Un-Plated Presents: A Restaurant Road Panel

Join this crucial conversation about what it’s really like to open a restaurant and how to find true success as a restaurant operator/owner.

Restaurant Road is a series about how to open a restaurant, featuring chefs and restaurateurs who have done the heavy lifting, seen failure, and found success in this endeavor.

This premiere Restaurant Road panel gives the inside scoop from the leaders of female-driven restaurants in the Washington DC area. Panelists include—

  • Johanna Hellrigl, Executive Chef and Partner of Fat Baby Inc. Restaurant Group (Doi Moi, Birds Eye Cafe, Destination Wedding DC)
  • Rose Previte, Restaurateur, Owner of Compass Rose and Maydan
  • Marcelle Afram, Executive Chef of Bluejacket
  • Marjorie Meek Bradley, Executive Chef of St. Anselm
  • Jill Tyler, Co-Owner of Tail Up Goat and the forthcoming Reveler’s Hour

The panel will run for 45 minutes after which a 15 minute Q&A session will take place. After the panel concludes, there will be a short reception where guests are encouraged to mingle with the panelists.

Meet the Panelists

Johanna Hellrigl Executive Chef and Partner of Fat Baby Inc.

photo credit: Raisa Aziz

Born into a family of chefs, Hellrigl was raised in kitchens in Italy and the United States, including New York City, where her mother and father owned Palio, an upscale Italian restaurant in Midtown. Her father, Andreas Hellrigl, was a Michelin-starred chef who set her up in a mini chef’s coat in the pastry section of the kitchen – the safest place for small hands. When her father passed away, Hellrigl’s mother Maria Pia took over the restaurant. Her mother’s resilience taught Hellrigl the importance of perseverance in a tough industry, while the chefs with whom her father entrusted his recipes and techniques taught her integrity in the kitchen.

Hellrigl was previously Head Chef of Via Umbria and Boulangerie Christophe in Georgetown. Her local experience also includes a stagiaire under Chef Jordan Lloyd of the Bartlett Pear Inn. In 2017, Hellrigl founded Johanna’s Table, a unique food and boutique catering business that included XII by Johanna’s Table, a monthly pop-up dinner series held throughout Washington, DC.

Hellrigl’s dishes draw inspiration from the women of Southeast Asia she met during her four plus years working for a democracy building organization that focused on empowering women from around the globe to increase their political participation.  Says Hellrigl: “By day, I trained them on women’s leadership skills or we built new legislation through women’s caucuses in parliament. By night, they introduced me to their homes, their families, their communities and exposed me to different ingredients, flavors and spices that now play a heavy role in my dishes and the Doi Moi dining experience.”

Inspired by her time spent abroad, Hellrigl expanded Doi Moi’s Vietnamese and Thai roots to encompass new and exciting regional flavors from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Sri Lanka. She introduced a more worldly Southeast Asian cuisine to Doi Moi’s menu to pay tribute to the cosmopolitan diversity of DC itself. In August 2018, Hellrigl and the Doi Moi team launched Birds Eye Coffee Bar & Eatery, a daytime option open daily for food lovers passing by 14th Street.

Rose Previte Restaurateur, Owner of Compass Rose and Maydan

photo credit: Jennifer Chase

Restaurateur Rose Previte, owner of DC’s award-winning restaurants Compass Rose and Maydan, comes from a food loving Sicilian-Lebanese family. Growing up, Rose spent years helping to run her mother’s catering business and later her restaurant. She later spent over a decade working in bars and restaurants, including Mike Schuster’s Pour House for over six years, while getting a master’s degree in Public Policy from George Mason University.

Rose married David Greene, NPR journalist, and joined him when he was posted in Russia. In almost three years’ time the couple traveled to 30 countries, absorbing their street and market foods, and the energy of diverse cultures. These travels reinforced her strong commitment to community, and to offering people the chance to taste delicious foods and discover the meaning behind them, which inspired the opening of Compass Rose in 2014.

Since Compass Rose’s opening, the 2017 RAMMY award-winner for best casual restaurant has been named on every best restaurant list in D.C. and has received national recognition from esteemed news outlets including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, etc.

