The best team in Foxboro doesn't play football!
Christina's boasts a world class culinary and special events team with a "Passion for Perfection".
Whether you're hosting an elegant wedding, meeting or corporate gala, the Christina's team will rally
to your side, outrun the competition, and tackle any obstacle to ensure your event is a winner!
The Christina's all-star lineup includes:
||Chris Spinazzola, Co-Owner of Christina's, pictured with Ray Bourke.
Chris Spinazzola, Co-Owner of Christina's and Funway Café, is renown for his
expertise in the hospitality industry. In fact, it's a family tradition. His father, Anthony, was The
Boston Globe's first ever restaurant critic, a position he held for nearly 20 years before his untimely
death at age 56. With the assistance of Boston's food and wine legends, Chris helped plan the first
Anthony Spinazzola Gala
Festival of Food and Wine held at Boston University in 1986. That led to the creation of the
Foundation in 1992. Chris served as Executive Director of the foundation for 8 years until teaming up
with partner Michael Intoccia at Christina's and Funway Cafe. Chris currently serves as Chairman of the
Board of the Spinazzola Foundation, which has just celebrated its 20th Anniversary Food and Wine Gala.
With over 130 New England premier restaurants, 90 international wineries, 8-10 of the nation's most
acclaimed chefs teamed with Culinary College students, and over 4,000 guests in attendance, the Spinazzola
Gala has grown to become one of the top 2 or 3 food and wine events in the Country. We are fortunate to
have his event expertise at Christina's.
Chris worked in various restaurant concepts since he was 14 years old. From Primo's on Beacon Hill to
the Nicholas in Norwood and Spinazzola's in Framingham, which he opened with his family in 1986, he credits
everyone with shaping his knowledge, talents and passions for the food and beverage industry. For 2 years
Chris also served as the wine expert of Food New England with Natalie Jacobson, seen locally on WCVB TV.
Chris graduated from Suffolk University with a degree in Political Science and has won many humanitarian
awards for his contributions to public service. Chris also serves on the Board of Trustees at Newbury
College, where he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Chris and his wife, Marjorie Clapprood,
devote themselves to a number of local charitable endeavors, their work, and especially their 5 grandchildren.
Michael Intoccia, Co-Owner of Christina's and Funway Café, started his career at
a very young age. In 1988, he started Intoccia Construction Company and by the age of 21, he was already
featured in the national "Custom Builder" magazine. Since then, he has created residential subdivisions in
Canton, Stoughton, Foxboro, Sharon, Westwood, Norwood, Easton, Norton, Raynham, and Hingham - just to name
When Michael first started working with young families settling in this area, he noticed there weren't
many activities for youngsters. In response to their need, he created the fun-filled state-of-the-art
amusement park - Funway USA-America's Playground - located in East Bridgewater and Foxboro. He then opened
Funway Café (the family-friendly sports-oriented restaurant with game room, billiards, and nightclub)
and Christina's. Knowing little about the food and beverage industry, he brought in partner Chris Spinazzola
who is as much an expert in the hospitality industry as Michael is in construction. Michael is also a partner
in "F1 Boston" an outdoor racing track. These are just some of his companies… Driven to success,
Michael ensures that we give our guests 110% satisfaction in the quality of their experience whether it's an
informal birthday party or a wedding.
Most importantly, Michael is known for his generous philanthropy. He's helped many individuals and worthy
causes to see a brighter light at the end of the tunnel. He holds a special interest in St. Jude Children's
Research Hospital, The Genesis Fund, and The Anthony Spinazzola Foundation.
Julie A. Faherty, General Manager, joined the Team at Christina's in December 2010. Most of her hospitality career has been with Johnson & Wales University where she managed group functions in 16,000 square feet of banquet space. She also managed and trained a staff of 40 individuals from around the world. Prior to that, she supervised daily operations at a Johnson & Wales 60-seat fine dining restaurant. Throughout her education, she's received numerous impressive scholarships and scholastic awards, received an M.B.A. in Global Business Marketing, and studied in Australia for a short time focusing on Food Service Management.
"Jules" has brought her "Can Do" attitude to Christina's along with great ideas on how our Team can work efficiently – for our company as well as for our clients. And she's always determined to get the job done. With her valuable experience, you can be sure your event will go off without a hitch.
Tenara Kuznezov, Catering Sales Manager, has been with Christina's since May of 2004. With her spirited energy and enthusiasm, she has coordinated everything from rehearsal dinners to weddings to tradeshows to annual fundraising galas. She is full of helpful tips for every aspect of your event and more than willing to coordinate everything for your special occasion from the menu to linens and centerpieces while ensuring that the event expresses your vision. She will keep you organized and on track. Always expect a smile and sunny disposition when meeting with Tenara who will guarantee that not a single question will go unanswered.
Tenara was also married at Christina's in September 2009. She couldn't dream of having her wedding anywhere else.
