Our people are our magic
We creatively leverage our breadth of knowledge and expertise to ensure your success
A dynamic and charismatic leader, Ed’s role at RealFood is to ensure his team is fully aligned with clients’ objectives and that every resource is singularly focused on helping clients achieve success.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Ed has worked in some of the finest kitchens and foodservice operations across the industry, including a long list of award-winning hotels and restaurants. His culinary accomplishments have received equal attention with features in Food and Wine, Restaurant Business, and Food Arts magazines.
The original founder of the RealFood consultancy, Ed has been serving clients and partners in this capacity since 1996. Today, RealFood is positioned as a premier hospitality strategy and design firm, helping clients to define, design and deliver unique and memorable hospitality experiences. In 2019, RealFood joined the Troon family of brands, opening up new opportunities for Ed and the RealFood team to share their vast food and beverage expertise with the club industry.
Ed continues to dream big and help others to do the same.
Matt maintains a global perspective and approach to hospitality, incorporating his passion for the industry, his extensive experience, and his pursuit of success for his clients, partners, and team. Matt possesses an acute ability to understand and articulate a client's vision, and then aggregate what he learns into an output of business strategy, guest experience and design. Much of Matt's work at RealFood includes multi-unit operations and large-scale development projects, as well as ensuring the RealFood project team achieves at the highest levels on behalf of clients.
With more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, Matt's professional career includes hospitality management at Back Bay Restaurant Group; multiple restaurant openings, including abroad in Cork City, Ireland; food and beverage operations for boutique hotels; and directing US operations for Dining In Inc. (now Grubhub).
Director of Strategy & Operations
Chris drives RealFood's most exciting projects to successful openings and operational excellence. He is highly focused on the guest experience, and he excels at helping clients turn their operations around. He is experienced in developing systems for new operations, especially in full-service and workplace dining models. Front of house operations and beverage strategy, including wine programs, are Chris' most sought-after skills.
A 30-year foodservice veteran, Chris' extensive operational experience includes Legal Seafood, Rustic Kitchen, and The Olive Group, where he worked with Todd English overseeing thirteen restaurants in six states. Chris also joined Mario Batali as the opening General Manager of Restaurants and Beverage Director for the 45,000 sq. ft. Italian food emporium Eataly.
A former owner and operator of his own award-winning restaurants, Chris brings a realistic perspective to help clients create a plan and determine next steps for their foodservice operation.
Design Project Manager
Peter delivers on the vision, solving problems before they arise, creating best-in-class documents, and offering innovative technology solutions. With a keen attention to detail and efficient communication as a liaison between the client and construction teams, Peter ensures timely and efficient results on every design project. Through the execution of the complete foodservice design lifecycle, his focus is razor-sharp on client success.
During his tenure at the company, Peter has been instrumental in positioning RealFood as one of the premier foodservice facility design resources for the hospitality industry. His project work spans every foodservice segment, with extensive experience in workplace dining and zestful dedication in brewery and brewpub projects.
A graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology's College of Architecture, Design & Construction Management, Peter's previous professional experience includes project management and design development at firms, Perini Management Services and Consigli Construction. His love for the food service industry started early in his life, growing up with parents who worked their entire careers in the industry.
Philip Bean, AIA
Design Client Relations Manager
A licensed architect in multiple states, Phil brings an in-depth understanding of the architectural and engineering elements of commercial design projects and the ability to effectively coordinate with all members of a design team, lending an incredible capacity to offer increased value to RealFood clients.
Phil was the original founder and principal of Foodservice Design Associates (FDA), which was aquired by RealFood in 2021. Since 1990, Phil’s work at FDA and now RealFood has encompassed many areas of foodservice, including new, prototype and renovation work in private and public schools; fellowship halls; assisted living and medical facilities; cafeterias and food courts for major corporations and government facilities; as well as hotels, restaurants, and theme parks.
Among other degrees and training, Phil holds a bachelor’s in architecture from Syracuse University, and he completed postgraduate studies in foodservice management and culinary arts at Cornell University’s Statler School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration.
Associate Design Project Manager
A natural problem solver, Jess approaches design from a service perspective, always seeking out the best solution, technically and operationally. She leans on her past experiences in hospitality and architecture to inform her technical depth of design elements and best-in-class document development.
After earning a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, Jess pursued her love for events and worked in planning and executing private events in St. Louis, which gained her an advanced and informed viewpoint on design within the world of hospitality.
At RealFood, Jess manages client relationships, provides guidance and leadership to the entire design team, and executes drawings for hospitality design projects that span the spectrum of the industry.
Jess currently serves as the Language Training & Resources Chair on the Diversity & Inclusion Council for RealFood parent company, Troon.
Associate Project Manager, Strategy & Operations
Monica embraces creativity in her solutions-oriented approach to food and beverage performance and operational strategy. She meets challenges head-on by envisioning the possible outcomes, and then mobilizing the ideas, people, and resources to thoughtfully achieve desired results for RealFood clients.
A graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, Monica began her now 15-year career managing F&B operations for well-known hospitality brands including Starbucks, Starwood and Hilton Hotels Hawaii. She later joined Troon, the world’s largest golf-related hospitality management company, overseeing all facets of F&B at various golf resorts, as well as private and social clubs across the country. From multi-unit, quick-service cafés to high-end, high-volume destination hotel restaurants, Monica’s diverse experiences, paired with her visionary outlook, influence her astute ability to shepherd hospitality businesses of any size from conceptual vision to operational fruition.
