Dave Swanson, Chef/Owner

Dave began his journey in the culinary world at age 16 in a small restaurant in his hometown of Lake Villa, IL. It was here that he was introduced to the wonders of food and never looked back. 

He trained at Kendall College, Chicago's preeminent culinary arts school. Dave also had the opportunity to spend some time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, honing his skills of classical French cuisine. 

After graduating from Kendall College, Dave moved down to New Orleans to work at the infamous Commander's Palace. During his time in New Orleans Dave found his passion for American regional cooking and decided to come back to his roots and explore the bounty of the Midwest. 

Dave continued his career at some of the Chicago area's most prominent restaurants including Le Titi de Paris, Carlos' Restaurant and Le Francais. In 1999, Dave moved to Milwaukee to become the Chef de Cuisine at Sanford. 

In 2008, he launched Braise RSA (restaurant supported agriculture), which brings locally sourced foods into restaurants. Braise Restaurant & Culinary School opened in 2011. From this endeavor came 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef in the Midwest.

Since then, Dave has become a longtime resident of the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee.

On October 21, 2017, Dave married Rebecca Rachoner on Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin, and in early 2018, they celebrated their honeymoon in London. Together they have a chocolate lab named Gabby & viszla named Veruca that love to accompany them on hikes throughout the Kettle Moraine. When he's not hiking, Dave also loves to cross-country ski, bike, and travel.

MATT PLUMMER, CHEF de CUISINE  Matt reconnected with his passion for cooking at Braise as part of the opening staff. He worked his way up to Sous Chef and now oversees the operations of the kitchen, creating with the cooks daily. From growing up with fresh produce from his Grandpa's garden to working in his home garden today, the restaurant has been an extension of his ongoing interest in food.


MATT PLUMMER, CHEF de CUISINE

Matt reconnected with his passion for cooking at Braise as part of the opening staff. He worked his way up to Sous Chef and now oversees the operations of the kitchen, creating with the cooks daily. From growing up with fresh produce from his Grandpa's garden to working in his home garden today, the restaurant has been an extension of his ongoing interest in food.

BECKY BERNDT, EVENTS MANAGER  Becky has been with Braise since the beginning. She started off managing the dining room and now coordinates all private parties and restaurant events. Her passion for food extends to her home where she is constantly trying out new recipes, finding ways for food to be nutritious and tasty. Luckily, her husband and 1 yr old son, Wyatt are willing taste-testers!


BECKY BERNDT, EVENTS MANAGER

Becky has been with Braise since the beginning. She started off managing the dining room and now coordinates all private parties and restaurant events. Her passion for food extends to her home where she is constantly trying out new recipes, finding ways for food to be nutritious and tasty. Luckily, her husband and 1 yr old son, Wyatt are willing taste-testers!

BECKY AYALA, GENERAL MANAGER  Coming from an Italian background, cooking has always been a part of Becky's family life. Becky came on board 3 years ago as dining room manager and is now Braise’s General Manager. She strives to make every guest experience memorable with her customer first attitude. She has been married to her husband, Daniel, for 22 years and is a proud mom of Carroll University graduate, Mandi.


BECKY AYALA, GENERAL MANAGER

Coming from an Italian background, cooking has always been a part of Becky's family life. Becky came on board 3 years ago as dining room manager and is now Braise’s General Manager. She strives to make every guest experience memorable with her customer first attitude. She has been married to her husband, Daniel, for 22 years and is a proud mom of Carroll University graduate, Mandi.

 
THERESE THOMPSON, CULINARY DIRECTOR  Therese recently graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a Bachelors in Sociology and a budding interest in sustainable food systems. She originally joined the team as a host but through working with Dave in culinary classes transitioned to managing the culinary school and enjoys leading kid's classes of her own. When off the clock, Therese loves foraging, cycling and running with her dog.

THERESE THOMPSON, CULINARY DIRECTOR

Therese recently graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a Bachelors in Sociology and a budding interest in sustainable food systems. She originally joined the team as a host but through working with Dave in culinary classes transitioned to managing the culinary school and enjoys leading kid's classes of her own. When off the clock, Therese loves foraging, cycling and running with her dog.

 
NICK DUHAMMEL, BAR MANAGER  Nick trained under mentors Sol Brown and Adam Sarkis. He rose to the challenge of bar manager with a style of his own. It is important to Nick to integrate Braise’s philosophies into the bar program by consulting with the minds in the kitchen. In his spare time, he enjoys joyriding on his motorcycle and exploring the ever-evolving Milwaukee Cocktail Scene.

NICK DUHAMMEL, BAR MANAGER

Nick trained under mentors Sol Brown and Adam Sarkis. He rose to the challenge of bar manager with a style of his own. It is important to Nick to integrate Braise’s philosophies into the bar program by consulting with the minds in the kitchen. In his spare time, he enjoys joyriding on his motorcycle and exploring the ever-evolving Milwaukee Cocktail Scene.