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Austin MARCH 15-18 • 2017
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Foreign&Domestic

Chefs AXT 2015
Participating
CHEFS

Beau Schooler

In Bocca al Lupo & The Rookery Cafe
Juneau, AK

James Beard Rising Star Chef semifinalist Beau Schooler was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and began his cooking career at 14. After working at several restaurants throughout Alaska and in Portland, Oregon, he enrolled at the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy, in 2006. After completing his studies at the Italian Culinary Institute, Schooler made his home in Juneau, Alaska's capital city, where he owns and operates several eateries.

Callie Speer

Holy Roller
Austin, TX

Inspired by nostalgic foods, Callie Speer's whimsical and inventive creations are favorites among critics and diners alike. A 2013 Food and Wine Magazine "People's Best New Pastry Chef" nominee, a 2015 Culturemap "Pastry Chef of the Year" award-winner, and 2018 Eater Chef of the Year, Speer helped craft the pastry and bread programs for Parkside, Chameleon Group, and Hotel Van Zandt. Her new venture, Holy Roller, is Speer's first chance to express the savory side of her talents and serves as an avenue for all of her "weird little ideas" to come alive in one place.

Ross Coleman & James Haywood

Kitchen 713
Houston, TX

Chefs Ross Coleman and James Haywood are the Chef tandem team from Kitchen 713 a renowned restaurant in Houston Texas. The duo are James beard award semi finalists best chef southwest as well as many other accolades over the years. There restaurant makes its own lane in a category called Global Soul.

Niki Vongthong

Aqui
Houston, TX

Niki first worked in a kitchen in her family's grocery store & restaurant, Asia Market, for 24 years. After they sold it in 2008, she went to Le Notre culinary school and then got her first job at Straits, a Singaporean, Malaysian, & Thai restaurant. She worked at Straits for 6 months before leaving for Spain on a three month externship at a golf resort hotel. Niki came back to Straits for a few more months and then took a job at Uchi Houston on the opening crew. She was at Uchi for six years where she became the first female sushi chef for the Houston location before being promoted to junior sous. During this time in her career she also spent time staging at Cosme in New York. After Uchi, she left to open Aqui as the opening sous chef.

Matthew McCallister

FT33
Dallas, TX

Chef Matt McCallister thrives on the energy of the kitchen: an atmosphere that is at once chaotic and structured. After cooking in kitchens across the country, Matt found his home in Dallas at FT33, his first solo venture, which he opened at the age of 31 in October 2012. He quickly guided the restaurant to local acclaim, including earning a glowing five-star review from Dallas Morning News Restaurant Critic Leslie Brenner, and recognition of Restaurant of the Year by D magazine in December 2013. Matt and FT33 have since made waves on the national scale, including a spot on the 2013 Top 50 New Restaurant list from Bon Appétit, a 2014 Food & Wine Best New Chef nod, and a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest 2014.

Matt has always had an artistic side and a love of food. Growing up, he enjoyed cooking at home and always tended to a large garden. When choosing his career path, he felt torn between the visual and culinary arts, and he attended the Metropolitan Arts Institute in Phoenix in 2000 before ultimately choosing cooking. “Art was a passion that always competed with food, but cooking gives me an opportunity to blend the two,” says the Scottsdale, AZ, native, whose artistic sensibilities were influenced by his designer mother and scientific curiosity can be attributed to his research engineer father.

When not cooking at FT33, Matt can be found shopping at farmers’ markets, going on long runs, which he says is when most of his new menu ideas come to light, reading cookbooks, or catching a DnB show. His favorite time, though, is time spent with his daughter, Ella. The five-year-old enjoys shopping, hanging out at the park, reading, working on puzzles, and painting.

Rebecca Masson

Fluff Bake Bar
Houston, TX

Born in Wyoming, Rebecca realized at an early age that baking would become more than a hobby. In 1999, she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, earning a Diplôme de Pâtisserie and secured a coveted internship at Hotel le Bristol. Once her pastry studies were complete in France, Rebecca moved to New York where she worked in the renowned kitchens of db Bistro Moderne and Daniel, The Biltmore Room, The Red Cat & BLT Prime. In 2007, she moved to Houston, TX to work with Chef Ryan Pera at *17 Restaurant at the Alden Hotel. Rebecca was a contestant on Bravo Network’s Top Chef Just Desserts, where she valiantly battled with her left arm in a cast. In 2015, Rebecca opened her brick and mortar and has continued to push the boundaries of what a bake shop can be by hosting her regular “Saturday Morning Bake Sale” and “Thursday Night Take Over” at Fluff Bake Bar. She brings chefs from all over the US to participate in the collaborations both sweet and savory.

Affectionately known in Houston as “The Sugar Fairy” Rebecca’s signature style creatively marries the tradition of French pastry with beloved homemade favorites reminiscent of childhood.

Maya Lovelace

Mae
Portland, OR

Maya Lovelace is bringing Southern flavors and soulful storytelling to Portland, OR. After tours in the legendary kitchens of Sean Brock and Naomi Pomeroy, she followed her heart back to the flavors of her North Carolina home, schooling Portland with generous 10-course Southern Appalachian feasts at Mae. After three years as an award winning pop-up (Eater Young Gun 2016, Eater PDX Chef of the Year 2016, JBFA Rising Star semifinalist 2017 and 2018, Zagat National 30 under 30 2017, StarChefs rising star 2018) Maya is finally opening a brick and mortar location with Yonder, a Southern meat & three with Portland charm, coming this year to Northeast Portland.

Sarah Heard

Foreign & Domestic
Austin, TX

Sarah has a strong passion for food, starting with the dirt where the food was cultivated. She began cooking in Austin 13 years ago & has held positions at The Mansion at Judges Hill, Parkside Projects, & La Condesa. She believes that integrity & respect for all parts of the process that bring food to your plate are essential to a good meal & to the guest experience. In 2017 Sarah & partner, Nathan Lemley, purchased Foreign & Domestic, Austin from founder Ned Elliott. The two are now focused on bold, cohesive flavors, adventurous wine, & pure hospitality.

Jules Stoddart

Parkside Projects
Austin, TX

From the routine trips to Shipley’s doughnuts with her dad, to watching the cake decorators' spectacles during grocery store trips with her mom, Jules has always had a passion for pastry. Stoddart joined the Parkside team in January 2017 and is the Executive Pastry Chef responsible for overseeing pastry programs at The Backspace, Parkside, Bullfight and Olive & June. Prior to her time at Parkside Projects, she worked under James Beard Award Semifinalist Amanda Rockman as pastry sous chef at South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. Before moving to Austin in 2015, Stoddart began her career on the opening team at Nico Osteria in Chicago. In addition to earning a diploma in baking and pastries from the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, Stoddart is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a degree in Marketing. If she could pick one thing to be her spirit food: simple, a Shipley's glazed doughnut.

Lori Sauer

Bluebridge Hospitality
San Diego, CA

Driven by the desire to master her ingredient proficiency, Executive Pastry Chef Lori Sauer brings an ambitious sensibility to Blue Bridge Hospitality. Overseeing Liberty Public Market’s in-house bakery Crafted Baked Goods while developing seasonal dessert menus for swanky steakhouse Stake Chophouse & Bar, and neighborhood bistro Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge, modern coastal Italian cuisine at Maretalia, Lori brings over a decade of pastry experience to the plate, having served in several of San Diego’s most reputable kitchens over her storied career.

Miles Thompson

Michael's Restaurant
Santa Monica, CA

As executive chef of Michael's Santa Monica, Miles Thompson ushers in a new era for proprietor Michael McCarty's seminal restaurant.

Thompson's progressive culinary style and technical acumen, honed in top kitchens around the country that include SHED in Sonoma County, Son of a Gun, Animal and NOBU, brings fresh energy to the Los Angeles institution credited as a pioneer of California cuisine. Los Angeles last saw Thompson at the helm of the well-received Allumette in Echo Park in 2014, which earned coveted spots on Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants list in 2013, Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, Los Angeles Magazine’s top 75 restaurants and LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants during its tenure.

At Michael’s, Thompson applies the creativity and finesse that has informed his culinary style throughout his career to the local ingredients that have always been at the heart of the 38-year-old restaurant’s menu.

