The Women Behind Our Favorite Bay Area Restaurants
Mistie Cohen, Co-Owner & President, Oren’s Hummus
Co-Owner and President of San Francisco’s rapidly growing Oren’s Hummus, Mistie Cohen has spent most of her professional life shaping the hospitality industry. She is the former Director of Operations for PFS Restaurants and the Founder of EyeSpy Critiquing & Consulting – a restaurant-specific mystery shopping and consulting company that has worked with hundreds of restaurants and hotels nationwide. In her position at Oren’s Hummus, Mistie oversees the company’s operations while continuing as the President of EyeSpy.
Anu Bhambri, Co-Owner, ROOH
Anu Bhambri is the proud co-owner of the progressive Indian restaurant, ROOH (San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100), located in San Francisco’s SoMa district, and also owners of Good Times Restaurant LLC, that currently operate more than nine fine and casual dining restaurants across Delhi and NCR regions in India. Anu started her professional career in engineering at Microsoft and later quit her tech job to follow her passion for food and hospitality.
Joanne Weir, Co-Owner, Copida Comida y Tequileria
Joanne Weir is co-owner of Copita. In addition to the restaurant, she is also known in the culinary world for being a cooking show host on a KQED, planning international culinary excursions, and authoring more than 24 cookbooks. One of her main goals with Copita was to make the study of tequila more accessible through her Agave Girls program, which has hosted many events onsite at the restaurant. In addition, she works in tandem with Mexico City native, Consulting Executive Chef Daniel Tellez, on a contemporary Mexican menu.
Stacey Jed, Co-Owner, Bluestem Brasserie
Stacy Jed is known as an all-around amazing person and restaurateur. Located in downtown San Francisco, Bluestem has helped bring San Francisco a fresh perspective on dining with its emphasis on 100% grass-fed meat from highly regarded purveyors and zero-waste initiatives. Jed is credited with the rise of this downtown neighborhood gem with her husband/Co-Owner, Adam Jed. A Bay Area native, Stacy was born into the restaurant industry after her family owned and operated several restaurants in San Francisco including Gino’s, a southern Italian restaurant that was open for 45 years. Stacy is highly involved in the local community and supports several charitable organizations.
Lori Baker, Consulting Pastry Chef, Bluestem Brasserie
Lori Baker’s career as a pastry chef began in the teaching kitchens of Johnson & Wales University, where she earned a degree in Pastry Arts. Upon moving to San Francisco, Lori worked at some of the city’s top restaurants as the pastry chef, including Postrio, Bix, Gordon’s House of Fine Eats, Fifth Floor, and Home Restaurant. She also taught for over two years at the California Culinary Academy.
Carolyn Wente, Fourth Generation Winegrower & Chief Executive Officer, Wente Vineyards
Carolyn Wente is one of the driving forces behind the expansion and growth of Wente Family Estates’ portfolio of wines. She was also instrumental in the development of the Wente family’s lifestyle business, which has brought Wente Vineyards worldwide renown and attracted visitors from all over the world. Today, Carolyn works with fourth and fifth generation family members and company executives to continue the growth of Wente Family Estates and their portfolio of wines. So far reaching are Carolyn’s accomplishments that she was chosen as one of the honorees for the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World in 2002 in an event sponsored by J.P. Morgan Private Banking, Bacarrat, Hermes, among other leading luxury brands, receiving her award in Paris in April of that year.
Amy Svendberg, Managing Partner, Poggio Trattoria
Since becoming managing partner at Poggio Trattoria in January of 2008, Amy has poured herself wholeheartedly into every aspect of the dining experience from greeting guests at the door, to serving plates, to regularly collecting feedback from servers on how to offer the best possible environment for guests. “My continual goals as the managing partner are to help create a memorable experience for each guest and to showcase what makes Poggio so special through warm and personable service.
Suzanne Cullen, Director of Catering & Private Dining, Poggio Trattoria
Suzanne has a wealth of experience in catering and hospitality that spans 30 years in the industry. Suzanne served as theDirector of Catering for several luxury hotels in San Francisco including the Palace Hotel, Clift Hotel, Campton Place Hotel and Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley. She joined Poggio in the fall of 2013. Under Suzanne’s direction, the banquet and private dining department at Poggio and the adjoining Casa Madrona Hotel quadrupled their revenue for the subsequent years and continues to increase annually.
