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Our Team

Marc Jacobs

Executive Partner and Divisional President

Marc Jacobs is the President and Partner of Antico Posto, Beatrix, Ema, Foodease, Foodlife, L. Woods and Mity Nice Bar & Grill.

Marc began his career with Lettuce Entertain You in the fall of 1991, as a banquet server and busser at Bones (now L. Woods). After being cross-trained as a server, host and line cook, he was offered the opportunity to go through management training upon his graduation from UIC in the summer of 1995.

Two years later, Marc was transferred to R.J. Grunts, and was quickly promoted to general manager where he worked side by side with Rich Melman on the re-development of the restaurant.

From 2001 to 2015, Marc was imperative in the development and re-concepting of Antico Posto, Foodlife, Mity Nice Bar & Grill and L.Woods. He also oversaw and led the opening process from beginning to end at Di Pescara, Foodease Market, Beatrix River North and Streeterville, and Bea’s Market, a fast casual market.

Now, Marc is thrilled to be combining his passion for food and design with his vast experience in restaurants in his latest concept, Ema, a Mediterranean restaurant featuring a light, California style of cooking in River North.

In his free time, Marc enjoys spending time with his wife Vanessa and their three children, traveling, and visiting new restaurants.

Michael Giles


Michael Giles is a Partner of Beatrix River North, Beatrix Streeterville, Beatrix Fulton Market, and Ēma. With a strong passion for food and operations, Michael has worked for several restaurant groups in multiple cities including Minneapolis, San Diego, Portland and now in Chicago.

Michael started at Lettuce Entertain You in August 2010 where he was a part of the Scoozi team. He quickly became the General Manager, and just three years later, Michael led the opening team at Beatrix River North. Finding success in the concept, Michael was influential in the opening of its second location in Streeterville in October 2015. Just eight months later, Michael is now the Partner of said restaurants, in addition to Ēma, a Mediterranean and California-inspired restaurant in River North.

Michael oversees daily operations, food quality and ongoing training and development of the management team. Working closely with the chef team to facilitate new and creative ideas, Michael is constantly focused on hiring and developing his management teams and growth in all three concepts.

As a Gold Coast resident, he enjoys checking out new bars and restaurants, exploring the city and playing ice hockey. He also enjoys travel, especially visiting his native hometown in Minnesota, and spending time with family and friends.

John Chiakulas

Chef Partner

John Chiakulas is Corporate Chef of LEYE and Chef Partner of Antico Posto, Beatrix, Ema, Foodease Market, Foodlife, Mity Nice Grill and L. Woods!

His journey with LEYE began at Ambria in 1981, rising through the ranks from fish butcher to becoming Executive Chef of Scoozi! when it opened a decade later. His experiences traveling through Italy awakened his imagination and enthusiasm for Italian cooking; these skills translated well to his extensive experience at many LEYE restaurants, including Tru, L. Woods and Wildfire.

John was instrumental in the redesign of Foodlife in Water Tower Place and pushed the envelope in developing Foodease into what he now considers a “chef’s playground” because of its diverse offerings. In 2011, he teamed up with the Lettuce Consulting Group to bring his creativity to clients nationwide.

John is now the Chef Partner of Beatrix and was here for every step of its creation. He is “hungry for more” in his leadership role, always thinking of how he can bring Beatrix and his other projects to the next level.

Rita Dever

Chef Partner

Rita Dever is Corporate Chef of LEYE and Chef Partner of Beatrix. A native to the Northwest, Rita grew up surrounded by an abundance of natural food and beauty. Her early years as a chef had her traveling all over the world.

Rita completed culinary school in Paris, trained with her mentor, Madeleine Kamman in New Hampshire and opened restaurants in Los Angeles, Maui, New York and Seattle as a Sous Chef at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

In 2008, she came to Chicago and joined LEYE as Corporate Chef. Working closely with Rich Melman in the test kitchen, the two collaborate daily on creating new dishes and innovating existing menus for all LEYE restaurants. It was Rita’s creations in the “Lab” that sparked the fire for Beatrix.

Now, as Chef Partner, her culinary experience has come full circle. Her Pacific Northwest whole-foods mentality drives each dish at Beatrix, bringing a “taste over trend” philosophy and healthful twist to each dish.

Susan Weaver

Chef Partner

Susan is the Chef Partner of Beatrix, Mon Ami Gabi, Café Ba-Ba-Reeba, Stripburger and Community Canteen. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, her passion for food and travel developed early in life when she spent two years traveling in Europe and working at quaint restaurants in the Mediterranean.

