Our Chefs

We believe passionately in our teams and the creative minds of our acclaimed and Michelin-starred executive chefs

OLIVIER JEAN

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 Jean joined The Woodrow Hotel in Geneva as an Executive Chef overseeing L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Le Jardinier – both of which will open their doors as the first Swiss addresses for each of these concepts.

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

SALVATORE MARTONE

Corporate Pastry Chef

A longtime protégé of the legendary Chef Joël Robuchon, Martone serves as Corporate Pastry Chef, overseeing the bakery and dessert programs for all of the restaurants of 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.

ALAIN VERZEROLI

Executive Chef, Le Jardinier and SHUN; Culinary Director, Le Jardinier and L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

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 created and oversees the concepts for Le Jardinier and Shun restaurants. Today, Verzeroli serves as Culinary Director for l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Le Jardinier brands.

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.

Andrew Ayala

Chef de Cuisine, 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 is excited to lead the culinary operations of Le Jardinier Houston.

Felipe Botero

Chef de Cuisine, Le Jardinier, Houston

Felipe Botero Sanchez began his journey with The Bastion Collection in 2019 with the opening of Le Jardinier in New York City, where he served as Prep Sous Chef, honing his craft and absorbing the teachings from Chef Alain Verzeroli. 

Chef Botero has been with the Houston team since Le Jardinier first opened in May 2021 under the tutelage of Chef Alain Verzeroli and Chef Andrew Ayala. Botero has since proven his success and dedication for his new role as Chef de Cuisine.

“I am honored to be working under the guidance of my mentor, Executive Chef Alain Verzeroli. It means a lot to me to have the opportunity to lead the kitchen daily and utilize my managerial skills. I hope to emulate the success of my mentors and plan to carry on the high standards of Le Jardinier by demonstrating the techniques and fine palate I have developed over the years.”
- Chef de Cuisine Felipe Botero Sanchez

Melissa Catra

Head Baker, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Le Jardinier Miami

Catra serves as the Head Baker for the Miami locations of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Le Jardinier. Catra’s interest in baking was sparked at a young age by her father, and she quickly learned to read and execute recipes at the age of 6. After high school, Catra enrolled at Johnson & Wales’ Culinary Arts program to pursue her passion. In 2006, she landed an opportunity with the Mandarin Oriental in Bermuda, where she learned to make breads and desserts. Before joining the team at L’Atelier and Le Jardinier, Catra developed her skills at notable restaurants including Hillstone in Coral Gables, Greenstreet Cafe in Coconut Grove and Chef Jose Andres’ Bazaar Mar in Downtown Miami.

James Friedberg

Chef de Cuisine, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Miami

James serves as the Chef de Cuisine of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami. 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.