Chef Profiles


David Vlach

Chef David Vlach, chef and owner of Custom Cuisine, a catering company that also offers technique classes to educate home chefs in Minneapolis, won the 2012 Roth Cheese Grand Cru Recipe Contest for Foodservice Professionals. The judges lauded his Grand Cru ravioli with Swiss chard, apple and sweet potato sauce finished with Kaltbach cave-aged Le Gruyère Switzerland AOC. A Twin Cities native, Vlach began his culinary career as a teenage line cook and studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

Vlach was awarded an externship under renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson at Restaurant Aquavit in New York City and in 2001 he continued his education at The French Laundry in Yountville, California under the tutelage of famous chef Thomas Keller.

Vlach was instrumental in the opening of several Minneapolis restaurants. In 2003, Vlach helped open Restaurant Levain and in 2006 he opened Town Talk Diner which attracted widespread acclaim as one of the best new restaurants of 2006 according to the Star Tribune, City Pages and Minnesota Monthly.

Dedicated to local, sustainably produced food and to nurturing relationships with farmers, Vlach also teaches classes at Twin Cities cooking schools.

Tim Fischer and Ryan Nitschke

Executive Chef Tim Fischer and Chef Ryan Nitschke of HoDo Restaurant at Hotel Donaldson in Fargo, North Dakota won Roth Cheese’s Buttermilk Blue Recipe Contest for Foodservice professionals in 2012. Their winning recipe, Black Sambuca and Buttermilk Blue Cake, was picked for its creativity, uniqueness and flavor. “You rarely see blue cheese incorporated into desserts and it was so good that we went back for seconds, and thirds,” said Evan Topel, Corporate Chef at Roth Cheese.

The chefs have developed a globally inspired menu with a Midwestern foundation at Hotel Donaldson.

With their passion for fresh local foods, Chef Nitschke and his team aided Chef Fischer in becoming a semi-finalist for the 2011 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in the Midwest.

Chef Fischer, a native Minnesotan, began his hotel and restaurant career in 1991. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1997, he worked at a number of acclaimed restaurants.

Born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Chef Nitschke began his restaurant career in 1996. He enrolled at Minnesota State Community and Technical College and joined the acclaimed kitchen at the HoDo Restaurant in 2007.

Evan Topel

Corporate Chef Evan Topel joined the Roth Cheese Culinary Team in spring 2011. Chef Topel received his culinary training at Fox Valley Technical Institute in Appleton, Wisconsin and he previously served as Chef of Cucina Italian Restaurant at the prestigious American Club Resort. He has also served as a member of the Cheese Expert Panel in support of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB).

Most recently, Evan was the owner of Wisconsin Culinary Specialties, which operated Underwood Café, and provided culinary support and training programs for various cheese producers and marketers including the WMMB, Sargento Foods, Roth Cheese, Artisan Cheese Exchange and the US Dairy Export Council.

Topel’s experience in cheese, foodservice operations, food trends and the industry as a whole makes him a valuable asset to Roth Cheese’s continued support of the foodservice sector.