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Team

Clayton Chapman | Chef/Owner
Chapman is an Omaha native.  He began his culinary career in the dish pit of North Omaha's Mother's Good Food at the age of 15.  Clayton then worked at Omaha’s beloved M’s Pub as the daytime chef before attending culinary school at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago.  While in culinary school, he was the youngest person to ever hold the Chef de Partie position under Chef Rick Tramonto at the world-renowned Tru Restaurant.  During his time at Tru, he also trained under Three Michelin Star-rated Chef Laurent Gras. Upon graduating, Clayton travelled to Europe to experience traditional French cuisine before returning to Omaha and working as Executive Chef of Omaha’s celebrated V. Mertz, where he introduced the “tasting menu” concept to the Omaha market. After V. Mertz, he served as the Executive Chef at Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops in Omaha and taught culinary classes at Metropolitan’s School for the Culinary Arts. He was nominated for the James Beard Award of "Rising Star, Chef of the Year" in both 2011 and 2012 and "Best Chef, Midwest Region" in 2013 and 2014. In 2011 he was highlighted by Cooking Light Magazine as one of nations seven "Trail Blazing Chefs". He resides in Midtown with his wife, Bernadette and their two children, Hudson and Scarlet.

Michael Howe | Managing Partner/Owner
Howe attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, where he received his BS in Culinary Arts/Food Service Management, and an AS in Hotel Food and Beverage Management. In Chicago he has worked as  Chef at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Radisson Hotel Lincolnwood,  Edgewood Valley Country Club, and as Midwest Regional Chef for Cuisine Solutions.  He served as president of the Club Chefs Association of America and as a founding board member of the American Culinary Federation-Windy City Professional Culinarians chapter. Michael holds professional certifications as both a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE).   He earned an MBA from Argosy University-Chicago. Howe is currently a Chef Instructor at the International Culinary School at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, where he was a Chef Instructor of Chapman.  He and his wife, Wendy, own and operate the Village Gourmet-Café & Catering in Clarendon Hills, IL.  Michael resides in Downers Grove, IL with Wendy and their two children, Michael and Kelly.

Rachel Patel | General Manager
Born outside of Chicago, Rachel Patel grew up in Texas, where she developed her love for great comfort food and the concept of southern hospitality. While attending the University of Texas pursuing a degree in biology, Rachel often hosted dinner parties for her friends and colleagues before deciding to move to Tucson, AZ to attend culinary school and make it a career. After completing her culinary degree in 2007, she quickly moved from the kitchen to Front of House operations to embrace her love of service and food simultaneously. Living in Omaha since 2009, Rachel still loves to spend as much time in the kitchen as possible, and was most recently the Executive Chef at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in the Old Market.

John Engler | Chef de Cuisine
Engler’s respect for and love of food began from the many summers he spent in his parent’s garden in South Dakota.  During those summer seasons, he experienced gratification that comes from eating seasonally. His first kitchen job was in high school working as a line cook at Radisson Cedar Shore Resort in Chamberlain, SD. He continued working kitchens while earning a degree in education when he realized his future must involve food.  After receiving his culinary training at South Central Technical College in Minnesota and spending time cooking at the Mankato Golf Club, John traveled to Omaha and began as a linecook at V. Mertz under the direction of Chef Clayton Chapman. After Chapman’s departure in 2008, he was appointed Sous Chef and within a year earned the esteemed Executive Chef position. Engler joined The Grey Plume kitchen shortly after its doors opened where his understanding of food and dedication quickly earned him title of Sous Chef. When Chef Chapman moved to a more all-around role, John assumed his current role as Chef de Cuisine.

Heather Smith | Assistant General Manager
Introduced to the restaurant industry at the age of 17, Heather Smith spent the next several years working her way up through several notable upscale-casual restaurants. Spending this time mastering the intricacies of service, she was also educated on tending bar, fine wines, and administrative operations. Realizing her true passion for the restaurant industry, she moved to the east coast to expand her culinary exposure, gaining experience at three well-known, fine dining establishments in New York and Connecticut before moving back to Omaha to work as a restaurant manager - with focus on service, events, and marketing. Heather received her Level II Sommelier Certification through The Guild of Master Sommeliers, and loves to share the gift of food and wine pairings in a way that completes the ‘total dining experience’. She values the importance of consistency and clearly defined high standards, leading her staff in providing ‘above & beyond’ service.

John Laloganes | Wine Director
John Peter Laloganes is certified sommelier, author and educator who engages audiences through his enthusiasm, humor and unbridled passion to convey the essence of whatever he teaches. Mr. Laloganes has been a contributor in the Hospitality Industry since the mid-1980s, avidly collaborating and strategizing with restaurants and related beverage establishments. Laloganes earned the distinctive “Sommelier Diploma” through the International Sommelier Guild (ISG) in 2007. Most recently, John was awarded the "Sommelier/Wine Steward of the Year" by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 2012. John has authored the Essentials of Wine with Food Pairing Techniques—a definitive guide for the novice and intermediate wine consumer, and the Beverage Manager's Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits which was awarded the “Best Wine Book for Professionals in the United States” in 2013 by the Gourmand International Book Awards. His latest publication is an online module titled, Managing the Beer-Centric Operation which is due out in March 2014. 

Greg Tasker | Pastry Chef
Bio coming soon.



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