Executive Chef/Owner The Whelk, Kawa Ni and Jesup Hall
By the age of 33, Chef Bill Taibe had received three “Excellent” ratings from the New York Times. He is a leader among a community of chefs who source and support local farms and distributors.
Bill’s love for food began early on while working after school at the local butcher shop. As a young chef, both at Two Moons in Port Chester, NY and Wildfire in Greenwich, CT, he quickly advanced from Sous Chef to Executive Chef. In the years to follow he would help to develop, design and run many successful restaurants in Fairfield County, including G/R/A/N/D, Napa & Co., and his own, Relish in Norwalk before settling in Westport and opening LeFarm in 2009.
In 2012, he partnered with Massimo Tullio to open The Whelk and Kawa Ni in 2014, both located in Saugatuck.
The newest addition to the group, Jesup Hall, opened in the early spring of 2017. Jesup Hall is located in the historic original Town Hall in downtown Westport.
All restaurants are guided by Bill’s belief in sourcing the best possible ingredients and supporting our local farms and community.
Since 2009, his restaurant group has evolved from staff of 6 to over 80 employees. He has created employment opportunities and programs, such as “Kitchen Share”, to increase the quality of life for his employees. The “Kitchen Share”, a 3% surcharge on all food sales, is directly dispersed to all kitchen employees on a weekly basis. Since it’s implementation in early 2017, numerous other restaurant groups are adopting his program across the tri-state area.
His success has led to appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, the Today Show and Moveable Feast. He is featured in Harvest to Heat Cookbook, which highlights the relationship between the top chefs of our country and the farmers with which they work. Bill was named a James Beard-Best Chefs in America: Northeast Semi-finalist in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
He is heavily involved in the Westport/Weston community and supports many local charities and organizations through his own personal networking and restaurant resources. He currently sits on the board of Food Rescue US and is the President of the Westport Farmer’s Market. Over the past 10 years, Bill has mentored dozens of Weston youth through his involvement with the Weston Little League.
President and CEO, Business Journals Inc.
Britton Jones is President and Chief Executive Officer of Business Journals Inc (BJI), a fourth generation family-owned and managed business-to-business communications company. Britton joined the Company in 1980.
Business Journals Inc produces 23 events per year at the Javits Center (New York City) and in Las Vegas. BJI’s trade shows include the women’s shows AccessoriesTheShow, Moda Manhattan, FAME, and STITCH, and an upscale men’s wear show, MRket. BJI publishes three trade magazines including MR (Menswear Retailing) and Accessories and also has a 54 magazine custom publishing division, eight web sites, and maintains one of the industry’s largest databases of fashion retailers.
Britton currently serves on the Board of Directors of the CEIR and American Business Media where he is Chairman of their Events Council. Previously Britton was Chairman of the Board of Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) from 2008 – 2010 and served on the SISO Board from 2001 - 2010.
Founding Director of Neighbors Link Stamford (now Build OneCommunity)
Retired Vice President Global Operations for Readers Digest, Inc.
Responding to the Stamford, CT strategic plan for immigrants, Bruce founded Neighbors Link Stamford with several volunteers to engage its immigrants and community into enhanced integration. Koe was also instrumental in founding Loaves and Fishes, a church group of some 100+ adults interested in feeding-the- hungry. The confluence of immigrants in need of English Learning, Employment, and Hunger, formed a bridge between these outreach organizations and Community Plates to address food insecurity….all at their organizational foundings In 2009. In prior years, Koe was Chairman of the Board of Red Cross in Kansas City and a leader in the United Way Campaign and Boy Scouts.
Professionally, Bruce is retired from Readers Digest where he was Vice President of Global Operations.
Prior he was an executive at Banta Corporation (now part of RR Donnelley), Western Publishing, and Hallmark Cards. He is a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate from University of Illinois and Masters in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University. Residing in Stamford and married to Linda, they have two children and four grandchildren living in the Midwest.
CEO, Food Rescue US
While Carol’s career includes work in the for-profit, not-for-profit and public sectors, her passion is helping mission driven organizations do more and do it better. For thirteen years beginning in 2001, she worked at AmeriCares, the global health and emergency response organization where she held senior leadership positions. In 2015 she joined Military Adaptive Sports Inc., the non-profit set up to plan and execute the Invictus Games 2016, an international competition for wounded active and retired service men and women held in Orlando, Florida May 2016. 500 athletes from 15 countries compete in 10 adaptive sports to raise awareness for the power of sport in recovery and for the sacrifices that the competitors and their families have made for their countries.
Carol joined Food Rescue US as a director in 2015. She became CEO in April 2018.
Carol joined Community Plates (now Food Rescue US) to help mitigate widespread hunger in our communities and throughout the U.S.
