Brandon Cogan, Executive Chef
A Palos Verdes, CA native, Brandon Cogan followed his passion for food up the California coast, attending the School of Culinary Arts at Santa Barbara City College. After graduating in 1999, Chef Cogan spent the next 15 years working the creative culinary circuit, with stops at Bouchon, Café Luck and Wine Cask, where he took over as chef in 2016. Ask Cogan ‘what style of food’ he likes to prepare and he’s likely to say ‘whatever makes the guest happy’. Cogan adds that early in his career, he realized that simplicity and comfort, hospitality-based cooking that produces food guests crave, would be his driving force.
Jennifer Brodt, Director of Operations
Since completing her university studies in Fine Art and Photography, Ms. Brodt has devoted the past 17 years of her life to developing her skills in the art and business of fine dining. She spent her early years in the coastal regions of Maryland, Delaware and South Florida, developing her skills and enriching her knowledge of coastal cuisine and fine wine. Ms. Brodt relocated from Palm Beach, Florida to Birmingham, Alabama, to open another restaurant and further her education in the ever-changing restaurant industry. Since moving to Santa Barbara, she has worked as the General Manager of Bouchon, Seagrass and now Wine Cask, under owner and restaurateur, Mitchell Sjerven.
"My philosophy is simple," she says. "The most important part of any job in this business is to make the guest feel welcome, anticipate their needs, and make sure guests have a positive dining experience in an elegant, yet unpretentious atmosphere."
To that end, Ms. Brodt is a tireless worker, with little interest in being in the public eye, or securing titles. She enjoys the "mechanics" of the restaurant, making all the various elements, parts and challenges settle into a cohesive experience for both staff and guests alike. When away from the restaurant, Ms. Brodt spends her time boxing at State Street Boxing Club, and shopping at Farmers Market trying to create culinary masterpieces for her husband, Josh.
David Fainberg, Wine Director
A native to the small resort town of Lake Arrowhead, David began his career serving tables in a local fine dinning restaurant, where he quickly found a love for food, wine, and hospitality. With this love came the realization that the pursuit of education was a necessity, and he embarked on his sommelier training. Now a Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist of Wine, David continues to study and develop his knowledge in the ever-expanding wine world. With over 10 years of experience in the food and wine industry, David has moved to Santa Barbara to further his passion for great food, amazing wine, and true hospitality.
Sarah Rudd, General Manager
A long-time Santa Barbara resident, attending UCSB for Cultural Anthropology and Biology. Mrs. Rudd began as a hostess at Piatti while completing her studies; Sarah’s charisma and love of the business helped her transition to Assistant General Manager, Private Events Manager and General Manager of Piatti. Sarah decided to alter her original career path and make the food and beverage industry her focus and career. Sarah is constantly educating herself and challenging herself. Sarah strives to create and develop guest relations and to motivate those around her. Sarah’s extroverted personality and sharp wit makes her a commodity for front-of-house operations. Sarah has boundless energy and a true love of the business. When Sarah is away from work she spends her time channeling her inner Martha Stewart, baking, decorating and creating everything from food to décor for her family. Sarah spends her free time dedicated to her husband, Robert, and two daughters, Chloe and Eva.
Matt Pickett, Beverage Director
Matt began to explore his interest in food and beverage after completing his service in the U.S. military. He started experimenting in the kitchen and then parlayed that experience to front-of-house ventures.
Matt moved to Europe to familiarize himself with other cultures and styles of cooking. It was his time in Europe that inspired him to delve further into the ever-evolving world of cocktails, and after 2 years abroad, Matt returned to the Untited States to attend the United Bartenders Guild in San Francisco.
While living in San Francisco, Matt developed a love for the craft cocktail, and an appreciation for the marriage of local farmers market ingredients with spirits. He also has a passion for the history of the cocktail, from pre-Prohibition to the present day artistry that is gaining momentum in big and small cities alike. Above all else, Matt loves to create "tasty adult beverages," and has thoroughly enjoyed reviving the cocktail menu at Intermezzo Bar + Café