OUR TEAM

Tory Miller, Executive Chef and Co-Proprietor
Tory took his early passion for food to the French Culinary Institute, leading to jobs at several high-end restaurants in New York, including Eleven Madison Park and Judson Grill, before he arrived at L’Etoile to work as Odessa Piper’s Chef de Cuisine. Now, as the Executive Chef for L’Etoile and Graze, Tory is fulfilling his dream of taking local farm-raised ingredients to the next level. Preferring old world cooking methods, his kitchens produce a variety of house-made products like artisan cured meats, pastas, breads, butters, fruit preserves, pickled vegetables and more! His creativity and talent have gotten him noticed far and wide with recognitions such as the James Beard Foundation's 2012 Award for Best Chef - Midwest, Santé Magazine’s “Culinary Hospitality of the Year” Grand Award, Gourmet Magazine’s “America’s Top 50 Restaurants”, Saveur’s “Top 100” and the title of Madison Magazine’s “2010 Chef of the Year.”​

Chef Tory Miller, Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor

Chef Tory Miller, Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Chef Tory Miller, Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor

Dianne Christensen, Co-Proprietor

Dianne Christensen, Co-Proprietor Dianne Christensen, Co-Proprietor
Dianne Christensen, Co-Proprietor
Dianne Christensen became a co-proprietor in June of 2007. With her long career in economic consulting, she has been instrumental in helping navigate the move of L’Etoile and the opening of Graze. Passionate about food, she taught all her children to enhance their lives by cooking and eating wisely. As a key supporter of L’Etoile’s farm-to-school initiative (CHOW), she’s also helped make healthy eating a priority at Sherman Middle School. L’Etoile and Graze allow Dianne to bring her passion and business expertise together and further their philosophy of well-prepared, local, seasonal foods.​

Krys Wachowiak, Director of Operations

Krys Wachowiak, Director of Operations Krys Wachowiak, Director of Operations
Krys Wachowiak, Co-Proprietor & Director of OperationsKrys is a native of the Fox River Valley and has been active in the restaurant industry since 1992.  He joined the L’Etoile team in 2006 as a bartender and has undertaken a number of roles within the restaurants including Bar Manager, Maître d’ Hotel, and General Manager.  In 2011, he became Director of Operations and a Co-Proprietor in 2012.  Krys’ perspectives on management and hospitality have been deeply influenced by the writings and teachings of Robert Greenleaf, Danny Meyer, Ari Weinzweig and Marcus Buckingham.  
Ruben Mendez, Beverage Director Ruben Mendez, Beverage Director
Ruben Mendez, Maitre d' and Wine Director
A longtime bartender in both Madison and New York, Ruben creates innovative drinks using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and locally-produced spirits, as well as works with the extensive wine program as the Wine Director. This November, Ruben passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Certification Exam, and is looking forward to continue his training for the next level of certification in the future. 

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Melinda Dorn, Pastry Chef Melinda Dorn, Pastry Chef
Melinda Dorn, Pastry Chef
A transplant from Lake Tahoe, CA, Melinda enjoys working with all the great ingredients grown and produced in Wisconsin. Melinda's cooking style reflects her experiences in many different culinary cities, like Boston, Boulder, Seattle, and even Auckland, New Zealand—where she worked at the award-wining Mudbrick Vineyards. She shares Chef Tory's affinity for hand-spun frozen custard, and looks for every opportunity to sneak her savory culinary background
in to her final-course offerings.​

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Melinda Dorn, Pastry Chef Melinda Dorn, Pastry Chef
Itaru Nagano, Chef de Cuisine
A Culinary Institute of America graduate and a dedicated addition to our team, Itaru has worked for culinary greats José Andrés and Tom Colicchio before joining us as Sous Chef in 
February 2013 and stepping into the Chef de Cuisine role in November 2014.