A sensation with computer-aided design, like Revit and AutoCAD, Julie combines her visual design aptitude with her experience-centric approach to create custom foodservice spaces for RealFood clients. Communication is always a priority for Julie; she believes in listening first, and talking through various solutions with the goal of serving productivity and the end-user of the space, all while exceeding client expectations.
A graduate of the interior design program at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Julie worked on the planogramming team at Lowe’s, where she mapped out visual merchandising strategies; and at Dick’s Sporting Goods, where she relied on data to design floorplans to better serve the end-user athlete. Julie’s past experience also includes design production for The Westin hotel brand, as well as various positions in hotel and restaurant operations.
Douglas J. Sharma
Representing a mosaic of skills, Doug approaches design projects of the present with a futuristic (and fresh) perspective that culminates his design acumen, chef training, marketing expertise and studio art background. Doug cultivates a design environment that celebrates ingenuity and high-minded thinking, while employing systematic protocols to every exploration, yeilding foodservice design outputs that are both creative and functional.
In addition to operating his own gourmet food market and catering businesses, Doug brings an abundance of experiences to the design process at RealFood, including his work with Ford Motor Company’s subsidiary, Spin. Here, he harnessed design capabilities to deploy electric scooters in the impoverished communities of southside Chicago. In addition, Doug has worked as part of various multidiscipline engineering and design teams, including D B Sterlin Consultants.
Douglas holds a Master of Design from Illinois Institute of Technology, as well as two bachelor’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. He also completed the University of San Francisco’s program for restaurant, culinary and catering management.
Strategy & Operations Specialist
Alexis alighted from the world of restaurant management to her current role at RealFood Hospitality, Strategy & Design with an unshakeable passion for the hospitality industry. Her experience is vast and diverse, with more than 20 years in restaurant operations, a well-practiced genius in marketing and branding, and a wealth of hospitality management accomplishments. Prior to joining RealFood, she helmed the Bayberry Group, a multi-unit and creative beer hall and restaurant duo, in Providence, RI; served as the general manager for award-winning Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York, NY; and held various consulting and marketing roles within the realm of hospitality.
A graduate of Ithaca College, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Alexis operates from the belief that everyone should work in a restaurant at least once, understanding the many life lessons articulated through the experience.
Strategy & Operations Specialist
Michelle’s unwavering commitment to service culture drives her passion for creating successful hospitality experiences. Her knack for building motivated teams within organizations is reinforced by her proficiency in organizational structure, leadership training and talent acquisition. Always trusting in data to inform decisions, Michelle supports clients in operations improvement, training, P&L management and other key areas that energize hospitality businesses from the inside-out.
She brings a wealth of knowledge to RealFood clients, with a long career in F&B operations for Radisson and Marriott hotel brands and award-winning independent restaurants. Her most recent role as a consultant specializing in hospitality operations and business development informs her direct, yet supportive approach to client relationships. She holds a bachelor of business administration, and shares her time to volunteer for causes near to her heart.
Client Relations Strategist
In the world of hospitality, first impressions are lasting. As a member of the client relations team, Grant is on the frontline. The “right fit” is Grant’s aim—he always makes sure that RealFood is the best solution for what clients and partners are after, and he supports the internal team to ensure we’re delivering on our promise. He’s also a whiz when it comes to analytics, reporting and applying key metrics to decision-making processes.
Since 2018, Grant has been a key team member of Indigo Sports, a fellow Troon company. He brings brings an in-depth understanding and appreciation of the business of golf and the crucial role that food and beverage plays in delivering high quality hospitality experiences.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, Grant served as the president for the National Collegiate Club Golf Association working to increase opportunities for college students to play golf. His love for the game translates into his professional work—practice and consistency are key drivers to Grant’s professional success, and he always sets the bar very high.
Brand Development Lead
With a background in advertising, luxury product marketing, and private club management, Joëlle brings her love for branding and communications to the hospitality industry. Here, she is successful as a marketing strategist, helping RealFood clients to infuse brand storytelling into every possible element of their hospitality experiences.
Joëlle leads the branding, naming and logo development work for RealFood clients, as well as strategic marketing advisory. Her discerning eye and keen sense of what guests want allows her to weigh in on other phases of work as well, adding unique, brand-forward insight to many RealFood projects.
Prior to RealFood, Joëlle worked in various hospitality and private club settings, including a Distinguished Club in southern NH. She holds her Bachelor of Science in Communication from Boston University and her Master of Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business.
John Zerebny FCSI
Design Client Relations Manager
Earnest and experienced, John has been professionally rooted in the foodservice industry since 1988. As the founder and chief designer of JAX Design Group, Inc., a Florida-based foodservice design firm acquired by RealFood in 2023, John maintains design expertise in a range of specialties, from K-12 education and healthcare facilities to private clubs and marine projects.
He has worked in a variety of operational foodservice roles, as well as a dealer sales representative and manufacturer’s representative, rounding out his industry innerworkings IQ. John’s comprehensive background aids in his unique ability to contemplate operational requirements and fulfill the individual needs of clients.
A longtime member of Foodservice Consultants Society International, John holds the highest designation.