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Meet the Chefs Behind the Remarkable Dining Experience at Truluck’s

Meet the Chefs Behind the Remarkable Dining Experience at Truluck’s

This International Chefs Day, get to know the Truluck’s chefs making magic in the kitchen.

Chef Thomas with a few servers in uniform at the Houston location

We believe that there is always a reason to celebrate—especially when it means celebrating those who make the magic happen at Truluck’s. In honor of International Chef’s Day, let’s raise a glass to the chefs dishing out delicious meals at Truluck’s locations around the country.

Get to know our remarkable chef team below.

Corporate Executive Chef Thomas Dritsas may be newer to Truluck’s, but with 30 years as a chef under his belt, there’s no doubt that this culinary trailblazer knows how to deliver the flavors and elevated experiences that Truluck’s is known for.

“Before working with the brand, I was a fan,” he says. “When I was interviewing, I got to meet all the authentic and genuine people that make up Truluck’s. It made me want to be part of it as well as make my contribution to such an amazing culture-based company.”

chef Thomas in his chef's coat in front of the wine wall

From prep cook to Director of Culinary Operations Chef Samir Canaan has spent 16 years at Truluck’s bringing delight to guests.

“Seeing the expression on a person’s face when they try a delicious dish is truly fulfilling. It brings joy to my life,” Chef Samir says.

chef Sammy's headshot in his chef coat with his glasses on a watch on his wrist chef Sammy plating up a wine dinner in the kitchen holding a bowl with sauce

In Florida Market Support and Regional Chef Partner, Chef Odel Arencibia, loves the craftsmanship and companionship that comes with cooking.

“I’m in love with the drive of being able to combine,” he says. “My passion is for food and team development, based on the foundations of world food options and people diversity, thereby living on the edge between teaching, learning and staying relentless on achieving team and personal goals.”

chef Odel Arencibia in his chef coat in front of the wine wall in Miami

Chef Manny Vera, Market Support and Regional Chef Partner at Truluck’s Dallas, has worked at Truluck’s for 25 years—and has been improving his skills in the kitchen ever since.

“I’ve always loved to cook ever since I was kid and burned my face making eggs for my mother!” he says. “To me, cooking is about the love for sharing a meal with family and friends, bringing us all together, enjoying the company.”

Chef Manny's in his chef coat in the private dining room

Chef Paigton Wilson Chef Partner at Truluck’s Southlake has been cooking since she was old enough to reach the stove. “Food is magical and brings people together,” she says.

But in the past seven years since she joined Truluck’s, Chef Paigton’s love for being in the kitchen has only grown. “To walk out of the kitchen on a busy Saturday night, every table is full, and the kitchen is running effortlessly—it makes you feel good.”

chef Paigton's headshot in front of the entrance to the Southlake location

In Austin, Market Support and Regional Partner, Chef Michael Cerny, is all about creating moments at Truluck’s. “Food will ignite memories that I’d like to build upon,” he says.

One of his favorite Truluck’s memories was in his first year at Truluck’s 12 years ago. “My first year as the Chef in Miami on New Year’s Eve, it was very busy, high expectations, a long shift— and the team executed it flawlessly,” Chef Michael says. “The flow from the front door to the kitchen then back to the dining room was in perfect sync. Everything worked as planned. We rang in the New Year with an amazing team! It was the end of the year, but that night set the tone for the next year.”

headshot of Austin Market Support Chef Michael Cerny at the Austin downtown location chef Cerny checking the sharpness of his knife on the kitchen line

For Chef Shane Flynn, Chef Partner at Truluck’s The Woodland’s location, working in the kitchen is about passion for the craft.

“Being a hunter and fisherman almost all my life has given me a real understanding and respect of food and how to utilize everything so nothing goes to waste,” he says. “My favorite thing about being a Truluck’s chef is working with some of the best ingredients you can get and building a culture of people who share a love of food.”

Chef Shane in his chef coat in front of the bar Chef Shane with a large fish he just caught

Sous Chef Jordan Gerhardt has worked his way up at Truluck’s over the past 12 years—and has even given him a run in with the stars.

“When I worked front of house running food at our Southlake location, I had the pleasure of delivering food to Harrison Ford. He had that old grouchy look to him back in 2013 and was there to renew his helicopter pilot license,” Chef Jordan says. “He enjoyed his dinner and a few drinks before other guests started to recognize him. I was nervous to shake his hand, but I had made my way to the host stand just as he was passing to the front door. Again, that grouchy look as he approached the doors and I said behind him, ‘Have a nice night, Mr. Ford.’ He stopped with one hand on the door and turned to look back at me. He responded to me with his deep scratchy voice, ‘Goodbye!’ and then left. It was absolutely incredible.”
Chef Gabe in his chef coat and apron at a charity offsite event

Truluck’s Dallas Executive Chef Joshua Moore has only been at Truluck’s two months, but he’s been a part of the team since Day One.

“One of my most memorable moments so far would be honestly being accepted by the team here in Dallas so fast and the feeling that I have been part of the team for a long time,” he says.

His favorite dish to create at Truluck’s is the Miso-Glazed Seabass, though if he were ordering, he’d get the ribeye. “Simple yet very flavorful.”

chef Misael with his team of line cooks in the kitchen at the Houston location.

At Truluck’s Naples, Florida, location, Executive Chef Estephan Fernandez is all about creating layers of flavor.

“I have a favorite flavor experience that I strive to provide: I want layers in my food,” he says. “Truluck’s has an amazing menu already and continues to develop it, but the touch points of garlic, perfect ration of salt and pepper, fresh tomato in our main lobster scampi, the charr from our 1,800-degree broiler, sweet and salt gulf water flavor that pour out of our Stone Crab—these are my favorite to consistently deliver on. I do not want our guest to eat our Bolognese, seared broccoli or end the night on our carrot cake without tasting all the levels of work that we all tirelessly put in each day. I want our guest to get up and remember the immense continuous flavors they had with each bite rather than just one all around dish.”

chef Estephan Fernandez in his black chef's coat in the lounge at the Naples location

Chef Misael Ramirez, Chef Partner at Truluck’s Houston, has worked at Truluck’s for 11 years—but not always as a chef.

“I started off as a cook for Truluck’s, and they gave me the amazing opportunity to move up over time,” Chef Misael says. “I became a chef and worked even more to be where I am now. Never in a million years would I have thought that this opportunity was going to come my way, and I am very thankful for it.

chef Misael Ramirez in his chef coat in the dining room

You’ve heard the phrase, “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” But that pressure is something Executive Sous Chef Gabriel Lyon thrives on.

“What inspires me as a chef is teamwork, especially teamwork under pressure,” he says.

chef Gabe in the kitchen putting together a dish of king crab for a wine dinner

Chef Gabriel loves working at Truluck’s because of its caring culture.

“During my first two weeks here in February of 2021, we had a big freeze that shut the city down. Our leadership team made the call to close on Valentine’s Day so that the staff could get home safe before the storm came in,” he says. “To make sure that even the guest would have a great holiday, we called all of the over 200 reservations and offered to do their food to go. The fact that a company was more concerned about its staff and guests’ safety over sales really stuck with me. It made me proud to have finally found my home.”

Taste the remarkable creations from the Truluck’s chefs and make a reservation today. Your table is waiting.