JONATHON SAWYER CHEF/RESTAURANTEUR
As a proud Clevelander, award-winning Chef Jonathon Sawyer has worked tirelessly to help elevate the culinary landscape of his hometown with his distinctive restaurant concepts, including his newest venture, Trentina, an intimate, fine-dining restaurant focusing on the cuisine of Trentino in Northern Italy, where Chef’s wife, Amelia Sawyer, and her family originate. Trentina adds yet another highlight to Chef Sawyer’s growing list of acclaimed Cleveland culinary destinations, including his flagship, The Greenhouse Tavern, a French and seasonally inspired gastropub named by bon appetit as one of the “Best New Restaurants” in 2009; and Noodlecat, a mash-up noodle house focusing on local ingredients, sustainability, and top-tier ramen, with locations at Public Square and the historical West Side Market. In addition to his stand-alone concepts, Chef Sawyer has also made an impact on the stadium foodservice scene with three restaurants launched in 2012: Sawyer’s Street Frites and Sausage & Peppers at the Cleveland Browns’ First Energy Stadium; and SeeSaw Pretzel Shoppe at the Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Prior to establishing his Cleveland businesses, Sawyer gained cooking experience across the country. The Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts graduate began his culinary career at The Biltmore Hotel in Miami before working in New York City alongside Charlie Palmer at Kitchen 22. Chef Sawyer worked as chef de cuisine for his friend, colleague, and fellow native Clevelander, Michael Symon, and then became Chef Symon’s executive chef at Parea in New York, receiving a three-star review from The New York Times. He moved back to Cleveland in 2007 to partner with a local 1 entrepreneur to open Bar Cento, a modern Roman enoteca in the Ohio City neighborhood, before he went on to launch his own culinary empire, which now includes a product line. The self-professed “vinegar-obsessed” Chef pioneered this passion in the vast cellar of his century home, fermenting more than 300 gallons of single-origin, single-varietal, and barrel-aged wine, beer, and malt vinegars to launch Tavern Vinegar Co. in 2008. Tavern Vinegar is available online and in specialty shops around the country, including Publican Quality Meats in Chicago, Room Service in Cleveland, and Revival Market in Houston.
Chef Sawyer’s passion, skill and creativity have been rewarded greatly since he arrived on the culinary scene. In 2010, Food & Wine magazine named him a “Best New Chef” and he’s been nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 Chef Sawyer won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes. In addition, Chef Sawyer has made several national television appearances including Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Iron Chef America, Dinner Impossible, Unique Eats, and Best Thing I Ever Ate. When Sawyer is not in the kitchen, he is surrounded by his family: his wife, Amelia; son, Catcher; daughter, Louisiana; dogs Potato and Clementine; and chickens Bear and Squid. He is an avid cyclist, as well as a tireless supporter of local agriculture and sustainable businesses both in Northeast Ohio and around the country.
CHEF DE CUISINE
Chef Vinnie Cimino born and raised in Akron, Ohio. First developed a passion for food as a child. His culinary education comes from self-teaching and hands-on kitchen experience. Cimino’s passion for food and cooking became ever so apparent while working in restaurants and attending college at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Upon returning home to Ohio, he began working at Russo’s Kitchen under Chef Dave Russo. Aspiring to build his culinary experience, he then moved to Ken Stewart’s Grille in Akron, where he was promoted to Sous Chef shortly after. When a new opportunity arose to open Ken Stewart’s East Bank in 2013, Chef Cimino made the move to the Cleveland food scene, where he served as Sous Chef and Operations Manager. In April 2015, Chef Cimino realized a professional goal and joined the team at The Greenhouse Tavern as a Sous Chef. By June 2015, he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine. Chef Cimino has also been featured on The Food Network and multiple local publications. Outside of the kitchen, Cimino is a craft beer enthusiast, bourbon adventurist, and sneaker collector. He loves spending time with his wife Sarah, daughters Cohen and Harlow, dog Kaiser Wilhelm, and cat Sophia Francis.
Elizabeth has been part of Team Sawyer since July 2014, when she was hired to make pastries and filled pastas at Trentina shortly after it opened. She later moved to the Greenhouse Tavern as a pastry cook, and is now the restaurant’s pastry chef.
Elizabeth’s career is shaped by her pursuit of diverse but complimentary interests in a series of inspiring cities. After graduating with an art degree from Loyola University Chicago, Elizabeth attended Kendall College for culinary arts. As part of her training, Elizabeth interned at James Beard-award-winning Chef Mindy Segal’s restaurant Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. She primarily worked on the savory side of the kitchen there, but found herself increasingly interested in pastry and dessert.
After graduation from Kendall College, Elizabeth spent a season in Viroqua, Wisconsin on an organic vegetable farm. There, she worked the fields, cooked staff meals, canned produce, and prepared monthly CSA boxes for customers. Returning to Chicago, Elizabeth began working at Bittersweet Pastry Shop, where she learned how to build and decorate wedding cakes, create elaborate decorated cookies, and began to develop her skills in pastry production.
Elizabeth then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she worked at the beloved Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Among that institution’s many well-crafted desserts, she is particularly grateful for her introduction to traditional Hungarian and Jewish pastry. She also worked part-time at the local boutique cake studio, Sweet Heather Anne, to satisfy her interest in making and decorating cakes.
These collective experiences developed Elizabeth’s appreciation for local food, her commitment to excellent ingredients, and her drive for continued learning and collaboration with her peers. When she is not in the kitchen, Elizabeth spends most of her time with her husband Christian, her dog Alice, and her cat, Archimedes.