Pete Coenen is executive chef of Land and Sea Dept.'s concepts within the Chicago Athletic Association, including the reinvigorated Cherry Circle Room. Originally from the Berkshires, Coenen got his start in the restaurant industry washing dishes at the cafeteria of the boarding school where his parents taught. While attending culinary school at Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, he worked at classic French restaurant Pot au Feu, where he eventually immersed himself fully, developing his craft under its dedicated chef.
After stops around the US, and then after months of food and culture travels throughout Europe, Coenen relocated to Chicago, where he worked under Guisseppe Tentori at Boka, before becoming Executive Chef at The Gage. Coenen cooks in a style that is both refined and rustic, and utilizes his broad range of experiences as a canvas for inspiration in creating tightly focused food that is approachable, seasonally inspired and sophisticated.
Beverage Director Paul McGee oversees Land and Sea Dept.'s various concepts within the Chicago Athletic Association, which include the reinvigorated Cherry Circle Room. Paul came up through the ranks of bartending before the craft cocktail revival, and spent nineteen years working behind bars in Houston and Las Vegas before arriving in Chicago in 2008. McGee partnered with Land and Sea Dept. in early 2015 to open Lost Lake, a tropical cocktail bar, which earned Chicago Reader's award for Best New Bar (2015), a spot amongst the top ten finalists for Best New American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail's Spirited Awards (2015), and the #66 position on Drinks International's list of the 100 best bars in the world (2015).
McGee has been named Chicago’s Best Bartender (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015), Chicago Tribune’s Beverage Professional of the Year (2013), Jean Banchet Best Mixologist (2014), and one Chicago Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Chicagoans (2015).
Sommelier Andrew Algren oversees Land and Sea Dept.'s concepts at the Chicago Athletic Association, including the Cherry Circle Room. Andrew brings over 8 years of experience as a Beverage Director/Sommelier spanning beer, cocktails, spirits and wine. While studying for a degree in music theory and composition, Andrew discovered a passion for food and wine. Andrew completed the Court of Master Sommeliers Certified level in 2009, and spent time at The Purple Pig and Maude’s Liquor Bar before becoming Sommelier at the 3 Michelin Star restaurant Alinea.
A Chicago resident, Andrew is active in the wine community and is eager to make wine a focus of Chicago dining. He is excited to see the expansion of well-curated wine programs with earnest, meaningful wine lists that represent compelling producers and offer real value.
Kristine Antonian is the Executive Pastry Chef of Cherry Circle Room, where she creates desserts the Chicago Tribune calls, "sensational, artful, photo-worthy." A Chicago native, Kristine attended Kendall College and started her culinary career under Sarah Jordan — first at GT Fish & Oyster, and then at Boka. After working under Sarah for 18 months, Kristine moved into her first chef position at Farmhouse, helping to open Farmhouse Evanston. Prior to joining the team at Cherry Circle Room, Kristine returned to her fine dining roots at Quince, where she served as pastry chef.