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Contento

Team

Yannick Benjamin

Yannick Benjamin

BEVERAGE DIRECTOR / MANAGING DIRECTOR

The Head Sommelier at the University Club and a proud New Yorker born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen to a family of French restaurateurs who knew that hospitality was his calling from a young age. Yannick worked at Le Cirque, Oceana, Jean-Georges, and Atlas before becoming a sommelier at Felidia and Atelier at the Ritz-Carlton. As Co-Founder of Wheeling Forward, a powerhouse nonprofit driving progress in the disability community, Yannick has worked tirelessly to bring awareness and visibility to seldom-heard voices in the wine industry and to champion inclusivity. Yannick brings his energy and passion to East Harlem, where he is realizing his dream as owner of Contento.

Oscar Lorenzzi

Oscar Lorenzzi

EXECUTIVE CHEF / MANAGING PARTNER

Born in Peru’s culinary capital, Lima, Oscar has spent two decades working his way through the ranks of New York City’s restaurant scene. Oscar worked at Man Ray, L’Escale and Gaia before joining Andy D’Amico of Chef Driven Group to develop the successful 5 Napkin Burger franchise.  Oscar then moved on to lead Marseille and Nice Matin as Chef de Cuisine.  After a decade with Chef Driven Group, Oscar became Executive Chef of Graydon Carter’s renowned Waverly Inn. Oscar ran the kitchen for two years keeping Waverly’s star-studded guest list full and happy. Oscar returned to Chef Driven Group in 2018, overseeing the kitchen at Nice Matin while helping develop plans for his dream project, Contento.

Mara Rudzinski

Mara Rudzinski

SOMMELIER / MANAGING PARTNER

Mara is a wine and hospitality professional born and raised in Beacon, NY. Throughout her diverse career, which has spanned 13 years in NYC, Mara has worked for Sherry Lehmann, LeDû’s Wines, La Paulée, Private Cellar Selections, Terroir Wine Bar, Lafayette, and Wheeling Forward/Wine on Wheels.  Mara brings her varied experience and genuine passion for people, hospitality, and wine to Contento.

GEORGE GALLEGO

GEORGE GALLEGO

MANAGING PARTNER

Sometimes an ideal location attracts a group of folks with unique talents who join forces to create a place of welcome in the middle of a big city. George Gallego recognized that situation on East 111th Street. He brings years of business leadership and a Certification in Food and Beverage Management from Cornell University to the creation of Contento. He is the founder of several successful businesses and foundations in NYC, and for several years was involved as a member of the East Harlem Community Board. George’s knowledge, interests, experiences, and business acumen have led to the fulfillment of a life-long dream: the creation of a restaurant “from the ground-up.” Contento at 88 East 111th Street (off Park Avenue) is the fulfillment of that vision.

Lorenz Skeeter

Lorenz Skeeter

MANAGING PARTNER

A native Harlemite now living in the Bronx. Lorenz started working in restaurants as a teenager at Lé Regence located in the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, with the then head Chef Daniel Boulud and master of the house Max Bernard. He worked in every capacity in the front and back of the house, including food and beverage purchasing and per plate cost analysis. Lorenz spent 5-years in the industry before starting his own business but always expected he would return. The opportunity presented itself on 111th Street. Contento was born out of talented and creative partners, coupled with a ton of passion.

Heidi Turzyn

Heidi Turzyn

Inhouse Hospitality Consultant

A native New Yorker who has worked for top chefs throughout the U.S. and has been recognized for her work nationally. She has directed the wine and beverage programs for the renowned Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City for five years. Before running the programs for Alfred Portale’s 3-Stared institution, she served as Corporate Beverage Director for Chef David Burke properties. In addition, Heidi has created programs for Miami’s hotspot “Three” in Wynwood. She worked for Chef Norman Van Aken and created programs for the restaurant, rooftop bar, and culinary school. Her most recent work was launching “Wine Spectator’s” private club “WS” in New York City. She now brings her extensive hospitality experience to Harlem and consults for “Contento” restaurant.