Meet Our Chefs

At Marcel’s Culinary Experience, our kitchen is your kitchen. Assembled from a variety of different backgrounds, yet bound by a common thread, the professional chefs and chef educators are the foundation of the culinary program at Marcel’s.

Marcel’s culinary team will ensure that each and every guest has a place to learn, watch, and meet new people and old friends – a place to pull up a chair, gather around the table and discover fabulous food adventures. A place to cook, create, and celebrate.

Kelly Sears, Executive Chef

Rachel Cuzzone

Kiley Fields

Brandy Fernow

Paul Lindemuth

Robin Nathan

KellyKelly Sears
Marcel’s Executive Chef

Dry mix, water, and a light bulb. Kelly began cooking under 40 watts of power with the Easy Bake Oven; her poor parents ate more than their share of “delicacies” baked under a light bulb.  Moving beyond the light bulb, she graduated from the College of DuPage culinary program and continued her education.  In the kitchen, Kelly’s goal is to provide an environment in which students can experiment, create, learn culinary techniques, share recipes, and express their own talents.  Her philosophy concentrates on creating an important balance between the foods that we put on the table and the people that gather around the table.

Favorite food memory:
My father was the youngest of twelve.  By the time I came along, I was the 35th grandchild.  One family meal, there were what felt like forty people surrounding my grandparents’ dining table.  Money was scarce and so was the food — grabbing to fill your plate was considered a necessity, not bad manners.  I was 3 or 4 at the time and my grandmother was a woman of few words and a giver of even fewer “warm fuzzies”.  As I sat there watching the food disappear my grandmother put a bowl of homemade warm buttered spaetzel noodles in front of me.  My own bowl!  It was at that moment I knew that sometimes food can say things that some people just can’t.

3 Items always in Kelly’s refrigerator:
Sriracha, half and half, spicy mustard

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Rachel Cuzzone
Chef Instructor

Rachel started in the industry 13 years ago as a dishwasher for a cake decorator. She continued to work along her mentor into culinary school. During those years she took on many different jobs, which ultimately led her to run the kitchen and teach full time at Sur La Table. She has had the opportunity to compete in a chocolate competition, as well as assist for the Coupe du Monde Pastry Team USA.

Currently, she now runs her own pastry business called Madeleine and the Traveling Bakeshop, in addition to teaching. I love showing people how easy it can be to cook. But she also loves to hear everyone’s stories, and how food places such an important role in it.

Three items always in your grocery cart are…
Butter, heavy cream, and eggs. My friends and family make fun of me – but you never know when you need to whip a batch of cookies or lava cakes!.

Favorite Food Memory:
This changes a lot for me – and a lot hit when I vacation. But recently, it was this past Thanksgiving. My husband and I just moved into a house in September and hosted that first Thanksgiving. There were over 20 people sitting at one long 18’ table. I love gathering people around the table.

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Kiley Fields
Chef Instructor

Kiley attended culinary school at the Illinois Institute of Art with the plans of using her degree, along with her 15 years of marketing and advertising experience to go into restaurant consulting. Funny how that all worked out. After spending time in the kitchen she quickly realized it was a much more fun place to be, and where she wanted to stay. Kiley has been teaching and doing private chef work ever since. There is always an unexpected ingredient to use, an old school technique still to be mastered, or a culture with a deep connection to food to learn more about. And…once she learns it…she can’t help but want to share it with others.  

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I would have to couple this question with another…what is the strangest thing you have ever made? I have a family friend who would always share stories with me about making tamales with her mom or her dad’s carne asada over the camp fire. During one of our conversations she mentioned a dish that piqued my interest – tacos de cabeza. Let me translate…cow’s head tacos. It was an “in the kitchen moment” I don’t think I will ever be able to duplicate. Imagine the size of a cow’s head…it requires a pot for the sole purpose of preparing tacos de cabeza. The flavor was rich and gamey and a bit more complex than you would expect. Would I make it again…yes, but I would have to borrow her pot.

What’s the most underrated cooking ingredient?
Lemon and it’s zest, if a dish is “flat”…it often does the trick.

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Brandy Fernow
Chef Instructor

A gift of cooking lessons from her husband prompted Brandy to leave her career as a consultant for Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young to train at Kendall College where she earned her culinary degree. Brandy has a passion for teaching cooking classes and lessons, having taught at Parties That Cook, Sur La Table, Flavour Cooking School, and her alma mater, Kendall College, where she developed the curriculum for and led their recreational cooking school program. She enjoys the connection made around food and the energy from the excitement of guests as they create and enjoy food together. 

What music do you listen to when you cook?
My parents had 1000’s of records and I grew up on the classics – thanks to Pandora, I enjoy Zeppelin, The Eagles and other greats while I cook!

Brandy’s guilty pleasure food:
Gummy ANYTHING! From Swedish Fish to Gummy Worms, I am a connoisseur of all things chewy and sugary.

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Paul LindemuthPaul Lindemuth
Chef Instructor

Paul found his love of the kitchen at an early age, cooking alongside his mother and grandmother. While primarily self-taught, Paul spent time in the kitchen with noted chefs Giuliano Bugialli, Jacques Pepin, and Perla Meyers, and now has over 30 years of culinary experience. After managing the cooking schools and retail stores for The Cook’s Mart and The Chef’s Catalog in Chicago, Paul founded his own culinary business, The Art of Food, in 1986. He currently divides his time between sharing his passion for cooking and teaching in local cooking schools and working as a personal chef/event planner in client’s homes throughout the Chicagoland area. Paul focuses his approach to cooking and teaching around three elements: selection of top quality ingredients, techniques of preparation, and beautiful presentation. Each class features recipes that explore and build upon these elements.

Favorite food memory:
Standing alongside my grandmother as she made me a fried egg sandwich every day for lunch during elementary school. To this day, the aroma of melting butter brings that memory to life.

3 items always in Paul’s grocery cart:
Wine, garlic, and butter

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Robin NathanRobin Nathan2
Chef Instructor

California girl Robin Nathan attended culinary school after a successful 20-year career as a national advertising executive and she understands busy working families who enjoy cooking but don’t have all day to spend at it. Her cuisine is all about simple, seasonally appropriate preparations, global flavors, and a naturally light touch. She loves nothing better than to twist up what she’s learned, combining the authentic with the new and different. Life should be a taste adventure!

Three items always in Robin’s grocery cart:
Organic milk (I’ve got a teenage boy), baby arugula and tomatoes

Best food memory?
I have so many…. The first time I tasted good olive oil, back in the early ‘80s, the first time I tasted the sour-salty-sweet of Thai food, the row of avocados my grandmother always kept ripening on her window-sill, from the tree in her yard….

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