Andy Stangenberg

CEO & Founder

With over 30 years of experience in the operational field of the service industry in six different countries, Mr. Stangenberg developed a tremendous understanding of service excellence and the importance of service engagement between associates and guests, members or customers. He taught the school of service in many countries and owned and operated private service schools in Aruba and Maui. His experience as an executive hotel director required him to play a constant role as a coach and trainer, understanding how to engage employees on all levels. His upbeat, interactive and motivational style of facilitating “blended learning” has touched and influenced associates and leaders in all areas of hotels, clubs and restaurant organizations. Click here to view his “Leader vs. Manager” introductory video. Mr. Stangenberg has received numerous leadership awards and is currently used by world leading resorts and clubs as the master coach, responsible for employee and leadership development.

Spirit of Leadership – Two-Hour Keynote Program
This energetic, educational and interactive two-hour workshop is specifically designed for this Culinary Leadership Summit. The workshop provides insights into creating, designing and executing leadership innovation and finding fresh ways to make a difference. The program has the following objectives:

  • Experience a fundamental mind-shift as it relates to management versus leadership
  • Gain access to new studies and industry best practices related to motivation and reasoning
  • Find inspiration in managing “human beings” versus “employees”
  • Establish strategies and tactics to build sustainable leadership systems
  • Establish new ways of managing staff and bring service back to the forefront
  • Identify individual leadership tendencies and how to blend behavioral modifiers for a better balance
  • Design a better filter system and keep stress and pressure away from staff
  • Learn what is most critical in earning respect as a leader
  • Shift conversational strategies within different generations
  • Create a drive shaft for constant improvement
  • Learn how to change the performance abilities of others through interactive coaching games
  • Learn the importance of modern staff development
  • Learn to overcome frustration and stay positive when coaching others
  • Experience intelligence tools to become better listeners
  • Learn the difference between coaching and counseling

Robert “Bobby” Crifasi, CCM, CCE, CPA

General Manager, New Orleans Country Club, New Orleans, LA
President, Club Management Association of America

Robert J. “Bobby” Crifasi, General Manager of New Orleans Country Club, has been employed by NOCC since 1988. Mr. Crifasi was elected President of the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) at its 91st World Conference on Club Management, held in San Francisco in 2018. Mr. Crifasi was first elected to CMAA’s Board of Directors in 2013.

Mr. Crifasi also serves on the advisory boards of the University of New Orleans School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism, and the University of New Orleans College of Business. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Louisiana State Society of CPAs.

Mr. Crifasi and Executive Chef Stewart Redhead were featured in an article in Club & Resort Business magazine. Click here to review the article.

Eric Cook

Gris-Gris, New Orleans, LA

Chef/Owner Eric Cook opened Gris-Gris in October 2018 and it is creating plenty of buzz, earning multiples awards including New Orleans Eater’s Readers’ Choice Award 2018 Restaurant of the Year and the Reader’s Choice Award 2018 Chef of the Year. After serving in the marines, Chef Cook worked in kitchens from Commander’s Palace to the American Sector and Bourbon House. At Gris-Gris, Chef Cook and his team work their magic creating stellar versions of local comfort dishes, including an ethereal version of his mom’s chicken and dumplings and a daily gumbo simmered to a dark and smoky essence. Patrons can eat at the bar to watch the open kitchen in action. Gris-Gris also boasts the Samedi Room, one of the most unique special event spaces in the city, a two-floor kitchen/dining/sitting room with outside balconies overlooking the city. For more information about Chef Eric Cook and Gris-Gris visit:

Christian Pendleton

General Manager
Brennan’s, New Orleans, LA

As a former Special Operations sergeant with the U.S. Army’s 1st Ranger Battalion, Brennan’s General Manager Christian Pendleton is systematic in his approach to service. He is perfectly comfortable jumping out of airplanes and fast-roping out of helicopters, and eagerly welcomes any challenge that presents itself in his more recent career managing fine dining establishments. His years in hospitality have included management of notable restaurants and intensive tenures in New York, Florida, and most recently Washington, DC. Moving to New Orleans and being on the opening team of Brennan’s, Mr. Pendleton shines in Ralph Brennan’s sixth and largest restaurant that opened November 2014 in the heart of the bustling French Quarter.