As a native New Yorker, Jennifer Vellano was inspired by her passion for food and love of local ingredients at a very young age. Her immense dedication and motivation led her through innumerable front and back of the house positions as she worked her way through culinary school.
Jennifer graduated with honors from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2001, after having traveled and tasted 16 countries in Europe. Through her experience in some of the most heralded kitchens in Manhattan and driven by her fierce sense of ambition, Jen offers gastronomic delight with her ever expanding repertoire of recipes and techniques. Having trained under the Food and Wine Best Chefs (2005) and James Beard award winners Dan Barber and Michael Anthony of Blue Hill, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Gramercy Tavern, Jen graduated to the enormously coveted kitchen of the three starred Michelin restaurant Per Se, where she honed her skills under the careful guidance of Thomas Keller and Jonathan Benno.
It was during this time that she met James Vellano, her match on the line and soon after, her husband. In 2008 together they opened Maison Prive Chefs. In 2015, they expanded their footprint and opened G.E Brown Fine Food and Provisions in Bedford NY, which is where they call home along with their 2 children.
Now Jennifer focuses mostly on bookings, event coordination and overall menu planning. You will occasionally find her at events keeping up standards and having fun in the kitchen.
James Vellano’s life has been shaped by his love of family, food and cooking, having been born into a family owned restaurant in upstate New York. He quickly learned the fundamentals of cooking as a child, and was instantly immersed in the culinary arts as a young teenager. James profoundly accelerated his skills while studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and Sydney. James received the Grande Diplome de Cuisine et Patisserie in 2003 and continued his professional career back in the states.
At first wanting to go into the world of Pastry, he had a brief trial with famed pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini in the esteemed kitchen of James Beard award winner Daniel Boulud’s flagship Restaurant Daniel. He learned quickly that his love for sauté pans and stock pots couldn’t be matched by chocolate and made a move to Café Boulud in Palm Beach, Florida, where he was part of the opening team.
He arrived at the eponymous Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in 2005 as a Chef de Partie at Per Se, where he eventually met and fell in love with Jennifer. His fundamental creativity, knowledge and talent led him to become the Chef de Cuisine of Thomas Keller’s flagship NYC Bouchon Bakery in 2006. He left in 2008 to help Jennifer open Maison Prive Chefs, which began as a small boutique private chef company. It has grown over the years and in 2012 they finally settled into their kitchen in Greenwich CT. James primarily spends his time managing the kitchen operations for all events, from procuring ingredients and recipe development to training chefs and executing the final plates.