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
CEO, Founder; Chicago

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


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JEAN TOMARO, Certified Sommelier

Beverage Director, Founder; Chicago

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 Gilt Bar, 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; South Carolina

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


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ALYSSA PRICE
Chef de Cuisine; Chicago

Chef Alyssa was born and raised in Austin, Texas, where she began cooking in her mother’s kitchen, and learned to love the art of creating made from scratch meals.  After attending culinary school and earning her associates degree in the culinary arts, she moved to Seattle to continue her journey, working with many award winning chefs across a wide range of regional cuisines.  After landing in Chicago in 2018, Alyssa expanded her expertise into the world of pastry arts, until landing with Elite Personal Chefs.  With specialized knowledge in vegetarian, vegan, and Mexican cuisine recipes, Alyssa is eager to share what she’s learned over the last 5 years.

“Cooking and creating are my two true passions, and I am so excited to continue to hone my skills with EPC, while helping create unforgettable moments for our guests.”

  • Associate Degree in Applied Science of Culinary Arts 2015; Austin Community College, Austin, TX 

  • Executive Pastry Chef; Table, Donkey, and Stick, Chicago, IL

  • Chef de Partie; Scout at the Thompson Hotel, Seattle, WA

  • Chef de Partie; Vestal, Seattle, WA

  • Chef de Partie; Mamnoon, Seattle, WA

  • Chef de Partie; Poppy, Seattle, WA


RICK PANIAGUA
Chef de Cuisine; Chicago

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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 de Cuisine; Chicago

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


DANIEL BEAR

Chef de Cuisine; San Diego

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Chef Daniel grew up and got his culinary chops in Wisconsin. Starting in the industry at just 13 years old as a dishwasher and working his way up to his first Executive Chef position by the age of 23, he has a broad range of experience and expertise. In his 19 years of experience, he has worked under a multiple James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest in Madison, WI and a multiple James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef South in New Orleans, LA. He has also worked in collaboration with a former mercenary chef for Gordon Ramsay, on a restaurant overhaul and re-branding project in San Antonio, TX. He has been sought after for consultation for multiple restaurant openings and expansions in Madison, New Orleans, San Antonio and in his current home in “America’s Finest City”, San Diego, CA. Here he has been focusing on restaurant consultation, and honing in on the massive and ever-evolving personal chef demand of southern California.

“I am ecstatic to be the newest addition to the Elite Personal Chefs team, and honored to be introducing the team's exquisite guest service philosophy to the West Coast! I always strive for more than perfection at every event, to make each special occasion I cater more memorable than the last. EPC will be the innovation catalyst to the revolution, setting the new standard of personal chef service expectations for the future of California.”

  • Specializing in ethnic cuisines of the world and “Worldly Eclectic Fusion”

  • Trained in Orthodox Kosher Kashrut Law- Opened Café Osher- Madison, WI

  • Executive Chef & General Manager Bella Vita 2010-2013

  • Executive Chef & General Manager Mason's on Main 2013-2014

  • Corporate Executive Chef Nawlins Entertainment Group 2014-2016

  • 1st place Entrée Winner Circus of Chefs Competition 2013

  • 1st place Entrée and 2nd place Dessert Winner Circus of Chefs Competition 2014


CLAYTON WEBER

Chef de Cuisine; Chicago

No stranger to fine dining, Chef Weber has served as Sous Chef and Chef de Partie for five restaurant launches in Chicago since 2010. Classically trained in French cuisine, Chef Weber also has extensive experience in everything from fine Asian dining – working at Michelin rated AramiAramiGo and Ani – to diverse ‘Restaurant Row’ menus at BLVD and Rick Bayless’s Baja seafood venture, Leña Brava. You’ll also find him at Chicago’s Metropolitan Brewery as onsite Chef de Cuisine.

  • BA in Business Management and Marketing, Grand View University along

  • Accelerated Associates Culinary Arts degree, Kendall College.