OUR TEAM

ELIZABETH-ROSE MANDALOU

Advanced Sommelier/Partner

Elizabeth-Rose was raised in Sacramento. She grew up with her hands in the family garden, and helping her chef father cook in the kitchen. As soon as ER was old enough she began working in restaurants and very quickly realized that she wanted a lifetime career in the industry. It was a few years later while working at Ella Dining Room and Bar, that she really fell in love with wine. She was so impressed by Ella’s wine list and inspired by the knowledge of the Sommeliers there, that she began to study wine seriously. In 2013 ER became a Certified Sommelier, and in 2016 she left Ella to create WM Restaurants with her husband and business partner, Chef Deneb Williams. Simultaneously studying for the Advanced Sommelier Course and Examination, ER worked with her partners to open Woodlake Tavern in 2017. Three months later the group opened Uptown Pizza Kitchen, and in July ER became the third Advanced Sommelier from Sacramento, Ca. Elizabeth-Rose is currently focusing on opening their third restaurant, Allora, and passing the Italian Wine Scholar Examination. She enjoys spending time with her step-daughters and her dog, Michon.

DENEB WILLIAMS

Chef/Partner

Deneb was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and has worked in kitchens all over the country since he was 12 years old.  For over 33 years he has pursued his passion for the culinary arts and earned numerous awards like the coveted DiRona and the AAA Mobile Four Star/Four Diamond Rating. In 2007 Deneb moved to Sacramento to take the position as head Chef at the Firehouse Restaurant in Old Town Sacramento. For 9 years he crafted his culinary style at the Firehouse, designed over 40 wine dinners with the regions most celebrated wineries, and in 2015 was voted “Best Chef” by readers of Sacramento Magazine. In 2016 Deneb founded WM Restaurants with his partner and Certified Sommelier Elizabeth- Rose Mandalou. The Restaurant group opened Woodlake Tavern in early 2017, followed closely by Uptown Pizza kitchen 3 months later, and is soon to open the Italian inspired Allora in East Sacramento in winter of 2017.

Stephanie Patton

Event Coordinator

Stephanie Patton is a Hospitality Professional who has fallen in love with customer service and event planning. She has extensive experience as a General Manager, Assistant Manager, and Event Planner for over eight years. She recently joined the WM Restaurants Team as Event Coordinator for all three of our locations. Stephanie grew up in Winters, CA and has been living in Davis, CA for the last 10 years. She enjoys spending time with her 10 year daughter Elizabeth Joy, dining at local eateries, and spending time outdoors.

Vanessa Holt

General Manager

Vanessa was born and raised in Stockton, Ca and began her career in the hospitality industry at the age of sixteen. Her dedication and passion helped her become a developing coordinator for a corporate restaurant group in her early twenties. Vanessa’s desire to further develop her career led her to attend Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 2006. While attending school and upon graduation Vanessa worked at well-known restaurants throughout the city from the Ferry Building to Union Square finally ending up at Brenda’s French Soul Food. For the next nine years she helped Brenda’s grow into a San Francisco staple and a local’s favorite. In 2016 Vanessa and her husband welcomed their son into the world which prompted them to relocate closer to family and friends, and gave her the opportunity to join WM restaurants.

Joe Pruner

Executive Chef

Born and raised in Sacramento, Joe began working in restaurants as a caterer at age 16. He cooked at the highly acclaimed “The Kitchen” for two years until he decided to focus on a college education in San Lous Obispo and started working full time in a little Italian Café. About a year later he realized that being in the kitchen was his true passion, so he left school and moved back to Sacramento to focus on cooking full time. Soon he was hired as Lead Saute at a new steak house that was about to open in Folsom. He also started working at Magpie Café training, learning, and working 80+ hours a week. It wasn’t long before he found his first Sous position, at Restaurant 13. After a year at 13, Joe Moved to San Francisco to work at Wayfare Tavern to run their very busy Private Dining department grossing over 2 million a year. Joe also worked at Boccalone under Chef Chris Cosentino until recently moving back to Sacramento to start a family.  Joe is creative partner to Chef Deneb, and was in integral part of opening Woodlake Tavern & Uptown Pizza Kitchen in 2017, and Allora in early 2018.

Brett Walker

Bar Manager

Brett was born and raised in Napa, Ca, where he was exposed from a young age to some of the best food and service the world has to offer. Growing up on a small ranch, Brett and his parents farmed grapes, raised Alpacas, grew their own food, and most importantly, cooked and ate together as a family. Brett entered into the hospitality industry at the age of 18, while as a freshman at UC Davis, he also studied International Relations. Over the next 20 years Brett would work well known restaurants and bars, from La Toque in Rutherford to The Shady Lady in Sacramento, though his love for development work would lead him to South America for years at a time, where he worked reforestation projects in the Peruvian Andes, and helped community organization efforts in Argentina. Brett’s passion for working with his hands, coupled with a creative spark earned in his upbringing, ultimately brought him back to the art of the craft cocktail. The beauty of creating a perfectly balanced drink by pairing diverse flavors, applying cooking techniques, and knowledge of spirits, combined with a genuine love of people, motivate Brett to continue striving to create the perfect cocktail. Brett joined the WM Restaurants team in early 2017.

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