Philip Speer

Bonhomie
Austin, TX

Chef Philip Speer did not necessarily follow a traditional path on his way to becoming a chef. At 17, he had a close girlfriend whose father happened to be a pastry chef. “Their family was beautiful, French, awesome and amazing, and that’s how I discovered what I wanted to do,” Speer remembers. Her dad told me to “Go work in bakeries and learn the skill and craft of baking, then take that into restaurants.” Speer followed his advice. “I started working in scratch bakeries for five years straight in Austin and Houston before switching over to restaurants. Following that path gave me a few more tricks in my bag to bring into the restaurant kitchen.”

In Austin, Speer worked with noted chef and friend Shawn Cirkiel at Jean Luc’s Bistro before heading to Houston to help start the pastry program at Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant Bank, under the direction of chef Bryan Caswell. In 2005 he made his way back to Austin and introduced himself to Uchi Chef Tyson Cole and the two decided to work together. Known early on for his savory and sweet desserts with unique technique, the culture of collaboration at Uchi coupled with his own need to push the envelope allowed for Speer to have input on all menus, not just desserts. Over the years of menu development with Paul (Qui) and Tyson Cole on both sides of the kitchen, Speer learned more about how the kitchen worked and took it upon himself, “to learn everything there was to know about the restaurant because I was so in love with it,” he says.

This love of Uchi culture and his personal drive led him to take on the role of Culinary Director in addition to his Executive Pastry Chef duties. During Speer’s tenure at Uchi gained 4 nominations in the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Pastry Chef category as well as StarChef.com Rising Star Pastry Chef in 2012 and a listing among Zagat’s National Power Players 2014. Speer has received awards in the Austin Chronicle, the Austin-American-Statesman, CultureMap and Texas Monthly as well as national recognition in Bon Appetit, Food + Wine, Cooks Illustrated, Art Culinaire, Thrillest, Eater.com, U.S.A. Today and more.

Today, Speer is running his own French American Diner, Bonhomie, in the Brentwood neighborhood of Austin, TX. Recognized as one of Austin’s best new restaurants in multiple local and national media outlets, Bonhomie serves up comfort with style in Philip’s favorite hood!

Maya Erickson

Langbaan
Portland, OR

In a restaurant monoculture of ice cream quenelles and sauce smears, Maya Erickson digs out her own subculture. The pastry chef, who made her name at San Francisco’s Lazy Bear and is currently the pastry chef at Portland’s Langbaan, creates dishes with sharp edges—desserts that have personalities and a sense of humor, and a little bit of angst.

Martha Wiggins

Unafilliated
New Orleans, LA

Growing up in Washington, D.C., Wiggins started in the food and beverage industry at a deli called Pumpernickels when she was only 15 years old, a position that inspired her career. At age 20, she moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts and attended a culinary arts program while getting her start as a line cook in fine dining establishments.

In 2010, Wiggins relocated to New Orleans and joined the opening staff of Sylvain as the sous chef to executive chef Alex Harrell, who helped her develop her creative skills. In October 2014, Wiggins took over as executive chef at Sylvain. Since that time, her modern gastropub fare has landed her on The Times-Picayune’s list of Chefs to Watch 2015, Gambit’s 2015 Emerging Chefs list and her holiday cocktail snacks were featured on the cover of Food & Wine’s December 2015 issue. In 2017, Wiggins was a semifinalist for James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef” category.

In February of 2018 Chef Wiggins announced her departure from Sylvain restaurant after seven and a half years there. She intends to travel, spend time with family and learn new things to get her re-inspired for the chapter of her career. Most recently Wiggins was nominated for James Beard’s “Best Chef South”. In the next few months she will be sitting on a few panels in New Orleans discussing women in the hospitality industry and looks forward to attending Atlanta Food and Wine festival as a member of the all female advisory council in May.

Kelly Fields

Willa Jean
New Orleans, LA

Growing up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Kelly discovered her passion for cooking and baking at an early age. After baking for iconic New Orleans chef Susan Spicer and graduating from Johnson & Wales in Charleston, she returned to New Orleans where she began working as pastry chef at Restaurant August. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina forced her to leave and pursue travel in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, even landing in San Francisco, where she helped open Martin’s West.

After working as the Executive Pastry Chef overseeing all of the pastry programs within the BRG Hospitality Group, Kelly fulfilled her dream of opening a Southern-inspired restaurant and bakery, Willa Jean, in 2015. Willa Jean has received local and national recognition, such as Louisiana Cookin’s “Bakery and Beyond” award and Travel + Leisure’s list of its favorite bakeries around the world. Kelly has also earned significant praise in Bon Appétit, Saveur and National Geographic. In February 2016, Southern Living named Kelly one of their “Southern kitchen magicians.” Later that year, she was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and won Eater New Orleans’ “Chef of the Year”.

In addition to her role at Willa Jean, she’s worked hard to make a positive impact on the hospitality industry. In 2017, Kelly launched "Yes Ma'am" to inspire, encourage and mentor the next generation of women chefs.

Brittany Cassidy

Rustic Canyon
Santa Monica, CA

Born and raised in San Diego, Brittany Cassidy grew up in a large family of home cooks. She started training as a dancer at ten, and pursued the art during her young adulthood. Discovering a love for cooking while dancing professionally for Emmy award-winning choreographer Tessandra Chavez’s Unity Dance Ensemble for six and a half years, Cassidy often catered intermissions during show performances. A friend finally suggested she go to culinary school, and she enrolled in Hollywood’s Le Cordon Bleu, graduating in 2008. Under the guidance of Matt Carpenter, her mentor and first Le Cordon Bleu instructor, she began as a line cook under him at Josie, followed by Momed. In 2011, she worked at both The Hollywood Roosevelt’s Public Kitchen and Bar as a line cook, and at .ink as a morning prep cook. In 2013, award-winning Executive Chef Jeremy Fox brought Cassidy on as a line cook at Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon, and she eventually worked her way up to Chef de Cuisine in 2015, running day-to-day operations for the acclaimed, ultra-seasonal restaurant. At Rustic Canyon, Cassidy has honed her skills in managing a successful kitchen and creating a cohesive team. Additionally, Fox has taught her the valuable lesson of what it really means to be a mentor, providing her with the tools to teach and guide her fellow cooks’ growth. Cassidy lives in Santa Monica, and in her spare time, she stills enjoys taking dance classes to keep her mind and body centered.

Claire Welle

Otway
Brooklyn, NY

Claire Welle is the chef owner of a modest bistro in Clinton Hill Brooklyn called Otway. Independently owned and operated, they are trying to be an example of what it means to be a jovial bistro. Informed yet informal, everything done in house, with a desire to invest and educate our staff, and give our guests a delightful evening out.

Adrian Chelette

Ancora Pizzeria
New Orleans, LA

Adrian was born in Houston, Texas and his family moved to Louisiana when he was 9 years old. After graduating high school and experiencing one year in college, he realized I was not destined for an office job and kept working at the only real high quality restaurant in Lake Charles. Once three years passed and Adrian had moved around every station, thoughts of the next step started to creep up. His sous chef at the time was about to open a restaurant in New Orleans and wanted Adrian to help him open up Ancora. He worked two jobs just to save up enough money to finally move. With three months before we opened he helped seal dining room floors, moved coolers, set up the kitchen and everything else in between, and Ancora finally opened in June 2011. Having started as sous chef in his early 20s, he's moved up to chef/co-owner with partners chef Adolfo Garcia and GM Bryn Thompson. At Ancora, he had no idea how little he knew in the food world and after 7 years I am more fully aware how much more there is to know is this industry. From making dough everyday, to drying salami and prosciutto, the staff at Ancora put our hands on as much as possible, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Zachary Meloy

