The Team

Faculty at The Culinary School of Fort Worth

All of our professionally trained faculty 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, have a high appreciation of excellence, and enjoy a passion for the culinary industry.

Brad Waier

Director of Education

Chef Brad Waier began his training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and later graduated from The Culinary School of Fort Worth.

Mark Hitri

Chef Instructor

Chef Mark Hitri has worked as a chef instructor for The Culinary School of Fort Worth and has worked as a Chef de Cuisine and Executive Chef at

Lauren Buffa

Chef Instructor

Chef Lauren Buffa attended Texas A&M University and received her Bachelor’s of Science in Health. She later attended The Culinary

Edward Gutierrez

Chef Instructor

After his early start working in restaurants and hotels in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, Edward fell in love with what the

Adjunct Faculty

Jeffrey Thompson

Chef Instructor

Maddie Sharp

Chef Instructor

Ched Pagtakhan

Chef Instructor

Ethan Starr

Chef Instructor

Carl Phillips

Chef Instructor

Carl Phillips here, and I am the Pastry Chef at the Petroleum Club of Fort Worth. I have been there for over 19 years, have won a few

Mike Gantz

Chef Instructor

Advisory Board

James Morris

The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel

A native Texan, James was born in Plainview and grew up in Del Rio and Corpus Christi. Attended college at Texas A & M University in College Station.

Deb Cantrell

Protein Fit Kitchen

Chef Deb Cantrell is a #1 Amazon bestselling author of “So You’re a Chef Now What?” sought after speaker and dietary consultant who has worked with celebrities such as Glenn Beck.

Eric O'Connor


Name: Eric Matthew O’Connor
Birthday: November 24, 1977
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York
Other Places Lived: Charlotte, NC; Cary, NC; St. Augustine,


Scott Wade

Scott Wade is President of The Culinary School of Fort Worth. He is grateful to continue building upon the foundation that Bill and Judie Byrd began in 1988 when they started The Culinary School of Fort Worth. He is passionate about working with great teams, which makes his role at The CSFTW a true joy.

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 on the board of Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth and by serving as a trustee for The Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund.

Scott is also the proud father of three boys. His favorite pastime is heading down to Rockport, TX with the family where they enjoy the beach and some good salt-water fishing.

Biven Burgoon

Director of Admissions

Biven is the Director of Admissions at The Culinary School of Fort Worth. She was born in Fort Worth, Texas and comes from a big family who loves the DFW area. Biven is passionate about growing The CSFTW to better Fort Worth through the culinary industry.

Biven has a background in management, public relations and recruitment. She previously worked in the admissions office of her Alma mater Dallas Baptist University before going into the Oil and Gas Industry in Fort Worth for many years. Biven’s primary role is to assist in running the offices of admissions and student services.

Biven enjoys spending time with her wonderful husband and investing into the local community by serving on the women’s board of her church as Co-chair and other areas of the community.

Danielle Rueter

Director of Compliance

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

Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

James is the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator 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.