Chef and next-generation restaurateur, Aaron Bludorn’s mission is to create meaningful experiences through food and hospitality. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Aaron was drawn to the kitchen at an early age during his first job working as a dishwasher and prep cook in a small diner on Bainbridge Island. Energized by the comradery demonstrated in restaurants, Aaron pursued a career in hospitality and began his journey at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park. His learnings at CIA led to a prosperous career working under the country’s most celebrated chefs including Michelin-starred Chef Douglas Keene and Daniel Boulud. While working as Executive Chef in Manhattan’s Café Boulud, Aaron met his now-wife, Victoria Pappas Bludorn, and was cast in Netflix’s blockbuster culinary competition show, The Final Table. That same year, he was honored by Star Chefs when he earned New York City’s Rising Star Community Chef Award. In 2019, the Bludorns moved to Houston and in 2020, they opened the eponymous restaurant, Bludorn. In the fall of 2022, Chef Aaron opened his second restaurant, seafood inspired, Navy Blue, in the heart of Rice Village. Chef Aaron has a devotion to his new city, where he supports many charities through special dinners and menu items.
Cherif moved to the United States from Senegal in late 2000, to pursue his education in Business Management at Western Michigan University. While attending college, Cherif worked in restaurants as a busboy where he quickly developed a passion for restaurant culture and refined service. Over the years, his passion led him to work at the nation’s most prestigious establishments across the country including Michael Mina and 2 Michelin-starred Bouley Restaurant. Most recently, Cherif served as General Manager of Michelin-starred Café Boulud before working as Service Director at 2 Michelin-starred, Restaurant Daniel. When longtime partner & friend, Chef Aaron Bludorn, asked Cherif to join him in opening Bludorn, there was no hesitation. Cherif moved to Houston with his wife and three children. Cherif blends his prior experience of fine dining with the warm Southern hospitality he has grown fond of in his new hometown of Houston.
Following a successful career working in Manhattan’s bustling hospitality industry, Houston-native Victoria Pappas Bludorn, has returned home to open her first restaurant alongside her husband. Growing up, Victoria was surrounded by a large tight-knit family and was involved in Houston’s vibrant Greek community and culture. Victoria attended the University of Georgia before moving to New York to attend the acclaimed International Culinary Center (formerly known as the French Culinary Institute) in SoHo and spent a year refining her craft in various Manhattan kitchens. Her culinary journey eventually landed her a spot in Operations at Daniel Boulud’s management company, The Dinex Group, where she worked for 5 years. When moving back to Houston, Victoria began working with her husband on their next venture while also being a part of the Operations Team at Pappas Restaurants, Inc. focusing on Front of House Training and Banquets.
Victoria now supports Aaron and Cherif in Business Operations, from Human Resources to Marketing.
Born in Chicago and raised in New York, Chef Jerrod was born a culinary student. He began his technical training at the Culinary Institute of America, where his father is a Chef Instructor. After graduating from the Hyde Park location, he quickly found his footing as a cook at Éric Ripert’s 3-star Michelin restaurant, Le Bernardin. Zifchak spent 4 working through each station of the kitchen. Fortuitously, Zifchak was introduced to Chef Aaron at the Cayman Cook Out, and when back in the states, landed a position at Cafeì Boulud, where he quickly climbed the ranks before becoming Executive Chef in May of 2019. In the Summer of 2020, Jerrod opened Café Boulud Blantyre in the Berkshires, where he happily got to cook and spend time in the great outdoors. When he’s not cooking, Chef loves fishing and spending time with his wife Lauren.
Elizabeth grew up in Houston and moved to New York City to study acting and filmmaking. While in school, she balanced working on film sets, such as Law & Order, and working in restaurants. After years of juggling both, she realized her love for hospitality was outpacing her desire for film; she decided to focus her attention on restaurants and moved into the industry full time. Her New York years gave her a multitude of opportunities to sharpen her craft at notable restaurants around the city – like Chef Larry Forgione’s Above, Danny Meyer’s Untitled, Joe’s Pub, and Chef Daniel Boulud’s Feast and Fete catering. In 2015, she was an integral part of the opening team of The Writing Room where she was most recently the General Manager. Along the way, she was introduced to her now husband, Darryl, an acclaimed Bartender.
Together with her husband, they returned to Houston to join the incredible team at Navy Blue and the vibrant food scene of Houston. Elizabeth is very excited to be back in Houston and looking forward to growing with the Bludorn family.
Marie Riddle is Executive Pastry Chef at Bludorn Restaurant in Houston, Texas. A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Riddle started her professional journey working at a small family-owned Greek restaurant, where she fell in love with the passion, precision and dedication of chefs. After completing culinary school in 2009, she moved to New York City and quickly found her footing after answering an open call for a pastry position under Ghaya Oliviera at Daniel Boulud’s restaurant’s Boulud Sud, Bar Boulud and Restaurant Daniel. She later went on to work as sous chef under Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm at The NoMad Hotel, followed by a stint with Christina Tosi, Chef/Owner of Milk Bar, to open Milk Bar NYC Flagship.
Since moving to Houston in January 2022, she has fallen in love with the city’s diverse culinary scene. She is particularly excited to be part of a dedicated team of culinary professionals who have made the pilgrimage to Houston from acclaimed restaurants around the country for the opportunity to flourish at Bludorn.
Molly Austad brings 13 years of experience to Bludorn. Molly earned her Bachelor of Arts in Design and Media Art from the University of Los Angeles in California before securing an internship in Paris to work under fashion designer, Jasmin Santenen. Her time in Paris was peppered with travels across Europe and weekends in Burgundy where her fascination for wine blossomed. She returned to the states to pursue a career in hospitality and earned her first Court of Master Sommeliers certificate in 2014 while working under the tutelage of Master Sommelier, June Rodil, at Josephine House. In 2016 she earned her Certified Sommelier degree and became the Beverage Manager at Jeffrey’s of Austin in 2019. Her learnings in Austin resulted in her making the move to Houston to join Pappas Brothers Steakhouse prestigious team of Sommeliers and refined her craft under Master Sommelier, Steven McDonald. She looks forward to nurturing Bludorn’s wine program which emphasizes both French and native varieties.