In November 2017, Rose opened her second award-winning restaurant, Maydan, which was conceived and designed over a three-week journey last summer through Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Georgia and Lebanon to discover those countries’ foodways. Since its opening just nine months ago, the restaurant, named a James Beard Semifinalist, has received critical acclaim from local, regional, and national press outlets, including being named a No. 2 Best New Restaurant in America” by Bon Appetit, a “Top 10 Best New Restaurant” by Food & Wine, a “Best New Restaurant in America” by G.Q Magazine, one of  Eater’s “18 Best New Restaurants in America”, the 2018 “Best Restaurant Design” winner by Eater DC, and more.

Marjorie Meek-Bradley Executive Chef at St. Anselm

photo credit: Jennifer Chase

Originally from Ukiah, California, Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s first exposure to cooking came at Plowshares, a non-profit community dining hall her parents founded in Mendocino County in 1983. This early immersion into a world defined by real ingredients and simple technique laid a solid culinary foundation for the new executive chef of St. Anselm, which Joe Carroll and Stephen Starr will open in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market in spring 2018.

After completing a year as a foreign exchange student in Sweden and graduating from high school, Meek-Bradley left California for the East Coast, enrolling in The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia. She spent her externship learning pastry at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, followed by her first stint with STARR Restaurants, working for Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson at Washington Square.

She would later assist STARR with the opening of Barclay Prime before returning to her home state and landing at Thomas Keller’s Michelin-starred Bouchon in Yountville, not far from where she grew up. Meek-Bradley’s time in the Keller orbit brought her to New York City and Per Se in 2007, one of the most formative experiences of her career. There, under three-Michelin-star chef Jonathan Benno, she “learned that cooking was a craft — not recipes and rules, but techniques and ideas,” she says. “We were allowed so much room to grow.”

Meek-Bradley spent a year as a private chef in Florida before arriving in D.C. in 2009, where she quickly found work as a sous chef at the José Andrés landmark Zaytinya, and later chef de cuisine of Mike Isabella’s Graffiato, further honing her leadership skills.

Her move to the nation’s capital coincided with a boom period in that city’s dining scene, and soon, Meek-Bradley would earn her first executive chef position, taking the reins at Ripple and debuting Roofer’s Union in Northwest D.C. in 2013. Here, she earned many accolades, including multiple honors from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and a “Rising Star” semifinalist nod from the James Beard Foundation. She also found the time to compete on Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef, finishing in the top three.

In 2016, Meek-Bradley branched out on her own to introduce Smoked & Stacked, a fast-casual concept in Shaw serving hand-crafted sandwiches.

When Meek-Bradley isn’t cooking, she dabbles in photography and spends time with friends and Lilly, her 8-pound chihuahua-terrier “sous chef.”

Marcelle Afram Executive Chef of Bluejacket 

photo credit: Marissa Bialecki

Originally from Silver Spring, MD, Marcelle Afram grew up immersed in the restaurant industry, assisting her parents in the kitchens of their mom & pop pizza shops and Lebanese restaurants. Later in life, Marcelle trained under Michelin Star chefs in Spain, worked at fisheries in Puerto Rico, and on a farm cooperative in Wisconsin. All before coming back to the D.C. area and opening restaurants with Stir Food Group, ultimately operating her own consulting business.

She landed at Bluejacket before the opening in October 2013. At Bluejacket, Marcelle draws on her Italian and Mediterranean culinary training which instilled in her the approach to use only the best ingredients of the season by building close relationships to local farmers and purveyors. Bluejacket serves a seasonal menu with beer garden flare and proudly sources nearly 100% of its produce and meat locally.

Jill Tyler, Co-Owner of Tail Up Goat and the forthcoming Reveler’s Hour

photo credit: Brian Oh

Jill Tyler landed in DC in 2002 to attend American University and fell in love with DC and its quickly growing restaurant scene.

After gaining experience at some of DC’s dining institutions including Komi, Proof and Little Serow she and her partners decided to open their first project.  Tail Up Goat opened in 2016 and has quickly become a gathering place where guests tuck into house-made pastas and breads while enjoying eclectic wines, ciders, soft drinks and cocktails.
While the food has made it’s mark it’s a personal triumph that the service is mentioned time and time again.  Creating memories and moments around a table is her passion.  Jill has developed a service program based on the hospitality ethos of kind and smart service.  Kind and smart are ideas applied not just to guests, but to decisions made with their team.  She and her partners have created a professional culture that focuses on continued education, a positive work-life balance, and offering benefits that one would expect to find in a 9-5 job.
Jill looks forward to the new challenges and experiences of opening Reveler’s Hour.  Her mantra continues to be, you can only open your first restaurant once.