Better Half
Atlanta, GA

With an upbringing that placed a heavy emphasis on food, Zachary Meloy always made a note of what he’d eaten each day as a child. While attending college in Birmingham, Zach worked with chef Frank Stitt at Bottega. He ultimately landed on a culinary career after graduating with degrees in both Spanish and ceramics. Leaving Birmingham, Zach enrolled in Johnson & Wales Denver and, after graduating, spent close to five years living, traveling, eating, and studying in Central America. Seeing the ingredients he’d thought specific to his home in the South, he became fascinated with the natural overlaps between the Latin and Southeastern American kitchens. Inspired by this commonality, Zach focused on his own style of cooking reflecting his roots in Southeastern American and Latin cuisine. In 2011, in an effort to build a groundswell behind their own food, he and his wife Cristina started PushStart Kitchen, an underground supper club, in an art studio at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Tucked away in the 130 year old factory, they served private, prix fixe meals to members of their modern speakeasy focusing on their favorite elements of their Latin-Southern cuisine. After almost three years of service and feeding 100+ guests a week through the supper club, they decided to bring their passion to a new brick and mortar space, and Better Half was born. Now, Better Half continues to focus on the blurring of lines between cultures while providing a creative menu in an intimate and casual space

Jean-Phillipe Gaston

Izakaya
Houston, TX

Born in Mexico City of European descent, Jean-Philippe Gaston has been a seeker of different cultures throughout his life. He spent much of his youth living and traveling the world across Europe, Asia and South America, and has been blessed with the experience and understanding of diverse cultures and cuisines – a characteristic that is fully realized on the plate. From Noe to Soma Sushi, to Kata Robata, REEF, Haven and Cove Cold Bar, Gaston has been defining and refining his artistic and global style. He quickly made a name for himself, and was selected “Up and Coming Chef of the Year” by the Houston Culinary Awards while at Haven; Cove was an instant success and was ranked #10 on Alison Cooks annual “Top 100 Restaurants” list in 2013. In 2014, Gaston again joined forces with Chef Manabu Horiuchi to open Izakaya, where he serves as Executive Chef. At this modern day izakaya, the menu reflects today’s global palate, peppered with Gaston’s sense of fun. He feels privileged to have worked amongst the best chefs, both in Houston and around the world, and continues his quest to strive for culinary perfection. He lives in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, and when not there, Gaston hits the road traveling and continuing his lifelong love of exploration.

Olivia Wilson

Charlift & Brenner Pass
Richmond, VA

Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, Olivia attended The French Culinary Institute right out of high school to get a degree in Pastry Arts and went on to work at Bouchon, The Inn at Little Washington and Metzger Bar and Butchery in Richmond, Va. At Metzger, she became the Pastry Chef and formed a tight relationship with Brittanny Anderson. Olivia then partnered with her and four others to open Brenner Pass and Chairlift. Being the Pastry Chef at her own restaurant and also coffee shop next door has given Olivia the opportunity to create a Pastry and Bread Program thats truly her own.

James Kubie

Coquette
New Orleans, LA

James Kubie, an Atlanta native, grew up with a great appreciation of southern food. Hailing from a long line of professional cooks starting with his great grandmother Ella, who owned a diner during the Great Depression. As part of his graduate research in sculpture at SAIC, James worked in community kitchens on the Southside of Chicago that focused on maintaining the practices of traditional Afro-Cuban and Brazilian cooking. After school, James decided to devote his full attention to professional bread baking and pastry making in various kitchens around Chicago. Eventually, the desire to migrate back to the South brought James to New Orleans, where he apprenticed under Chef Zak Miller at Coquette. After three years of working with Chef Miller and Chef Maggie Scales, James returned home to Coquette, where he now heads the pastry department, combining his love of sculpture, his baking background and his rigorous pastry training, to make beautiful, innovative desserts.

Jason White

Theodore Rex
Houston, TX

Jason White is Chef de Cuisine of Theodore Rex in Houston, Texas, a modern bistro with a regional spin. He previously was the sous chef for Oxheart Restaurant, where he and the team attained several citywide and national awards. Jason previously held stints in Houston at Revival Market, Stella Sola, Voice at the Hotel Icon, and Bennigan's in San Jacinto, TX. In his spare time, Jason enjoys a good beer and playing the drums for a band called The Demonic Hen.

Isabel Coss

Agern Restaurant
New York, NY

Isabel Coss was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She grew up spending free time in the amazing farmers markets of Mexico City and then attended Culinary School there. Isabel held her first kitchen job at Pujol (#25 on the San Pellegrino List) with Chef Enrique Olvera as a bread baker at 17 years old. This is where she found her passion for bread and mexican pastries. In 2011, Isabel moved to New York City and joined Empellón with Chef Alex Stupak, where she managed production of pastry and masa and in 2013 became Pastry Chef. In 2016, Isabel helped open Agern restaurant in Grand Central Terminal with Chef Gunnar Gislason. She oversees the Pastry Program as Pastry Chef.

Erin Smith

Feges BBQ
Houston, TX

Erin Smith opened Feges BBQ with her husband Patrick Feges in March 2018. With their combined fine dining experience and Patrick's barbecue expertise, Feges BBQ offers a new approach to barbecue combining traditional flavors and modern interpretations of classics.

Erin began her culinary career at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduating at the top of her class, she took a position at New York City’s acclaimed Per Se restaurant, working under the culinary leadership of Thomas Keller and Jonathan Benno. Following that, Erin held positions with Italian Wine Merchants and Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York before returning to her native Houston in 2010 to serve as executive chef of Plonk! Beer & Wine Bistro. She consulted on the opening of Montrose’s Blacksmith, developing an award-winning menu for the craft coffee bar before taking over as culinary director for Blacksmith’s parent organization, Clumsy Butcher. In that role she oversaw both menu and staff development at The Hay Merchant, Anvil Bar & Refuge and The Pastry War while continuing to manage the culinary side of Blacksmith.

In 2014, Erin was named executive chef of the new JW Marriott Downtown where she managed the property’s signature restaurant Main Kitchen as well as in-room dining and banquet operations. In May 2016, she competed in an episode of the Food Network series Chopped, beating out three rival chefs to win the high-visibility competition. Before opening Feges BBQ, Erin worked as a sommelier at wine bar Camerata to hone her front-of-house skills.

Michael Gulotta

Mopho & Maypop
New Orleans, LA

Born and raised in New Orleans, Michael Gulotta began cooking in local restaurants at a young age. After graduating from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, he joined the newly opened Restaurant August. Gulotta then took leave to train in the Italian Riviera and Germany’s Black Forest. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Michael returned home to help rebuild and assist with August’s re-opening. He was named Chef de Cuisine in 2007 and led the award-winning kitchen for 6 years while establishing relationships with local farmers and purveyors.

He opened his first restaurant, MOPHO, in January of 2014 with his brother, Jeffrey Gulotta, and high-school friend, Jeffrey Bybee. Located in New Orleans’ Mid City, MOPHO strives to be a true neighborhood restaurant and a destination for Southeast Asian inspired cuisine utilizing the Louisiana pantry. In its first year, MOPHO was nominated for America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit Magazine and named Restaurant of the Year by New Orleans Magazine. In 2016 Michael was named one of Top 30 Chefs to Watch in the nation by Plate Magazine, A New Orleans Rising Star by Starchefs, and a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.

His team recently opened its second full-service restaurant, Maypop, in the Central Business District of New Orleans. Maypop has been named a Top 5 Best New Restaurant by The Times Picayune and A Best New Restaurant by New Orleans Magazine.

John Sinclair

Longway Tavern / Barrel Proof
New Orleans, LA

John Sinclair is from Berlin, CT and first fell in love with cooking as a Boy Scout when tasked with leading cooking demonstrations to showcase what was possible to cook while camping. His culinary career has seen him cooking at noteworthy spots in Connecticut like Firebox Restaurant alongside his best friend Ed Jones III and at Millwright’s with Tyler Anderson. Upon arrival to New Orleans, John cooked at Herbsaint with Rebecca Wilcomb and Marcus Jacobs and at Coquette with Michael Stoltzfus. To date, though, his strongest culinary influence remains his late friend and culinary school classmate Jason Campanario, whose effortless way of creating simple, yet beautiful dishes left an indelible mark on John. He places a premium on using ingredients and flavors that people may remember from past experiences and that rekindle connections with family heirloom recipes. This can certainly be seen in John’s work at Barrel Proof Kitchen, where items like chicken wings and bologna sandwiches are all elevated expressions of past comfort food experiences. John’s long-term vision for the hospitality industry is to become a place that fosters creative expression while also improving the quality of life of those who work within it. John believes that a culinary team that is happy, invested, fulfilled and motivated in all of their culinary endeavors will ultimately lead to even better guest experiences.