Director for American Furniture Manufacturing, Inc.
James Bottiglieri has served as a Director of Compass Diversified Holdings (“CODI”), a NYSE listed company, since December 2005. Jim was CODI’s Chief Financial Officer and an Executive Vice President from 2005 to 2013. Previously, Jim was the Senior Vice President/Controller of WebMD Corporation. Prior to that, Jim was with Star Gas Corporation and a predecessor firm to KPMG LLP.
Jim serves as a Director for American Furniture Manufacturing, Inc., a subsidiary of Compass. He also serves on the Board of Directors and is Chairman of the audit committee of Horizon Technology Finance Corporation, a NASDAQ listed company. Jim is a graduate of Pace University and resides in Mamaroneck with his wife.
Jeff began his career as an aspiring actor in NYC and during that time worked in the restaurant industry as actors often do. The emerging "dot-com" scene inspired Jeff and in 2000 he jumped into the tech world and spent the next several years designing and developing enterprise software. In 2005, Jeff started his own company. PeachWorks is a software company that focuses on creating simple and innovative enterprise management solutions for the restaurant industry. Jeff is currently the Chief Product Officer.
.Jeff was always passionate about giving back to the community and after years of experiencing first hand food waste in the restaurant industry, he was motivated to take a deeper look at the problem. In 2011, he founded Community Plates (now Food Rescue US) with Kevin Mullins to simplify food rescue by using technology to connect donors, volunteers and receiving agencies. Jeff lives in the Charlotte, NC area with his wife and two daughters..
President, CEO, Abigail Kirsch, Catering Relationships
Jim Kirsch developed a passion for food as a child by watching his mother, Abigail, teach cooking classes out of the family kitchen. Working both after school and during college, he quickly learned every aspect of the family-run business. With a desire to broaden his knowledge of the culinary industry, Kirsch went on to work in other aspects of the restaurant business, including cooking in various Los Angeles restaurants, managing Bloomingdale’s New York restaurants, and launching the equipment rental division for Design Cuisine, a leading Washington D.C. caterer. In 1988 Jim rejoined Abigail Kirsch as the Company’s Director of Sales. Since assuming the CEO position in 1994, the Company has more than quadrupled in size. Today, Kirsch with Partner and Chef Alison Awerbuch are the driving force behind the firm’s development and expansion. Jim resides in Stamford CT with his wife Gayle and has two daughters.
Robert (Buddy) Kretzman
Retired Senior Executive, Revlon
Buddy serves as a Member of the Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee of Revlon, Inc. (NYSE:Rev). He retired as Chief Administrative Officer in 2013 after a 25 year career at Revlon serving in various senior executive officer capacities including Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer. While at Revlon, Buddy served as counsel to the Board of Directors and its committees.
Buddy serves on the Board of Directors of the Palace Theater for the Arts in Stamford, CT and also serves on the board and is Chair of the Committee on Focus and Priorities of the Ignatian Spirituality Center at Fairfield University.
Buddy graduated magna cum laude from St John’s University in 1974 and from St John’s University School of Law in 1977. He enjoys fitness, surfing, classical music, movies, gardening, taking courses and most of all family time. Buddy and his wife, Clare Attura Kretzman, live in Stamford, CT and have two adult sons.
Founding partner of Northview Hotel Group
Simon Hallgarten is one of the founding partners of Northview Hotel Group, a fully-integrated hotel operating partner, and oversees all aspects of Northview’s day-to-day operations. Simon has more than 25 years of experience in hotel and residential operations, feasibility, development, construction, and asset management in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.
Simon began his career working as a chef and hotel manager before working first with KPMG and Deloitte and then Westin Hotels & Resorts where he remained as a VP of Development during the sale of the company to Starwood Capital and Goldman, Sachs & Co. Most recently, Mr. Hallgarten worked as a consultant for The Bridgetown Group, The Alpha Group, and as West Coast Vice President of Development for Hardin Capital.
Simon holds a BA Hons. from Bristol University (England), and a post graduate degree in hotel management from Manchester University’s Hollings Faculty.
Editor in Chief & Founder, CT Bites
In some ways, Stephanie has been preparing for her current role at CTbites her whole life. Born and raised in NYC by parents who design restaurants for a living, she developed a passion for finding out of the way gems during weekly trips to the depths of Chinatown and frequent trips abroad.
Professionally, she began her career as a photo editor in the magazine industry and then migrated to the world of new media consulting and web site building during the first dot-com wave in NYC. She led strategy, brand development, site architecture and content development assignments for top consumer brands. A 7-year excursion to Seattle exposed her to a casual yet innovative approach to food that hadn't yet made it to the East Coast. When she relocated back to CT, she made it her quest to find great food, and support a community of eaters that live for their next meal.