Chef Cizma was influenced from an early age by his father and grandfather – both butchers and
proficient cooks. After attending the Cooking and Hospitality institute of Chicago Chef Cizma worked at notable Chicago restaurants, Including the venerable Charlie Trotters. He garnered critical acclaim at his own restaurants in Chicago, Grace and Elaine, including being named “Best New Chef in America” by Food & Wine Magazine.
After spending a decade designing, building and operating the food service operations for Elon Musk’s
Space Exploration Technologies ( SpaceX) Chef Cizma joined a group of former SpaceX engineers to revolutionize quick serve in the form of mobile, robotic pizza restaurants.
Chef Cizma is a board member at Food System 6, a nonprofit food and agriculture accelerator and is a
charter member of Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry, bringing chefs out of the kitchen on bikes to end
childhood hunger in America.
When not cooking or riding his bike, Chef Cizma loves to spend time with his five children and wife of
over 25 years.
January 2021 -Present: Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations at Stellar Pizza, Hawthorne, CA
I joined this startup founded by former SpaceX engineers to help guide the company’s pizza robots through the process of becoming operational, establish supply chain and commissary procedures as well as navigate the health department permitting process and to successfully develop the dough, sauce and other proprietary recipes used in the mobile restaurants.
2011 -2021 Executive Chef at SpaceX, Hawthorne CA
I created the SpaceX Food Service program at the direction of the CEO and project managed the building of all the associated infrastructure from design to completion and grew it into an around the clock, nationwide operation managing hundreds of culinary team members feeding thousands of employees in wildly diverse settings.
2009-2011 Executive Chef and F&B Director at Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa, Sedona AZ
Guided all aspects of food and beverage operations including menus, special events, catering and banquet programs at this world class luxury hotel and Four Diamond Resort. Oversaw the renovation and re concept of the signature restaurant at the hotel. The Spa was named the number one Destination Spa in the World by Travel & Leisure Magazine during my tenure.
2005 – 2009 Executive Chef and F&B Director at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Traverse City, MI
Managed all aspects of the food and beverage operations. Included: three full-service restaurants, two quick serve outlets, golf course, pool and beverage carts, off premise catering as well as separate banquet, bakery, and butchery kitchens. Notable achievements include guiding a complete renovation and re-concepting of the premier restaurant, adopting a program of local agriculture and product purchasing, and creating two new outlets: a marketplace and a fine wine shop with tasting bar and cheese program.
2003 – 2005 Executive Chef at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL
While serving as the executive chef of the “World’s Aquarium” I was responsible for a foodservice operation servicing 15,000 visitors a day. Multi-station food court, 180 seat white tablecloth restaurant and a banquet kitchen producing daily meals, corporate events and gala dinners for up to 1200 guests. During my tenure I created and
implemented an entirely new banquet menu. I developed a program of mobile, kiosk food service outlets and “grab and go” concepts that significantly improved efficiency, guest service and increased food sales revenues.
1998-2003 Chef & Owner Operator at “Grace” and “Elaine” Restaurants Chicago and Naperville. IL
I concepted and created “Grace” restaurant from start to finish including design, financing and acting as the construction project manager. As an independent restaurant owner, I wrote menus,hired staff, shared management, accounting and purchasing responsibilities. Grace Restaurant’s success led to the creation of a suburban
“sister” restaurant “Elaine”. Both restaurants garnered tremendous critical praise, each restaurant earning a “Best NewRestaurant” award in their respective opening years. During this period I was chosen as Food and Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chef” in America ( 2000 )
1995 – 1999 Chef and Managing Partner at The Outpost Restaurant Chicago, IL
Working chef of an 80 seat neighborhood restaurant. I was able to operate with a high degree of autonomy regarding menu, staff and style while developing a reputation for the restaurant and myself. The Outpost received a “Best New Restaurant” award while under my leadership and “Three Stars” from the Chicago Tribune.