We are passionate about contributing to the world with elevated food and service and capturing growth in the exciting future of culinary innovation.


AUSTIN YANCEY CEC, CCE, PCEC
Principal, CEO, Executive Chef

Chef Austin Yancey grew up in South Carolina where he first discovered a passion for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen. As a student at Le Cordon Bleu of Chicago, he expanded upon the rich traditions and warm hospitality of southern farm-to-table cuisine that shaped his childhood. He spent years cooking in fine-dining kitchens including at Alinea, a 3-Star Michelin restaurant. As a culinary instructor and competition coach, Chef Austin enjoyed giving back to the community by mentoring young chefs who have developed successful careers.

Elite Personal Chefs was created in 2011 with the vision of sharing Chef Austin's passion for elevated food and culinary innovation with the world. Chef Austin brings elements of fine-dining into the catering scene with seasonal ingredients, customized menus, and unparalleled service. As a corporate chef and consultant, he connects passionate people with amazing products through an international network of culinary leaders. 

  • Executive Chef, Culinary Educator, and Personal Chef, American Culinary Federation

  • Master Chef Trainee, CMC, WGMC, Edward G. Leonard and Le Cordon Bleu

  • Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management; Associate degree in Applied Science of Culinary arts, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

  • Educator of the Year in Academic Leadership of 2012, Career Education Corporation

  • Gold Medalist, Dubai World Hospitality Championship of 2013

  • Recipient of Olson Communications “Chefs of Tomorrow” grant in 2012

  • Gold Medalist of the “What’s in Your Wok?” of 2012, Minute Rice of Riviana Foods


JEAN TOMARO
Certified Sommelier

Jean Tomaro is passionate about pairing fine wines with exceptional cuisine and joins the team as a Certified Sommelier and beverage consultant. Her approach to hospitality is focused on knowledge and sincerity with a fun, approachable style. 

Jean began her professional wine career under the tutelage of Master Sommelier Doug Marello and Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky of Spring where she gained experience in fine-dining service and cuisine. She went on to become an Assistant Sommelier at the celebrated restaurant L2O in 2008 and currently serves as the Executive Beverage Director of Hogsalt Hospitality- known for Chicago favorites such as Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf and Au Cheval. 

  • Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Michigan, 2004


AUSTIN BENOIT
Sales Associate

As a Sales Associate, Austin works with clients at every stage of partnership to facilitate our innovative culinary and business goals. He brings extensive sales and business development experience from years as a beverage sales representative at Johnson Brother’s Liquor Company and consultant for business Software at Inside Sales. As with all team-members at EPC, Austin has a passion for quality food and wine with years of service experience at top restaurants in the US. 

  • Bachelor of Arts with Honors, College of Charleston’s Business and Hospitality Program

  • Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers

  • Leader in volume producer and premium distribution at Johnson Brother’s Liquor Company


JAIME ESPARZA
Personal Chef

Chef Jaime Esparza embodies the spirit of Epic Personal Chefs with his dedication to the culinary arts. He began his career thirteen years ago as a dishwasher in his family-owned restaurant where he went on to become the Executive Chef. 

  • Executive Chef, La Fiesta Azteca

  • Captain, Le Cordon Bleu competitive culinary team

  • Silver medalist, American Culinary Federation State Competition, 2014

  • Young Chef medalist, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, 2014

  • Finalist, Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Clash, 2014


Rick Paniagua
Chef de Cuisine

20170710_111130.jpg

Chef Rick Paniagua has over 20 years experience in the culinary industry. To cooking for celebrities and living in 7 countries, overseeing Lollapalooza operations, to being the chef for the Chicago Cubs team during their historic 2016 run he has seen and done it all. He is now ready to make sure that your next event is the best that it can be!

“EPC isn’t just a brand, and a chef coat to your home, it is an experience! I love introducing new clients to our rockstar family, we only give the best because you EXPECT the best! I’m proud to be a member of Elite Personal Chefs.”

  • Chef, World Series Chicago Cubs, 2016

  • Executive Chef, Goddess & Grocer 2015

  • Chef Trainer, Inspiration Kitchen Non-Profit, 2017-18

  • Kendall College, Class of 07


Jordan Heflin
Chef

Chef Jordan is originally from Colorado and moved to Chicago in 2009 to attend Le Cordon Bleu. He has
been in the industry for over 12 years with experience that includes ten restaurant openings in Chicago
and London with top industry companies; Hogsalt, Soho House, and Lettuce Entertain You.
Austin and Jordan have a long history together as he was in Austin’s first class as an instructor at Le
Cordon Bleu as well working alongside his wife at Hogsalt for many years.


“I am excited to work for Elite Person Chefs to apply my knowledge as well as passion for exceptional
food and hospitality to bring more personalized, elevated guest experiences.”

  • Associate degree in Applied Science of Culinary arts, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary
    Arts 2010