Brendan Connor began his culinary journey in 1999 at nationally acclaimed restaurant Hominy Grill in Charleston, S.C. While attending college at The College of Charleston, Brendan started as a dishwasher and quickly realized he wanted to be working as a cook.
After training at numerous restaurants, Whisk Gourmet opened in 2007 as a catering company in Coral Gables. The catering company evolved into a restaurant over the next few years and relocated to South Miami in 2011. Since the restaurant relocated, Brendan has received press and accolades for his skilled work in the kitchen creating a true neighborhood restaurant.
Brendan lives in Shennandoah with his wife Marilyn, daughter Madison, and dog Mona.
Starting in 2000, Kristin Connor began working in and managing restaurants in Washington DC, New York City, and now Miami. Her passion for the business began at home. Growing up in a family that cooked and dined together every evening not only educated her, but cultivated her curiosity about food as entertainment. Large family gatherings always revolved around food, wine and great conversation.
Kristin and Brendan opened the original concept for Whisk Gourmet in Coral Gables in a small 650 square foot space. The original concept was a catering company but evolved as a restaurant when the business moved to the location in South Miami.
Kristin lives in Coconut Grove with her son Cash.
Brazilian born Leila Eck, 32, first started working at Whisk with the catering team in 2009 at the original location on Le Jeune. At that point she had lived in Miami for only one year. Leila became the third official hire as server at the original location and took a management role when Whisk relocated to South Miami.
Leila has a Bachelors degree in Journalism and Social Communication in Brazil, and has always been passionate about food & travel. Leila is now the General Manager of Whisk Gourmet, which requires her to wear many hats.
Born in El Salvador, Carlos and his family migrated to Miami in 1981. It was upon settling in a quiet corner of Coral Gables that Carlos would come to meet the Connor family. It wouldn't take long for Carlos and Brendan Connor to become inseparable, and so a life-time friendship was born.
Like so many young people, Carlos dabbled in various fields as he waited to find his true calling. In fact, his career in the culinary arts began more so out of necessity than any particular passion for cooking. In his own words, "An empty stomach can drastically
change the course of ones path in life."
However, his love for the kitchen quickly became apparent, and with it he set out to one day become a Chef. Carlos began as a prep cook at The Gables Diner, where he would receive a crash-course in the culinary business. Afterwards, he began working at Tarpon Bend Raw Bar & Grill on Miracle Mile, where he would cross paths with his childhood friend, now Chef Brendan.
Within two years, Brendan invited Carlos to take a role in his new business venture, a modest, yet rapidly growing catering company: Whisk Gourmet Food and Catering. The rest is history.
"I can honestly say that few people have the opportunity to do what they love for a living. Even fewer have the chance to work side-by-side with their best friend. I can. I'm really grateful for it, and I know it wouldn't be possible without all of the people who are a part of Whisk Gourmet. I give a special thanks to all of our patrons. Without them we would be nothing."
Brazilian-born Luana migrated to Miami with her family when she was 9 years old. Influenced by Miami's global melting pot of cultures, Luana developed a desire to learn more about the hospitality industry. In high school, she joined a four year magnet program under the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism in Miami Springs. By the time Luana graduated, she had acquired customer service skills, earned work experience in the field, learned to network and was mentored by professionals within the industry. She is multilingual (Portuguese, English, Spanish and French) and has an appreciation and understanding of other cultures and loves to travel. In 2005, Luana began working in the restaurant industry where she held various positions in the front and back of the house. Luana joined the Whisk family in 2008 as a server and hostess, and was promoted to a managerial role after Whisk relocated to South Miami. Luana believes in fostering an environment of exceptional service in order to ensure our guests have the optimal dining experience.