After her travels, she spent time working in kitchens in Boston, Houston, Chicago, Toronto and New York. She joined LEYE in 2003 as the Culinary Director for Mon Ami Gabi and Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

In 2012, she partnered with Marc Jacobs to build LEYE’s newest restaurant, Beatrix. Together, they created Beatrix’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with unique ingredients and profiles with many dishes influenced by her past travels.

Janet Kirker

Associate Partner and Executive Chef

Janet Kirker grew up in Champaign, Illinois and developed a passion for food at a young age while spending time in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother. Preparing food for holidays and celebrations year after year sparked not only her interest in cooking, but enticed Janet to learn more about the culinary arts.

Janet’s first job in a professional kitchen was as a dishwasher at a local catering company. She eagerly worked up to a cook position and continued growing with the company throughout high school and college, where she received a B.S. in Restaurant Management from the University of Illinois in 1993, and her Culinary Arts degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1995.

After school, Janet joined the team at Chicago’s iconic restaurant, Charlie Trotters. She spent most of her time in the pastry department, which led her to be the Assistant Pastry Chef at Danny Meyer’s Contemporary Indian Cuisine restaurant, Tabla, in New York City three years later. From there, Janet broadened her experience in other various positions including the Sous Chef at Café Lucy in Napa, Sous Chef and Executive Chef at Charlie Trotter’s, and the Culinary Director at The Chopping Block in Chicago.

In July of 2012, Janet joined Lettuce Entertain You as the Executive Chef at Foodease, where she helped expand the concept through menu creation and operations. Janet was also influential in the 2015 opening of Beatrix Market, where as the Executive Chef she brought delicious, healthful and homemade food to the restaurant. Beatrix Market will be opening its third location in summer of 2017.

In her free time, Janet is passionate about all things wine, vacationing, visiting local farmers markets, and spending time with her husband.

Yasmin Gutierrez

Associate Partner & Executive Pastry Chef

Yasmin studied Culinary Arts at the Illinois Institute of Art, and quickly realized her passion was in pastry. Looking to gain more experience, she became an intern at the Bittersweet Bakery on the north side of Chicago where she perfected her cookie decorating techniques and learned about traditional, American pastries.

In 2005, Yasmin joined Lettuce Entertain You as a pastry cook at Foodlife in Water Tower Place while also finishing school. Just two years later, Yasmin was promoted to pastry chef, where she also oversaw the pastry programs at both Mity Nice Bar & Grill and Foodease. In 2010, Yasmin furthered her education and pastry knowledge by attending The French Pastry School.

Three years later, Yasmin led the pastry team in the opening of Beatrix River North. She was instrumental in developing the bakery program and menu. In 2015, she was promoted to Executive Pastry Chef and most recently was named Associate Partner. Yasmin now oversees the pastry program at all three Beatrix locations, Beatrix Market, Foodlife, Foodease and Mity Nice Bar & Grill.

Her specialties include cupcake creation and design, coffee cakes and birthday cakes. Outside of the bakery, Yasmin enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and playing soccer.

Jairo Chavez

Executive Chef

Jairo Chavez is from Albany Park in Chicago, IL, and is a proud son of two immigrant parents who were both in the restaurant industry as a butcher and baker. Growing up with home cooked meals from his mother, he developed a passion for cooking and food at a young age. After attending Northeastern Illinois University, he landed his first restaurant job at Fox and Obel World Market as a prep cook in 2008. Looking to learn more and strengthen his skill set, Jairo joined Gibson’s Restaurant Group in 2011 as an expo, and worked alongside mentor Chef Carlos Farias.

In 2013, Jairo joined the Lettuce Entertain You family as a prep cook at Beatrix River North. Within the first year, he was promoted to a Sous Chef, and was promoted to Chef in 2014. Now, Jairo oversees the kitchen as the Executive Chef of Beatrix’s newest location in Fulton Market. His favorite part of job is the satisfaction of creating opportunities for his team to ‘climb the ladder’ and grow into new positions.

When Jairo isn’t in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, checking out new restaurants and beverage programs, and cheer on his Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Cubs.


Cannon Porter

General Manager

Cannon’s passion for the hospitality industry began in 2004 where she worked at Texas Roadhouse in East Lansing, MI. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, Cannon was promoted to Service and Kitchen Manager.

After spending nine years at Texas Roadhouse, Cannon came to Chicago to join the opening team as a manager of Beatrix River North in 2013. After taking over as General Manager in 2015, Cannon was prepared to then lead the management team at Beatrix’s sister restaurant, Ēma, as the General Manager.

