CHRIStopher t. ZEMBRZUSKI : KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Chef Chris Zembrzuski (Chef Z) has been in kitchen environments since he was legally able to work. Starting as a busser at an Outback Steakhouse, he worked his way up the kitchen ladder to be Kitchen Manager, he found food to be his passion and applied to the The Art Institute of Phoenix, certified by the American Culinary Federation. He was selected for the program from 5,000 applicants. He was one of the 164 that started that year and one of 75 that graduated 3 years later. Winning a scholarship in a Quick-Fire Challenge.
Mentored by the great Chefs from throughout the world. During school he worked in kitchens as well, such as the Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs and Squaw Peak, Il Posto Italian Kitchen, The White Chocolate Grill, and Chelsea’s Kitchen, Chef Z learned the foundations of culinary excellence.
He then took his new set of skills back to Kansas City, where he was Sous Chef at Blanc. Chris really started to learn about local and organic ingredients and the importance of using quality products. He worked with Blanc for two years developing recipes and opening new locations.
Seeking new challenges, Chef Z moved back to the Southwest to Sedona, Arizona to learn more Mexican influenced styles. He landed chef jobs with Open Range and L’Auberge Resort and Spa.
Always looking for new experiences and challenges he moved to Foodie Central, San Francisco, California and worked as Chef De Cuisine for Christopher’s Fine Catering. Cooking personally for film and photo shoots in The City and around the Bay Area. In that time he was able to work with and build client relations with: Facebook, Williams Sonoma, Apple, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, United Airlines, Ford Motor Company, among many others.
Eventually, Chef Z found his way back to Kansas City, this time with a plan to work for himself and get back to doing what he loves. Cooking directly for people in their own homes. He feels it is much more gratifying cooking for someone on a personal level and developing a relationship with his customers. As he learns your likes and dislikes, the options for creativity are endless.
“Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.” François de la Rochefoucauld
ERICA WAGNER : KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Erica Wagner’s love for food began as a young child, when she began sitting on the counters watching grandma cook everything. As a six year old, she told her mom, in a thick Texan accent, “she wanted to be a ‘fry cook’.”
In high school, she attended tech school to learn pastry arts and worked in her first restaurant at the age of 17. She continued her education at Scottsdale Community College and earned an Associates of Arts in Culinary Arts. In the Phoenix Metro, Erica worked for several restaurants and caterers, even for herself as a private chef, until she moved to Flagstaff to continue her education in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Hired right out of college Erica worked for Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona, first as a restaurant manager then was promoted to Banquet operations. There she honed her service 4-star service skills, learning from her wonderful mentors. Her most memorable experience there was serving John McCain and (former) Vice President Biden.
Erica made her way to Kansas City in 2013 with Starbucks and since being here, has worked for a couple meal prep companies as a sous chef and personal trainer.
Being with Chef Kansas City, Erica feels at home, both with the team and the work she is doing. As she tells many folks, this is where she belongs, fulfilling her love of cooking and the ability to share it others.
Jeremiah james christian : Overland park, kansas
25 years in the industry now, Associates degree in Culinary, Servsafe Manager Certified, Certified Chef de Cuisine, have been through the ringer and back, running circles around anyone and anything because this is what I love to do since I was a young child starting my first job in the kitchen at 13 years old.
I'm always looking for a challenge in my culinary career, keeping me on my toes and taking care of the ones I love.
I have had some wonderful opportunities since moving to Kansas in 2007 from Minnesota with Dean and Deluca, to opening my restaurant, the Rusty Horse in Parkville which was sold after 1 year, Sporting Kansas City where our contract was bought out after the first season I was with them, to my most recent spot back at Dean and Deluca.
In my 25 years in the industry I have worked both front and back of the house, with 20 years in management, and love it all. I graduated with a 3.8GPA from the Art Institutes International of Minnesota in 2006, holding double honors and top of my class.
I also went on to earn my Certified Chef de Cuisine as well with the American Culinary Federation. I am no stranger to working hard and pushing myself and all others on my team to be the best they can be.
“The only Real Stumbling Block Is The Fear Of Failure. In Cooking You’ve Got To Have A What-The-Hell Attitude.” - Julia Child