executive Chef for Tavola, Chef Luca Di Benedetto’s remarkable career spans over a decade and has been cultivated in the kitchens of numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels around the world. Chef Luca has refined his skills through various positions at award-winning restaurants including Gold Ristorante by Dolce & Gabbana, Winter Garden at The St. Regis Florence, Caino (2 Michelin Stars), and Il Piastrino (1 Michelin Star). 


He was most recently Head Chef of Nobu Milano as the company’s revered role of Corporate Head Chef, overseeing concepts in Asia, the Middle East and the U.S.