Dick Cattani CEO
Michael Gallagher - Executive Vice President
Ed Brown - Chef/Innovator
Robin Cerrati - Vice President of Human Resources, Premier Hospitality Group
Nina Cochrane - Director of Business Development
Mary Dearborn - Vice President of Sales CxRA
Tim McLaughlin - Senior Vice President, Catering by Restaurant Associates
Chief Executive Officer, Premier Hospitality Group
Dick started with Restaurant Associates right out of college as back of the house steward. He eventually became General Manager of the famous “Newarker Restaurant” at Newark Airport. Over the years, Dick has held many regional and corporate operating positions. He became President of Restaurant Associates in 2003 and, under his leadership, grew the company three-fold in ten states. Currently, he serves as Chief Executive Officer of Restaurant Associates (a premiere division within Compass Group, the nation’s leading foodservice company), with a total volume for 2015 that exceeded 1 billion dollars.
In 2002 Dick oversaw all of the Compass food service operations at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. The massive effort comprised fifteen venues spread over 5,000 square miles and served 150,000 meals per day for seventeen days. It was the first time in Olympic history that one organization was responsible for hospitality catering, concessions and athlete feeding. The following summer Dick was responsible for feeding the young Pilgrims assembled during the 2003 World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada where 200,000 meals per day were served for seven days during the visit of Pope John Paul II.
Dick was born and raised in New York City and comes from a long family tradition in the hospitality business – his father owned a hotel in Monticello, New York and his grandfather was an executive chef in New York City. Dick is a graduate of Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York where he served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for seven years. He is a Fellow of The Culinary Institute of America and a former board member of the Society for Foodservice Management. He was honored with a Conti Distinguished Professor Chair at Penn State University, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI and a Wise Professor at the University of Delaware.
In 2005, Dick received the Adirondack Medal of Honor for his twenty plus years of tireless work and leadership at Paul Smith’s College where he has been instrumental in taking the college from a two-year private school to a four-year college offering courses in culinary, hospitality management, liberal arts, forestry and environmental studies. In 2007 he received an honorary degree, a Doctor of Commercial Science from Paul Smith’s College and in 2009 granted the status of Trustee Emeritus.
In addition, Dick was awarded the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association 2005 Silver Plate Award, the industry’s premier accolade, for his achievements in the Foodservice Management category. In 2006 at the SFM Conference in Las Vegas, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a lifetime of contributions and service to the onsite foodservice industry.
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Executive Vice President, Operations
As Executive Vice President of Operations, Michael Gallagher exemplifies Restaurant Associates’ passion for hospitality, commitment to quality, and dedication to excellence.
Michael began his career with RA in 1993 as Executive Chef at the Harvard Business School, one of RA’s most prestigious accounts. During his tenure with RA, Michael has served as Supervising Chef for the Business & Industry Division; Vice President of Culinary overseeing the entire Culinary Department; Senior Vice President of Support Services and Special Projects, where he continued to oversee Culinary, Purchasing, and the Visual & Style departments – in addition to managing all new account openings; and Senior Vice President of Operations responsible for managing a number of RA’s largest and most significant accounts. In 2011, Michael was promoted to his current role as Executive Vice President in charge of all Restaurant Associates Operations including CxRA, RA’s event catering division and has been responsible for a number of RA’s Food Management magazine award winning Best Concepts.
Michael received his training from the Killybegs Hotel Training and Catering University in Ireland and then attended Institut de Promotion Hotelier de Vanne in France. He worked at a number of restaurants and hotels in Ireland and France before moving to the United States.
Ed Brown leads the culinary charge for Restaurant Associates injecting his restaurant expertise into all aspects of their portfolio. As one of America’s leading chefs, his experience is synonymous with culinary innovation, quality food and entrepreneurial spirit. Brown’s culinary talent has garnered international acclaim and star ratings from the New York Times and a coveted Michelin star.
Brown’s professional life in the kitchen began shortly after his graduation from the Culinary Institute of America in 1983, when he joined Le Parker Meridien Hotel at its New York Times three-star Maurice Restaurant as Sous Chef working beside Chef Christian Delouvrier and Chef/Maitre Cuisinier Alain Senderens. Two years later, he traveled with Senderens to Paris to work at the famous Michelin three-star Lucas Carton as Chef de Partie Tournant.
In 1990, Brown joined Restaurant Associates to open Tropica, the organization’s first project in New York’s MetLife building complex, eventually overseeing the culinary programs at all of RA’s restaurants in the building. After a brief stopover at Judson Grill, Brown returned to the RA family in 1994 to serve at the helm of The Sea Grill. During his 14 years as Executive Chef Esquire magazine called The Sea Grill “one of the best restaurants in the world” and Brown, “perhaps the most impressive talent in his field.” Throughout Brown’s impressive career, he has earned 14 stars from The New York Times for such properties as Marie Michelle, Tropica, Judson Grill and The Sea Grill.
Brown, a frequent guest on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Morning Show, and Food Network, as well as a 2010 competitor on Iron Chef America, was recently chef and owner of the New York City restaurant, Eighty One. Eighty One opened to rave reviews in 2008 and earned a Michelin Star two years in a row. Most recently, he partnered with Jeffrey Chodorow to open Ed’s Chowder House which was listed in the 2010 Zagat Guide as one of ”five big new anticipated projects of the year.”