Drake Leonards

Eunice
Houston, TX

Drake Leonards is the Executive Chef-Partner of Eunice in Houston, Texas. Drake grew up on a rice farm in Eunice, Louisiana, and began his restaurant career there at the age of 15 as a dishwasher in a local eatery. Following his passion, Drake earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in culinary arts from Nicholls State University. During his time there, Drake completed an externship at BRG Hospitality’s flagship New Orleans restaurant, Restaurant August, and assisted on the opening team for the group’s third restaurant, Luke.

Upon graduation in 2008, Drake moved to New York City to work at Café Boulud under the tutelage of acclaimed chefs Daniel Boulud and Gavin Kaysen. There, Drake quickly drew parallels between French country cooking and his Southern Louisiana heritage while continuing to develop as a chef over the next two years in the award-winning kitchen.

Next, he spent two years living and working in the Black Forest of Germany and traveling through Spain, France, Switzerland, and England, collecting gastronomic experiences along the way. In April 2012, he returned to New Orleans to hone his Provençal culinary skills at BRG’s La Provence before spending time as a Sous Chef at August. He then returned to Luke as Sous Chef before moving up to Executive Chef in 2014. After three years at Luke, Drake was presented the opportunity to expand into the Houston food scene with his own concept, Eunice, a modern Creole-style brasserie named for his beloved hometown.

B.J. Smith

Smokehouse Tavern, Smokehouse Provisions, Kim Jong Smokehouse
Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA

B.J. Smith, “Top Chef Season 14” contestant, is the Owner and Executive Chef of Smokehouse Tavern and Kim Jong Smokehouse in Portland, Oregon as well as the newest Smokehouse location, Smokehouse Provisions, in Vancouver, Washington. Smith brings more than two decades of culinary experience to his role, applying both classic and modern cooking techniques to high quality ingredients. His love for cooking brought him to the former Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon where he graduated in 1997. Post graduation life led him to the kitchens of nationally acclaimed restaurants: Le Bernardin and Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City, Citrus in Los Angeles and Paley's Place, Veritable Quandary and Olea Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Smith conceived Smokehouse in 2010 as a way to apply all he had learned in his fine dining cooking career, but deliver an approachable menu where guests can get their hands dirty and reminisce over food as though at a good friend’s BBQ. His first location, Smokehouse 21, located in Northwest Portland, debuted in November of 2011, followed by Smokehouse Tavern in 2015, Vancouver’s Smokehouse Provisions in 2016 and Kim Jong Smokehouse in 2016.

Richie Nakano

Richie Nakano
IDK Concepts
San Francisco, CA

RICHIE NAKANO is a chef and the founder of Hapa Ramen in San Francisco. Growing up in a Japanese-American family who loved sharing big meals triggered his interest in a food career. He worked as a waiter and bartender after high school and eventually enrolled in the California Culinary Academy. Richie started his career cooking Asian food, first at Sushi Ran and then Va de Vi and Pres a Vi. Looking to expand his repertoire, he then joined the team at Nopa, where he learned about seasonality, California ingredients, and layering flavors. At the same time, Richie was eating a lot of ramen throughout San Francisco and wanted a bowl that met his standards—made with better ingredients and proper technique. In 2010, he opened Hapa Ramen, a pop-up food stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. By teaming up with some of the best organic farmers and employing modern techniques, he pushed beyond the concept of what traditional ramen can be. He then opened Hapa, his first brick-and-mortar ramen noodle restaurant, in fall 2014, focusing on non-traditional Japanese ramen, and ran it to critical acclaims until late March 2015. In 2016 he founded IDK Concepts, a pop up collective and consulting firm.

Allison Osorio

Allison Osorio
Otium
Los Angeles, CA

Pastry Chef Allison Osorio is a Southern California native whose love of food has taken her on a journey from marketing the foods she loves to creating them in the kitchen. After beginning her career in the corporate world, her passion for cooking drove her to take a leap of faith – she enrolled in culinary school and moved to Paris to pursue her true passion. Since then, she’s accomplished what veteran pastry chefs strive for – running the dessert program at one of Los Angeles’ most prominent restaurants, Otium, alongside Chef Tim Hollingsworth where she continues to live her dream. During her time in Paris, Osorio completed her culinary training at the École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil and soon after landed in the kitchen of her dessert idol, renowned French pastry chef Pierre Hermé. She returned to Los Angeles after that and joined the team at iconic restaurant Bouchon where she trained under the acclaimed Chef Thomas Keller. In her current role as Pastry Chef at Otium, Osorio continues to evolve the dessert program along with the restaurant’s vibrant, seasonally changing menu. She draws a great deal of inspiration from her French background, childhood nostalgia and travel experiences to create imaginative, craveable desserts that have earned the praises of guests and critics alike.​

Richard Knight

Richard Knight
Harold's in the Heights
Houston, TX

Richard Knight is Executive Chef at Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room, located in the heart of the Heights, on 19th Street in Houston, Texas. Originally from the Southern Coast of England, Knight came to Houston in 1999 after first living in California. Knight joined Alli Jarrett, owner of Harold's, to merge their two Souths providing guests with southern fare from 'Near and Far'. Prior to Harold's, Knight opened Feast, where he was a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist and was named to Bon Appétit’s Top 10 Best Restaurants in America 2010. Most recently, Knight made Alison Cook’s Houston Chronicle Top 100 list as Executive Chef at Hunk Dory. On tap for Knight and Jarrett is Low Tide, a seafood concept, opening in downtown Houston summer 2018 in Finn Hall.

Richard and his wife, Carrie Jean Knight, were instrumental in the Houston food and beverage industry effort to feed Hurricane Harvey victims and first responders. Ever passionate about where food comes from, Richard and Carrie are showcasing local farmers in a reality film series called “Show Us Your Goods”. The Knight's have three daughters and live in Houston Heights.

Justin Carlisle

Justin Carlisle
Ardent MKE, Red Light Ramen, & Laughing Taco
Milwaukee, WI

Justin Carlisle grew up on a small beef farm in rural Wisconsin and food has always played a large part of his life. After starting out in small restaurants, the passion for cooking grew and help developed a love of food and hard work ethic. His restaurant Ardent - opened in October of 2013, has been named one of the 15 best new restaurants by Condé Nast Traveler; Best Restaurant in the State of Wisconsin by the Business Insider; and was named semifinalist for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Justin is a James Beard Awards nominee for Best Chef Midwest for 2015, 2016 ; and he has been named nominee again this year on the same category. As Plate Magazine names him one of the top 30 chefs to watch in 2016. Justin is the chef and owner of Red Light Ramen and the recently opened Laughing Taco in Milwaukee. During his time as a Chef, Justin has continued to support the local food movement and use a modern technical approach to it.

Justin Severino

Cure PIttsburgh & Morcilla
Pittsburgh, PA

Justin Severino is the chef and co-owner of Cure, a neighborhood restaurant dedicated to local sourcing and seasonal cooking with an urban-Mediterranean influence, and nearby Morcilla, a spot serving pintxos and family-style dishes. Severino, a four-time James Beard Foundation award nominee for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic and a 2015 and 2014 winner of FOOD & WINE The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic, is a skilled whole animal butcher who brings an extensive charcuterie program and flavors of an Italian-American upbringing to his menu.

Cure opened in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh in December 2011. In 2015, Pittsburgh Magazine name Severino Chef of the Year. In 2012, Cure was named one of the Top 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appétit magazine and one of the 25 Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh Magazine. Morcilla opened in December 2015 just a few blocks away from its older sibling, bringing Spanish-style charcuteria and traditional pintxos to the neighborhood. Since opening, Morcilla has been chosen by Pittsburgh Magazine as their 2016 Best New Restaurant, Bon Appetit ranked it number four in the country in their prestigious annual Best New Restaurants issue, and it was nominated for a 2016 James Beard Foundation in the national Best New Restaurants category.

