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Michael Solovey

Sage Harvest Founder/Owner and Appetito Chef Manager/Cooking School and Events Director

A life-long love affair with food has led Chef Michael Solovey (Suh-luh-vee) around the globe in search of fuel for his passion for amazing flavors that excite the palate, warm the heart, sustain the body, and inspire the soul. From humble beginnings cooking with his Grandmother and Mother, to graduating from the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu program, to opening 24 restaurants, cafes, and lounges as a chef consultant, and his own restaurant Bloc in Shanghai, he threads the needle of culinary science, food psychology, and entertainment.

As head of the culinary education departments at Sur La Table, Boelter SuperStore, and his most recent startup Sage Harvest Cooking School, Chef Michael has taught over 1,800 cooking classes to over 10,000 students in the last ten years.

Michael now specializes in interactive online cooking classes, food coaching, in-home private dinners and classes, and in-person culinary events at various venues around Southeastern Wisconsin.

Partnerships & Charitable Contributions with Sage Harvest:

Gilda’s Club in Madison Wisconsin, American Heart Association – Go Red with Women, ABCD – After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Harry & Rose Sampson Family Jewish Community Center

Brendan Fleming

Chef Brendan began cooking in a professional kitchen at 16 years of age. He graduated from Culinary School in 2007 and has gone on to lead professional culinary teams in a variety of fine dining settings. An experienced cook and chef, he has logged thousands of hours over the years working to understand the fundamentals of cooking and entertaining. He began teaching cooking classes in 2011 and loves to engage students in their own love of food and table. His experience at Sur La Table—one of America’s largest cooking schools—has provided him with excellent teaching skills and a passion for helping you become a pro in your own kitchen.

Patrick J. Sepe

Bringing his 20 years of cooking experience, Chef Patrick Sepe has embraced an open mind and style while in the kitchen. He’s familiar in many different techniques and cuisines, but at the same time you may find him staying true to his Italian roots. He has worked around the country at culinary shows, several different restaurants, and alongside some renowned chefs. He’s excited to be incorporating that knowledge into his cooking classes! Interesting fact about Chef Sepe, he has worked at Glorioso’s during the pandemic, managing the Meat Department and making the Italian Sausage and Spiedini the Glorioso’s way.

John Loy

Chef John has been exploring the world of food since he was a child. In his adolescence, he worked under chefs with a wide scale of knowledge on different cooking techniques and regional flavors, but his main expertise is in cheese production. Previously head cheesemaker at Clock Shadow Creamery, chef John understands and is eager to share the science and skill behind making Italian fresh cheeses like mozzarella, buratta, and basket ricotta. A graduate of UWM’s science education program, John has a range of experiences in a more traditional classroom setting, and brings the excitement and curiosity of learning something new to Appetito’s kitchen classroom. 

Harry Cherkinian

Chef Harry began his love for cooking when he started working in professional kitchens at the age of 15.  Over the years he has continued to work in the hospitality industry.  He also oversees volunteer kitchens, provides catering services, and teaches cooking classes.  As an instructor, Chef Harry is student driven and strives to make cooking fun and easy to understand.  He specializes in a number of cooking methods, including his native Armenian cuisine.  If you are out and about in Milwaukee’s Third Ward and looking for a bite to eat, you can find Chef Harry in the kitchen at Onesto Italian restaurant.

Alicia McQuade

Chef Alicia Kate McQuade draws on her performance background, love of storytelling, and extensive culinary experience to make learning how to cook an immersive experience.  Chef Alicia began her culinary journey learning to cook from family members and developing a complex palate from a myriad of dining experiences.  Her love of cooking led her to explore culinary school.  Alicia ultimately decided that Fox valley Technical College in her hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin was the best choice for her, and she spent time there studying culinary hospitality.

Alicia’s desire to learn every aspect of the culinary industry has led her to take positions in multiple areas where she has extensive experience as a barista, a bartender, a line cook, a hostess, and a waitress.  Alicia draws on her experiences to teach all aspects of a great meal, from beverages to dessert, to hospitality, assuring her students have answers to all of their culinary questions.

Joining Alicia’s cooking and baking classes promises to be more than a demo and a recipe.  Rather, it is an experience built on a passion for a good drink, a great meal, a wonderful dessert, and a love of conversation. Come break bread with Chef Alicia Kate McQuade!

Isaac Godin

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Chef Isaac has always had a passion for food.  He started out working as a line cook at a local restaurant at the age of 17 and then headed to New York to attend college at the nationally ranked RIT where he earned his degree in Art.   

Over the years, Chef Isaac has worked at many fine restaurants including award winning Italian/Mediterranean restaurant IL Mito in Wauwatosa, Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro French Dining in Milwaukee, and Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio Restaurant in San Francisco, just to name a few.  He was also a chef instructor at Sur la table for over 5 years.   

Today, Chef Isaac is the Franchise Operations Manager for Breadsmith, which specializes in handcrafted, European-style artisan breads. He assists franchisees throughout the United States with their daily operations.

Alex Ballard

Chef Alex began his professional culinary career at the age of 18 at a well-established upscale French and American continental restaurant working under a Cordon bleu chef (Chef Roi) where in less than a year he ascended to the level of sauté chef. He was trained in the art of Chinese cuisine at a well-known Chinese restaurant Minn’s Tea House. He then became a sous chef at Minn’s Cuisine, a French and Continental restaurant, that featured several of their best Chinese dishes.

He moved to Milwaukee in the 1980s and continued his culinary career.  Over the years, Chef Alex has worked at many Milwaukee area dining establishments including:  The English Room in the Pfister Hotel, The Fleur de Lis formerly in Cudahy Tower, The Pasta Tree, Egan’s on Water, Thai Joe’s, Beans and Barley, and Colectivo Coffee Roasters/Alterra Coffee.

Chef Alex has dined in almost every state in the union, giving him a great perspective on Continental cuisine, although he is most focused these days on international cuisine. He is extremely passionate about food and is happy to be able to be able to share that passion at Appetito & Sage Harvest.

Amanda Wisth

From growing up watching Julia Child and local cooking shows on PBS to the submerging herself in ALL things Food Network as she got older, Chef Amanda has always had a passion for food and a strong appreciation for its ability to bring people together. 

Her connection to cooking and welcoming people to her table is deeply rooted in her DNA as she grew up in the kitchen, cooking alongside her mom, whose love for food and others radiated from every fiber of her being. There is no doubt that that same love was passed onto Amanda who will be the first to tell you that “Food” is her Love Language and that there is no greater joy for her than to cook for others. 

Chef Amanda owns and operates Lemonyay! Convivial Culinary, keeping her mom’s memory and spirit alive with every dish she creates.  

We invite you to come and experience the energy, passion, and fun that only Amanda can bring to the classroom.