Now, Cannon proudly opened and oversees Beatrix’s third location in Fulton Market. She focuses on all aspects of the restaurant including working closely with the chef and management team, while continually maintaining a high standard for food and service. Her favorite part of her job is working the floor and meeting new faces.

Cannon has a true passion for food and cocktails. When she’s not in the restaurant, Cannon enjoys running, biking, golfing, dining at local restaurants, and attending sporting events and concerts.

Ismael Silva

Kitchen Manager

Ismael Silva is originally from Mexico, and moved to Chicago in 2000. After working a few various jobs, he quickly learned his passion was in restaurants when he joined the Lettuce Entertain You family in 2001.

He began as a dishwasher at L.Woods in Lincolnwood, and quickly worked his way through the line and up to an Expo position. After 16 years of experience with LEYE, and ready for more growth and challenges, Ismael joined the Beatrix team at the newest location in Fulton Market and is the Kitchen Manager. His favorite part of the job is learning new things every day!

When he’s not in the restaurant, Ismael enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors.

Seth Townshend

Kitchen Manager

Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, Seth’s passion for the culinary arts began at just 12-years-old. He attended culinary school right out of high school and graduated in 2012. Upon graduation, Seth travelled Europe for five months, where he experienced new cuisines and flavors. After returning from his trip, Seth travelled to the U.S. on a one year working holiday and decided to settle in Chicago in 2015.

Looking to follow his passion for food and restaurants, Seth began with Lettuce Entertain You in 2015 as a part of the opening team at Beatrix Streeterville where he was a prep cook and line cook. Now, he is proud to be the Kitchen Manager at Beatrix’s newest location in Fulton Market. His favorite part of the job is seeing new dishes and learning concepts alongside his team.

When Seth’s not in the kitchen, he loves reading, exploring Chicago, trying new recipes at home, and spending time with his wife, Jazmin.

Jacy Jones


Jacy is originally from Chicago, and was immediately exposed to the restaurant industry as well as the Chicago dining scene as both of her parents worked in restaurants. Jacy went on to attend University of Illinois – Chicago, where she earned a degree in Political Science. After working in restaurants throughout school and upon graduation, she knew it was a career she wanted to pursue.

Jacy began at LEYE in 2010 as a host and server at DiPescara, and two years later joined the Do-Rite Donuts team. After seeking an opportunity in management in an urban setting, Jacy spent time as a Manager at Beatrix River North, and now is part of the Fulton Market team. Her favorite part of working in the restaurant is meeting new people, the fast-paced environment, and the opportunity to help others grow.

In her free time, Jacy loves to work out, read, cook, and bake double chocolate cupcakes- her specialty!

Patrick Callahan


Born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Patrick continued his education after high school at Salisbury University in Maryland with a focus in Exercise Science. Upon graduating in 2013, Patrick moved to New York City to follow his passion for food and restaurants, and began his career with HPH Hospitality Group. He began as a bartender at Pier A Harbor House, and was quickly promoted to a manager. It was there that he learned his true appreciation for hospitality.

In February 2017, Patrick moved to Chicago and joined Lettuce Entertain You, and was a part of the opening team of Beatrix in the Fulton Market District in the West Loop. As a manager, Patrick’s favorite part of the job is interacting with new guests, and having each day bring new challenges and experiences.

As a new resident to Chicago, Patrick is enjoying exploring what the city has to offer with his girlfriend Kait, and their French bulldog, Carl.

Thomas Moore


Originally from Champaign, Illinois, Thomas Moore first found his passion in restaurants in 2002 where he was a crew member at Jarling’s Custard Cup. Four years later, and eager to expand his knowledge, Thomas took a position at a local wine café where he learned about beer, wine, and spirits. In 2011, he moved to Los Angeles to make the transition to restaurant management with a position for Blackhouse Hospitality Management in Hermosa Beach, CA.

In 2016, Thomas moved to Chicago with his wife, and joined the Lettuce Entertain You family as a manager at Beatrix Streeterville. After adapting to the culture and concept, Thomas was asked to join the opening team for Beatrix’s third location in the Fulton Market District of the West Loop. His favorite part of the job is talking with guests, and educating staff about what is new and exciting in spirits and cocktails.

In his free time, Thomas enjoys reading, going to the movies, and experimenting in the kitchen with food and cocktails. He and his wife love to explore the city and check out new restaurants.