Justin Yu

Theodore Rex, Public Services Wine and Whisky, and Better Luck Tomorrow
Houston, TX

Justin Yu is the Chef/Owner of Theodore Rex restaurant, Better Luck Tomorrow bar, and Public Services Wine and Whisky, all in Houston, Texas. He's a native Houstonian, and launched his first restaurant, Oxheart, in 2012. He followed that by opening Public Services, a wine and whisky bar with sommelier/partner Justin Vann in 2014, and Better Luck Tomorrow, a neighborhood bar with bartender/owner Bobby Heugel in 2017. Earlier this year, he transformed Oxheart into a modern bistro called Theodore Rex.

Brandon Silva

Holman Draft Hall / Wooster's / Heights Biergarten
Houston, TX

Brandon Silva counts with 14 years of experience, ranging all from casual to fine dining, in traditional and contemporary settings. A native Houstonian, and believer of his city, Brandon went to the Art Institute of Houston for a Culinary Degree. He has worked in many local restaurants including Brenners, Pesce, Brasserie 19 and Uchi. Having spent two months in Copenhagen working in the top restaurants of the world that included Noma, Relae, Amass, and Bror. He now resides as the Culinary Director for The Kiby Group which houses three locations in Houston. Wooster's Garden, Heights Bier Garten, and Holman Draft Hall.

Jason Greene

The Grove Café
Albuquerque, NM

Jason Greene has owned and operated the celebrated Albuquerque landmark, The Grove Cafe & Market since 2006. The brunch staple he and his wife, Lauren, founded together, has received dozens of accolades and awards including best restaurant, best chef, and most recently appearing on the esteemed Good Food 100 List. Setting a standard in New Mexico for working with local farmers and artisans, Jason believes in sourcing the highest quality ingredients and creating a menu of food people love to eat. He continues to push the boundaries of brunch and proves it is the most important meal of the day.

Edouardo Jordan

Salare & JuneBaby
Seattle, WA

Edouardo Jordan was born and raised in St. Petersburg and attended college at the University of Florida. After graduating with dual degrees in business administration and sports management, Jordan decided to enroll in culinary school at the Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando. Following graduation from culinary school, Jordan’s ambition brought him to renowned restaurants such as The French Laundry, where he apprenticed, Per Se, and Lincoln Ristorante in New York. With thought of raising a family and opening a restaurant in mind, Jordan moved to Seattle where he began working at Sitka and Spruce as sous chef. In 2013, Jordan was asked to open Bar Sajor as chef de cuisine and used this as an opportunity to learn as much as he could about opening a restaurant. Taking this knowledge and experience he had gained from Bar Sajor, Jordan officially opened the doors to his restaurant, Salare, in June of 2015. Salare takes influences from France, Italy, the American south, and the Caribbean and has become one of Seattle’s hottest restaurants. In April 2017, Chef Jordan opened his second restaurant, JuneBaby and has already received much attention both nationally and locally. Chef Jordan was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2016, has been named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2016, Salare was listed as a best new restaurant in America in 2016 by Eater National, and is a 2017 James Beard Award finalist.

Jeremy Fox

Rustic Canyon, Esters, Tallula's
Santa Monica, CA

As a master of farmers’ market-driven cuisine, Jeremy Fox is the award-winning chef and On Vegetables cookbook author behind Rustic Canyon and Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Santa Monica, CA, as well as a partner at Rustic Canyon and Tallula’s.

Before joining Rustic Canyon, Jeremy specialized in surprising palates with his finely finessed dishes of in-season fruits and vegetables at Ubuntu in Napa, CA, from 2007 to 2010, earning them a Michelin star. Prior to that, the chef honed his craft and food philosophy as chef de cuisine from 2003-2007 at the lauded Manresa in Los Gatos, CA under mentor David Kinch. He also staged in Europe at three Michelin-star properties: De Snippe in Bruges, Belgium, and St. John and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London.

Jeremy has garnered four James Beard nominations for “Best Chef – West” as a finalist in 2009, 2010, 2016, and 2017. Additional accolades include Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef 2008” and top positions for Rustic Canyon from 2013-2016 in the Los Angeles Times’ “Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants.”

His first cookbook, On Vegetables, was released by Phaidon in April 2017, and features 150 recipes that elevate vegetarian cooking and showcases Jeremy’s philosophy of “seed-to-stalk” cooking. The book demonstrates how to use the smallest “scraps” to eliminate food waste, all while making vegetarian cooking accessible and exciting.

Ray Garcia

Broken Spanish & B.S. Taqueria
Los Angeles, CA

Named Chef of the year by Esquire in 2015, the native Angelinos draws inspiration from the city’s rich culture, the wealth of Southern California produce, and classic training. At Broken Spanish Garcia expresses his style through bright, bold, and ingredient-driven dishes. His sister restaurant, B.S. Taqueria, has given him the opportunity to elevate Mexican cuisine, promoting the idea that ethnic food should not be relegated to a particular price bracket. Garcia hopes to usher in a new understanding and appreciation for Mexican food with quality sourcing and precise cooking.

Aaron Martinez

The Rose Café Restaurant
Venice, CA

Aaron is the Chef de Cuisine at our host restaurant, the Rose Café. Before working at the Rose, Aaron was a sous chef at Addison, In de Wulf, and the Chef de Cuisine of Quince and Commis in San Francisco.

Jonathan Yao

Kato
Los Angeles, CA

Jonathan is a Taiwanese American who was born in LA. He operates a restaurant called Kato in West Los Angeles. They serve a rotating tasting menu focused mainly on seafood and the flavors of Taiwan and Japan.

Nathan Lemley

Foreign & Domestic Austin
Austin, TX

Nathan Lemley traces his passion for making food back to his nightly family dinners as a child growing up in Katy, Texas. Long before attending culinary school at The Art Institute of Houston, Nathan spent time watching his grandmother, who owned a bakery in Yoakum, Texas make cakes and pies. After culinary school, Nathan continued to climb the ranks in several of the best restaurants in Houston, including Tony’s, Voice, and Stella Sola. Later moving to work at the newly opened Foreign & Domestic and then Parkside in Austin, Texas.

Recently Nathan and partner Sarah Heard purchased Foreign & Domestic, Austin in September of 2017 from founder Ned Elliott. Together they are working to produce interesting and satisfying food in the North Loop neighborhood restaurant.

Ryan Lachaine

Riel
Houston, TX

Ryan Lachaine is the co-owner and Executive Chef of Riel. Recognized nationally in publications such as Esquire, Food & Wine, Business Insider and Tasting Table, Lachaine’s palette includes the culinary landscape of Texas’ gulf coast, Lachaine's Ukrainian heritage and his French-Canadian hometown (Manitoba). One of Houston’s most talked about chefs, Ryan received his Culinary Arts degree from The Art Institute of Houston. He worked at trailblazing Texas restaurants such as Gravitas, Stella Sola, Reef and was inducted into Eater’s 2013 class of Young Guns as the Chef de Cuisine at Underbelly. Lachaine staged at some of the country’s top restaurants, including Husk (Charleston, SC), Herbsaint Restaurant (New Orleans, LA), COI (San Francisco, CA) and Animal (Los Angeles, CA). In 2016, Ryan took a year off from the kitchen to plan Riel, continuing his culinary travels through the best restaurants in Canada and the United States. Over the past year, Lachaine focused his vision on what Riel would become; an articulation of his culinary point of view

Jason Hook

H20 Kitchen
Philadelphia, PA

Jason has an extensive career in New York Times and Michelin starred restaurants in the United States and France. He has worked in the elite kitchens of Alain Ducasse, Jean-Georges, Christian Delouvier, and Philip Legendre. Jason progressed through the ranks in top hotel companies including the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, and the St. Regis. He currently works as the chef and owner of H2O Kitchen and as a professional food photographer, consultant, and food stylist in Philadelphia, Berks County, and the Leigh Valley.

Jillian Bartolome

Aqui
Houston, TX

Jillian is the Pastry Chef of Paul Qui’s new restaurant in Houston, Aqui. With a start in Michelin-starred fine dining (Cyrus) and a rich experience in classic bakery and patisserie (Bouchon Bakery, Common Bond), she aims to craft desserts that are a balanced and intimate expression of her culinary experiences as a first generation American. Her modus operandi is simple: work hard, taste everything, pet all the dogs, listen before you speak, teach others, and be honest.

Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins

El Jardin
San Diego, CA

Claudette is currently a contestant on Top chef Colorado. Claudette's first memories are of food and growing up as a border kid she was exposed to some of the tastiest food in Baja. In 2016 she joined Javier Plascencia to help him open his project in San Diego. One of the many achievements during her role as CDC in Bracero, Zepeda-Wilkins' team was nominated as semi-finalists for The James Beard Foundation for Best New Restaurant and EATER recognized Bracero as one of the best restaurants in the US in 2016. Both honors are undoubtedly a great validation of the teamwork that she was a part of. Personal achievements include winning the Chef's Roll Chef's Plate 9 competition in Los Angeles and driving though the Rust belt doing pop ups with the CRUX collective, like minded Chef’s who collaborate with other Chef’s in cities throughout USA and in Canada. In late 2016, she participated in the second season of Top Chef Mexico and traveled throughout Mexico and learned the countries bountiful traditions. After Top Chef she joined the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group as R&D chef January 2017. Along with developing new concepts within the group, she's working on the build out of the group's first Mexican food concept where she will move from Corporate team member to Executive Chef of the regional Mexican cuisine restaurant, El Jardín which is located in the Historic Point Loma Liberty Station in San Diego. The restaurant is set to open in January 2018. Claudette is a wife and mother to two children, James & Hailey. Claudette credits her children as her main inspiration.

Gabe Erales

Dai Due Taqueria
Austin, TX

Hailing from the beautiful border town of El Paso, TX, Gabe was raised influenced by the Mexican culture around him. He was especially impacted by the food he grew up eating cooked by his Mother and Father within a family that moved to the US from the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. He completed culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu Austin and won the prestigious state wide Stephen Pyles Culinary School Cooking Competition. Gabe’s most influential kitchen experiences came from working with Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due where he felt he learned the true meaning of maximizing local resources as well as head to tail for both animals and vegetables. In addition, Gabe also draws inspiration and motivation from his time in the kitchen at Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen and Mexico where he was working as a Test Kitchen Chef to help develop the menu in Tulum for their Mexico residency. Gabe is currently the Head Chef of recently opened Dai Due Taqueria in Austin, Texas where his food focuses on an intricate menu based around Mexican Heirloom corn that is cooked and ground daily. The menu is also heavily concentrated on Texas wild game such as wild boar, venison, gulf coast seafood and hyperlocal seasonal vegetables. One of the things that Gabe loves most about his current job is the challenge of creating authentic regional Mexican street food within the spectrum of central Texas seasonality.

Michael Fiorelli

Love & Salt
Manhattan Beach, CA

Michael Fiorelli is the executive chef at Love & Salt, an Italian-inspired restaurant in Manhattan Beach that has garnered critical acclaim for Fiorelli's California-centric interpretations of Old World classics. Since opening the restaurant in November 2014 with owner Sylvie Gabriele, Love & Salt has received three star reviews from Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly, was named one of Angeleno Magazine's top ten openings of the year, one of New York Observer's top twelve LA openings, one Los Angeles Magazine's top ten openings of the year. A seasoned chef with extensive experience in some of the country's top kitchens, Fiorelli's culinary resume includes stints at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, Mark's City Place in West Palm Beach, Simon LA in Los Angeles, and mar'sel at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Eric Samaniego

Michael's on Naples
Long Beach, CA

Eric was born and raised in California and attended culinary school in Denver, CO. In his career he has held positions at Charlie Trotters, Sona, Comme ça. He was the opening chef at Little Bird and left in 2015 to become the Executive Chef at Michael's on Naples in Long Beach.

Audrey Scheib

Inn at Dos Brisas
Brenham, TX

Audrey Scheib is the pastry chef at the Relais and Chateaux at the Inn at Dos Brisas. Ever since she was a small child, she dreamed of becoming a pastry chef. She considers it a dream fulfilled at her current position and nothing makes her prouder than seeing smiling faces of the guests at her restaurant as they try her desserts.

Gregory Gourdet

Departure
Portland, OR & Denver, CO

Gregory Gourdet is the culinary mastermind behind Departure restaurants in Portland, OR and Denver, CO, where he pairs local bounty with the bold flavors and traditions of Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea to create modern Asian fare. A Queens native who honed his culinary skills within celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant dynasty, the foundation of his cooking is based on technique-driven preparations layered with flavor complexity. A self-proclaimed health freak and avid runner, Gourdet views food as nourishment. His mindful life approach shines through in his cooking, as he offers diners dishes that allow freshness, seasonality, and bold, alternative ingredients to star on the plate.
Since 2010, he has been running Departure Portland, the Nines Hotel's modern Asian rooftop restaurant. He quickly gained praise for his innovative dishes that combine local ingredients of the Pacific Northwest with meaningful preparations. In 2013, Gourdet was named Chef of the Year by the Oregon Department of Agriculture; he was dubbed Eater Portland’s Chef of the Year in 2014. In 2015, Gourdet was named a semifinalist by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef: Northwest. He was also runner-up in Bravo’s Top Chef Season 12. Gourdet has played an integral role in Portland’s culinary boom over the past decade. He opened the second location of Departure in Denver, summer of 2016. He currently resides in Portland but splits his time between the two cities.

Matt Casino

Restaurant North & Market North
Armonk, NY

Matt Casino, the executive chef of Restaurant & Market North began working in restaurants at the age of 14, and from there spent time in some of the finest kitchens in American. Time spent at Philadelphia’s famed Le Be-Fin, under the tutelage of legendary Georges Perrier, provided Matt a firm rooting in classical French technique that still informs his cooking today. Working with Jose Garces at his eponymous restaurant Amada, Matt’s eyes widened to the flavors of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco—influences that he continually references in his cooking at North, always in a thoroughly American context. While at Eleven Madison Park, Matt spent time honing his skills on the intricacies of multicourse meals and the dynamic character of one of the world’s best restaurants. Under Certified Master Chef Ed Leonard Matt began to develop his craft at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, finding great teachings in the restaurants exacting standards and dizzying pace.
Matt began his time at Restaurant North in the spring of 2012 showing great promise, and quickly rose to the position of sous chef, and ultimately chef de cuisine, alongside four-times James Beard Award nominated Chef Eric Gabrynowicz. Matt worked closely besides Eric, creating many of the dishes for which the restaurant has become known, all the while carving out a unique place for himself within the dining landscape of the Hudson Valley. Matt assumed the position of Executive Chef in the Summer of 2016, aged only 26.

Doug Psaltis

RPM Steak, RPM Italian
Chicago, IL

Chef Doug Psaltis has worked in some of the world’s most prestigious kitchens with the industry’s most lauded chefs, having earned three stars from The New York Times and a Michelin star while running the kitchen at Country restaurant in New York City. Today, he is part of the nationally renowned Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) and serves as chef / partner of some of the company’s newest ventures—RPM Italian and RPM Steak—in conjunction with celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic and R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman. He has also partnered with the Melman siblings to open some of Chicago’s most sought-after restaurants including BBQ and country music spot, Bub City; the tiki-inspired underground lounge, Three Dots and a Dash; lively neighborhood noodle shop, Ramen-san; joint restaurant and music-and-events space, Bub City & Joe’s Live, in Rosemont, Illinois; and the most recent expansion of RPM Italian to Washington, D.C. Psaltis and his partners also host each summer the Midwest’s premier country music, BBQ and craft beer festival, Windy City Smokeout. The team has several upcoming projects in the works, including a new venture in downtown Chicago set for 2017.

Kristen Essig & Michael Stoltzfus

Coquette
New Orleans, LA

Kristen & Michael are co-chefs and owners of Coquette. Coquette, a restaurant located in New Orleans Garden District, was opened by Michael in 2008 and Kristen joined the team in 2016. The Garden District building was built in the late 1880’s and has been among other things a residence, grocery store & auto parts store. Dining rooms on two floors and a 12 seat bar, Coquette offers innovative southern cuisine with an emphasis on locally sourced product. Featuring an accessible international (and largely natrual) wine list, classic and creative New Orleans cocktails and a well-traveled beer list. Kristen & Michael consider themselves lucky to work with small farms across the south as well as one of three restaurants that sponsors Paradigm Gardens, a urban farm in New Orleans Central City. Coquette is considered one of the "Top Ten Restaurants" in New Orleans by the Times Picayune (2017). Kristen has been named a James Bird Semifinalist for Best Chef in the South (2017), one of Coastal Living Magazines “5 Coastal Chefs to Watch” (2015), nominated as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” (2015), and one of Times Picayunes Chefs to Watch (2014). Michael has been named a Star Chef’s “Rising Star", Chef of the Year by New Orleans Magazine (2013) and a James Bird Semifinalist for Best Chef in the South (2013-2017).

