Our leadership team shares a passion for great tasting, nutritious foods and beverages, served with attention to detail and commitment to highest guest service experience. Working together, we provide flavorful, customizable experiences for our clients and their guests. The below people are based either from our Nagoya or Tokyo office.
President and Founder
Chris has been involved in the food service business for over 25 years and is the founder of both Cezars Kitchen and Cezars International K.K. Prior to coming to Asia, back in 1993, Chris worked for Hilton International in both the United States and Canada where he developed his business skills and, most importantly, his passion for great food.
Cezars International was founded in 1996 and after several years of owning and managing restaurants Cezars Kitchen was formed and the company expanded into the school food service business. Again it was the desire to provide great food and service to his customers that has led to the success and growth of Cezars Kitchen.
Currently Cezars owns and operates restaurants and food service locations throughout Asia.
Chief Business Development Officer
With two decades of leadership in the food service industry, Phillip wrote the book on operational excellence. He began his food service career back in 1990 while in High School with the Denny’s restaurant chain as a dishwasher. In college, Phillip worked as cook while balancing his college studies and earning a degree in Business Management. A long the way, he joined the Bon Appetite Management Company and served in several leadership roles and various venues for a total of five years.
After that, Phillip continue his operational journey and became a general manager of a café for two years before being recruited to Jamba Juice Corporation where he served as a Training General Manager for six years, having the responsibility to develop general managers for various markets around America.
Phillip joined the Cezars family back in January 2007. With his forward thinking, attention to details and commitment to operational excellence and customer focus, Cezars has continued to show positive growth under his leadership.
Corporate Executive Chef
Chef Thomas began his journey in Eastern Europe where food is part of religion, where good bread is an essential part of every dinner table. The call to culinary started as a love of the loaf that lead chef Thomas into bakeries and kitchens looking for the key of culinary success.
Soon after getting his culinary degree in the late 90’s, chef Thomas challenged himself to a discovery-tour around the world searching for that same ‘key’ or expression of love that he knew as a child. After five years of cooking his way through Germany, France and Spain, it finally dawned on him that cooking is an art, as such there no one ‘key’, that every chef can create his culinary masterpiece in his individual, unique way and passion is one unifying brush.
Quickly raising through the ranks, chef Thomas became Chef de Cuisine on the Walt Disney Cruise Line worldwide. Seven years of travelling across the globe and tasting culinary masterpieces from every corner of the world he gained invaluable experience and knowledge, which lead him to Asia, mother of all cuisines.
“Made with Love” slogan invited chef Thomas to Cezars, as the company’s Corporate Executive Chef, he oversees all aspects of culinary operations and chefs. His long journey of searching for the ‘key’ for culinary success has prepared him for his current position.
When it comes to food, in his own words chef Thomas is a “Maximalist, full of passion and attention to details.”
Regional Director – Japan
As a child, Akbar was a scholar athlete, following in his father’s footsteps, who was a champion wrestler for U.S.S.R. As a youth, he balanced his time in the classroom and on the field, even spending two years as a semi-professional soccer player.
He came to Japan for his Honeymoon and fell in love with the culture, so he enrolled in a Master’s program at Kyushu University. Fast forward to 2003, Akbar joins Cezars International KK, parent company of Cezars Kitchen, working as a restaurant manager. His kind demeanor and approachable attitude made him a standout leader, catching the eye of Phil.
In 2013, Akbar was promoted to Operations Manager, Chubu Area and Head of Cezars Café Brand. He uses all the accumulated experience, built up over the past 14 years with Cezars, from his various roles to support his communities as a brand ambassador. In Akbar’s simple, yet straight to the point words, “Our customers comes first”, an approach that has been him and Cezars Kitchen a success story.
Operations Manager – Kanto Area
Daryl’s influence and passion for cooking came at a very young age, as he’s from a long line of chefs. In particular, his grandfather was a successful Chinese Chef.
Daryl spent his early years, working in many awarding winning restaurants and hotels throughout the East Coast of Australia. He then turned to the seas for his next challenge, traveling the globe, cooking on various cruise ships, before reaching the ranks of a Sous Chef for Star Cruises. This experience educated Daryl on the importance cooking with regional, fresh ingredients, as well as leadership skills working with a large number of chefs, all coordinating on various cuisines, with around-the-clock dining.
Next on Daryl’s list, the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, where he prepared meals throughout the games for VIP in several dining arenas. From there, Daryl took the leap and moved to Japan, to study the art of Japanese cuisine, at several high end Japanese restaurants.
In 2008, Daryl met Phil and a new partnership was formed. His first assignment was the Head Chef and the US Embassy in Tokyo, before being promoted to the Head Chef at Seisen International School. In 2015, Daryl was again promoted and now currently serves as an Operations Managers, supporting other Kitchen Managers and their communities.
“As the Operations Manager, my focus is on Cezars basic principles, passion, exceptional quality of food, love, and heart, ensuring every customer leaves with a smile. In addition, I am writing a cook book on the Essence of Asia which is due out in late 2016.”
Wan Sharilazlan bin Mohamed Sani (Sharil)
Operations Manager – Malaysia
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a flavor crossroads of three outstanding culinary cultures, Malay, Indian and Chinese, has engraved into Sharil’ DNA a deep appreciation of diverse cuisines and love of great food.
His passion and curiosity led Sharil to the food industry at a young age. From a banquet captain at Shangri-La to food industry giants like McDonalds and TGI Fridays, every step of the way, Sharil acquired knowledge and experience, learning from the best in the business.