Courtney Sands,Catering Sales Manager/Event Coordinator, left a career as an Assistant Store Manager of a leading women's national retailer to join the Christina's Team. There she had been assisting in the operation of a high volume, 1 million dollar store. After a number of years in retail sales, Courtney's career focus changed, but one thing she knew she wouldn't want to change was the way she enjoyed creating a positive experience for her clients…which she does quite well.
In her pastime, Courtney helps those in need. In fact, in March 2011, she participated in Mission Honduras and helped finish a classroom and complete the exterior of a church.
With her infectious smile, Courtney will soon show you that you've made a wise decision in choosing Christina's as the venue for your special event. Whether you're planning a wedding, shower, holiday party or celebration, Courtney will offer you her many creative and innovative ideas.
Courtney looks forward to helping you plan every detail of your special event.
Russell Thiel, Executive Chef, began his career over 20 years ago while attending
culinary school in Boston. His first professional Chef's position was in Manhattan working under premier
French Chef Micheal Fitoussi at 24 Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village, and later at the five-star
restaurant, The Quilted Giraffe, known for their beautiful plate presentations. In the mid- 80's, he
returned to Massachusetts to become Executive Chef for Spinazzola's Restaurant in Framingham. He also
worked in a number of restaurants in the metro-west area and then opened his first restaurant in Waltham,
"R Place off Main" and 5 years later, "R Place at The Berkeley" in Wellesley. The Zagat Survey rated
"R Place" a top 40 restaurant.
Chef Russell joined Christina's in 2001 and especially likes the opportunity to utilize his talents
in customizing menus for our clients. His quarterly e-newsletter "Chef Russell's corner" features fresh
seasonal menus and entertaining ideas. Chef Russell is always available to answer any culinary questions
you may have regarding your event.
Manuel Caneja Jr. (a.k.a. Manny), Chef, as a Norwood native, and born from two
Portuguese immigrants, Manny was always taught two things: 1. work hard, and 2. never forget to give
back to the community.
Manny did everything possible to learn from the best in the area. He’s been in the restaurant industry
since he was 14-years-old – working his way through the ranks. He now resides in Walpole with his wife and
3 children, and has made the rounds at some fabulous restaurants including: The Nicholas in Norwood (where
he rubbed elbows with Chris Spinazzola on the line), Spinazzola's in Framingham, The Lafayette Hotel in
Boston, Ann's Place in Norton, and R Place at The Berkeley in Wellesley. And then one day, long-time friend
Chris Spinazzola wanted to meet Manny for coffee – where he dropped the question asking if Manny would be
his Executive Chef at the up and coming Christina's & Funway Café. He was an asset during its
6 year run. Funway Café owners then joined forces with Stoneforge owners – and created Stoneforge-
Foxboro – where Manny had been at the top of his game. Although cooking is his passion, so is his family.
So – in order to see more of his family, he took on a new schedule by switching back to Christina's. Manny,
his wife and his children are happy to be able to sit down and have dinner as a family again.
Manny proudly supports so many charities in the area. He has been quoted over and over saying "...this
business is what made me who I am today, and it's only right that I give back to the community..." Every
year at Christina's, Manny donates his services for a Handi-Kids Christmas Holiday Breakfast for 350 special
needs individuals. In addition to that, each year on Holy Thursday, he cooks for a Juvenile Diabetes
Foundation fundraiser called Brian’s Run – for over 500 guests. (Brian’s aunt, Mary Tolland, an annual
Boston Marathon runner, coordinates this important event each year.) Manny has been a guest instructor
of Cardoo's Cooking School of MetroWest and Anthony Spinazzola's Scholarship Foundation at Boston University
of Culinary Arts.
Manny is quite proud to be part of the Team at Christina's. They all seem to share Manny's drive and work
ethic. Manny has a strong passion for food which is why he says he’s still in the business after all these
years. "It's a tough schedule to keep, but I do it because I love it. This [restaurant/function] industry
attracts a certain persona, and I've never seen so many hard working AND giving individuals. There is no
price for this experience." When asked what his favorite food to eat is, he says, "Anything rich and fatty"
(not that you'd know it if you saw him). When asked where he sees himself in the future, he said he'd like
to teach … the small things as well as the large things to those that are eager to learn ... and he hopes to
make a difference. That's Manny Caneja ... a very modest individual with one of the largest hearts and
talent in the area.
Jackie Halfond, Director of Sales & Marketing, has built a strong expertise
in the sales, marketing and event planning fields. She majored in marketing at University of Hartford
in Connecticut, and studied the Syracuse Program in London with a marketing and business focus. Her
experience includes developing and executing fundraising events, teambuilding, sports competitions,
fashion shows and various themed events. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Positions with Revlon Headquarters NYC, Bozell Advertising and The Boston Phoenix further developed
her client-side experience - helping her to be more understanding of clients' pressures and helpful in
many situations. At R+D Advertising in Boston, she developed her sales skills and enhanced her customer
service, relationship-building and interpersonal skills.
Jackie joined Christina's in 2001 and works hard building relationships in the local... and not so
local... area, trying to spread the word about Christina's. She has a very positive attitude and is
known to "make it happen." Although most of your communication with her will happen during the early
stages of your event planning, she is always available if you need her.