Min Kong

Free Agent
New York, NY

With a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies & English Literature from Washington University and no prior cooking experience Min joined Chef Floyd Cardoz’s ranks at Tabla Restaurant, working all stations and eventually rising to tournant. Two years later, she joined Chef Carmellini at A Voce in Madison Square Park and went on to become a member of the opening team at his beloved Italian taverna, Locanda Verde, as sous chef. In 2011 Kong joined Chef Daniel Humm’s team at The NoMad where she served on the culinary team of both the Michelin-starred restaurant and the adjoining 168-room hotel. Kong later served as Executive Sous Chef at Carbone. Min's most recent position was heading the kitchen at seasonal, vegetable driven Little Park, as Chef de Cuisine.

Patrick Feges & Erin Smith

Feges Barbecue
Houston, TX

Patrick Feges
Known in Houston’s culinary community as the “Whole Hog Guy”, Patrick Feges is a self-taught pitmaster and Purple Heart recipient from injuries sustained during a tour in Iraq. It was during his recovery that he was hit with the barbecue bug. Armed with an old, worn-out Brinkmann smoker and plenty of tenacity, Patrick experimented through trial and error before deciding to attend culinary school at The Texas Culinary Academy, the Cordon Blue, in Austin. There, surrounded by some of the best barbecue spots in Texas and learning classical basics in class, he began honing his approach to barbecue.

In 2012, Patrick purchased a large smoking rig and launched Feges BBQ, catering events and executing pop-ups with non-traditional smoked cuts. In the ensuing years, he continued to train in some of the city’s most acclaimed kitchens including Underbelly, Brennan’s, Killen’s Barbecue and, most recently, Southern Goods, while building his business on the side.

Erin Smith
Erin Smith began her culinary career at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduating at the top of her class, she took a position at New York City’s acclaimed Per Se restaurant, working under the culinary leadership of Thomas Keller and Jonathan Benno. Following that, Erin held positions with Italian Wine Merchants and Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York before returning to her native Houston in 2010 to serve as executive chef of Plonk! Beer & Wine Bistro. She would go on to consult on the opening of Montrose’s Blacksmith, developing an award-winning menu for the craft coffee bar before taking over as culinary director for Blacksmith’s parent organization, Clumsy Butcher. In that role she oversaw both menu and staff development at The Hay Merchant, Anvil Bar & Refuge and The Pastry War while continuing to manage the culinary side of Blacksmith.

In 2014, Erin was named executive chef of the new JW Marriott Downtown where she managed the property’s signature restaurant Main Kitchen as well as in-room dining and banquet operations. In May 2016, she competed in an episode of the Food Network series Chopped, beating out three rival chefs to win the high-visibility competition. Over the last year, Erin has worked as a sommelier at wine bar Camerata to hone her front-of-house skills.

Josh Graves

The Rose Cafe
Venice, CA

A Josh Graves was born and raised locally in Burbank, California. He attended CSCA in Pasadena, CA where he graduated with a degree in culinary arts in 2006. Graves found his calling for breads and pastry when he got a job at David Myers’ Boule in 2006. He went on to work at Mani’s on Fairfax where he furthered his knowledge of bread and pastry. Josh met Kris Morningstar in 2009 and they went on to open up Mercantile and District in Hollywood. In 2011 Josh opened up Ray’s and Stark Bar inside LACMA for the Patina Restaurant Group where he received recognition from Angeleno Magazine for Best New Pastry Chef 2012 and Zagat’s 30 Under 30. Josh’s next move was to Faith and Flower where he opened as Head Baker and took over as Pastry Chef in 2015.

As the Pastry Chef of Rose Cafe – Restaurant Graves is responsible for the bread program, desserts, and viennoiserie. Although Graves was trained in classic French technique, he was born and raised here in Los Angeles, so his focus is to let local and seasonal ingredients speak for themselves. His philosophy is if you’re not having fun you’re doing something wrong.

Andrew Wooton

Rebelle
New York, NY

Andy Wooton is a Sous Chef at Rebelle in NYC. Andy has cooked in kitchens all over the US including Texas, Colorado, California, and New York. Through his travels he has picked up many trade skills and secrets, and loves to share them. He enjoys hanging out with his dog in his free time and watching both kinds of football.

Gunnar Gíslason

Agern Restaurant
New York, NY

Icelandic born Gunnar Gíslason has garnered international acclaim for his creative style of cooking, his curious nature, a love for reviving traditions, and an eye for finding pristine products that have been applauded by guests and media alike.
In 2009, in the midst of the worldwide financial crisis, he opened the restaurant Dill in Reykjavík. His contemporary cooking would celebrate Iceland’s pristine ingredients and artisanal producers, in a place otherwise heavily dependent on food imports. Dill has been nominated for the Nordic Prize and has won Iceland’s “Restaurant of the Year” every year since it opened.
In 2016, Gíslason moved his family to New York City to open Agern Restaurant in Grand Central Terminal. Agern opened in April and was shortly thereafter awarded three stars by the New York Times and a Michelin star. Later that same year, Dill was awarded one Michelin star - the first Michelin star in Iceland.

Cable Smith

The Royal
Washington, D.C.

At age 26, Cable left his engineering job to attend culinary school in Austin, Texas. After culinary school, he packed up to travel and learn from some of the country's best chefs including Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy), Ryan Smith & Hugh Acheson (Empire State South, Staplehouse), and Ned Elliot (Foreign & Domestic). Since moving to Washington D.C. in 2016, Cable is the Executive Chef of the Michelin Bib Gourmand winning restaurant, The Royal.

Ferrell Alvarez

Rooster and the Till
Tampa, FL

After starting as a dishwasher at the young age of 15, working as a eager prep cook throughout high school and eventually attending and graduating from Cincinnati Culinary Arts Academy in 1998, Chef Ferrell Alvarez made his way back to Tampa, Florida to further his professional career. There, he began as a line cook at Saddlebrook Resort and eventually finished out his four and a half year tenure as Sous Chef Tournant. He would then earn a position at the Tampa landmark, Mise en Place. There, he was able to work with Chef Marty Blitz and transition from lead cook to Sous Chef and ultimately being named as Chef Blitz’s Chef De Cuisine. Seven years later, Ferrell would take over at Cafe Dufrain as Executive Chef and turn it into a groundbreaking sustainable restaurant. In December of 2013, Chef Alvarez opened his own restaurant, Rooster and the Till with long time friend and business partner, Ty Rodriguez. R&tT is a 70 seat Modern American restaurant focusing on the best ingredients from nearby farms and gardens and preparing them with integrity, proper technique and lots of love. Just in first 10 months of being open, Rooster & the Till had earned both Best New Restaurant and Best Chef from Creative Loafing and Best New Restaurant from Florida Trend Magazine. Since, Chef has received a 2017 James Beard Best Chef South nomination, hosted guest chefs like Lincoln Carson to Eduardo Jordan and all the while building a second concept, Nebraska Mini Mart.

Daniel Eddy

Rebelle
New York, NY

Daniel Eddy, a native New Yorker, began his culinary career in 2004. After four years of cooking in NYC, Daniel decided to travel, ultimately landing in Paris in 2009. There he had a chance to work with Daniel Rose at his acclaimed restaurant, Spring. Soon after, Chef Rose offered Daniel a post in the opening of his new restaurant. In May 2010, he returned to Paris, and after a year and a half, Chef Rose promoted Daniel to Sous Chef de Cuisine. After three years at Spring, Daniel returned home to NYC, and in April of 2015 he opened Rebelle restaurant, receiving critical acclaim and a Michelin star in its first year. Daniel resides in Brooklyn.

