Recently the celebrated Executive Chef of M Waterfront Grille in Naples, Chef Brian owns two new innovative businesses: first, he is president of Florida Food Consultants, a networking concept designed to improve the restaurant industry, and, his second endeavor, Crave Culinaire by Chef Brian Roland, introduces an ultramodern take on catering. Crave Culinaire’s elegant services span from full event planning, to catering events, to chic, artistic private meals prepared for the most prominent palates.
Chef Brian, born and raised in Princeton, NJ, graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He is a Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC) through the American Culinary Federaton (ACF) and a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs. He worked for several well known French chefs, including Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel & Café Boulud, and Patrick Verre at the TPC @ Jasna Polana. He has worked as Executive Chef in top kitchens locally, including Chops City Grill and Cru Lush Wines and Pure Food. Brian consults and collaborates with other chefs and industry professionals, often organizing events and competitions to heighten each professional’s creativity and self-improvement. He has had the opportunity to cook for some well known celebrities including Judge Judy, Brian Boitano, Franc D’Ambrosio, Randy Wayne White, Cliff Williams of AC/DC, Marylin Manson, David “Big Pappi” Ortiz, Joe Bastianich, Tim Love and Paula Deen
As a celebrity, Brian has appeared on many local television segments to cook for viewers on Fox 4 and WINK News. His local presence is consistent….Emcee and Auctioneer for several events including the CAN Bachelor Auction, Tails and Tiaras Pet Gala for the Humaine Society, Derby Dash for the Naples Junior Women’s Club and the 6th, 7th & 8th Annual Boots and Boogie Bash as co-emcee with Krista Fogelsong of ABC. Brian made the cover of Naples Illustrated September 2013 as a Local Hero in the Supermen Issue. He was also awarded 40 Under 40 in Gulfshore Life Business and “Best Chef on the Move” in 2013, Best Chef for Charity in 2014 and Young Incandescent Entrepreneurs in 2015 by Florida Weekly. Crave Culinaire was voted Best Caterer in Lee and collier counties in 2014 and 2015 by Gulfshore Life magazine. He is a regular feature in Naples society magazines and newspapers such as Life in Naples, Naples Illustrated, Entrée Magazine, Fifth Avenue Magazine, Plate Magazine, Grandeur Magazine, Naples Daily News, The News Press, Florida Weekly, Flavor on the Menu, and was proud to be voted Gulfshore Life’s 2011 Hottest Eligible Bachelor.
Chef Brian Roland considers himself an artist whose medium is food. More than a former Executive Chef at one of Naples most prestigious restaurants, he is a self-made man with innovative businesses of his own. He is a friend, a brother, a loving son, and a truly giving soul. His philanthropic contributions have touched thousands, as he has raised money in community outreach events to assist local charities such as Literacy for Collier, CAN, Red Cross, Hope for Haiti, Foster Care Council, Children’s Hospital, Impact Initiative, Friends of Foster Children, PACE, Children’s Museum of Naples (C’MON ), St Matthew’s House, NCEF, Holocaust Museum, Naples Junior Womens Club, Make a Wish Southern Florida, Humaine Society, Neighborhood Health Clinic, among many others. Brian also became a founding member of the Friends of the Foundation team committee in early 2013 to support NCEF.
Chef Brian enjoys golf, traveling with family, motorcycle riding, singing, dancing, and naturally—cooking.
Born in California, raised north of Seattle, and settled in Florida. Nicole graduated from The University of Central Florida, majoring in Event Management with a minor in Hospitality Management.
Nicole brings a plethora of experience from her time spent at several Starwood resorts including Sheraton Vistana Villages, Le Meridian Cambridge, W Hotel in Boston and the Sheraton Ft Lauderdale. She held the position as the Private Dining Director for Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar prior to becoming the Director of Events and Marketing for the Naples Humane Society and most recently the Director of Events and Marketing for Gulfshore Life Magazine.
