Our chefs
Joe Beck, Executive Chef

Joe Beck graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at the top of his class in 1998. Before that, he worked in his native Columbus, Ohio, as a cook at Handke’s Cuisine and Grand Vu, and as the sous chef of Tapatio Restaurant. After graduating from the C.I.A. and his externship at Hamersley’s Bistro in Back Bay Boston, Joe worked at Kinkead’s. Joe got his first taste of catering when he went to work for the American Medical Association, for which he catered staff briefings and political events. In 2000, Joe Beck came on board at Susan Gage Caterers, first as our sous chef for two years, then as our executive chef, leading a team of twenty cooks through roughly 2,200 annual event menus. Joe Beck lives in Silver Spring with his wife and two children.

Paco Cozar, Sous Chef

A native of Madrid, Spain, Cozar started cooking for his father’s restaurant when he was just 16 years old. Soon after, he cooked for three years at Jose Maria Ganzedo’s celebrated Lur Maitea, an experience Cozar describes as “my cooking school.” While at Lur Maitea, Cozar took first prize in the Culinary School of Madrid competition. An opportunity to work at Taberna del Alabardero first brought Paco to Washington, D.C., where he cooked for two years under Chef Josu Zubicarai. After a brief return to Spain, Paco came back to Washington and worked as Chef of Le Mistral on Capitol Hill, then as chef at the restaurant Oberon on Lombard Street in San Francisco. While in California, Paco met caterer Betty Zlatchin and discovered he liked the new challenges and opportunities that catering afforded. Cozar’s return to Washington, D.C. in 2001 allowed him to meet Susan Gage, for whom Paco has worked ever since. Paco Cozar lives in northern Virginia with his wife and two children.

Padua Player, Pastry Chef

Padua Player is the youngest of seven children and a native of Washington, D.C. Padua enjoyed humble beginnings in the food industry, first working as a dishwasher at Chef Bob Kinkead’s famed 21 Federal while still in high school. Player was quickly promoted to prep cook and garde manger. Player’s passion for pastry was born when he worked under 21 Federal’s pastry chef Susan McCreight Lindeborg, making her signature breads and desserts. Knowing pastry was to be his life’s work, Padua attended culinary school, then went to work at such notable restaurants as Kinkeads, Isabella, D.C. Coast, Ceiba and Café Milano. Padua Player came to Susan Gage Caterers in 2005 and has turned out truly remarkable pastry ever since.