Meet the team…
Chef Dan Magill grew up surrounded by bountiful waters, abundant produce and plentiful vineyards of Long Island’s North Fork.
He began his culinary career at the age of fourteen, where he was exposed to and learned to appreciate all that his surroundings had to offer, including fresh fish and shellfish from the Peconic Bay and Long Island Sound, to the fruits and vegetables from local orchards and farms.
Dan worked all throughout high school as a line cook, splitting time one summer to work with a friend on a fishing boat, where he developed a fondness for all matters piscine. After graduating high school and still eager to learn about the culinary arts, Dan enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.
After graduation, he worked his way around New York City most notably under Chef Daniel Boulud. Later, after relocating to Westchester County, NY. He soon became the Executive Chef at ReLish in Sparkill, NY. There he received praise from numerous magazines including “Best New Restaurant”, from Hudson Valley Magazine, where they wrote “This is a place where food is so revered it’s almost a religion”.
From ReLish he went on to open Restaurant One, in Irvington, NY as the Executive Chef. While there he received an “Excellent” from The New York Times, was voted “Best New Restaurant” from Westchester Magazine, received Five out of Five Stars from In Town Magazine, and earned a top food score from the Zagat Survey.
Since starting al tavolo his culinary career has come full circle. He is now surrounded by the all the abundance that Connecticut’s northwest corner has to offer, including all the products that come from Arethusa’s own award winning dairy farm, as well as Arethusa's own vegetable and herb gardens.
In 2016 Dan was nominated as a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award as "Best Chef Northeast," the same year, al tavolo was named by OpenTable as one of their "Top 100" restaurants in the country, for a third year in a row, while having already been on their list of top restaurants that are "Fit for Foodies."
Most recently, Dan was named the "2017 Chef of the Year" by the Connecticut Restaurant Association.
As he explains, "You always take more pride in the product that you are working with when it is your own."
Executive Sous Chef
Craig Johannesen, started his Culinary Career at a young age in New Jersey. Working for Several small Caterers is where he found a Passion for Great food and the Restaurant industry. To further his education Craig enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America.
Upon Graduation he left the cold winters of the Northeast for the sun of the Florida Keys where he became the Sous Chef of Little Palm Island, a Five Diamond Relais & Chateaux establishment. While there, Craig worked for renowned Chef Adam Votaw, and built his repertoire of upscale French cuisine with a tropical Flair.
Missing the seasons of New England He made a transition back to northeast, becoming the Chef de Cuisine at Atlantica restaurant in Camden, Maine. Here Craig gained a variety of skills working with fresh seafood and local produce. The restaurant flourished with a strong following, to become one of the area’s best places to dine.
Craig returned back home to the tri-state area to work for Chef Dan Magill at Restaurant One. While there he helped the restaurant to obtain an “Excellent” rating from the New York Times, “Best New Restaurant” from Westchester Magazine and earning a 27 for food from the Zagat Survey.
Chef James Arena’s hospitality career began at the early age of fifteen, as a busboy. Recognizing that good food equated to smiling faces and laughter, the seeds to James’s affection for the culinary world were planted; “I knew then that this is what I wanted, I wanted to make people happy.” After making the transition to the kitchen and attending the French Culinary Institute, James distinguished himself in the art of pastry and confections. After graduating, and having spent some valuable time in New York City, he returned back to his home state of Connecticut. A few years later, after honing his craft, James was offered the pastry chef post at the notable ON20 restaurant in Hartford, and then later moved on to become the pastry chef at the iconic Cavey’s Restaurants in Manchester.
Chef James describes his style as “one that entertains the guest visually and allows the ingredients to speak for themselves.” With experience in many different cuisines, he has built a style of fineness, precision & technique, whilst maintaining the importance of tradition, flavor & the respect of ingredients.
He has participated in a numerous local charitable events and has had the pleasure of cooking at the fabled James Beard House. He has entertained guests and food critics alike; his desserts have been described as “Superb” by NY Times, and labelled as “Put us on Cloud Nine” by Hartford Magazine.