JAMES ROBERTS  Owner/Chef  ::  james@toutantbuffalo.com

James Roberts was raised amidst Louisiana’s coastal shrimping and fishing community, and began cooking in restaurants at a young age. Over the course of his early career, he discovered a passion for the food, the kitchen brigade system, and great service. Roberts traveled the country, augmenting his training, honing his skill set, learning different regional cuisines, and developing a strong management style, ultimately earning a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University and graduating at the top of his class.

In 2007, the young chef relocated to Buffalo as executive chef for an esteemed country club. He fell in love with WNY, its people, and its farms. During his time here, Roberts has been recognized for his remarkable mentoring and leadership skills, with dozens of his young staff members finding achievement locally and worldwide. 

After twenty successful years in the industry, Roberts looks forward to the opportunity to fully realize all that he has worked for by opening Toutant. Here, his cooking abilities, culinary vision, and commitment to excellent service can be utilized to their potential. His love of the region and the city of Buffalo makes Toutant the ideal place for his lifelong goal to be realized.

CONNIE ROBERTS  Marketing & Design  ::  connie@cmbdesignz.com

James Roberts was raised amidst Louisiana’s coastal shrimping and fishing community, and began cooking in restaurants at a young age. Over the course of his early career, he discovered a passion for the food, the kitchen brigade system, and great service. Roberts traveled the country, augmenting his training, honing his skill set, learning different regional cuisines, and developing a strong management style, ultimately earning a culinary degree from Johnson & Wale

JOSEPH FENUSH  Chef de Cuisine  ::  joseph@toutantbuffalo.com

Joseph Fenush was born, raised, and educated in Western New York. Having worked previously with chef James Roberts at The Park Country Club, Fenush went on to spend time in kitchens in Southwest Florida, Houston, Tulsa, and most recently, the award-winning Volt restaurant group in the Washington DC area. His goal as Toutant's Chef De Cuisine is to create an environment that engenders continued education for himself and the rest of the Toutant staff, and to continue to enjoy his lifestyle as a cook and student of the craft. Through success at Toutant and elsewhere in his career, Fenush hopes to find increased opportunities to utilize his philanthropic nature, as well as to contribute in a notable manner to the rise of his hometown.

JESSICA RAILEY  Dining Manager  ::  jessica@toutantbuffalo.com

Jessica is from Long Island, but has called Buffalo home for the past 12 1/2 years. With a background in writing, property management, and hospitality sales, she honed her front-of-the-house skills with the Trattoria Aroma Group, but ultimately fell in love with the restaurant industry at Vera Pizzeria. There she co-owned and managed the city's very first craft cocktail bar during its first two years of business. Being completely immersed in every detail of day-to-day operations left her wanting more. Jessica hopes to break more ground at Toutant, demanding a high level of knowledge and service from staff in a fun, casual, and welcoming atmosphere. Being part of Buffalo's burgeoning restaurant landscape drives her, and her goal is to make sure guests always leave satiated and smiling.

JEFF YANNUZZI  Beverage Manager  ::  jeff@toutantbuffalo.com

Jeff grew up in a small town in upstate New York and worked in restaurants in Syracuse, Rochester, New York, and Buffalo. With a degree in history and a Masters in Social Studies Education, his skills as an educator allow him to encourage growth among his co-workers. In Buffalo, Jeff has worked at several fine dining restaurants and helped create the bar program at Mes Que after tending bar at Mike A @Hotel Lafayette (now Bourbon & Butter) beside the accomplished barman, Tony Rials. Combined, these experiences have offered Jeff invaluable opportunities to work alongside talented individuals who have helped him to better understand quality service on all fronts. As the Beverage Manager at Toutant, Jeff plans to use the sum of his experiences to create a warm, welcoming environment that celebrates the community of Buffalo, a place he now considers home.