Bret HesslerAmerican Harvest
As Director of Culinary Operations for the boutique restaurant firm Grove Bay Hospitality Group (GBHG), Bret Hessler is responsible for back-of-house management across all concepts under the GBHG umbrella. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry itself, including a variety of restaurant concepts from neighborhood fast casual to corporate fine dining.
In 1985, Hessler got his start in the restaurant business at the tender age of 15 as a dishwasher. With hard work and dedication he moved up the ladder with the Schwartz Brothers Restaurant Group and in 1997, he decided to branch out and start his own business, Streamline Consultants Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona. There he orchestrated six restaurant openings, including various Cucina Cucina Italian cafés in Arizona, Washington, California and Colorado; overseeing construction, interior décor and equipment installation. After almost three years, he missed the culinary side and returned to operations as the Sushi Chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Pan-Asian concept ObaChine.
Over the next 10 years, Hessler continued to work in and out of the kitchen in a variety of positions at several esteemed restaurants and bars. They included Coogan’s, Davis Dining Concepts, Hops! Bistro & Brewery – where he worked closely with James Beard Award-winning Chef Christopher Gross – Smith & Wollensky in Miami, Bistro Mezzaluna, Mardi Gras Casino, Tequila Ranch, and finally at Shula’s 347 Grill – a franchise concept in Coral Gables owned and operated by GBHG.
Hessler was recognized by the dynamic restaurateurs at GBHG for showcasing his finesse in successfully managing all front and back of house operations for the four and half a million-dollar restaurant; eventually transitioning to the role of Director of Culinary Operations for GBHG in 2013. In his current role, he is responsible for managing kitchen design, menu creation/costs, hiring/training staff and vendor/product acquisition for all GBHG concepts, including the farm-to-table fast casual eatery American Harvest. There he is the brains behind the restaurant’s modern interpretations of timeless, multi-ethnic comfort dishes, containing fresh and regional produce and responsibly sourced protein. His responsibilities will continue to increase as the hospitality group grows with new concepts in the pipeline.
Kristine McGlinchey/Gita Shonek/Larry Carrino
Brustman Carrino Public Relations