As the Director of Operations for Crave Culinaire, Nicole has taken the reigns with all event details, marketing and internal operations. As the closest member of the team to him, Nicole is also engaged to marry Chef Brian in September 2016, furthering their commitment and love of this business and their future together.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Kari has lived throughout the Pacific Northwest including Seattle, Vancouver Island and Whistler, B.C., Canada, but has called Naples home now for 13 years.
After completing the Hospitality Management program at Vancouver Island University — Kari began a career that took her from the opulent drawing room of the world famous Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C., to the breathtaking views from the Relais & Châteaux Aerie Resort where Kari earned her premier concierge “keys” as a member of the prestigious international Les Clef d’Or organization. Kari completed her Canadian hospitality tour on the glistening ski slopes and pristine golf courses of Whistler, B.C. where she was an invaluable member of the Delta Whistler Village Hotel family.
Leaving the Canadian winter behind, Kari came to Naples in 2004 and quickly fell in love with the people and the vibrancy of the Gulf Shore. Her skills and determination quickly landed her at the Noble House Hotels’ LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort where she was recognized as a Top Event Manager throughout the USA by Successful Meetings. She also played an important role with Collier Enterprises as a member of the opening team when they built Naples’ stunning Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club. Now, Crave Culinaire is incredibly blessed to benefit from her expertise and can-do attitude.
A mum to two amazing children, Kari’s organizational skills and good humour keep us running efficiently, but her favorite part of the job is the relationships she builds with Crave’s fantastic clients and staff.
“For me, that’s the best part. Meeting the amazing people who call Naples home and who share Crave’s commitment to style.”
While attending Ferris State University Claire embraced all that college and its organizations had to offer. Claire was very involved in the Big Rapids community while also holding leadership positions in the National Association for Catering and Events, National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, Student Government Executive Board, Hospitality Management Student Association, Professional Convention Management Association as well as serving as the General Manager for the 2016 Hospitality Management Gala.
In addition to being very involved on her College campus Claire also has a professional background working with some of the top hotel chains in the United States. She has had the had the opportunity to work with Starwood Hotels as well as Hyatt Resorts in her role as Assistant Rooms Manager. In this capacity Claire has been able to work in various hotels across the United States learning from some of the industry’s best. Some of Claire’s biggest accomplishments consist of receiving the 2015 NACE Rising Star of the Year Award as well as having the honor of working with ESPN and the XGames.
In her spare time Claire enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants with her fiancé Levi and their two puppies, Brooklyn and Sadie. Claire’s moto has always been “Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.” Working for Chef Brian has just reaffirmed this moto for Claire and she looks forward to what this new adventure at Crave Culinaire and Venue Naples as in store for her!
He started honing his craft following his graduation with honors from Johnson and Wales University in 2010 with a degree in Culinary Arts and Foodservice Management. Born and raised in Massachusetts; he has worked in a variety of fine dining establishments ranging from locations on Cape Cod, VIP catering for the New England Patriots, to Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks, a downtown Boston mainstay, just blocks from the iconic Fenway Park. Continuing to follow his passion; Thomas moved to Colorado where he helped run a farm to table restaurant and worked under Top Chef Winner Hosea Rosenberg, diving into the world of charcuterie. In his spare time he has a passion for craft beer; experimenting with new and different recipes while homebrewing or enjoying local breweries.
Mike found his passion for all things culinary very early in life. Some of his earliest memories include “helping” his grandfather, a WW2 veteran and retired dairy farmer, in his expansive garden and workshop, and spending time with his grandmother in the kitchen as she cooked for the family and baked cookies and pies that were so good, they actually inspired him to want to cook! He also spent much of his childhood contributing to the planting, cultivation, harvest, and processing (canning, freezing, pickling etc.) of his family’s extensive vegetable valuable life lessons, instilled in him a dedicated, determined work ethic, and inspired in him a deep passion and respect for all things food that have stuck with him to this day.
