Executive Chef Laurie Graupner has her grandfather to thank for her introduction to the culinary arts. The two would watch cooking shows during her visits to California, which ultimately inspired the Menasha, Wisconsin native to pursue culinary school. Now a 14-year veteran of the culinary industry, Chef Graupner has honed her skills by working a variety of positions alongside a diverse group of chefs. 

Chef Graupner first joined the team at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood five years ago as a part-time line cook under the leadership of Chef Dan Vargo, the restaurant’s previous Executive Chef and newly appointed Executive Chef of Hilton Sandestin. Chef Graupner mentored under Chef Vargo as a line cook for several years before earning the title of Sous Chef, and now Executive Chef of Seagar’s. 

Named Executive Chef of the AAA Four Diamond restaurant in January 2017, Chef Graupner shares her predecessor’s passion for locally sourced ingredients and partnering with local purveyors. Building on her years of training with Chef Vargo, she is committed to enhancing the fine-dining experience at Seagar’s and is bringing new and innovative ideas to the already thriving culinary team. Chef Graupner left Wisconsin and moved to Florida to broaden her knowledge in the culinary industry and to experiment with fresh, local produce and seafood available in the state. Even so, her favorite dish to prepare is sweet or savory risotto, and her favorite meal to eat is grilled ribeye with herbed gnocchi.