Gunnar Gíslason

Executive Head Chef

Icelandic born Gunnar Gíslason has garnered international acclaim for his creative style of cooking, his curious nature, a love for reviving traditions, and an eye for finding pristine products that have been applauded by guests and media alike.

In 2009, in the midst of the worldwide financial crisis, he opened the restaurant Dill in Reykjavík. His contemporary cooking would celebrate Iceland’s pristine ingredients and artisanal producers, in a place otherwise heavily dependent on food imports. Dill has been nominated for the Nordic Prize and has won Iceland’s “Restaurant of the Year” every year since it opened.

In 2014, together with Jody Eddy, Gíslason published his cookbook “NORTH – The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland”, both a recipe book and a culinary odyssey giving an unprecedented look into the food and culture of Iceland.

Katie Bell

General Manager

Katie Bell was born in New Zealand and then grew up in Iowa. She attended Colorado College, then moved to Hawaii, followed by Los Angeles – pursuing a career in advertising but all the while working in and managing restaurants.  She finally left advertising for Ford’s Filling Station, rising quickly to General Manager and focusing on a local, craft bar, beer, and wine program. Leaving LA by way of a eight country sabbatical, Katie moved to New York to continue her fine dining education at Per Se.

Following her time there, she became the Service Director for Blue Hill Restaurant in Manhattan. In her four years with Chef Barber and an amazing team, they were awarded Outstanding Restaurant and were a finalist for Outstanding Service by the James Beard Foundation. Katie spent 2015 overseeing Dan Barber’s WastED pop-up restaurant and then opening USHG’s Untitled Restaurant in the Whitney Museum of American Art.

She brings to Agern a love of vegetables, of wines that taste of earth and dirt, and a good, solid attempt at pronouncing Danish words.

Rachel Wong

Restaurant Manager

Rachel, a native New Yorker, found her passion for cooking and baking at her hometown of Rye. From there, she decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. She acquired her externship in the kitchen at Café Centro, located in the Metlife Building. Eager to explore more of the restaurant and hospitality industry, Rachel commuted every weekend to Port Chester, where she obtained a manager-in-training position at Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s restaurant Tarry Lodge.

After finishing her Bachelor’s degree, she worked at The Modern in Manhattan where she developed her passion for hospitality in fine dining. In 2014 she joined the team at Blue Hill New York and made her way as a server and a certified sommelier.  She continues her passion to share the intriguing stories of food in the dining room.

Chad Walsh

Sommelier

Chad grew up in the restaurant business, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where his father owned a couple of small restaurants.  Getting a taste of fine dining at Restaurant Columbia, once one of Maryland’s best restaurants, during high school, when he moved to New York City to study English Literature at St. John’s University (and later, City College), he continued serving to pay his bills.

It was at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, in its original location, that he had tasted a wine, Raveneau’s Montee de Tonnerre Chablis from 1996, that a “switch was flipped,” and he found in wine something that combined his love of narrative with his love of restaurants. 

He eventually became a sommelier for the opening of Aureole’s new location, on Bryant Park, only leaving to open Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch in 2011 as its Beverage Manager. The restaurant was named Restaurant of the Year by both the New York Times and Eater, and Chad has been nominated to both Zagat’s 30 Under 30, and Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 lists of people to watch in food and wine.

(Don’t tell anyone, but in his spare time, he enjoys drinking beer).

Rhonda Crosson

Head Baker

Rhonda has worked for and with some of New York’s best bakeries and high profile chefs; from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery and Per Se to Amy’s Bread, Daniel Boulud and Marcus Samuelsson, where she first got her interest in Scandinavian bread making

Rhonda used to work as a chemist and holds a degree in Biological Chemistry from Bates College, as well as diplomas in both Bread Baking and Culinary Arts from the International Culinary Center, where she has also been a bread instructor.

Rhonda takes great pride in perfecting her rye bread, so it tastes like that of a Danish grandmother, and when not baking, she loves to travel the world.