Mike loves learning about different cultures, and experiencing their cuisines. A chef decidedly committed to his profession, he takes pride in his craft and always strives to deliver a great experience to every one of our clients. He is meticulous in assuring that the standards of Crave Culinaire are not only met, but exceeded whenever possible, and always strives to deliver the best culinary experience to our guests. His genuinely positive attitude and upbeat spirited demeanor are truly inspirational to all. He is always happy to assist others, no matter the task at hand. He is patient when coaching co-workers and eager to help them further their culinary skills, technique, and knowledge.
Believe it or not, Mike even met his wife in the kitchen! It was during his six years (five as sous chef) at The Sagamore Resort on Lake George, NY (a four-star hotel, Historic Hotel of America, and Preferred Hotel). She, a fellow chef, came to the US on a work visa from Mexico City where she obtained her degree in culinary arts from the most respected culinary university, and graduated at the top of her class. After she graduated, she dediated everything to earning a highly coveted externship in Monaco where she studied under Joël Robuchon, a world renowned three Michelin starred chef. Needless to say, Mike’s interest was immediately piqued when she was assigned a position in his kitchen. The rest, as they say, is history! Now married for three years, they are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first child (a daughter, Zoey)! Mike’s story just goes to show that no matter where we find our inspiration, we can also find our passion.
Leon attended Africa’s most prestigious culinary institute Capsicum culinary studios, where he graduated in Chef Management at the top of his class with high honours.
After interning in some of the most luxurious Game lodges in South Africa, Leon was approached by 7 times James Beard nominee Chef Enzo Fargione to come to America to complete an internship.
Leon flourished under the mentorship of some of the best Italian chefs in the USA and steadily developed himself into a young professional in the hospitality industry. When Leon is not creating culinary art, he enjoys boating, fishing, hunting and playing the guitar.
After graduating from HS I attended Universidad Javeriana in Bogota- Colombia and earn my Bachelors in Business Administration, the experience that I have as a business administrator for over 15 years has helped me to develop my dream.
Growing up in Colombia has also influenced in many ways my work; there were foods that I craved and couldn’t eat because they were not available so I learned how to make them and developed some of my current recipes. I keep learning every day new things, new dishes and ideas. My love for cooking goes beyond the business of it, to me is more like serving others and making them happy with the foods I cook.
Hired by the renowned Blackstone Caterers in Middletown, RI as a delivery driver, Joshua quickly became fascinated with their impressive culinary operation. Through persistence, he convinced a Senior Sous Chef (one of 80 culinary staff at Blackstone) to give him a chance in their large Hors d’Oeuvres kitchen. He quickly proved that he was fearless and a quick learner in a previously unknown environment.
Aware that he still had little actual culinary experience, Joshua began to explore other culinary opportunities and applied to Arturo Joe’s Italian Restaurant in Narragansett, RI. Arturo Joe’s is an extraordinarily busy restaurant that does 1500+ covers each night and Joshua was told that without “line experience” he couldn’t be hired. While still working at Blackstone, Joshua also began working at another restaurant, Newport Creamery, to gain line experience. In less than a year, he worked his way up to head cook. After several (still persistent) attempts to gain a position at Arturo Joe’s, Joshua was finally offered a position in their salad station. Leaving Blackstone’s, within 2 years he had mastered and was promoted through all 8 line stations at Arturo Joe’s.
In 2004 Joshua was offered the Sous Chef position at Harbor Chase of North Collier here in Florida. A desire to continue his culinary training and gain valuable management experience made the decision an easy one and he relocated to Southwest Florida. In a new culinary environment, Joshua quickly expanded his repertoire in the kitchen. Although at times under strict dietary and nutritional guidelines, Joshua learned through dedication to learning new techniques and preparations that cuisine could still be extremely flavorful and exciting.
