behind the innovative cuisine and cocktails at Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille.
RIVERSIDE HOTEL EXECUTIVE CHEF
A progressive culinary professional with more than 15 years of experience, Toby Joseph joined the Riverside Hotel in 2009 and today serves as Executive Chef. In his role, Joseph oversees all food and beverage operations — which include two restaurants and a staff of 35. He also develops original wine lists and menus for special events held at the hotel and restaurant.
Prior to joining the Riverside Hotel, Joseph worked in Houston as the Executive Chef at the acclaimed St. Regis Hotel, where he assisted in the opening of two restaurants—The Astor Court and The Remington Grill. Both locations were voted among Zagat’s “100 best hotel restaurants” three consecutive years from 2003 to 2006. In addition, he has collaborated on special events with such culinary masters as Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, and Norman Van Aken.
Joseph is a Boston native and a graduate of Johnson and Wales University with a degree in culinary arts. He is a member of the American Culinary Institute of America and holds a series of awards.
WILD SEA CHEF DE CUISINE
Alia Asher practically grew up in the kitchen. Both of her grandmothers were excellent cooks and she spent a great deal of her childhood in their kitchens. Born in Kingston, Jamaica but growing up on her family’s farm on the north coast of the island, Asher was introduced to the importance of using fresh and local ingredients at a very young age. Some of her fondest memories are of her milking cows and collecting eggs for the family breakfasts.
At the age of 16, she took her first kitchen job in her family’s café in Kingston, Jamaica, where she worked every summer while attending culinary school. Bouncing from the island to the mainland, Asher did a short internship in the banquet department of the Diplomat Resort & Spa and upon graduation, worked for celebrity Chef Lorena Garcia in 2010 where she collaborated closely with her to conceptualize dishes and recipes for her cookbook Lorena Garcia’s New Latin Classics and assisted in menu writing and staff training for her airport restaurant chain Lorena Garcia Cocina. She graduated Johnson & Wales University, Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Culinary Arts.
Immediately after graduating culinary school Asher was hired as a Line Cook at the Riverside Hotel and quickly became Lead Cook the following year. Continuing to move up in the ranks, she became Kitchen Supervisor and then in 2015, was promoted to Sous Chef, where she currently assists in overseeing operations and over 40 employees of the hotel’s two concepts – Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille and Indigo Restaurant – as well as four bars, in-room dining and banquets.
RIVERSIDE HOTEL BEVERAGE MANAGER / SOMMELIER
Rebekah was born and raised in South Florida and was always involved in the restaurant industry. It was kind of a requirement, growing up in the Bennett (née) family. Her father is a Chef, mother is a server, and her sister dabbles in and out of the industry as well. In grade school, she began working as a busser, food runner, back server, hostess/cashier, server, bar back, and even a line cook. Having that much experience at such a young age was crucial to her early advancement towards this career. The passion came naturally, and the industry became all she knew.
Eventually, she became heavily involved with the beverage side of the industry thanks to a very strong female mentor, who involved her in the restaurant’s beverage program. That newfound knowledge lit a fire underneath Rebekah and created a completely new passion for the business.
Since working at the Riverside Hotel, Jason Cotter, F&B Director, has become a major influence and allowed her to have full creative control over the Beverage Program and the 400+ options in the wine cellar.
Rebekah recently passed the Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Level exams, and uses this knowledge to implement numerous new programs and procedures to further the hotel’s already excellent service standards and culture.