.

Omar Maagaard

Head Barista and Roaster

Omar has coffee running through his blood. His always-growing passion for the “black gold” started behind the counter of his father’s coffee shop, TriBeca Espresso Bar, in Copenhagen. Omar has worked at several cafés and restaurants, including Meyers Deli, where he started out as a full time waiter and later became head barista. Here he got a taste for the slow-roasted coffee as well as direct trade, which very much was introduced to the Copenhagen coffee scene by Claus Meyer and his coffee brand Estate Coffee, where Omar also worked.

Before joining the New York team, Omar worked for three years at the Copenhagen gourmet coffee chain, The Coffee Collective, first as a barista and later as head barista, where he experimented and developed new beverages, constantly trying to expand his knowledge about coffee brewing and roasting.

Omar has competed in several coffee competitions, earning 2nd and 3rd place in the Danish Barista Championships (2012 and 2013) and a 2nd place in the 2014 National Brewers Cup.

Isabel Zamora

Head Pastry Chef

Isabel grew up spending her free time in the amazing farmers markets of Mexico City before attending culinary school locally.  Her first kitchen job was at 17 as a bread baker at Pujol, Enrique Olvera’s lauded restaurant. There she found her passion for bread and pastries.

She then made the leap to New York City, living in the East Village and managing production of pastry and masa at Empellón, before making the move to Agern where she is our Head Pastry Chef.

When she isn’t in the kitchen, she enjoys taking ballet lessons, watching Almodóvar movies and putting ketchup on everything.

Zachary Rea

Sous Chef

Zachary is from Baltimore, Maryland and studied at the Culinary Institute of America. He has worked as bike courier, personal chef for a high profile persona, and as a chef at Acme before joining the Agern team. Zack loves cycling, his wife, and the beach.

Jorge Pabon

Sous Chef

Jorge hails from Puerto Rico but has traveled extensively. After coming to the US for college, studying economics and philosophy, he chose a career in the culinary arts out of a passion for sustainably grown, local, and seasonal ingredients.

After college Jorge cooked for a year in Umbria before returning to New York for a position at Lincoln Ristorante. He then moved to work at The French Laundry in Yountville and  El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, and a short stage at Marcus in London. He is now back in New York at Agern.

Anna Mayevska

Dining Room Manager

Born and raised in Ukraine, Anna spent every summer at her grandparent’s farm and loves gardening. Graduating with a Masters in ESL, Polish and World Literature, Anna worked as a English teacher meanwhile running a small wedding agency with a friend, arranging catering and decoration. There she developed first signs of interest in the hospitality business.

She then worked for four years on Celebrity cruises and Royal Caribbean LTD, where worked in many different restaurants,  travelled more then 50 countries, and grew within the company to a management position. In June 2014, she came to New York for vacation and has never left. After being part of the opening team of Root and Bone, she joined Team Agern in March 2016.  She loves traveling, food, people and dancing salsa.

Meyers USA

Agern is a part of Meyers USA, a hospitality group founded by culinary entrepreneur Claus Meyer, who in 2016 will launch a number of culinary ventures in New York.

In late spring 2016, Great Northern Food Hall and its adjacent space at Grand Central Terminal opened; feature a grain bar serving porridges, granola and beer, a coffee shop, a bakery, an open face sandwich station, a vegetable driven pavilion with salads, juices and small plates, a deli and a bar.

In addition to the baking operation in Grand Central Terminal, in July 2016 the team opened a bakery, Meyers Bageri, in Williamsburg, a coffee roasting facility in Brownsville and a salmon smoking and vegetable fermentation facility, a craft butchery and a micro dairy in Long Island City.

Claus Meyer hails from Denmark where, for the past 30 years, he has been instrumental in reinstating quality in, and unlocking the potential of Danish food culture, through a number of research, consulting, community and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Learn more about MeyersUSA here.