Brown is the author of The Modern Seafood Cook, a comprehensive guide to buying and preparing seafood and fish. He has also contributed to other cookbooks, including the updated Joy of Cooking (Scribner, 1997), Chef Pierre Franey’s 60 Minute Gourmet (Clarkson Potter, 2000) as well as other publications.
Vice President of Human Resources, Premier Hospitality Group
Robin Cerrati was hired in 2004 as Vice President of Human Resources for Restaurant Associates responsible for leading HR strategy. Robin continued oversight of the new HR Strategy for RA’s dynamic growth from 2005-2008. She also supervised the re-creation of RA Mission, Vision and Values with focus on the creation of the point of the day card and our employee recognition of Hospitality Heroes.
In 2013 Robin was promoted to VP of HR for Premier Hospitality Group which includes Flik International, Flik Independent Schools, Restaurant Associates and Wolfgang Puck catering.
The focus of Robin and her team is in fostering successful business partnerships in collaboration by ensuring HR strategies are sustainable for business objectives in the areas of recruitment, employee relations, talent management, learning & development, leadership development, diversity, retention, succession planning, change management, and executive consultation to senior business partners.
Robin has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Bridgeport University where she graduated top of the class and is a member of the exclusive invite only Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. Her Bachelors is in Business Administration with concentration in Management and Marketing from Westfield Massachusetts State University.
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Director of Business Development
Nina joined RA in 2004 with a fine dining background. During her tenure with Restaurant Associates, Nina managed food and beverage operations for premier executive dining rooms at the Global Headquarters for UBS and Morgan Stanley; was promoted to Director of Talent Management in 2008 where she developed corporate training programs and focused on associate career paths; in 2011 Nina transitioned to her current role in sales where she has successfully impacted the steady growth of Restaurant Associates with premier technology, media and financial service clients.
Nina is a 1992 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and prior to Restaurant Associates worked at some the country’s most prestigious restaurants namely Campton Place in San Francisco with Chef Jan Birnbaum and Gotham Bar & Grill with Chef Alfred Portale.
One of Nina’s career highlights has been working with her alma mater the Culinary Institute of America as a client. Restaurant Associates is proud to have been chosen as the Culinary Institute of America’s partner at their new Student Union.
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Vice President of Sales CxRA
As the Vice President of Sales Mary oversees all the event sales at exclusive CxRA locations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Morgan Library & Museum in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Penn Museum in Philadelphia and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC to name just a few.
Mary joined Restaurant Associates as Director of Catering Sales in 1987. In this role she established the CxRA central catering sales office and staffing services department. Mary was responsible all off-premise event catering as well as the corporate hospitality entertaining at the US Tennis Open, Tour Dupont Cycling Stage Race and multiple PGA tournaments.
In 1998 Mary was promoted to Vice President of Catering Sales and assumed the additional responsibilities of overseeing the group sales department, business development for catering and all new account openings.
Mary is the past president of NYC Chapter of SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Executives) and was the recipient of the first June Briggs Award for Excellence in Hospitality. Under her leadership CxRA was recently selected as a member of The Chosen Few an elite society of event professionals recognized for excellence in catering.
Mary is a graduate of Smith College. After graduation Mary returned to Paris to attend Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne where she received her Grand Diplome.
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Senior Vice President, Catering by Restaurant Associates
As the Senior Vice President and Founder of the Central Catering Kitchen, Tim McLaughlin defines the company’s sophisticated and innovative catering presence. Tim joined Restaurant Associates in 1996, after a 10 year career with Glorious Food with the goal of spreading RA’s existing a la carte reputation into the realm of New York catering. He soon established the Central Catering Kitchen, RA’s centralized production a kitchen from mere concept into thriving machine.
Tim McLaughlin has been responsible for menu design and food service for the catering aspect of the US Open Tennis Championship since 1996. Tim McLaughlin’s career goal has been to change the image of catered food. Over the years, he has helped the company establish relationships with some of the most prestigious cultural centers in Manhattan such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Beyond his culinary expertise, Tim’s keen interest in food presentation and decor has remained a signature of Catering by Restaurant Associates. It is this attention to detail that is appealing to the Entertainment Industry; some of his most notable premiers are HBO's The Sopranos and Sex and the City.
Tim has collaborated with Wolfgang Puck in the execution of the Academy Awards’ Governor’s Ball, Eric Ripert to cater the Guggenheim Museum’s Pop Art Ball and Joachim Splichal of Patina Group at the Grand Opening of Disney Hall in Los Angeles; they catered to eight thousand guests over four nights of celebration. As an employee of Restaurant Associates, he has inspired trends of food presentation across RA’s Restaurants, Business and Industry accounts, and the many Special Events they cater Nationwide. In particular, he received the Special Achievement Award at the Annual Restaurant Associates Chef and Director’s Meeting in 2002. Tim McLaughlin’s name has become synonymous with catering. His culinary expertise and artistic eye continues to influence, not only all areas of the Restaurant Associates, but the entire Food Service Industry.
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