Todd Whitman, Executive Chef, Sérénité Restaurant & Culinary Institute, Instructor
Chef Todd was born in 1980 and grew up on the west side of Cleveland, the youngest of ten children. Growing up, Todd did not have consistent parental support and guidance and at the age of 12 spent a year in Juvenile Detention. Several years later he began working with the Cleveland Rib Burn Off and then traveled across the country with the Great American Rib Cookoff which was first exposure to the culinary industry. Back in Cleveland, he worked at a family owned Italian restaurant. These two experiences inspired him to set his career goal to work in a restaurant environment. During his teenage years, Todd began using drugs and drinking alcohol. At age 20, Todd was incarcerated. After his release he continued to use drugs and drink and by the age of 35, with a wife and 8 children, Todd decided to fight his addiction and asked for help. He was admitted to the CATS Treatment program and worked in the kitchen where his mentor, Mr. Brown, suggested he apply to attend the Edwin’s Culinary Training program. This was a turning point in his life. In January of 2016, and in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, Todd started the program and graduated six months later. Edwin’s assisted with job placement and he became a line cook at Parker’s downtown under Chef Andrew Gorski. He worked there for two and half years being mentored by Chef Andrew and grew in his skill and knowledge. When Sérénité Restaurant opened in 2018, he was asked to join the team to work the students and to continue his culinary education. Todd jumped at the opportunity to be mentored by and work with Chef Gilbert while combining his passion to help those in recovery from addiction. Since coming to Sérénité, Chef Todd has established 12 step programs around the community and has worked with inmates at Mansfield Correctional Institution to support their recovery. He has been a speaker at many events and is committed to sharing his story to inspire others to remain in recovery. He was named Executive Chef in May 2020 and is delighted to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream of being an Executive Chef and support those in recovery.
Bradford Toth, General Manager & Instructor, Sérénité Restaurant & Culinary Institute
Bradford is the General Manager for the Sérénité Restaurant and an instructor in the Culinary Institute. Bradford has over 10 years of customer service experience before enrolling in the Edwin’s Leadership and Restaurant Institute where he particularly enjoyed working in the front of the restaurant. Bradford worked at La Albatross for three years where he started as a server and became a manager after six months. Soon after Sérénité Restaurant opened, Bradford was asked to join the team and manage different aspects of restaurant operations and to work with the students on aspects of the curriculum. Having been through the Edwin’s program made for an easy transition to managing Sérénité and training the students.
Kip Erwin, Recovery Center Program Administrator & Peer Recovery Supporter
Kip Erwin, graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in communications and marketing, and worked in sales for most of his adult life. During the past 10 years he has had several personal tragedies which led to a struggle to balance his work and a drug addiction. Kip enrolled in the Sérénité Culinary Institute with the second class of students. He successfully completed the program in 2018 and was hired by the restaurant while he continued his education and became a state-certified Peer Mentor. He was promoted to Recovery Center Manager and now provides leadership for the recovery programming and support to students and clients.
Cary Granakis, Manager & Instructor, Sérénité Restaurant & Culinary Institute