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Meet The Team

Love the Applebee's menu? Meet the team behind it. The Applebee's culinary team collectively brings more than 120 years of cooking experience and education to the brand; each 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 make sure every item they create for our menu is an instant neighborhood favorite.

Stephen Bulgarelli

Stephen Bulgarelli, Chief Culinary Officer

Stephen is Applebee’s culinary leader, dedicated to serving guests at our nearly 2,000 locations. 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 to order as a guest of Applebee’s is the new and bold Whisky Bacon Burger.

Anthony “Tony” Parenti, Director, Culinary Operations

As Director of Culinary Operations, Tony works closely with the Innovation Chef’s to transition menu concepts to flawless restaurant execution. With over 30 years of Casual Dining leadership and an adventurous love for flavors, Tony brings passion and creativity to the Applebee’s brand. Tony proudly brings his degree in business development and experience in leading culinary commercialization to his role every day. You can often find him in his local Applebee’s enjoying his favorite dish, the Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp.

Steve Hutnyan, Director of Special Projects

As Director of Special Projects, Steve develops and oversees brand culinary projects at a strategic level to ensure successful rollout and implementation of optimized food development for core menu and campaign windows, both short and long term to ensure the company meets or exceeds its profit, financial and market share growth objectives. Steve also leads product commercialization with vendor partners. Steve brings with him a strong restaurant-industry background with 34 years of experience, including but not limited to work in casual dining, as well as a degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America. He believes that every guest who eats at an Applebee’s should try the Shrimp ‘N Parmesan Sirloin at least once!

Sara Lawson, Senior Manager, Culinary Operations

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 of more than 19 years – including Research & Development, high volume catering, fine-dining, along with her degree from the California Culinary Academy – Sara is a stellar addition to the Applebee’s team. And, with a love of Applebee’s Salsa Verde Beef Nachos, it is clear that her culinary expertise is indeed on point.

Paige Norman, Culinary Innovation Chef

Working closely with the rest of her Applebee’s culinary innovation team members, Paige is responsible for creating bold dishes that excite guests in a way only Applebee’s can. With 12 years of culinary experience under her belt, including time spent catering, consulting, and even 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 Grilled Onion Sirloin with Stout Gravy, her favorite Applebee’s dish!

Ramon Solorzano, Culinary Innovation Chef

Ramon works closely with the Applebee’s Director, Menu & Culinary Innovation to help create dishes that embody the fresh, bold, and uniquely-American flavors that Applebee’s restaurants across the country are known for. Having graduated with a BA in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona, Ramon also has over 15 years of food service experience which make him an invaluable asset to a brand committed to providing you a range of culinary flavors and experiences. He has spent time as a corporate chef for numerous brands including Brinker International, The Counter and Grand Lux Cafe. Ramon recommends you try an order of his favorite Applebee’s dish, the All-Day Brunch Burger.

Johnny Mosquera, Culinary Innovation Chef

Johnny attended The Los Angeles Culinary Institute in Burbank, CA. He has been a Corporate Executive Chef for the past nine years. Johnny has worked for some of the most recognized restaurant companies in the nation including Houston’s Restaurants (Executive Chef), Yard House Restaurants (Executive Kitchen Manager), Maggiano’s Little Italy (Executive Chef), Chili’s (Culinary Manager) and most recently Saddle Ranch Restaurants (Corporate Executive Chef). Johnny has a very deep seeded passion for Classic American and Regional American Cuisine.