Director of Food and Beverage
Matt Samson
Matt is joining Toscana for the 2015-2016 season after nine years as Food & Beverage Director and Clubhouse Manager at The Springs Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA. He spent six years with ClubCorp as an Executive Chef and received awards of Food & Beverage distinction with the company. Matt is motivated to bring the highest level of service to Toscana from his years of experience. He has been in the Food and Beverage industry his entire career and he has had the opportunity to participate in unique experiences. Matt has erected a European yurt in the Wasatch mountains for five-course “ski in” dinners, catered World Cup skiing events at the ski jump base and worked American Culinary Federation Escoffier dinners as a culinary apprentice. He has been married to his wife Dana for thirteen years and together have three young children, Dylan, Blake and Ryan. Matthew has called the Coachella Valley his home since 2000 and enjoys playing tennis and golf.
Executive Chef
Eric Wadlund
Eric joined Toscana in 2014 after his six years as Executive Chef and Director of Operations at Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs, CA. His goal is to ensure that Members and their guests have an inspired and enjoyable dining experience. Eric was just four when he whipped up his first culinary delight: doughnuts, at his father’s bakery. At the age of 18, he began his formal training, serving as apprentice at the highly acclaimed Madison Club in Wisconsin. After Madison, Eric worked under James Beard Award winning Chef Buben in Washington's prestigious Occidental Restaurant. Eric’s passion led him to work in some of America’s finest four star restaurants including Azur by Le Bernardin, The Occidental, The Rattlesnake and Terra Cotta. He has had the honor of cooking at the James Beard House three times. Eric and his family live in La Quinta and have called the desert their home since 2002. He and his family enjoy traveling and golf.
Director of Catering & Social Events
Chae Collette
Chae Collette started her training in the hospitality industry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and White Plains, New York. In 1990, she headed west to beautiful southern California where she was employed by Club Corporation of America properties in San Diego and Indian Wells for numerous years. She served in the capacities of Catering and Social Director, Membership Director and Member Relations Director at each property. She joined Sunrise Company as a Catering Director at Indian Ridge Country Club prior to her arrival at Toscana Country Club. Chae has been at Toscana for 13 years and she is instrumental coordinating numerous events and weddings at the club. Chae and her husband, who is also in the private club industry, reside in La Quinta with their son and daughter. Their son is a full time student at Cal Berkeley and their daughter is a sophomore in high school excelling in both academics and athletics.
Dining Room Manager
Dennis Sperat
Dennis is returning this season as the Dining Room Manager. Prior to Toscana, he held positions as the F&B Director at the Victoria Club and also at the Mission Inn in Riverside from 1999-2007. Prior to returning to California in 1999, Dennis worked at Ritz-Carlton properties, domestically and internationally. In addition to having worked in luxury hotels, resorts and privately-owned clubs, he has also been at the helm of several family-owned restaurants in Colorado and California. His lifetime of dedication to the love of food and beverage began at a very early age, having grown up in private club surroundings where both his father and grandfather held the position of president for many years. His first management experience was at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa in the 80's. In his free time, he loves to cook, enjoy fine wines, hike mountain trails and travel with his wife Monique, a Parisian who shares the same passions in life.
Executive Sous Chef
Jake Judd
Jake was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated at the top of his class from Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has spent most of his adult life working in St. Louis Platinum Clubs, most recently at Missouri Athletic Club as the Executive Sous Chef for the past five years. He just celebrated his three year wedding anniversary with his wife, Kaitlin. Together they have an 18-month-old daughter, Aubrey, and another daughter on the way due mid-January. In his free time, he enjoys golf, dining out and trying new places, exercising, and spending time with his family. He is looking forward to this new opportunity and cannot wait to create fun and exciting dining experiences for the members of Toscana Country Club
Banquet Captain
Hugh McGrath
A New Jersey native, Hugh has worked in the Private Club Industry since 1995. Hugh joined Toscana Country Club around the time when the club was just starting to be built, back in 2005. He spent four years with ClubCorp in Colorado and California. In Colorado, Hugh worked as a captain at Fox Acres Country Club in Red Feather Lakes and The Metropolitan Club in Denver. He relocated to the desert in 1999 and worked as a restaurant manager for The Club at PGA West. In addition to his years with Toscana, he has worked eight years for Hyatt Resorts. Hugh has seen the Toscana community grow and is always eager to meet new members and welcome back those who are returning. Hugh has a 10-year-old daughter, Kendra, who shares his affinity for soccer, hiking, and travelling.
La Cucina Dining Room Manager
Brenda Soto
Born and raised in the Coachella Valley, Brenda has worked in the Food & Beverage business for over 10 years. Previous to Toscana, Brenda worked for Arnold Palmer Management as an Event Coordinator at Terra Lago Golf Course for seven years. Brenda has been with Toscana for five year, she started as Assistant Dining Room Manager at Il Forno. She received a promotion to Dining Room Manager in 2017 when La Cucina opened. Brenda is currently on track to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2019. Brenda is passionate about exceeding Members expectations and teaching staff to offer the highest level of service. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with family and her three dogs. She enjoys gardening, hiking and cycling.