Director of Culinary
Sage Restaurant Concepts
Derek Simcik joined Sage Restaurant Concepts in 2021 as director of culinary overseeing the group’s portfolio of more than 50 restaurants, bars and coffee shops nationwide.
Chef Derek spent his formative years experiencing foods from around the world, having lived in Greece, Tunisia, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Japan and Austria all before the age of 20. Born in Athens, Greece to American parents, Derek has great respect for local cultures and their unique cuisines.
Derek has been well-recognized by his peers and the media for his culinary talents, including TV appearances on the Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped420 on Discovery+ (where he was crowned champion), as well as numerous accolades including Chicago’s Hottest 30 Under 30 from Refinery29 (2012), 30 Under 30: Hottest Up-and-Comers of 2013 from Zagat, 14 to Watch in 2014 from Restaurant Hospitality and Sexiest Chefs in America from People Magazine (2017).
Prior to joining Sage, Derek most recently served as the Senior Regional Chef at Barcelona Wine Bar, overseeing culinary operations and menu development for 5 locations. In previous roles, Derek helmed Scout at the Thompson Hotel (Two Roads Hospitality), which was named one of Seattle’s 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016, and spent 8.5 years at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, opening two Washington, D.C. hotspots, Morrison House and Jackson 20, before taking the helm at Chicago’s Atwood in 2009. As Executive Chef of Atwood, Derek won wide acclaim in his four-plus years of service. In 2014, Derek opened Santa Barbara’s bohemian oasis, Outpost at The Goodland, in a dual role as the Executive Chef and General Manager.
Derek is a creative chef with a business mindset, excelling at forecasting, budgets and running a profitable operation. In the kitchen, he strives for perfection and timeliness. He is also fluent in utilizing social media and technology to execute marketing strategies.
At Sage Restaurant Concepts, Chef Derek hopes to create a cohesive chef community culture, ripe with collaboration and opportunities for shared innovation. He hopes to drive SRC’s chefs to think outside of the box, push the boundaries of what’s possible and be the trendsetters in the industry. “We already have the talent embedded in our DNA,” he says. “I’m ready to help our culinary teams shine and motivate them to create the types of experiences that not only drive business revenue, but get us out of bed in the morning because it’s fun to do. Our industry experienced a lot of challenges over the past few years, but now it’s time to reach for the stars again.”