Chef de Cuisine
Pastry & Bread Chef
Invited Chefs & Experts
Expert Bread Baker
Bill Schindler, PhD
Author & Chef
Juan Penzini-Granier is the founder and academic director of the Artisan Culinary School. With a career spanning over 15 years, Juan is a seasoned professional with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the culinary industry. Juan’s culinary journey began with formal training in baking, which he then complemented with education as a professional cook, then turned his career towards the managerial part of the culinary business. He went on to own and manage several successful restaurants in Venezuela, where he was awarded the largest concessions system at the most prestigious country club in the city. He also had the opportunity to go back to the school where he started his career, but this time as a kitchen instructor and food and beverage cost professor. Then, seeking to expand his horizons, Juan moved to Italy to pursue an education in professional charcuterie and cheese making and ended up being the director of an international culinary school. As a teacher and instructor, Juan has trained over 500 people from more than 45 countries, instilling in them a passion for culinary artistry and a commitment to excellence. With the Artisan Culinary School, Juan aims to offer a unique and immersive culinary education experience that empowers aspiring food artisans to realize their full potential. Juan’s dedication to culinary education and his vast expertise make him an invaluable leader and mentor at the Artisan Culinary School. His vision and leadership drive the school with excellence and inspire its students to reach new heights in their culinary careers.
Mariana Brewer is the General Manager of the Artisan Culinary School. With over 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Mariana is a professional in marketing, advertising, and business management, skills that she leverages to lead the school toward excellence. Mariana is also a formally trained cook and a certified sommelier, a passion that has allowed her to develop a deep knowledge of wine and its nuances, and to share this knowledge with the school’s students and clients. As General Manager, Mariana is responsible for the business side of the school, working alongside her husband Juan to ensure the smooth running of operations, the satisfaction of clients, and the growth of the institution. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Mariana is a devoted mother and a lover of the outdoors. She believes in the importance of balance and takes great care to maintain her own well-being as well as that of her staff and clients. Her dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on all our team members.
Ryan Castillo is the Chef de Cuisine at the Artisan Culinary School, a talented chef with a passion for pasta making and food styling. Born with Filipino roots, Ryan draws inspiration from his cultural heritage to create delicious and visually stunning dishes. Ryan’s culinary journey began in Italy, where he was formally trained in the art of pasta making and honed his skills as a chef. He went on to work at several acclaimed restaurants in Rome, where he developed his unique style and refined his craft. Seeking to share his knowledge and expertise with others, Ryan trained to become a kitchen instructor under the guidance of Juan Penzini. As Chef de Cuisine at the Artisan Culinary School, Ryan leads the culinary team with his exceptional people skills and his commitment to hospitality. He knows how to create an atmosphere of warmth and professionalism that makes everyone feel welcome and inspired. His knowledge of pasta making and food styling is unparalleled, and he uses it to create dishes that are not only delicious but also works of art. His talent and leadership inspire the school’s students and chefs alike, and his commitment to hospitality ensures that everyone who enters the school feels at home.
Liz Micciollo is the pastry and bread chef at the Artisan Culinary School, a talented and passionate chef with a knack for creating beautiful and delicious baked goods. Liz began her culinary career as a student under the guidance of Juan Penzini and has since gone on to become a respected and accomplished pastry chef. After her time studying and training in Caracas, Liz moved to Spain to continue her training and work in some of the country’s most prestigious kitchens. She worked at Rocambolesc, where she honed her skills in pastry-making, and later did an apprenticeship with the Roca brothers at the famed Celler de Can Roca. There, she learned the importance of precision and creativity in the art of pastry-making. More recently, Liz has been working at bakehouses in Madrid, where she is perfecting the art of laminated doughs. Her expertise in this area has made her a sought-after pastry chef, and her creations are beloved by patrons and chefs alike. As the pastry and bread chef at the Artisan Culinary School, Liz brings her unique talent and passion to every aspect of the school’s baking program. Her knowledge of traditional techniques, combined with her creativity and innovation, and her commitment to excellence and dedication to her craft are an inspiration to everyone who works alongside her.
Alex Mantoglou is from Greece and is the founder of the Culinary Institute of the Mediterranean. He is a restaurant owner and has also been a chef instructor in one of Italy’s most renowned institutes. He has trained many chefs and culinary professionals and has helped them elevate their cuisine. Besides being a chef, Alex has a degree in environmental engineering and likes combining cooking with science. Alex is currently working on a joint EU proposal for a cooking robot. Alex will join us for every Gourmet Entertaining course, where he will share his vast knowledge in cooking healthy Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and will show us how to beautifully plate and photograph them.
Allow us to introduce Martina, our Italian expert baker. Her journey began as a pizza maker in various pizzerias in Liguria, where she skillfully managed the dough and wood-fired oven baking. Shortly after that, she ventured into the world of pizza in teglia at the Osteria di birra del Borgo in Rome, aiming to unravel the secrets of this style. Unfortunately, she had to abandon her career as a pizza maker due to a severe nickel allergy.
This setback led Martina to become a self-taught enthusiast, delving into breadmaking and natural fermentation. Her dedication to studying and experimenting with bread revealed the hidden intricacies of baking, equipping her to tackle any bread-related challenges independently.
Soon after, together with her partner, Martina opened a restaurant where she took charge of the bakery section, crafting an array of delicacies such as their own bread, focaccia, various sweet-leavened treats, and festive specialties like panettone.
Driven by her passion for baking and the wealth of knowledge she had amassed, Martina decided to share her expertise with others through specialized training courses.
Dr. Bill Schindler is the author of Eat Like a Human: Nourishing Foods and Ancient Ways of Cooking to Revolutionize Your Health and is an internationally known archaeologist, primitive technologist, and chef. He founded and directs the Eastern Shore Food Lab with a mission to preserve and revive ancestral dietary approaches to create a nourishing, ethical, and sustainable food system and, along with his wife, Christina operates the Modern Stone Age Kitchen, a restaurant and sourdough bakery designed to provide nourishing food created using ancestral approaches maximizing safety, nutrient density and bioavailability to the community. His work is the focus of Wired magazine’s YouTube series, Basic Instincts and Food Science, and he co-starred in the National Geographic Channel series The Great Human Race, which aired in 2016 in 171 countries. Bill will join us during the spring each year. Sharing his knowledge of cheesemaking, bread baking, and vegetable and fruit conservation.