Meet Our Chefs At Lock ‘N Key!

We want you to meet some of our TALENTED & AMAZING CHEFS.

We chose these 5 guys for this blog as they have been the backbone of our kitchen for 30+ years. Hats off to them as they truly are the most loyal and hardworking group of men you’ll ever find. Anyone who has ever worked at Lock ‘N Key will tell you the same. We would not be where we are today without them.

– Rocket & Sue Atamanchuk, Owners, Lock ‘N Key Restaurant

three chefs having a good time in the Lock N Key kitchen
(Left to right) Mike Elmore, Nino, and Stevie, 1994

1. Can you all tell me a little bit about yourselves?

Stevie: I’ve spent thirty-five years here. I had no prior experience. I was given the chance to oversee the kitchen by Rocket & Sue, and I still enjoy doing so!

Danny: I am a hard worker, a great chef, a dedicated father to 4 wonderful children & a loving husband.

Nino: Even though I am very quiet and don’t talk much, I love working here at the Lock. I just celebrated my 30th year here. 

Juano: I enjoy working long hours and playing a lot of scratch-off tickets. My ultimate goal is to become a millionaire.

Pancho: I really enjoy working at the Lock and after I get off I love walking the beach.

2. What has changed from when you first started working at the Lock versus now?

Stevie: Many things have changed! There are now more than 100 people, compared to just 20 when I first started. We used to have a very little kitchen, but today we have the best kitchen possible. When I first started, I didn’t speak any English, so with the help of the staff I learned to speak English. 

three chefs having fun in the Lock N Key kitchen in the present dat
(Left to right) Mike Atamanchuk, Nino, and Stevie, 2024
two chefs in the Lock N Key kitchen thirty years ago
(Left to right) Pancho and Juano, 1994

Danny: When I first started here, I was a custodian. After a lot of hard work, I worked my way up the ladder.

Nino: When I first started we only had 2 cooks and 1 dishwasher. Now we currently have 9 cooks on the line, 3 expos and 3 in the dishpit per shift. 

Juano: Before and after work I would have a few cocktails but now I have been sober for over 20 years. Thank you Sue and Rocket for having faith in me.

3. What dish is your favorite to prepare or what would you recommend for a customer to try?  Past or Present.

Stevie: My favorite dish to make, in honor of my daughter, is chicken Karina. Since we gave it her name at the time of her birth. She is currently 25 years old. It is still a top request from our guests. 

Danny: Our traditional parmesan coated chicken scampi is my favorite meal to prepare, but I encourage our guests to try all of our offerings since we constantly want to add a special touch!

Nino: A Lock ‘N Key twist Shrimp Bruschetta over Toast Points.

two chefs in the Lock N Key kitchen, present day
(Left to right) Pancho and Juano, 2024
chef Danny stirring a pot in the Lock N Key kitchen thirty years ago
Danny, 1994

4. What has kept each of you here at the Lock for so long?

Stevie: The love and the trust the Atamanchuk have given me.

Danny: We are loyal to the Atamanchuk family because they take great care of their staff and it’s an amazing place to work!

Nino: Lock feels like your second home and everyone feels like one big family.

Juano: I feel like part of the family. I look at Don Sr. like a father.

Pancho: Feels great and I love my job!

5. What has been your favorite memory while working here?

Stevie:  Sue stood up on New Year’s Eve after working all day, and in front of all the customers, she gave us a heartfelt round of applause for the year. 

Danny: My favorite memory was the day I met my late wife who gave me 3 of my wonderful children. Another favorite memory was when I won employee of the year. 

Nino: Here at Lock ‘N Key I found the love of my life and we have made a beautiful family. 

Juano: I got to supervise Danny, Mikey, and Chris when they were young since they had started working as prep and dishwashers.

Pancho: Sue has always loved my daughter like she was her own. When she was little she would take her everywhere with her and that is priceless.

chef Danny stirring a pot in the Lock N Key kitchen, present day
Danny, 2024

Come and meet Stevie, Danny, Nino, Juano, Pancho, and all of our wonderful staff at Lock ‘N Key Restaurant here on Manasota Key in Englewood, FL. We’re open Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm and Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm. Join us for lunch, dinner, or for a cocktail at the bar!


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