Executive Chef | Joe Magnanelli

Joe Magnanelli, executive chef at Urban Kitchen Group, began his career at the age of 16 and quickly made a mark for himself as a force of natural talent. After gaining experience at various small, family-owned restaurants in his hometown in Maryland, Magnanelli set his sights on our nation’s capital. He worked in some of D.C.’s finest restaurants, beginning with a study of the art of French technique with Chef Sandro Gamba, an Alaine Ducasse disciple, at Lespinasse. Moving on to the acclaimed Bistrot Lepic in upper Georgetown, he learned the rich, rustic fare of southern France under Stephane Lezla. After making a stop in the nation’s capital at the exclusive Ritz Carlton on M Street, Magnanelli decided to head west to San Diego. He landed at El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, where he worked as sous chef under the direction of executive chef Gavin Kaysen.

In mid 2006, Magnanelli joined Urban Kitchen and became the chef de cuisine at Chive. His creative flare was celebrated in the California-inspired small plates menu, and in 2008 Joe took over the reigns at Laurel restaurant + bar.

In 2009, returning to his roots and family heritage, Magnanelli welcomed the idea of transforming Laurel into a high-energy, California-inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop. At CUCINA urbana, Joe has painted his greatest culinary canvas yet, creating a beautiful and simple farm fresh menu that offers exquisite fare at a value-driven price point.

Executive Sous Chef | Mark Schmitt

A passionate food enthusiast from a young age, Mark Schmitt knew early on that culinary would drive his career. At the youthful age of 16, the aspiring toque began earning his chops at The Clipper Inn, a small fine-dining restaurant situated on the beautiful St. Lawrence River bordering New York and Canada; which was also his birthplace. Here Schmitt honed his knife skills and learned the basics as an entry level line cook before heading off to earn his formal education at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he graduated with honors, proudly earning his Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. Mark spent a season on Nantucket Island working as the Chef De Partie of Sautee at Fifty-Six Union, a small sustainable seafood restaurant with an emphasis in global cuisine. After the season on the island, he dropped everything and headed back to NYC; a risk that paid off in a big way. Mark joined the behemoth Maccioni Group, taking a position as Chef De Partie of Garde Manger at Le Cirque restaurant, unequivocally one of the top restaurants in the world. He grew quickly with the collective, earning the title of Executive Sous Chef at Le Cirque, and soon took the lead at the newly opened Sirio Ristorante at The Pierre Hotel NYC in 2009.

After three years in New York, Chef Schmitt was ready to leave city life behind and make his way out West where he accepted a position as Sous Chef at the renowned Kitchen 1540 located at the L’Auberge Hotel in Del Mar, California. Soon after, Mark capitalized on an opportunity to join Tracy Borkum’s wildly successful Urban Kitchen Group as Junior Sous Chef at the newly opened CUCINA enoteca in Del Mar. After serving as Executive Sous Chef for our Urban Kitchen Catering, Chef Schmitt now leads the CUCINA urbana as the Executive Sous Chef.