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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 dishes are the Chicken Wonton Tacos and the Classic Broccoli Blackened Shrimp Alfredo.

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 processes 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 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 Brew Pub Pretzels & Beer Cheese Dip, it is clear that her culinary expertise is indeed on point.

Chef Paige Norman
Director, Culinary Product Development and Profitability

Working closely with the rest of her Applebee’s culinary team members, Chef Paige is responsible for the team’s product development and restaurant profitability management. With her strong culinary background 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 Balsamic Chicken Salad, her favorite Applebee’s dish!

Roc Gunaca
Senior Manager, Culinary Operations

As Senior 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 the Applebee’s Classic Combo.

Chef Johnny Mosquera
Culinary Innovation Chef

Johnny brings to the Applebee’s table deep experience as a Corporate Executive Chef. 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.