Chef John Merlino, Jr. has been named Director of Culinary Development by Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Merlino will be responsible for culinary and menu development, testing and the roll out of all associated initiatives collaborating with Fleming’s executive team and Corporate Executive Chef Russell Skall.
An industry veteran with almost 30 years experience in the hospitality field, Merlino is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy who began his career as executive chef in private clubs and fine-dining restaurants in California, before landing his first Director of R&D position with Vicorp Restaurants in Denver. In 1996, he was recruited by Claim Jumper Restaurants to lead the fledgling chain as Corporate Executive Chef/Director of R&D during their period of rapid expansion. Among his many contributions to the brand, he created The Elite Culinarian (TEC) program. When Claim Jumper was sold to investors in 2006, Merlino returned to his roots as an Executive Chef and industry consultant while founding a company to manufacture gluten-free products for the retail market.
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