Lisa Kagen Joins the Wellmann’s Brands Empire


You know the pork and fig pâté with goat cheese served in a mini-Mason jar at Japp’s? Credit that to Lisa Kagen, who sold her businesses, Melt, to Wellmann’s Brands and then joined the company as executive chef in 2016 to develop the food menus at its growing network of bars and restaurants.

How did the transition go?
I wanted to team up with more creative people and grow. One of my favorite things about joining this company is that we do a lot of themed caterings and we get to do some really great cocktail parties. I love how creative my team is.

What’s a typical day for you?
I wake up really early and answer a ton of e-mails. [Then] I’m in all the kitchens, making sure [event] dates are good and everything’s working smoothly. There’s a lot of meetings followed by a lot of cooking.

You have plenty of experience opening restaurants. Which are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of being one of the pioneers in the Northside business district. I really put my heart and soul into that business district. And 11 years later, Melt is going to be everything it already is and so much more.

Any other plans for the future?
I would love to open an upscale restaurant with all local foods. A lot of people don’t realize that if you want to be totally locally-sourced, you can’t do it on a fast-casual level.

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