Jeff Gigante, a St. Petersburg, Florida native, has been successfully developing a diverse collection of restaurant concepts for 25 years, steadfastly earning a reputation for hospitality, community involvement, and philanthropy
Born in New York City and raised in Tampa, Florida, Joseph Guggino is an attorney and an investor with a penchant for the restaurant industry. Previous investments include Caffe Paradiso and Forbici Modern Italian.
A highly driven entrepreneur, Andrew Wright is Founder, CEO and Managing Partner of Franklin Street, a full service commercial real estate firm headquartered in Tampa Florida and Managing Partner of Ally Capital Group.
HABTEAB "HAB" HAMDE
Habteab “Hab” Hamde was born in East Africa where he found his passion for cooking while helping his mother prepare family dinners. He enjoyed seeing the joy food brings to people and when his friends and family saw the talent he displayed in the kitchen, they encouraged him to become a professional chef.
He moved to the U.S. in 1983 and has held culinary positions with the Hilton Hotel in Tampa and later Bern’s Steak House where he spent the majority of his industry tenure, before joining Next Level Brands. He brings 30 years of industry experience to his position as Executive Chef of Boulon Brasserie.
Chef Hab has been featured in numerous publications and on national television including Every Day with Rachael Ray; Food Network; The Cooking Channel, ABC’s World News Tonight; and the Today Show among others. Chef Hab has also had the opportunity, on several occasions, to cook at the prestigious James Beard House as well as for the Foundation.
Executive Pastry Chef
Hailing from Morgan City, Louisiana, a cajun town outside of New Orleans, Summer Bailey moved to the Big Apple to pursue her dream to study theater. A change in career path led her to study Pastry Art and she spent 21-years as a New Yorker before ultimately making her move south to Tampa.
In New York, Bailey studied under dessert maven Christina Tosi of Momofuku’s MilkBar and celebrity chef, Andrew Carmellini at The Dutch. Bailey imparts her work ethic to her parents who owned a seafood process plant. Her admiration for how hard they worked to make people happy is her recipe to life – equal parts passion and purpose. She believes the precision in baking is found in the juxtaposition of technique, flavor and presentation.
Bailey has been recognized by media outlets like Vogue, Real Simple, First We Feast, Time Out NY, and Food & Wine Magazine as well as participated in Dominique Ansel’s Midnight in Paris during New York City Wine & Food Festival. Her play on the Louisiana staple – a bananas foster souffle – was featured on CNN’s “Just Desserts.”
In her role as Executive Pastry Chef, Bailey will oversee Boulon Bakery and all of the Next Level Brands’ dessert programs.
Heather Rivas brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her position. She has dedicated her career to learning and understanding people, food, and the relationship between the two.
Rivas honed her restaurant business acumen at some of the top destinations on the East Coast and in the Lowcountry, including New York City, Boston, Providence, and Savannah. Over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to work at many prestigious restaurants, most notably as General Manager for James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock at his acclaimed restaurant Husk Savannah and as opening General Manager at Tiger Mama, a Boston restaurant helmed by James Beard Award-nominated chef Tiffani Faison.
She boasts two Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence for wine lists she has curated, and had the honor to pair wines for a Regional Spotlight dinner at the James Beard house, in which she was acknowledged for her outstanding contribution. Additionally, Rivas holds a Court of Masters Sommeliers Level 1 Certification and plans to continue her advancement within the Court.