Meet The Team

X

Chef Tory Dec 2016.jpg
TORY MILLER

EXECUTIVE CHEF & 

CO-PROPRIETOR

Tory took his early passion for food to the French Culinary Institute, leading to jobs at several high-end restaurants in New York, including Eleven Madison Park and Judson Grill, before he arrived at L’Etoile to work as Odessa Piper’s Chef de Cuisine. Now, as the Executive Chef for L’Etoile and Graze, Tory is fulfilling his dream of taking local farm-raised ingredients to the next level. Preferring old world cooking methods, his kitchens produce a variety of house-made products like artisan cured meats, pastas, breads, butters, fruit preserves, pickled vegetables and more. His creativity and talent have gotten him noticed far and wide with recognitions such as the James Beard Foundation's 2012 Best Chef: Midwest award, Santé Magazine’s “Culinary Hospitality of the Year” Grand Award, Gourmet Magazine’s “America’s Top 50 Restaurants”, Saveur’s “Top 100” and the title of Madison Magazine’s “2010 Chef of the Year.”

13.jpg
DIANNE CHRISTENSEN

 CO-PROPRIETOR

Dianne Christensen became a co-proprietor in June of 2007. With her long career in economic consulting, she has been instrumental in helping navigate the move of L’Etoile and the opening of Graze. Passionate about food, she taught all her children to enhance their lives by cooking and eating wisely. As a key supporter of L’Etoile’s farm-to-school initiative (CHOW), she’s also helped make healthy eating a priority at Sherman Middle School. Deja Food Group allows Dianne to bring her passion and business expertise together and further their philosophy of well-prepared, local, seasonal foods.

IMG_3264.jpg
HELENE PALAU​

 DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS FOR

DEJA FOOD GROUP

Helene's journey at Deja Food Group began when she was hired in 2018 as a floor manager. Her hard work has now earned her the title of Director of Operations, where she oversees all of Deja Food Group's affairs. Helene's ability to make all the restaurants run smoothly speaks to her collaborative and organized nature. She enjoys spending her free time with friends and family!

IMG_3226.jpg
ZACH JOHNSON​

EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF

Zach has been a member of the Graze team since 2018. Zach's personality brightens up our kitchen. His leadership helps the kitchen work as a cohesive unit. Zach loves collecting records in his spare time. His favorite items on our menu are the chicken nuggets. From their crispiness and sauces, what's not to love? 

IMG_1057.jpg
KRISTINE MILLER​

HEAD PASTRY CHEF

Kristine has been part of the Deja Food Group family since 2009. She began as a pastry assistant, her first job in the culinary field. After the birth of her first son, she opened Dough Baby Bakery. Open just over a year in Downtown Madison, Dough Baby Bakery is Kristine's love letter to the doughnuts she grew up on. Kristine returned to Deja Food Group in 2019 and claimed the title of Pastry Chef for the Deja Food Group. The pastries Kristine creates truly elevate Graze's dining experience.

IMG_3250.jpg
MADDIE WILINSKI​

GENERAL MANAGER

Maddie started at Graze in 2017 as a weekly forager, pulling the farmers market wagon and forging friendships with farmers alongside the Graze chefs.  After managing the market stand, spending a summer in the bakery, and fulfilling various ascending front-of-house roles, she became the Assistant General Manager in the spring of 2020 and General Manager a year later.  Dedicated to the guest experience, the promotion of local food, and her staff, Maddie loves Graze and what it stands for in the community.

IMG_3275.jpg
JAMES MAUK​

IMG_3293.jpg
JEFF SPEAR​