Chief Executive Officer
A renegade in the culinary industry, Chef Lisa Brefere was one of the first women to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978, paving the way for a new generation of women leaders in the field.
While attending the CIA, Lisa sought externship experience and met great resistance in the job market. There were no women working in kitchens anywhere, and she was turned away again and again with the explanation that it was a "man's world." A year before graduation, through a reference, she was hired at the Greenwich Country Club and by the time she graduated, she had been promoted to management level as sous-chef. In 1980, she became one of the first female executive chefs at the exclusive Manursing Island Beach & Tennis Club in Rye, NY. more
From this moment on, she began to blaze trails in the industry, making marks where women had not previously gone before. She was the first female to graduate from the American Culinary Federation National Apprenticeship Program in 1979, the first female executive chef for the Hyatt Hotel Corporation, one of the first women to cook at the esteemed James Beard House, a member of the USA Ice Carving team competing in Asahikawa, Japan, and notably twice competed in the International Culinary Olympics held every 4 years in Germany.
For 20 years, she has served on the alumni council of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, which consists of industry leaders from around the country. She was awarded the American Culinary Federation Presidential Medallion for outstanding dedication to the culinary profession and the Hermann Rush Humanitarian award for her selfless services during the tragedies of September 11. As an educator, she has co-authored several books, including "So You Want to be A Chef" and its counterpart, "So You Are a Chef," both in their 2nd revision, and "Nutrition for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals," the # 1 rated industry textbook, which just completed its 9th revision. As an adjunct consultant for the CIA, she has lectured on nutrition, achieving financial success as a chef, as well as participated in many other high profile projects. Her passion for cooking is unquenchable, and she thrives on entering competitions and staying up-to-date on kitchens around the world.
In 2001, Lisa and her long-time friend and colleague, Brad Barnes C.M.C., founded B&B Solutions (now GigaChef Consulting), a consulting firm specializing in culinary and food service training, menu development, fiscal reporting, property evaluations, and hands-on implementation, helping culinary professionals grow their careers in the digital age.
In 2007, she founded CookingDistrict.com, the ultimate online resource for culinary professionals (with over 23,000 members). Lisa was dubbed the "food guru" of the Brooklyn Barclays Center, for which she created its celebrated food program -- Brooklyn Taste -- featuring 55 Brooklyn-based vendors. If this weren't enough to keep her busy, she is also part owner of the historic Pythian Market Food Hall in New Orleans, and was the visionary behind Long Island Taste, Nassau Coliseum's innovative food program. She is an active member of the Culinary Institute of America's Alumni Counsel, American Academy of Chefs (AAC), and the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Lisa resides in Purchase with her family.