Jim Tate IV - Executive Chef
Chef Jim started his long and sometimes painful career path at the age of 12, learning alongside his Grandfather in his catering business. He began getting paid at the tender age of 14 as a dishwasher at Uncle Earnie's Pizza 4 U in Chatsworth, CA. It wasn't until he ran away to New Orleans that a job became a passion. Working in several notable kitchens throughout the NOLA area, Jim began to develop and cultivate his palate and technique. Not having attended culinary school, he opted to work 2-3 jobs at a time and go to the "School of Hard Knocks". Upon returning home from New Orleans; Jim began working at Chez Melange in Redondo Beach along side Chef/Mentor Robert Bell. Having successfully run the three concept unit for over 9 years, Jim decided a change was in order. Shortly after its opening in 2012, he joined Messhall Kitchen where he remained for the next three years, shaping the foundation of the new Los Feliz hot spot. In 2015 he left to pursue an opportunity at Parkers' Lighthouse & Queensview Steakhouse; a duel unit boutique concept in Long Beach, CA. While an oceanfront office, a seasoned crew, and a view of the Queen Mary was a wonderful experience, Los Feliz kept calling his name.
Jim is very excited to be back at the helm at Messhall, and is ready to drop a flavor bomb on the neighborhood.
Nick Serritella - director of operations
A born and bred Southern California native, Nick grew up surrounded by restaurateurs at an early age with some of his closest family staking their claim in the industry. His own career took off in 2013 at the local LA Italian eatery, Louise’s Trattoria. From there he rose through the ranks at Holy Cow BBQ in Santa Monica, where his true love and appreciation for the “low and slow” was fostered, earning him the moniker “Nicky Brisket”. After serving as General Manager for about a year and half, he joined the team at Barrel & Ashes (Sprout LA Restaurant Group) in Studio City, a BBQ concept lead by renowned Chefs Tim Hollingsworth & Rory Hermann. In late 2017, opportunity again came knocking in the form of Messhall Kitchen, where he was fortunate enough to join an impressive and expanding new management team (with a few fellow Sprout LA Alums), focused on growing and developing an already exciting brand.
Outside of Messhall Nick’s passions lie in sports, music, writing, self-education, avid reading, and seeking new experiences.
Justin Baldwin - Director of Food & Beverage
Justin is no stranger to the world of restaurants, with 17 years of experience under his belt and having held every position from dishwasher to management. A recent transplant from Seattle Washington, Justin spent the majority of his restaurant career with the Heavy Restaurant Group (Purple Cafe, Barrio, Thackery) where he was able to fine tune his appreciation for hospitality.
Justin moved to Los Angeles to get involved in the city's growing hospitality and restaurant culture, and found himself taking a job to help open The Exchange Restaurant in the new Freehand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. After almost a year with The Exchange, an offer to come to Los Feliz came about, and Justin jumped to the occasion to bring his know how and service standards to the already established Messhall Kitchen.
If he's not in the restaurant, you can find Justin cycling around LA, or out camping somewhere on a beach.
Carolyn Bugbee - Service Manager
Carolyn's humble restaurant origins began in her Aunt's cupcake shop in Upstate New York. From there, she worked her way through Marist College as a busser, host, and barback at the Gilded Otter brewpub in New Paltz, NY, earning herself both invaluable restaurant experience and an English degree. After graduating, Carolyn migrated west and put her talents to use at Town in Carbondale, CO, eventually becoming a manager under restaurateur Lari Goode and notable chef, Mark Fischer. At Town, Carolyn cultivated a passion for providing the Roaring Fork Valley with locally sourced and sustainably farmed food through tasting events and community involvement. In search of new experiences, Carolyn transplanted to LA and quickly found herself fostered into the community of Messhall Kitchen. Other than a brief campaign into the Downtown LA Row District to open Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Carolyn has been a fixture of Messhall since her time in Los Angeles, and relishes in the opportunity to nourish the sense of community in Los Feliz.
In her free time, Carolyn can be found training to be a future cat lady at home with Cat and Gwen, or taking in a movie with her beau at the local cinema.
Emma Curtis - Bar Director
Emma Curtis, an Asheville North Carolina native, moved to Los Angeles several years ago after graduating from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Kingston University in London, England. A "Jack of all trades and Master of none" she is a classically trained stage actress and singer. Her passion for the bar world came through studying under Messhall’s former Bar Director Austen Tre Mendez (trained by Julian Cox), and she is our very own homegrown talent. Emma draws on her knowledge of horticulture, design, and storytelling to create a unique journey with each cocktail.
Emma's drink of choice? Either an Aperol Spritz or a Mezcal Negroni.
Nate Gutierrez - Sous Chef
A southern California native, Nate joins the Messhall crew after leading the kitchen at Abigaile restaurant in Hermosa Beach. While working his way through every back of house position under multiple established chefs over the years, he credits his success to his focused and tenacious work ethic. Nate's dedication carries over from restaurant to home life, where he is a certified EMT and a devoted father to two young girls. He strongly believes in leading by example both in and out of the kitchen and jumps at every opportunity to hone in on his skills. While Nate's training has taken him through multiple styles of cuisine, from intricate creations to banquet events, his passion lies in creating explosively flavorful street food and experimenting with both local and worldly ingredients.
Hector Murillo - Sous Chef
Hector is no stranger to the restaurant scene. A seasoned veteran in the kitchen, he has spent the last several years working in restaurants all over the city including Gladstone's and RJ's Rib Joint in Beverly Hills. Our resident "smoke" expert, Hector is a BBQ beast and loves creating the savory, mouthwatering BBQ dishes every Sunday night. A proud father of 6, Hector's heart and soul extends beyond his family and into our kitchen.
Gabi Hankins -marketing & events coordinator
After studying film and advertising in college, Gabi has found balance between her busy acting career and passion for food and culture as our Social Media Manager. A talented photographer and artist, Gabi's work can be on our instagram page, in house graphic design, and on chalkboards around the city. An LA native, Gabi is a die hard Dodger's fan and can be found splitting sides at the Comedy Store.