Jordan Kahn has trained in a number of America’s (and the world’s) best restaurants. From his youth, Kahn was intrigued by the possibilities the kitchen presented, and started to work in his native Savannah at just 15 years old. Convinced he wanted to pursue a culinary career, Kahn enrolled at Johnson & Wales when he was 16, remarkably graduating just eight months later. At 17, Kahn accepted his first job out of school with Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. As part of the elite, four- man pastry team, Kahn was the youngest chef to ever work in this kitchen.
Kahn, who looks to challenge convention and reinterpret tradition, quickly distinguished himself and was asked to join the opening pastry team at Keller’s Per Se in New York. His inventive desserts and techniques soon caught the eye of Chef Grant Achatz who brought him on to the pastry team at Alinea in 2005. There, he collaborated with Pastry Chef Alex Stupak and further developed his signature style. Kahn returned to New York in September 2006 to become the Pastry Chef at Varietal, where he gained nationwide recognition for his “highly artistic” cuisine. By the age of 23, Jordan Kahn had already achieved more culinary success than many chefs twice his age. Frank Bruni of The New York Times compared Jordan to Jackson Pollock, and the New York Observer likened his dishes as Salvador Dali paintings.
Jordan Kahn then moved to work with Michael Mina at his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco. Kahn grew in the company and took a corporate role assisting in the opening and operations of Bourbon Steak (in Detroit and Miami), SaltWater (in Detroit), NEMI (in Mexico City), and, finally, XIV (in Los Angeles) where he was the opening Pastry Chef.
Born outside of San Francisco, Noah Ellis grew up in Upstate New York. While attending Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Noah held full-time jobs cooking, but after graduating in three years, joined the Light Group in Las Vegas in June 2004 and began focusing on the front of house. With Light Group, Noah opened FIX Restaurant and Bar at Bellagio and became a restaurant manager. The following year, he opened STACK Restaurant and Bar at The Mirage and managed both restaurants simultaneously. After his time with the Light Group, Ellis accepted an opportunity to join renowned Chef Michael Mina as the opening restaurant manager of STRIPSTEAK, at Mandalay Bay. Ellis returned to The Mirage to work with Cirque du Soliel and Ink (a Toronto-based management company) to open REVOLUTION Lounge as the Venue Manager. Following REVOLUTION, Ellis rejoined the Mina Group; managing Michael Mina’s eponymous Michelin two-star and San Francisco Chronicle four-star dining room in the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco. Noah grew in the company and took on a corporate role of Opening Team Manager. From this position, he further transitioned into the Corporate Beverage Director position; opening Bourbon Steak and SALTWATER (in Detroit), Bourbon Steak (in Miami), Bourbon Steak (in Scottsdale), Clock Bar (in San Francisco), XIV (in Los Angeles), Bourbon Steak (in Washington D.C.), RN74 (in San Francisco), and American Fish (in Las Vegas). As the Mina Group’s Beverage Director, Ellis managed the group’s bars and cocktail programs in all seventeen of their venues.
Before Adam Fleischman fell in love with umami, he had a long affair with wine. However, his first love was the written word. Fleischman studied literature in college and prepared for a life in journalism. A trip to Burgundy after graduation sparked a culinary and oenophilic fire in the fledgling journalist, and food and wine became the focus of his writing.
Fleischman became immersed in the wine world through his writing. He worked for several prominent Los Angeles wine retailers as well as consulted Tesori Imports on their wine portfolio. Fleischman hand-picked quality wines for import to the US, a role that involved the objective evaluation of flavor profiles, as well as the assessment of their potential in the American market. Later, Fleischman founded and ran some of LA’s first wine bars, BottleRock and Vinoteque.
With the increased exposure to wine, Fleischman’s palate matured, spurring his eventual fascination with the fifth taste, umami. Infatuated with the so-called savory flavor, Fleischman developed a restaurant concept wholly dedicated to it and to the all-American classic, hamburgers. He opened his first Umami Burger in La Brea in 2009. Three more locations have quickly followed in Los Angeles alone. Fleischman isn’t resting on his laurels, he plans to share his love for umami and expand his burgeoning savory empire all over the globe.