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Union League Club of Chicago Appoints Four Experienced Members to its Award Winning Food & Beverage and Culinary Team

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Agi Toth
Agi Toth, Sommelier

CHICAGO- November 14, 2014—Four experienced culinary professionals have joined the Union League Club of Chicago staff, according to Mark D. Tunney, General Manager.

New members of the Union League Club of Chicago’s culinary staff are: Steve Serdar, Director of Food & Beverage; Doug D’Avico, Chef de Cuisine; Agi Toth, Sommelier, and Ralph Dixon, Pastry Chef.

“The addition of these food & beverage and culinary professionals will greatly assist us in maintaining the Club’s fine tradition of being one of the top private City Clubs in the U.S.,” said Tunney.

“They join a top-rated culinary team, led by Executive Chef Michael Garbin, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who is nationally recognized for his leadership in the profession. A member of the American Culinary Federation’s honor society, Garbin is a member of the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque, recognized as the culinary arts profession’s highest honor. He also recently received the 2014 Nestles Dr. L.J. Minor ACF National Chef Professionalism Award,” Tunney added.

Serdar, 58, has more than 32 years of experience in the hospitality industry in such positions as corporate director of restaurants for Marcus Hotels; regional food & beverage director for Sage Hospitality, Denver and director of operations for Carlucci Hospitality, which included Mike Ditka’s Chicago and New Orleans restaurants.

Earlier in his career, Serdar held executive food and beverage positions with the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel; Marriott Hotel, Chicago O’Hare; and Hyatt Hotels where he served in the organization’s Chicago, Rosemont, Schaumberg, St. Louis and Richmond, Virginia properties.

Serdar resides in Waukegan, Illinois.

Chef de Cuisine Doug D’Avico, 52,  a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America,  was executive chef at Bistro One West, St. Charles, Illinois and prior to that served in a similar post at Trattoria No. 10 in Chicago for more than a decade.

Earlier in his career, D’Avico was a member of the culinary staffs of the Pavilion Grill at Hotel Intercontinental, Miami; Bagwell’s 2324 at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii; Art Institute of Chicago, Union Pier, Michigan and Arlington International Race Course, Arlington Heights, Illinois.

D’Avico resides in St. Charles, Illinois.

Agi Toth is a sommelier, wine educator and writer who holds the internationally recognized Diploma in Wine & Spirits (DWS) from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, London.

Toth’s commitment to quality wine education extends to consumers through wine events and her peers in the culinary and hospitality professions, including the Culinary Training Academy and Art Institute in Las Vegas.

As part of her continual wine education, she has participated in vineyard research and management in Northern California at the University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension working in such vineyards as Roederer, Duckhorn’s Golden Eye and Bonterra. It was in the experimental vineyards in Hopland where she made her first wine.

Toth has managed wine lists at the Michelin starred Andre’s French Restaurant and the M Resort in Las Vegas as well as the Metropolitan Club, Chicago. Toth contributes regularly to her blog, www.redgrapevine.com.

She resides in Chicago’s West Roger’s Park community.

Ralph Dixon, 37, has broad experience as a pastry chef having served at Food For Thought Catering as executive pastry chef and similar positions with Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers; Wolfgang Puck Catering, Alliance Bakery, Clubhouse International and the Glenview Club.

Dixon is a resident of Orland Hills, Illinois.

Union League Club of Chicago’s Four-Star Facilities

Named the number one private city club in the U.S. in 2009 and a Platinum Club by Club Leaders Forum, an independent poll of 7,000 hospitality industry leaders, the Union League Club of Chicago has been recognized as one of the top city clubs in the United States. It has been a cornerstone of the Chicago business, civic and cultural community since its founding in 1879, 135- years ago.

The Club has been cited for its many distinctive elements: first class dining and cuisine; four-star level guest accommodations; fully equipped athletic facilities; a world- class art collection which has both a curator and conservator;  and a full-time staff dedicated to non-partisan public affairs issues and initiatives.

The 23-story historic Union League Club of Chicago Beaux Arts style clubhouse at 65 West Jackson Blvd. has 180 guest rooms including 21 suites. Its three major ballrooms are among the most iconic and elegant rooms in the city, coupled with 16 meeting and conference rooms and public areas. The Union League Club of Chicago is recognized as having the ambience and amenities of a traditional four-star luxury hotel.

Displayed throughout every floor of the Club is one of the largest private collection of art in the Midwest, numbering more than 800 pieces, created by traditional and contemporary American artists.

Each of the renovated guest rooms and suites on floors 10-17 of the Club features a contemporary and classic design with Carrera marble bathrooms. Each guest room is equipped with a 32-inch LCD flat screen with HDTV and complimentary high-speed Internet access, and a 24-hour Business Information Center.

The Athletic Club’s centerpiece is a five- lane 20-yard indoor lap pool. Other facilities include a Competitive Fitness gym, (similar to the popular Crossfit® training gyms), squash courts, a racketball/handball court, basketball/volleyball court and a  Fitness Center where cycling, Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, boxing and aerobics are available as  well as personal trainers and massage therapists.

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