• Executive Pastry Chef
  • South Congress Hotel

Amanda Rockman’s interest in the culinary field began at an early age. Growing up in Katy, Texas, she was inspired by the dinner parties her mom would throw for friends. Rockman remembers seeing her mom dust the outline of the Kremlin on a chocolate sachertorte, thinking it was the coolest thing she’d seen. Her mom’s passion for food sparked the same interest in her.

Rockman went on to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where she received her A.O.S. in Baking and Pastry Arts and completed an internship under Emily Luchetti at Farallon in San Francisco.

Her career then took her to Chicago, where she worked at the acclaimed TRU, Spring, three Michelin-starred L.2o, and The Peninsula Hotel. Rockman also opened The Bristol, Balena and Thompson Hotel’s Nico Osteria as Executive Pastry Chef.

Having previously worked in Austin as Executive Pastry Chef at Fino and Asti, Rockman returned to Texas in 2015 as Executive Pastry Chef at South Congress...


  • Executive Chef
  • Hotel Ella and South Congress Hotel

A New Jersey native, Chef Michael Paley decided to pursue a culinary career after graduating from Florida State University with a film degree. He enrolled at the Florida Culinary School and, following completion of his program, worked under noteworthy chefs and operators such as Daniel Boulud and Drew Nieporent before taking the helm at Proof on Main at the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY.

Through partnerships with Proof on Main’s own Woodland Farm and other regional farmers and producers, Paley made the restaurant a showcase for the Ohio River Valley—an homage to local farmers and sustainable agriculture. Proof on Main was named one of Esquire Magazine’s top 25 restaurants in 2006.

In July 2011, Paley opened Garage Bar, a casual restaurant in Louisville’s vibrant East Market neighborhood serving artisan pizza and Southern-inspired cuisine. Food & Wine Magazine honored Garage Bar as one of its “Best New Pizza Places in the South” in 2012.

That same year,...