Meet Your Urbanspace Challenge Chicago Judges
Our judges are more than just industry titans who can effortlessly pose for a perfect photo op — they bear the heavy weight of deciding which of our three finalists will win the Urbanspace Chicago challenge, changing their lives, and carving out a new space in Chicago’s food scene.
The Urbanspace Challenge is an opportunity for us to provide a valuable platform for small business development within the restaurant industry. Winners of the challenge receive 3-months of free rent in one of our locations, but the reward goes well beyond the chance to operate a brick-and-mortar location in a bustling food hall.
Our panel of judges has decades of experience across the food and hospitality industries. From real estate development to menu design and culinary expertise, they are the perfect team to help us launch a new career. We’re so excited for them to meet our Chicago challenge finalists, and make one talented entrepreneur’s dreams comes true!
President & CEO, Urbanspace
Mr. Scott is a leading developer of food halls and markets in the US and UK. A trained urban planner and economist, he has been re-defining the industry with Urbanspace for more than 30 years. He established the US headquarters of Urbanspace, creating the “holiday market” industry in New York with markets in Union Square, Columbus Circle, Grand Central, and Bryant Park, plus an additional 15 locations operating or under development in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He speaks frequently on small business, placemaking, and is a student of how the marketplace model can strengthen community. He is thrilled to be building spaces that bring together entrepreneurs, foodies, and curious consumers.
Gabriella Littleton is a 4th-generation restaurateur from one of Chicago’s oldest restaurant families. She is passionate about hospitality, home-cooking, slow food, and delicious health-conscious recipes, which she shares on Instagram and through her website, A Gift of Gabbie. She frequently dines out in Chicago, and loves finding new hidden gems and supporting her old haunts. Gabbie lives in Lincoln Park, with her husband, two kids, and golden retriever. She is a manager at EJ’s Place in Skokie, where she runs the beverage program, manages private dining, and taste tests everything before the start of service.
Co-Owner and COO, Roberta’s Pizza
Brandon Hoy is the co-owner and COO of Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2018, the restaurant has become a neighborhood institution, an international culinary destination, and an incubator for progressive entrepreneurship. The acclaimed restaurant and surrounding compound includes Roberta’s Garden, Roberta’s Bakery, To-Go and Delivery as well as a tiki bar and two Michelin-starred fine dining destination, Blanca. Alongside Co-Owner and Chef Carlo Mirarchi, Hoy founded Roberta’s in 2008 with the goal of providing a previously underserved neighborhood with artisanal food and drinks and an artsy, cool vibe. “The intent was always to be hospitable, like a house party – pizza-centric, seasonal and chef-driven,” Hoy says. At the helm of daily operations, Hoy also spearheads the art department, which designs seasonal merchandise, packaging, and more.
Cookbook author Anupy Singla is fast becoming one of the country’s foremost authorities on Indian food and cooking. She is the author of three books including The Indian Slow Cooker, Vegan Indian Cooking, and Indian For Everyone. Born in India and raised outside of Philadelphia, she grew up visiting her grandfather's childhood village in Punjab — the foundation for her culinary perspective, which highlights Indian food from an American point of view. Singla and her growing food and housewares company, Indian As Apple Pie, have been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Crain's Chicago, Kiwi Magazine, and she has appeared on television stations across the country and in Canada. She lives in Chicago with her husband, their two daughters, and their complex Australian Shepard Oliver.
Program Director, Kendall College Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management
Leigh Uhlir is an alumna of Kendall College, where she earned an associate of applied science in culinary arts and a bachelor of arts in hospitality and culinary management. She is now the Program Director of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management at Kendall College, National Louis University. She developed her passion for training and education at some of the nation’s leading hospitality companies and restaurants including the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, Lettuce Entertain You—Las Vegas division, and Fidelio—MICROS division. She was also a chef and manager for a variety of restaurants in Chicago and Austin, Texas.
The final tasting to determine our winner will be held in Chicago on Wednesday, October, 16.