Meet The Team
Love the Applebee's menu? Meet the team behind it. Applebee's culinary team collectively brings more than 100 years of cooking experience and education to the brand; each member with a passion for culinary innovation and menu development. Working in a state-of-the-art Culinary Center in Glendale, CA, and taking inspiration from a variety of sources – such as regional specialties, all-American classics and new twists on classic recipes – our team of chefs makes sure every item they create for our menu is an instant neighborhood favorite.
Chef Stephen Bulgarelli
Chief Culinary Officer
Stephen is Applebee’s culinary leader, dedicated to serving guests in more than 1,700 restaurants nationwide. With a passion for cooking and an accomplished and decorated background in the industry, Stephen is stewarding the innovation of Applebee’s craveable menu that pairs quality food with the brand’s genuine, neighborly service. Stephen began his career in the culinary industry first as a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where he developed a keen understanding of appealing to guests, and now as the Chief Culinary Officer where he shares his creative and strategic knowledge with his team. When not in the kitchen, Stephen’s favorite dish is of course, Chef Bulgarelli’s Stuffed Rigatoni with Meat Sauce!
Director, Culinary Operations
As Director of Culinary Operations, Tony works closely with the Innovation Chefs to transition menu concepts to flawless restaurant execution. With more than 30 years of Casual Dining leadership and an adventurous love for flavors, Tony brings passion and creativity to the Applebee’s brand. He leverages his degree in business development and his deep experience in leading culinary commercialization to excel in his role every day. You can often find him in his local Applebee’s enjoying his favorite dish, Bourbon Street Chicken & Shrimp.
Chef Timothy Reardon
Director, Culinary Innovation and Menu Development
As Director of Culinary Innovation and Menu Development, Chef Tim comes to us with innovation and product development and design expertise at Plated, Chobani, and The Food Group. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Chef Tim has held esteemed chef positions with Michelin Star restaurants including L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Barbounia, and Restaurant Daniel, all in New York City. Chef Tim’s favorite dish on the Applebee’s menu is the delicious Quesadilla Burger.
Chef Sara Lawson
Director, Culinary Services
Sara works hand-in-hand with the Applebee’s culinary innovation team to streamline recipes and optimize and standardize the preparation and cooking process for the thousands of chefs in Applebee’s restaurants throughout the country. Sara’s work is critical to ensuring you have a delicious yet speedy experience every time you step into an Applebee’s restaurant! With her strong culinary background spanning more than 20 years and including roles in Research & Development, high volume catering, and fine-dining, along with her degree from the California Culinary Academy – Sara is a stellar addition to the Applebee’s team. With a love of Applebee’s Neighborhood Nachos, it is clear that her culinary expertise is indeed on point.
Chef Paige Norman
Senior Manager, Culinary Product Development
Working closely with the rest of her Applebee’s culinary innovation team members, Chef Paige is responsible for product development. With 12 years of culinary experience under her belt, including time spent catering, consulting, and working at multiple Michelin Star restaurants, she brings in a wealth of knowledge to an already seasoned team of chefs. In addition to her commitment to invigorating the Applebee’s menu with creative new dishes, Paige is also committed to getting guests to try the new Strawberry Salad, her favorite Applebee’s dish!
Manager, Culinary Operations
As Manager of Culinary Operations, Roc comes to us with 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, most recently as a Director of Operations, Regional Facility Manager, and Managing Partner at another leading casual dining chain. Roc works collaboratively with our chefs to assist in communications and rollouts that impact Applebee’s restaurants. Roc is a member of the Restaurant Facilities Manager Association, and ProStart Mentor for management teams. Roc’s favorite indulgence is Applebee’s Classic Combo.
Chef Johnny Mosquera
Culinary Innovation Chef
Johnny brings to Applebee’s table deep experience as a corporate executive chef. Over a decade, he has worked in various roles from culinary manager to executive chef with some of the most recognized restaurant companies in the nation, including Houston’s Restaurants, Yard House Restaurants, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Chili’s and most recently Saddle Ranch Restaurants. Johnny earned his culinary degree at The Los Angeles Culinary Institute in Burbank, CA. He has a deep-seeded passion for Classic American and Regional American Cuisine, and his favorite dish at Applebee’s is Bourbon Street Chicken & Shrimp.
Chef Cynthia Lara
Culinary Innovation Chef
Cynthia has worked in the culinary world for 13 years working as executive chef for leading culinary establishments including The Daily Harvest, Newhall Refinery, and Silver Service Events. She first earned her Culinary Arts degree from College of the Canyons in Valencia, CA. With a passion for teaching children how to cook and innovating new flavors, Cynthia perfectly rounds out our Culinary Team. She invites guests to indulge in her favorite Applebee’s dish, the Nachos with Spicy Fried Jalapenos.