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Our Team

Bobby
BOBBY MOTTOLA
Owner & President

Bobby is the managing partner of Academy Hospitality.  With over 13 years experience as an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, Bobby opened Pizzeria Gusto alongside his father, Don Mottola, in June of 2008. Pizzeria Gusto instantly gained a reputation as being one of Winnipeg’s most notable and successful restaurants and has grown to be a meeting place for friends, family, and colleagues.  On a daily basis, Bobby ensures that his vision for the restaurant is executed through his team as they work together and meticulously focus on bringing an authentic and memorable experience for each guest.

don
DON MOTTOLA
Chief Financial Officer

As one of the co-founders (and proud father!) of Pizzeria Gusto, Don has been actively involved in its operation since its inception.  After spending 30 years in sales and marketing within the garment industry, Don took on a new career path and focused his expertise on the insurance business while partnering with Bobby in his first hospitality venture.  Soon after its success, Don shifted his focus to work with Bobby on a full-time basis, acting as CFO as well as collaborating on marketing strategies for the group.

Suzy
SUZY AFIFI
Director of Operations

Suzy began with Bobby and Don in 2008 to help open Pizzeria Gusto.  She spent many years managing and growing Pizzeria Gusto and has now become the Director of Operations for Academy Hospitality.

Jesse
JESSE FRIESEN
Executive Chef

Jesse is the Executive Chef of Academy Hospitality.  With over 10 years of experience before joining the team in 2016, Jesse worked in a number of prestigious restaurants and hotels and continues to be an active member of the CCFCC, Red River College Alumni, and holds the rank Maitre Rotisseur in the Winnipeg Chapter of Ies Chaine des Rotisseurs.  Jesse has competed in a number of International Culinary Championships such as the IKA Culinary Olympics (bringing home two bronze medals and three outstanding achievement awards) and Gold Medal Plates (being the first in the province to take home gold twice!).  Jesse continues to mentor and build a strong team of cooks that bring his vision and talent to life in the kitchen.

Connie
CONNIE KLASSEN
Head Restaurant Chef

Connie joined Pizzeria Gusto in 2010 and quickly made her way to becoming Head Restaurant Chef.  After graduating from culinary at Red River College in 2010, Connie gained kitchen experience working in a country club in Vancouver and Fairmont Winnipeg before finding a place to combine her love of Italian cooking and her aspiration to work closely with a restaurant team and its guests.  Connie brings passion and creativity to the Gusto kitchen creating a weekly feature menu and continuing to foster an incredible team of cooks.  Her relationship with both employees and guests has been fundamental to our Gusto family.

Rich
RICH HANNA
General Manager

Rich is the General Manager of Pizzeria Gusto.  He brings with him over 18 years of experience in all aspects of the hospitality industry and has spent time learning the operations of both fine and casual dining.   Rich’s strong passion for wine has inspired him to enroll in wine focused courses that have given him the ability to curate perfectly balanced Italian wine menus to complement Jesse and Connie’s dishes.  Rich has an innate ability and genuine drive to create strong relationships with both our team and guests.  This, together with his technical skills, has allowed our Gusto community to grow into what it is today.

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