Conner White


Conner White grew up in the small town of Edwards, Colorado, and got his start in the restaurant industry at a young age as a Sandwich Artist at Subway. Looking to expand his hospitality experience as he got older, Conner worked in various hotels including Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming and the Courtyard Magnificent Mile in Chicago throughout college. After graduating with a degree in Economics from Indiana University in 2014, Conner moved to Shanghai, China to work for Fast Gourmet Group. He was influential in opening eight Dunkin’ Donuts stores in China, as well as gaining experience as a restauranteur.

In 2016, Conner moved to Chicago and joined Lettuce Entertain You where he worked many positions at Beatrix, including server, barista, host, and bartender. After one year, Conner was promoted as a manager and was a part of the opening team of Beatrix in Fulton Market. His favorite part of the job is seeing a guest in the restaurant for the second time in the same day.

When Conner isn’t in the restaurant, he enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, and making his own homemade bubble tea.

Cara Yaffe

Divisional Marketing & PR Manager

Growing up in Long Grove, Illinois, Cara has always had a passion for food, writing, and technology, and knew she wanted to pursue a career one day that would entail all of those elements. Graduating in 2012 from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN., with a degree in Journalism and Business, she began her PR and marketing journey at a Chicago public relations agency focusing on restaurants and local businesses.

Realizing that her true passion and excitement was in restaurants, and also ready for more growth and opportunity, Cara joined the Lettuce Entertain You family in the summer of 2015. Now, Cara proudly oversees the marketing and public relations for Antico Posto, Beatrix, Beatrix Market, Ema, Foodlife, Foodease, L. Woods, Mity Nice Bar & Grill, and Rotisserie Ema. Her favorite part of the job is how every day is different, as well as having the opportunity to express her creativity across multiple different brands that she truly believes in.

In her free time, Cara loves checking out new restaurants around the city, traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with family and friends.

Krista Rominger

Sales & Catering Manager

Krista joined the Lettuce Entertain You family in 2014 as an office manager in the Lettuce Parties & Special Events department. Originally from Naperville, and a graduate of Illinois State, Krista has grown up surrounded by the Chicago restaurant scene. Krista has learned so much about what it means to find the perfect space and atmosphere for a client and is excited to be sharing her expertise in special events at Beatrix.

Being a part of the Beatrix team is very exciting for Krista. She is able to focus on some of her strongest qualities – organization, planning, and execution of special events. Krista enjoys meeting new faces, forming relationships, and creating memorable experiences for guests.

In her free time, Krista loves to weekend brunch, attend sporting events, and spend time with her friends and family. Krista currently resides nearby Beatrix, in Chicago’s River North.

Sharlene Hobbs

Divisional Training Director

Sharlene Hobbs grew up in southern California, and went to school in both Santa Barbara and San Diego with a focus on becoming a teacher. Upon graduation, Sharlene realized her true passion was in the restaurant industry, and joined the team at Rock Bottom Brewery in 2000. Seven years later, Sharlene moved to Chicago to be the Assistant Manager at Rock Bottom in the Windy City.

In 2009, Sharlene joined the Lettuce Entertain You Family as a server at RJ Grunts in Lincoln Park. Just one year later, she was promoted to a divisional trainer for various concepts including Foodlife, Mity Nice Bar & Grill, Foodease, Scoozi, Beatrix and Ema. Now, Sharlene is the Divisional Training Director for eight restaurant concepts and is vital in new restaurant openings, staff seminars and outings, and the on-going development of current employees. With a true love for building the training department as the division continues to grow, her favorite part of the job is working with new team members, and being the first impression of a company she is so proud to be a part of.

When Sharlene is not in the restaurant, she enjoys reading, trying new restaurants, traveling, visiting her family, and spending time with friends.

Meghan Sullivan

Office Manager

Meghan is originally from Michigan, and moved to Chicago in 2000 to attend Columbia College. For seven years, Meghan was a professional makeup artist, but had always worked in various bars and restaurants along the way.

Looking for a change and new experience, Meghan joined Lettuce Entertain You as a server at Ramen-San in 2014. After immediately developing a strong passion for the company, the restaurant industry and culture, Meghan moved on to a bartending position, and was promoted to Office Assistant shortly thereafter.

In July 2017, Meghan joined the team at Beatrix Fulton Market where she is the Office Manager. Her favorite part of the job is the day to day contact with the staff, and how each day brings new challenges and experiences.

When she’s not in the restaurant, she enjoys reading, hiking with her husband, and having new experiences!