Just as vital at this point in his promising culinary management career, Josh also learned many of the logistical, financial and staff development skills that have continued to support his continued success as a Chef. Not only highly proficient now in managing culinary operations, Joshua quickly learned to achieve financial responsibilities and became the leader of his staff. He was promoted to Executive Chef/Director of Food and Beverage after just 6 months, a position he refined and defined for 5 years.
From 2010 to 2013 Joshua continued to diversify his management skills and education as Director of Dining Services at The Carlisle and as the Food Service Manager for HCR-Manor Care, both here in Naples. In 2013 with a desire to refine and develop his skills in catering and fine dining cuisine, Joshua accepted the position of Executive Chef with a prominent catering company, Catermasters, here in Naples. Once again, he proved his skill, knowledge and dedication by successfully executing events, often up to 2000 guests.
In August 2014, Joshua accepted the position as Senior Sous Chef with us here at Crave Culinaire. Throughout his career Joshua has demonstrated not only love and passion for the culinary arts, but also dedication to excellence and a work ethic second to none. We are so very delighted and proud to have him as a member of the Crave Culinaire team.
Blake’s determination and drive is what makes him such a asset in the Crave kitchen. Always striving for excellence and bringing new and fresh ideas to the table, Blake has sparked an innovative approach and “Wow Factor” specializing in Molecular Gastronomy, which sets Crave apart from its competition.
He has consistently improved Crave’s presentations motivates himself to outdo his last performance!
Just recently he has started to expand his creative energy to the field of menu writing and creative pairings for multicourse dinners.
Blake was born in Springfield, Illinois and is a resident of Naples, FL for 15 years. At a young age, Blake proved to be a natural at sales and marketing as he started his own “B&T Lawn Service” at the age of 12. Though Blake had tried his hand at marketing in various for profit businesses, his passion for the work has grown while working with St. Matthew’s House for the two years.
Giving back to the community runs through Blake’s veins. So, it should come as no surprise that his commitment as Sales and Marketing for Social Enterprises at St. Matthew’s House began as a volunteer position. In this capacity Blake creatively marketed both SMH Catering and the SMH Thrift Stores. He also assisted the team with all culinary operations in the kitchen.
In addition Blake has generously donated his time to Gulf Coast Runners, Dress for Success, and as a motivational speaker for organizations such as Big Dave’s Polar Plunge, David Lawrence Center & Drug Free Collier.
Outside of his office and the kitchen, Blake enjoys golfing, riding his motorcycle on the open road, and learning about the intricacies of fine dining.
Owner of H.E.I.R. clothing line, Chef Junior has a background in journalism, history and communications. He graduated from the University of Miami, and soon after realized his passion was for food.
He ran up the ranks as chef, steward, and opener for the Cheesecake Factory, as a line chef at Brio Tuscan Grill in Naples, and currently holds the Sous Chef title at Noodles Italian Café & Sushi Bar also in Naples.
Mila has a way with her camera. She has the ability to capture the energy of an event through her lens, and beautifully present it through colorful imagery, engaging video, and various forms of art. Mila is responsible for most of the extraordinary images you see throughout this website.
Born in Poland, Mila is internationally acclaimed as a portrait and wedding photographer with her own business called “Mila Bridger Photography”. Her calm demeanor, warm personality and creative mind, make it very easy to work with her even in high pressure and face paced environments. Additionally, Mila is a proud member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
Mila’s photography has been featured in:
- Gulfshore Life Magazine
- Naples Illustrated Magazine
- Gourmand Magazine
- Life In Naples Magazine
- FarAndAway.com (Thailand)
- BabyLifeStyles.com (Holiday 2012 Issue)
In the words of Mila “I am a photographer who manufactures fantasy and is always up for a challenging shoot. From fashion and glamour to an alternative approach, my aim is to change the way we think, see and feel the world around us. My work is vivid, colorful and twisted. Love it or hate it, if it made you feel something then my mission is accomplished.”