Our Team



JOSU ZUBIKARAI
Proprietor & Kitchen Sheriff


Drawing upon his Basque roots, Josu opened the famed fine dining Spanish restaurant, Taberna del Alabardero, in Washington, DC in 1989, garnering immediate acclaim and quickly establishing a reputation as culinary chief of one of the most prestigious Spanish restaurants in the country. 

Under Josu’s tutelage, the restaurant earned an endless array of honors, including being named one of the best restaurants in the country by Gourmet, The New York Times, and Condé Nast Traveler. It also earned the prestigious Five-Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.  Josu was nominated as Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). He has also been invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.

Raised in San Sebastian, the Basque Country’s capital city, Josu began his formal training as a chef at age 17, working his way through the ranks in various restaurants, initially in the Basque region, but also moving around and exploring other areas of Spain. He grew up working in his family’s restaurant outside San Sebastian, developing the passion and commitment he brings to SER today. 


JAVIER CANDON
Proprietor & Chief “Make it Happen” Guy


Javier oversees front and back of the house operations at SER.  He has more than 20 years of experience with both casual and fine dining establishments.  His previous experience includes international work with leading hotels and world-renowned restaurants throughout Europe and the Caribbean, including the Hotel Melia Sevilla, Taberna del Alabardero, and Casa del Duque Vinoteca and Restaurant in Spain; Hotel Relais & Chateau Mas D’Artiny in France; and the Hotel RIU Melao and RIU Palace Macao in the Dominican Republic.  


Javier graduated with honors from Europe’s prestigious Escuela Superior de Hosteleria de Sevilla.  A native of Spain, he is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English.  In his spare time, he fervently watches Real Madrid games, cooks with his favorite 5 and 8 year olds, and dreams about his next restaurant adventure with Christiana.


JOHN HART

Sous Chef and “Hart of the House”

Continuing his career as a journeyman chef, John came to SER with no Spanish restaurant experience but an unparalleled desire to learn. Finding law school unfulfilling and desperately missing the kitchens that had seen him through high school and college, John returned to the industry eager to be taught and trained by the best teachers he could find. Not cooking the same style twice (elevated cocktail bar, upscale steakhouse, eclectic New American), John jumped at the opportunity to work under someone as celebrated as Chef Josu.

John has taken a bit of a zigzag through life. Born in Frederick, MD, he was raised in western Pennsylvania before moving to Florida’s Gulf Coast for high school. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Florida, he moved to Chicago to pursue a legal education. Following his departure from law school, he worked at Tiny Lounge, Chicago’s North Center hotspot for craft cocktails and elevated bar food, before returning, albeit briefly, to the Tampa Bay area. Finding employ with Del Frisco’s, the restaurant group moved him to their DC Grille location. Having mastered the broiler, John then moved on to H Street’s Boundary Road, where, alongside Luke Feltz, he learned to work largely farm-to-table and cook traditional food without traditional rules. Now at SER, John is learning about the inextricable intersection of Spanish history, culture and food and learning to cook simply but fantastically.


DIMITRI "DIMA" BRINZA
Restaurant Manager & Steward of the Vine

Dimitri (or Dima to his friends, family and, well, everyone, really) came to SER as a server, only a handful of weeks after they opened. Quickly establishing himself as a fantastic addition to the team, Dimitri helped make SER the award-winning restaurant it has become. Under the tutelage of the owners and GM, Dimitri became the ideal candidate for management. Having worked his way up, Dima knows the ins-and-outs of SER better than almost anyone. Most nights, he’s impossible to miss, roving about the dining room and ensuring that all of SER’s guests have the best experience possible.

Born and raised in Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe, Dimitri grew up in a large family (in no small part, this makes him feel right at home in a tightly-knit, busy restaurant). Having studied foreign languages, Dima can make most guests feel right at home, speaking English, Spanish, Russian, and Romanian. A self-styled foodie and wine enthusiast, Dimitri spends his days trying every new thing he can (and regularly revisiting his favorite wines from Rioja and Ribera del Duero).  Just about the only thing Dimitri likes more than good food and a fine wine is watching soccer and cheering on Chelsea F.C.