Sharon Nahm, Director of Operations & Executive Chef, E&O Kitchen and Bar
Born and raised in Korea, Sharon’s connection to food began with her first food memory, a noodle dish made with a rich dark black bean sauce, delivered by bicycle to her childhood home. This piping hot bowl of noodles quickly became her comfort food. It is a dish she still craves. Sharon’s strong association with her cultural roots, combined with herprofessional training and experience make her role as chef at E&O Asian Kitchen a dynamic combination of informal know-how and honed skills. Sharon has been with E&O for eight years. While producing high quality dishes in great volume, she is also committed to the farm to table ethos. In her daily routine, Sharon oversees the operations of the kitchen, the staff, and the menu. She loves her position and feels fortunate to be responsible for a menu that is so close to her roots.
Tonya Pitts, Sommelier & Wine Director, One Market Restaurant
Tonya Pitts has been in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. Her career started in St. Louis, Missouri as a host during college. Tonya was very fortunate to be surrounded by nurturing food and wine professionals who realized that she had a palate. Tonya’s Fine Art studies relocated her to the Bay Area and a new chapter was born. Tonya’s first job in San Francisco was with Chef Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe and Chef Jeremiah Tower at Stars Restaurant as a server. Needless to say, Tonya only paints for fun now. After three years, Tonya was running the wine program for Loretta Keller at Bizou Restaurant. It was with Loretta Keller that Tonya realized her true passion for wine. Tonya has worked in many notable houses in the bay area and has been featured in Wine & Spirits Magazine, Tasting Panel and numerous news and industry publications. She is also a judge for the San Francisco International Wine Competition and is a tasting panelist for Wine and Spirits Magazine. Tonya is currently pursuing wine studies with the Court of Master Sommeliers and continues to educate herself and others on the world of wine.
Leah Brady, Executive Chef, Struzzo
At just 25-years-old, Hollywood native, Leah Brady, is the executive chef at Villa Florence’s Struzzo restaurant and bar. While most of Chef Leah’s experience has been in fine dining, she has also worked in cafés and a vegan restaurant. She moved to San Francisco in 2016 and took her role as Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager in 2018.
Rachel Herbert & Dana Oppenheim, Founder and Owners, Park Cafe Group
Founder and Owners, Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim of Park Cafe GroupOwners and life partners, Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim, opened the doors to Dolores Park Cafe over 20 years ago and together, created a space that has become a cornerstone of the Mission District community, offering sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. Fast forward to today, Park Cafe Group has expanded in the Bay Area to four local cafes in addition to Dolores Park Cafe, Precita Park Cafe, Duboce Park Cafe, and Paradise Park Cafe (Oakland).
Kim Jordan, Co-Founder & Executive Chair, New Belgium BrewingKim Jordan, Co-founder, Executive Chair of the Board and former CEO of New Belgium Brewing, has developed expertise at the intersection of business, the environment and community to create one of the most respected craft breweries and innovative businesses in America. Her lifelong commitment to developing healthy communities has informed New Belgium’s culture through progressive policies like employee ownership, open-book management, and philanthropic giving. In more than a quarter century as an entrepreneur, Kim has spoken to thousands of people in the business, nonprofit, and academic worlds about how to create a vibrant and rewarding work culture that enhances the bottom line.
Margaux Axelrod brings more than 15 years of event planning experience to her role as Events Director at Magnolia Brewing Company. Margaux has been instrumental in building its private events business through her strong community relationships and engagement. She is an active member of the Dogpatch Business Association and hosts a monthly Makers Market at Magnolia Dogpatch, where local artisans showcase and sell their wares. Margaux eagerly anticipates the opening of Magnolia Hall, a new 5,000-square-foot event space adjacent to Magnolia Dogpatch, in mid-May. When she isn’t selling or executing events, Margaux enjoys spending time with her husband and son and traveling to new destinations. She’s also an avid amateur photographer and food stylist.