Daniel Haar, President & Partner
Daniel grew up in Boston Massachusetts, but didn't imagine becoming a chef until he moved to New York after college. It was here that he had two memorable experiences dining at Lupa and Wd~50 which inspired him to become a chef. He joined the team at Torrisi Italian Specialties in 2010 as the sous chef, and since then has been a chef at Carbone, partner of Santina and Sadelle's, and has helped with all restaurant openings. As president of THE GRILL and The Lobster Club, Daniel oversees all operations, and has lead the teams to numerous accolades and awards. Of all ingredients, Daniel is routinely inspired by the traditions of making pasta. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, and fitting in a game of baseball or basketball whenever possible.
Luis Sarabando, Operations and Service Director
Growing up in New Jersey, Luis knew he wanted to be a part of the New York Hospitality industry since he was a child and went to his father's favorite restaurant. Like many, his first position was as a dishwasher, and he was worked his way up through many notable restaurants since then. Luis was a part of the opening team of Carbone, and has served as an ambassador of the brand before opening THE GRILL as the General Manager. As Operations and Service Director, Luis is responsible for all guest experiences at THE GRILL and The Lobster Club. When he's not at work, you can find him at home in New Jersey grilling ribeyes and drinking wine with family and friends.
Cristina Cozac, General Manager
Originally from Bucharest, Romania, Cristina got her start in hospitality after moving to New York City. An early experience working for Daniel Boulud made her realize cooking can be an art, and it is a restaurant's job to serve food in a way that makes people feel special. Cristina joined Major Food Group as the Assistant General Manager of THE POOL, and has risen to the top leadership role at THE GRILL. After work Cristina loves to enjoy a glass of Champagne.
Will Cox, Executive Chef
Chef William Cox is a native of Atlanta, where he attended Georgia State University. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park and began his culinary journey. He began working in New York at Danny Meyer’s iconic Union Square café, where he quickly rose to the position of sous chef. Not wanting to slow down, he continued to work in world class kitchens such as Le Bernardin under Chef Eric Ripert and Bar Boulud under Chef Daniel Boulud. With over a decade of experience in the kitchen, William found his home with Major Food Group. He began as a Chef of the Michelin stared restaurants Carbone and ZZ’s Clam bar in lower Manhattan, and is now the Executive Chef of The Grill at the iconic Seagram building in Midtown Manhattan. William enjoys traveling, cooking for and spending time with his family.
Stephanie Prida, Pastry Chef
Hailing from San Diego, Stephanie first joined the culinary world when her sister suggested culinary school instead of art school. Following culinary school, Stephanie spent time working at many great restaurants, including L2o and Blackbird in Chicago. Prior to joining Major Food Group, she led the pastry department at David Kinch's 3 Michelin Starred restaurant Manresa in California. Stephanie loves the rush of working a busy service, and the collaboration of working with a talented team. Outside of work Stephanie is an avid hiker, and as a California native loves any activity on the water.
Brittany Palomino, Maitre D
Brittany got her start in hospitality hosting at a restaurant in high school and hasn't left the industry since. She worked her way up through several locations in her home town of Tampa and Miami before heading to New York City, where she now oversees all guest experiences at THE GRILL. Outside of work Brittany enjoys dining around Manhattan, and is always on the look for the best slice of pizza and gin & tonic in the city.
Brad Nugent, Beverage Director
Brad grew up outside of New York in New Jersey, and like many in hospitality got his start washing dishes at the local diner. It wasn't until discovering wine in college that Brad realized he could make hospitality his career. As the beverage director of Major Food Group's restaurants in The Seagram Building, Brad is responsible for for all beverage at THE GRILL and The Lobster club, representing literally thousands of options. Brad resides on the upper East Side with his wife and child, where you can find him making pizza at home and playing with his dog Rocky.
Rich Torrisi, Partner
Rich Torrisi grew up in Westchester, New York. From a very early age he took to cooking. After years of making his way through local kitchens near his native Hudson River, Rich took the next step in his culinary career by attending the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. After a successful externship at Aquavit, Rich continued to hone his skills under Marcus Samuelsson for the next two years while completing his bachelor's degree at the CIA. Following his graduation, Rich began to work under Chef Andrew Carmellini at Café Boulud, who would became a mentor over the course of his career. Rich spent over four years at Café Boulud. At the end of his tenure at Café Boulud, he knew it was time for him to travel to France and cook in as many Michelin starred restaurants as possible. Upon returning home, Chef Carmellini called upon Rich to once again team up on a new project called A Voce. In 2009, with partner Mario Carbone, he opened a deli on Mulberry Street called Torrisi Italian Specialties, beginning what has become Major Food Group. In addition to the restaurants' numerous accolades, Rich has been awarded Best New Chef in America by Food & Wine Magazine and nominated for several James Beard Awards. Rich currently lives in the West Village.
Mario Carbone, Partner
Mario was born and raised in Queens, New York. After years of working weekends and summers in local eateries, Mario attended The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. He worked as an apprentice at Babbo, and following his graduation from CIA, Mario returned to Batali & Bastianich to join the opening team at Lupa Osteria Romana in Greenwich Village. Following Lupa, Mario went on to work at a small family-run restaurant on the western coast of Tuscany called La Dogana. Upon returning home, Mario worked for two masters with very different approaches. First came an opportunity to learn from Daniel Boulud, who taught precise, classic French cuisine at the highest level. Mario then went on to work for Chef Wylie Dufresne, and again with his mentor Mark Ladner to open Del Posto. Feeling the urge to create his own space, Mario left the restaurant after two and a half years to pursue his dream of being an Executive Chef. In 2009 he opened Torrisi Italian Specialties with partner Rich Torrisi, but it wasn't until meeting and teaming up with Jeff Zalaznick in 2010 that Major Food Group was born. In addition to the restaurants' numerous accolades, Mario has been awarded Best New Chef in America by Food & Wine Magazine and nominated for several James Beard Awards. Mario currently lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Jeff Zalaznick, Partner
Jeff Zalaznick is a restaurateur and entrepreneur. He was born and raised in New York City and is a graduate of Cornell University. Prior to becoming a restaurateur, Jeff worked as an investment banker for J.P. Morgan and then a manager at the Mandarin Oriental. He then struck out on his own and conceived, developed and sold two highly-influential restaurant websites. In 2010, Jeff met his match in visionary chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi at Torrisi Italian Specialties. Together, the trio formed Major Food Group (MFG), a new breed of restaurant group seeking to operate restaurants that are respectful of the past, exciting for the present, and sustainable for the future. MFG's restaurants are conceptualized to uphold the highest level of food quality and fine dining service in a fun and inviting atmosphere for the guest. Jeff is the Cornell School of Hotel Administration's Entrepreneur-in-Residence and has been listed in 30 Under 30 by Zagat and Forbes. He has also been named 40 under 40 by Crain’s and a Rising Star Restaurateur by Star Chefs. Jeff and his partners believe strongly in giving back, and have pioneered an exciting charity partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation. Jeff lives in Soho with his wife Ali and their children Poppy, Leo and Zoey.