If you’re reading this you’re too close to the screen
“Thomas Mann wrote that he would rather participate in life than write a hundred stories. Giacometti was once run down by a car, and he recalled falling in to a lucid faint, a sudden exhilaration,
General Manager - Joel Medina
Food service is my passion! I have been fortunate enough to gain experience in many diverse aspects of food & beverage service. Born in Mexico City, with strong background and family ties to Grand Rapids, I have been a part of food service for nearly 20 years. I graduated from the CESSA University in Mexico with a degree in Restaurant Management and Culinary Art, as well as training courses from Le Cordon Blue. My experience in the industry ranges from fine dining and casual restaurants, catering, high volume airline commissaries, both in the front and back of the house working my way from the bottom up. I am highly dedicated to my trade, striving for success at every level, but not forgetting to enjoy life and job along the way.
Head Chef - Chris Weimer
Chris (AKA "new Chris" AKA "Nuke" AA "Weimer") is simply a damn good Chef. He hasn't globe-trotted with Michelin Star packing Chefs. He hasn't worked at the palaces of cuisine in LA or Tokyo. He certainly doesn't exude glamour. He does however fit what we are about at Vivant to a tee. He simply cooks up insanely delicious food. Rustic yet elegant (both his food and to a certain degree the man himself) and popping with flavor and color he has quickly put his stamp on Vivant's menu. His personality makes him popular with the front and back of house. Quick and sarcastic with a penchant for admonishing and building up co-workers at the same instant, Weimer is a Chef as passionate about enjoying life as he is about cleaning his Shun knives at the end of a shift. We look forward to having him in our kitchen for a long time and watching as his expressions jump from a toothy smile to a furrowed brow and back again in an instant. If he wrote this blurb he would likely just say, "I just cook and bust my ass and I get better at it every day." Then he'd just laugh and get back to it.
Sous Chef - Chris VanderMeer
Chris clawed his way into the role of Sous Chef through hard work and a love and passion for fine food. He graduated with honors from Grand Rapids Community College holding a degree in culinary arts. Chris has worked in a variety of kitchens around the Grand Rapids area, ranging from country clubs to fine dining restaurants. He also spent time living and cooking New England fare on the coast of Maine. He is excited to be a part of this fresh, new addition to Grand Rapids that we call Vivant!
Assistant General Manager - Louis Mestaz
Louis has years of experience managing restaurants in the Grand Rapids area, most notably Graydon's Crossing, Derby Station and Logan's Alley. He has extensive knowledge of beer and enjoys doing field research on what the latest trends are in the craft beer scene. He is strongly committed to customer satisfaction and keeping the lines of communication open between the kitchen and the serving staff (a task not easily accomplished!). In his spare time, Louis is an expert juggler and can often be found making balloon animals for his 3 sons.
Assistant Manager - Chris Hoeksema
For two years in a row, Hoeks was voted by our staff as something along the lines of "my favorite person to work with." There's a reason for this, as you will learn when you meet him. He's the guy that parents hope their daughters will bring home announcing their engagement. He's been in the industry for years bartending, serving and managing and knows what to do, when to do it, and how to best get it done. He also has a lovely singing voice.