Executive Chef, and Co-Proprietor
Chef Tory grew up working in his grandparents' diner in Racine, Wisconsin before moving to New York to attend the French Culinary Institute and work his way through some of the cities' finest kitchens, including Bill Telepan's JUdson Grill and Eleven Madison Park. A true Wisconsinite at heart, he returned to Madison to began working under his mentor, Odessa Piper, at L'Etoile, where he found his true passion for local food through the Dane County Farmers' Market. After taking over L'Etoile in 2005 from Odessa, Tory opened his second restaurant, Graze, in 2010, and his third, Sujeo, in 2014, as a way to provide local-sourced cuisine to a larger audience in the Madisonian dining scene. A 2012 recipient of the James Beard Award Best Chef: Midwest, Tory has strived to strengthen Madison's food system, local agriculture, and wider community throughout his career by supporting farmers and purchasing local Wisconsin products for all his restaurants, most recently forming the Madison Area Chefs Network to unite Madison's local chefs for the first time. When he is not working in one of his three restaurants, Tory is spending time with his two young boys, passing along his love of all things delicious.
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.
A Chicago native, Jillian, found her love for local food in Madison. After spending years working under Chef Bill Kim, Jillian then moved on to work at one of the largest event and catering companies in the Midwest, planning everything from 45 person weddings to the Chicago Marathon. She then found herself at Graze as a floor manager - where she fell in love with the local farmers, producers and of course, Deja Food Group. When Jillian is not studying wine - she can be heard singing a show tune or two.