STAFF REPORT – This week’s profile is the last in the introduction to the chefs behind “The Taste of Boca Grande,” in the weeks leading up to the event on Monday, Feb. 3 at the Boca Bay Pass Club.
See the previous two weeks’ Boca Beacons to see the profiles for the other ‘Taste’ chefs that have run.
EXECUTIVE CHEF GREG FOOS
BOCA GRANDE CLUB
Executive Chef Greg Foos has been at the Boca Grande Club since 2011, but he is originally a Michigan boy. His family moved around several times when he was a child, as his father worked for a television station. After graduating from high school in Jupiter, Florida, Greg attended Johnson & Wales University in Miami and majored in the culinary arts.
He knew early on that he wanted to be a chef, and he started cooking in a restaurant while he was still in school. After he graduated he worked for Loews Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, Miami Beach, Las Vegas and California. He also worked as an executive chef at the Santa Monica Beach Resort and the Key Biscayne Yacht Club before he accepted the position at the Boca Grande Club.
Part of the reason he moved to this area was to be near family. Greg has relatives who live in Venice, and Greg visited Boca Grande in the past to fish. Chef Greg considers his family to be his most important asset. He and his wife, Jonna, have four children – Peyton, Ava, Finn and Lila.
CHEF MATT HANEY
THE WAVERLY RESTAURANT
Chef Matt Haney has been with the Waverly Restaurant in Englwood since 2018 and has also worked as a chef at Beach Road Bistro in Englewood and Mozaic Restaurant in Sarasota. He was also a sous chef at Farlow’s. Chef Matt has culinary experience in Nantucket and in South Boston well.
He attended Johnson & Wales University and received his bachelor’s degree in the culinary arts in 2007. He attended high school in Rhode Island, and Richmond is his hometown.
CHEF GABRIEL MALDONADO
THE GASPARILLA INN & CLUB
Chef Gabriel Maldonado, the executive chef at The Gasparilla Inn & Club, has been working in the kitchen since he was six years old in Mexico City, where his parents owned a restaurant. He and his four sisters learned the business at a very young age, from slaughtering animals to cleaning plates and dicing vegetables the correct way.
Chef Gabriel moved from Mexico City to Long Island when he was 19 and found jobs as a dishwasher and food worker in country clubs around the New York area. He then moved up the ranks at the New Canaan Country Club in Connecticut and Nassau Country Club in Glencove, New York.
CHEF MICHAEL DURETT
LEMON BAY GOLF CLUB
Chef Michael Durett is a 30-year veteran of the food and beverage industry. Originally from Western New York, Michael moved to Florida in 1986 and began his culinary career in Sarasota, where he worked for Charlie’s Crab (a Muer Corporation). Working for the Muer Corporation was the beginning of his love of the food and beverage industry.
After working with his original mentor, he moved on to do an apprenticeship in Atlanta, Georgia for three years before returning to Sarasota. Once he was back in the great state of Florida, he accepted his first sous chef position at Laurel Oak Country Club. Michael excelled at his position and was promoted to executive chef. His next stop was at River Wilderness Country Club, where he was the executive chef.
Prior to coming to Lemon Bay, Michael had been the executive chef at Lakewood Ranch Country Club for nine years.
CHEF THOMAS THOMPSON
Executive Chef Thomas Thompson’s culinary pedigree is a subtle blend of classic French training coupled with extensive travel, styles and methods. He apprenticed under renowned Chef Herman Heimeyer with Hyatt Resorts, opening new properties in Grand Cayman, Key West, Florida, and Columbus, Ohio.
His love of the ocean has found its way into a large portion of his menu ideas and methods with the marriage of flavors between fresh seafood, seasonal local vegetables, and exotic yet light sauces his forte. These flavors and style are reflected on his nightly Fusion, Restaurant menu selections at The Boca Grande Resort.
In the off season or as time allows Chef Thompson enjoys conducting cooking classes catering, consulting, and career day events at local schools.
He is currently active as a National Officer in both the Naples and the Sarasota chapters of Le Chaine des Rotisseurs and Mondial Society. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his many years of work with the National Young Chefs competition, (Jeunne Commis).
A current A.C.F. member, Chef Thompson has medaled in several regional and national competitions.
Chef Thompson is an avid sailor and gets out on his sailboat the SEA & STARS whenever possible.
CHEF ANTONIO OLIVERO
Executive Chef Antonio Olivero has been with the Eagle Grille in Boca Grande Marina since 2008. He has also worked as the owner and chef at The Taco Shop in Port Charlotte.
He is originally from Spain.