Our Faculty & Staff

Our Faculty & Staff

All of our professionally trained instructors are chefs with experience, food knowledge and the ability to teach and inspire. Students spend time with these chefs, learn their tips and “chef secrets” and receive mentoring to learn how they can become successful in the culinary world. Networking is of high-value when developing a culinary career and this is the perfect chance to meet local chefs and food leaders and develop relationships in the culinary world. All of our faculty have the heart of a teacher, a high appreciation for excellence, and a passion for the culinary industry.
Lauren Buffa

Lauren Buffa

Curriculum Developer/Chef Instructor

Chef Lauren Buffa attended Texas A&M University and received her Bachelor’s of Science in Health. She later attended The Culinary School of Fort Worth and completed the Professional Culinary Program. Chef Buffa specializes in health, nutrition and pastry arts.
Ethan Starr

Ethan Starr

Culinary Operations Manager/Chef Instructor

Chef Ethan Starr has been in the restaurant industry for over 16 years and has spent 13 out of those 16 years studying sushi. His most recent position before becoming a full-time chef instructor was Head Sushi Chef/Sous Chef at Tokyo Cafe.
Maddie Sharp

Maddie Sharp

Chef Instructor

Maddie Sharp started competitive cooking in high school. She took her competitive spirit to the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute where she became one of five members of The ACF Youth Team USA and had the opportunity to compete in the IKA Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany in 2012. She worked in resorts, clubs, restaurants, and small businesses before teaching full time at The Culinary School of Fort Worth. Teaching plating and knife skills are a couple of her passion projects, and she hopes to keep students interested and motivated to compete in culinary competitions. As a wife and mother she gives a different point of view to students through all stages and walks of life.

Edward Gutierrez, CEC

Edward Gutierrez, CEC

Chef Instructor

Chef Edward Gutierrez served in the United States Navy as a Culinary Specialist and has worked in over a dozen restaurants in the Fort Worth and has 15+ years of experience in the culinary industry. Chef Gutierrez is a Certified Executive Chef®.

Mark Hitri

Mark Hitri

Chef Instructor

Chef Mark Hitri is a chef instructor at The Culinary School of Fort Worth and has worked as a Chef de Cuisine and Executive Chef at numerous high ranking restaurants including Saint Emilion, Vidalia’s, and Renaissance Worthington Hotel. Having worked in the culinary industry for over 25 years, Chef Hitri specializes in classic French cuisine, and looks to culinary masterminds such as Daniel Boulud, and Jacques Pepin for inspiration.

Rosemary Pagtakhan

Rosemary Pagtakhan

Chef Instructor

Chef Rosemary Pagtakhan attended Kendall College in Chicago and received her A.A.S. degree in Culinary Arts. She has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry ranging from hotels, bakeries, senior care and education working in both front and back of the house. Chef Rosemary loves cooking and teaching both savory and sweet foods. Her background stems from French cuisine and pastries and includes different areas of hospitality management.

Jason Avelson

Jason Avelson

Chef Instructor

Chef Jason Avelson attended Tarleton State University and received his Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences with focuses in Education, Nutrition, and Business. He is a veteran of the Armed Forces and graduated at the top of his class from The Culinary School of Fort Worth. Chef Avelson specializes in student focused learning and southern comfort classics.

Josh Tulley

Josh Tulley

Kitchen Manager

Josh worked in restaurants for 10 years, starting out in the front of the house and transitioned into the back of the house. He attended culinary school at San Diego Culinary Institute. He has worked at several restaurants throughout San Diego, Fort Worth and Dallas, as well as doing several catering jobs on the side for fun. He is currently attending UTA and studying Business Management and Marketing. He is classically French trained but really enjoys farm to table and seasonal menus as well as Japanese ingredients.

Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips

Adjunct Chef Instructor, Pastry Chef at Petroleum Club

Jeffrey Thompson

Jeffrey Thompson

Adjunct Chef Instructor

Ched Pagtakhan

Ched Pagtakhan

Adjunct Chef Instructor, Owner/Operator of Just Encased

Administrative Staff

Scott Wade

Scott Wade

President

Scott Wade is president of The Culinary School of Fort Worth. He and the team at The CSFTW are committed to leveraging the school’s capital for the good of its students, alumni and the local culinary community as a whole.

Scott received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University. He has a background in operations, management and finance. He enjoys investing in his local community by serving as an elder at Fort Worth Presbyterian Church and serving in the past on the board of Covenant Classical School and as a trustee for The Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund.

Scott is grateful to have three sons and a wonderful wife. His favorite pastime is heading down to Rockport, TX with the family where they enjoy the beach and some good salt-water fishing.

Amy Jewell

Amy Jewell

Director of Admissions

Amy is the Admissions Coordinator at The Culinary School of Fort Worth. She has lived in Texas her whole life and is proud to call it home.

Amy graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree. She has a background in product development and customer service. She is excited to see how she can impact the culinary community and enjoy its creativity.

Amy enjoys making jewelry, gardening and spending time with family and friends. She shares her home with her lovable pets Maggie Mae (dog) and Mavis (cat).

Danielle Rueter

Danielle Rueter

Director of Compliance & Financial Aid

Danielle is the Director of Compliance at The Culinary School of Fort Worth. She grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and loves calling it home.

Danielle graduated from Saint Petersburg College in Clearwater, Florida and returned to Texas in 2013. She has a background in office management, compliance, and financials in both the electronic recycling and automotive industries.

She enjoys travelings, spending time with her wonderful family and friends, and loves being involved in the local culinary community.

James Creange

James Creange

Marketing & Content Manager

James is the Marketing and Social Media Manager at the Culinary School of Fort Worth. He grew up in North Haledon, New Jersey but is now happy to call Fort Worth home.

James graduated from TCU in May of 2017 with a FTDM-Sports Broadcasting Degree. He has a strong background in both radio and podcasting.

He enjoys traveling around the country to see his friends and family. His favorite pastime is attending movies and concerts.

Michele Reichman

Michele Reichman

Admissions Assistant

Michele has lived all over the country, but she has lived in Fort Worth for 18 years and worked in administration for 30 years. She is active in her church: singing in the choir, handbells and mentoring ladies. In her free time she loves baking, making greeting cards, sewing and traveling with her husband Al. They have one daughter and a son-in-law.
Peter Ramos

Peter Ramos

Financial Aid Coordinator

Peter is the Financial Aid Coordinator at The Culinary School of Fort Worth. He was born and raised here in Fort Worth, Texas. He graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and then went on to obtain his Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington. He has over ten years of experience in banking and finance as well as ten years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has a passion in helping others achieve their dreams of becoming a chef. In his free time, he volunteers at his church and at his son’s school. Peter enjoys cooking, history, and gardening, but most of all he loves spending time with his wife, young son, and his chihuahuas.

Brittney Hermeling

Brittney Hermeling

Administrative Assistant

Brittney is the Administrative Assistant at The Culinary School of Fort Worth and a new resident to Texas.

Brittney graduated from Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota in May 2019 and moved to Fort Worth shortly after. She has a background in office administration and customer service.

Brittney enjoys spending quality time with her fiancé, friends, and two cats. She also loves traveling up north to her hometown in Minnesota to see her family. In her free time, she likes traveling to new destinations, going on long evening walks, and trying new restaurants in the area.

Advisory Board

Richard Miller

Human Resources, The Mansion at Turtle Creek

James Morris

Executive Chef, Mira Vista Country Club

Ginger Blazek

Owner, Zenzero Kitchen

Kim Church

Dept Chair, Culinary Arts at Northside High School, FWISD

Patrick Mitchell CEC, AAC, FWMCS

Executive Chef/Culinary Advisor, Ben E. Keith Foods - DFW Division

Russel Kirkpatrick

General Manager, Reata

Ched Pagtakhan

Owner, Just Encased