Hunger for more, led Sharil back to drawing board which lead him to obtain a degree in Travel and Hotel Management, elevating him knowledge of a food service professional. In 2004, Sharil joined the international catering company, Sodexo, as the Unit Manager, taking charge of educational accounts at Garden International School, Sri Garden School and Sri Sedaya School. Love for children was last piece in Sharil’s career puzzle which led the way to Cezars.
In 2014, when Cezars opened its doors to Malaysia, Sharil was waiting at the doorsteps. He became first ever hire for Malaysian Operations and was appointed as an Outlet Manager. From day one to present, every Cezars’ achievement in Malaysia has roots in Sharil and his team’s hard work, dedication, professionalism and desire to exceed expectations.
Stephen P. Wilson
Operations Manager – Yokohama Area
Stephen’s culinary drive to be the best comes from a lifelong family competition between brothers, as his brother Wil is also a chef. The Wilson brothers followed in the footsteps of earlier generations, including their Grandfather who once held patents on their family ‘secret’ recipes!
Born and raise in the windy city of Chicago, USA, Stephen is a culinary graduate from The Cordon Bleu, with an emphasis in Nutrition. Stephen’s highlights include being a chef at the acclaimed and iconic, The Drake Hotel.
At the age of 28, the quest to expand his culinary expertise came with an opportunity to move to Orlando Florida to open one of Walt Disney’s Prized Resorts. From there, Stephen took the leap and moved south of the border, to Mexico, joining Latin Americas #1 Hotel. Before moving on, he earned both The Coveted Conde Nast Travelers Magazine Gold List for Food Quality & Presentation, and The Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award 10 Consecutive times.
Next on the culinary journey, The Land of the Raising Sun. In Japan, Stephen added to his repertoire, a deep understanding and appreciation for Asian cuisine and the love of Japanese dishes. It’s in Japan that he teamed up with Cezars Kitchen back in 2012, where he has continued producing inspiring dishes and exceeding expectations.
A native of Japan, Mayumi lived abroad in Toronto, Canada where she first experienced working in Restaurant and Cafes. The exposure of working in the West left Mayumi with an appreciation of authentic customer care. At the same time, she fell in love with fresh ingredients and delicious Western and International cuisine.
With a professional background in the sales industry in Japan, Mayumi decided to part ways with her Japanese firm to join the Cezars Kitchen team. Remembering her experiences in Canada, she hopes to provide great support and care for the users of Cezars Kitchen food service and the online store, www.CezarsShop.com.
Client Relations Coordinator
Daughter of an American father and Japanese mother, born and raised in Nagoya, Asahi has had the benefit of being immersed in two cultures growing up. She studied at Nagoya International School, which has an IB program and is accredited by Westerns Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and Council of International Schools (CIS). A great international learning environment, studying alongside like-mined international global citizens.
After school, she followed her passion into food and beverages as she entered the restaurant scene, first as a part-timer, while attending Nanzan University, then as a full-timer at The Hard Rock Cafe.
In 2010 she joins the Cezars Kitchen Team, as a part time worker, before being promoted to the responsibility of the General Affairs Coordinator, a full-time position. In this position, she asserts who knowledge of the food industry with her international upbringing to provide flexible, caring support for her internal and external customers.
Supply Chain Coordinator
As a dancer, Eri took part in a world dance competition in Los Angeles, where she fell in love with American pop-culture and way of life. Therefore, after graduating from a junior college in Tokyo, she transferred to a college in New Jersey, America, where see studied hard, making the Dean’s List, and graduating with a Bachelors in Business Administration.
After returning to Japan, she spent four years working a major airline, in a customer service and logistics role. The tough work conditions, made her re-think her eating habits, which led to her interest in food culture and having a healthy diet.
Combining her interest in western culture and people, along with her passion for food, she searched for her next career that would support both interests. After some time, she was introduced to Cezars Kitchen and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of a growing brand that aligned with her passions.
Employee Services Coordinator
A native of Aichi Prefecture, Ayaka was accepted to the well-respected Nanzan University in Nagoya, where she studied Policy Studies for three years before deciding it was time to move oversees and relocated to Australia. There she continued to study for another two years at the University of Wollongong and graduated with a Bachelors of Art in Cultural Studies and a minor in History.
Along this journey, she fell in love with Australian culture and traveling, including visiting such destinations as Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Canberra, Cairns, Melbourne, Brisbane, just to name a few. These experiences touch her heart and gave her a strong appreciation of what it means to be a global citizen.
She also developed a passion for cooking and eating, as she worked in food service and had the opportunity to enjoy many types of cuisines from around the world, while living abroad and traveling.
Now back in Japan, Ayaka plans to apply her two main passions, supporting and working alongside people from around the world and working in the food industry at Cezars Kitchen.
Head Dietitian and Nutritional Advisor
What inspired Masae to become a dietitian? She wanted to become the dietitian when she belonged to the athletic club in high school because the nutrition science was very important for the making of body, and she was interested in the nutrition studies. During University, she experienced a part-time job in a sports gym as a sports instructor, and she studied the kinematics to become the sports dietician in the future. However, she noticed that the nutrition science was the most important for weight control after retiring from the athletic club. She recognized that the nutrition studies gave many benefits, so she wanted to become the general dietitian that she came able to support people of the various situation after graduation.
Masae graduated from Sugiyama Jogakuen University from the department of Human Nutrition School of Life Studies, and then in the same year, she passed the requirements to become a Kanri Eiyoushi (Head Dietitian). Before joining Cezars Kitchen, Masae worked ten several years in the general hospital and the foodservice company as the head dietitian.