Meet the team that lights the fire
Designer and real estate investor Sharon Carole has lived in Sarasota since 2008. An entrepreneur and philanthropist, she has been involved with many local projects and has contributed to the success of numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations in the community.
Chef Chris Covelli
As a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, award-winning chef Christopher Covelli was groomed by world-renowned chefs Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin and Alain Saihac. He was trained in seven different countries and speaks five languages. His culinary specialties span Classic French, Italian, Spanish and American haute cuisine.
Hailing from Croatia, Val brings knowledge of fine dining and culinary etiquette to the proverbial table. Working alongside her mother, she found a connection with food and hospitality at a very early age. Arriving in the states in 2002 and taking a position with a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and Restaurant, she established her true calling within the industry. Joining the Sage team at its inception, Val continuously tasks her service staff with exercises in fine dining atmospheres and situations as well as required culinary literature. Regular testing to ensure staff knowledge is always on the forefront of her curriculum.
Connor Bert is a multi-award winning mixologist bringing his studies from New York City (SoHo House & Wythe Hotel) and Pittsburgh to Sarasota. Now manning the helm of the bar program for Sage, he has consistently created award-winning cocktail menus and training his bartenders to be the best in the industry.
Originally from New York, Kat has been a Sarasota resident since 2013. As a member of Sage, she brings her extensive background of event planning and hospitality to our team. During her time working in the social scene in Sarasota, Kat has contributed to the design and execution of hundreds of events, from intimate multiple course wine dinners to weddings with several hundred guests in attendance.
Director of Marketing & Events
From a young age, Zach knew that his calling would be somewhere within the culinary industry, where he landed was still a mystery. Beginning his career at the age of 15 in the restaurant business, his career became more clear. After college, Zach began his career in marketing leaving the long hours and late nightlife of Bar Management. One year later, he was back doing what he loved. As the Event Director for Sage, he is now surrounded by the industry's most talented and eager individuals and it's safe to say, he found his passion.
Before cooking professionally, Brett attended George Mason University where he studied Electrical Engineering. While working in several restaurants to help put himself through college, his career path became quite clear. After his studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Brett has had the opportunity to travel and work across the globe including his role as a chef at the Masters Golf Tournament two years in a row, and a stint at the Toscana Soparita Cooking School in Italy. He has now found his life’s purpose in the culinary arts continuously perfecting his style under the tutelage of Chef Chris Covelli here in Sarasota, FL.
Isaiah Ruffino was fascinated by the flavors and aromas that would radiate
from the family kitchen. As a child, he would volunteer to make dinner and cook for others which led him to pursue his studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and working at High Street on Market in Philadelphia and Toscana Saporita in Tuscany. While interning abroad in Italy, Isaiah met Chef Chris Covelli, co-owner of the Toscana Saporita Cooking School. Here, Isaiah was given the opportunity by Chef Covelli to join his team, and shortly after returning to the States moved down to sunny Sarasota to begin the next chapter in his culinary career as Sous Chef at Sage Restaurant.
Cole's pastry studies began at Lehigh Career and Technical Institute in Pennsylvania at the age of 15, where he discovered his passion for all things sweet. At 17 Cole earned first place in a county-wide baking competition, inspiring him to further his education at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. At the culinary institute, Cole was able to learn from and work with a diverse cohort of famous chefs, providing him with a global perspective on foods. He states that dessert is the “part of the meal you think least about, yet are most tempted by.” Cole has a meticulous mind and gains inspiration for desserts from the geometry of the natural world around him. When dining at Sage, make sure you save room for dessert.