About Us

Bruce Kalman is no stranger to success. He’s a well-seasoned chef with years of experience under his belt and numerous accolades to boot. Those accolades include a James Beard nomination for Rising Star Chef, a Chopped championship title from the Food Network’s hit show Chopped and a recent win on Esquire Network’s Knife Fight. His talents on and off the camera have helped launch his career, and affirm his commitment to serving handcrafted cuisine that’s soulful and derived from indigenous ingredients. Kalman’s latest starring role at Union showcases his love of Italian cooking and seasonal California ingredients.

Bruce’s culinary career started at the age of 13 while working at a local pizzeria owned by a family friend in his hometown of Paramus, New Jersey. It was there that Kalman fell in love with working with fresh ingredients and the fast paced environment of the kitchen. Out of high school, he attended a hands-on culinary program at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City where he polished his skills and prepared for his newfound career in food.

Still young and growing into his new career, Bruce played guitar and played in a Jersey rock band with his brother and friends on the side. The group played gigs around town and was even asked to open for Meatloaf (crazy!). Although Bruce enjoyed the rush of playing on stage to an appreciative crowd, his passion for food kept calling to him and he decided to stick to creating culinary riffs in the kitchen rather than musical riffs on the stage.

From center stage to the line, Bruce began working in kitchens all across the country. He quickly rose through the ranks, earning the title of Executive Chef working for such celebrated national restaurants as Okno, Green Dolphin Street and Coco Pazzo in Chicago. He gradually started to make his move west and worked at Il Piatto in Santa Fe and Chelsea’s Kitchen in Phoenix. Bruce made his final move to Los Angeles in 2009 when he was offered the opportunity to open Misfit in Santa Monica, a restaurant that focused on Northern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine that emphasised seasonal market fresh ingredients. Kalman continued to make a name for himself in the Los Angeles food scene and went on to launch The Churchill in West Hollywood. There, he focused on creating handcrafted dishes, house made charcuteries, pastas and desserts. In 2013, Kalman launched his passion project, Bruce’s Prime Pickle Company, a speciality pickle company that uses the best local and sustainable ingredients that California has to offer. Bruce now continues his culinary journey as Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Union in Pasadena. At Union, Kalman looks forward to creating rustic yet elegant menus that bring his guests together in a perfect union to share delicious plates in an intimate setting.

When not running the kitchen or foraging for fresh ingredients, you can find Bruce checking out new restaurants around town with his wife or relaxing at home, strumming his guitar, playing with his two feisty pups, Sophie and Piper.