Matthew Conroy

Virginia's NYC
New York, NY

Matt Conroy is the Chef at Virginia’s, a modern American bistro in NYC’s East Village featuring a seasonally focused, market­driven menu and esoteric wine list. Conroy’s culinary awakening came early in life. By the age of 15 he spent most of his free time in kitchens of local restaurants in his hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. During these formative years he worked tirelessly in numerous kitchens while collecting cookbooks and studying all he could about the craft of cooking. At 22, Conroy became Sous Chef at Verde restaurant in Stratton, Vermont. There, while working under Chef Rogan Lechthaler, he gained his passion for using local produce and whole animals. After a three year stint in Vermont, Conroy was ready for his next challenge: a position in Boston at the critically acclaimed restaurant Craigie on Main, led by award­winning Chef Tony Maws. To take the next major step in his culinary career, Conroy then moved to NYC to join Chef Alex Stupak at the Empellon Cocina, taking a position as Sous Chef. Stupak has called Conroy one of the best up­and­coming young chefs to watch in NYC. Conroy was next able to pursue his passion for French cuisine as Chef of Little Prince in Manhattan, putting modern and classic techniques into practice on a daily basis. Now, as the Chef of Virginia’s, one of the East Village’s neighborhood gems, Conroy constantly updates the thoughtful, concise menu based on the seasonal markets that are so vital to NYC restaurants.

Yoni Levy

Outerlands
San Francisco, CA

Yoni Levy grew up in California and began his culinary career in the Bay Area working at One Market and The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur. Levy’s next stop was Boston to help open the Great Bay restaurant, He then moved to Chicago to work at Blackbird, Lula Café, The Bristol, and Old Town Social. Each chef Levy worked with instilled in him a deeper appreciation for building strong relationships with local farmers, ranchers, seafood suppliers, and the local community. Yoni was Chef de Cuisine at Flora restaurant in Oakland before opening Daniel Patterson’s Alta CA as Head Chef. Levy is currently the Executive Chef at Outerlands in San Francisco where he highlights local produce, seafood, and meat. Yoni’s goal at Outerlands is to run an honest, community based kitchen.

Brittanny Anderson

Metzger Bar and Butchery
Richmond, VA

Brittanny Anderson is the Chef and Owner of Metzger Bar and Butchery and Brenner Pass in Richmond, VA. The former is an ode to classic German Cuisine, and the latter to the French and Italian Alps. At both restaurants she strives to transform classic cuisine with modern presentation and local ingredients. Brittanny is a two time semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.

Emily Chapman

Reap & Sow Supper Club
New York, NY

Emily Chapman (formerly of Pasquale Jones/Louro/Tabla NYC) is the Chef of Reap and Sow Supper Club. She loves using fun ingredient combinations in her cooking, which may have helped her become a multiple, undefeated Chopped Champion on The Food Network. From farmers markets to private dinners, Emily tries her best to bring her passion and food to as many hungry people as possible. Loves: Funko Pops, Daredevil, and dogs. Hates: Being cold, raw carrots, and hotdogs.

Alex Telinde

Free Agent
New York, NA

Alex has always loved cooking since he was young and it has always brought him comfort. As soon as he was old enough to get a job, he found one in the kitchen at a popular Virginia Beach restaurant. He was so sure about a career in the culinary world that he enrolled in a program at school that allowed him to spend half of his day cooking.

He searched out cooking competitions in Virginia while in High School, and competed in all of them; one of which rewarded him a full scholarship to the CIA in Hyde Park. He also racked up several titles in other compeititions and then competed nationally for SkillsUSA. After 2 years working in Virginia Beach, he relocated to Austin, TX where he worked at Foreign & Domestic for a few months before taking off to NYC to start his education at the CIA. Post-associates, Alex spent 6 months at SQPR in San Francisco, and then returned to NYC where he took part in numerous trails and stages all over the city. His latest stint has been in Boston at L’Espalier during a short, two month break from school. He officially graduates in April and will start a career either in Tarrytown or Hudson, New York.

Cara Stadler

Tao Yuan / Bao Bao Dumpling House
Brunswick & Portland, ME

Cara Stadler is a four time nominated James Beard Rising Star Chef and Food and Wine Best New Chef 2014. She trained internationally under Guy Savoy and Gordon Ramsay then traveled and worked in China and Singapore for four years. Her food is a culmination of her travels, heavily influenced by Asian flavors, French technique, and Maine's local produce.
Photo by Ted Axelrod

Jason Neroni

Venice, CA

Jason is a Chef Partner in the Rose Cafe in Venice and is the host of Indie Chefs Week LA.. He has spent time as Executive Chef at Superba Food & Bread and before that was in NYC where he received a 3 star review from the NY Times at 10 Downing Food & Wine.

@JasonNeroni
@JasonNeroni

Ryan Santos

Please
Cincinnati, OH

Ryan is the chef owner of Please Restaurant in Cincinnati. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, Santos originally set out to be a graphic designer. But after moving back home to Cleveland after school and taking a job under Chef Nolan Konkoski at the French-inspired Tartine Bistro, Santos says he found a passion and wanted to do and learn “anything and everything” in the kitchen. After two years at Tartine, he moved to Salt of the Earth in Pittsburgh, working under Chef Kevin Sousa, then traveled from L.A. to Virginia, working under various chefs he admired. After tiring of the nomadic lifestyle, he stopped in Cincinnati for a summer to try his hand at pop-up dinners under the Please moniker.

Apple Stoops

Unaffiliated
Houston, TX

Apple was born in Udon Thani, Thailand. She grew up on her family's small farm, where they raised everything from rice and mangoes to pigs and ducks. When she wasn't helping around the farm, she was catching bugs, hunting paddy crabs, and finding other good things to eat. Later on she went to university in Chiang Mai, and continued to find good things to eat- this time in every restaurant, shop, stand, and stall worth visiting. She also met PJ in Chiang Mai, and after a few years they got married. PJ somehow convinced her to move to Texas. They settled in Lake Jackson, where they launched their fishmongering business. After years of fishmongering, and eating every edible thing they found in the Gulf, Apple and PJ were asked to open Foreign Correspondents. There Apple created a menu based on her love and knowledge of the cuisines of the northeastern and northern parts of Thailand, using mostly locally grown ingredients (the joy's of Houston's semi-tropical climate!). Her work (with a little help from PJ) led to Foreign Correspondents being named one of Bon Appetits "America's Best New Restaurants" in 2016. Since the sudden closure of the restaurant, Apple has been catering private dinners and events around Houston, still cooking the best Isaan food to be had in in the city. She and PJ are also working on their fish book- a definitive and extensive guide to everything edible in Texas saltwaters.

Lyle Bento

Southern Goods
Houston, TX

Lyle is a chef with exceptional vision for the flavors of the dishes he creates with his team. Formerly sous chef at Houston icon Underbelly, Lyle has honed his craft over the years. Before opening Southern Goods he traveled to southern states to develop a palette and experiment with new ideas of what it means to cook southern food. Choosing unique and carefully curated ingredients bring each dish on the menu to life.

Page Pressley

Emmer & Rye
Austin, TX

Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Page Pressley was drawn into the kitchen at a young age as his Italian godmother prepared robust dishes with fresh, quality ingredients. After working as a line cook in Santa Fe, Pressley was inspired to pursue a more formal education at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

Upon graduating and returning to the southwest, Pressley managed kitchens at several highly acclaimed fine-dining establishments, including the praised Trattoria Nostrani in Santa Fe and The Bellagio’s Le Cirque in Las Vegas.

Pressley made the move to Texas in 2011 to join the Uchi team as sous chef, working alongside Chef de Cuisine Kaz Edwards as an essential member of the Uchi Houston opening team. After two years of crafting menus and developing Uchi Houston, he moved to Austin to take the position of chef de cuisine at Uchiko. Pressley left briefly in 2014 to become the corporate executive chef at Starr Restaurants in Philadelphia, where he oversaw forty restaurants. He returned to Austin when he was asked to run the team at St. Philip as executive chef.

Pressley brings his talent, vision, creativity, and work ethic with him as chef de cuisine at Emmer & Rye, which opened in November 2015 on Rainey Street. Helmed by Executive Chef Kevin Fink, one of Food & Wine’s 2016 “Best New Chefs,” Emmer & Rye brought a unique dining experience to Austin, as the restaurant is the city’s first to offer contemporary American seasonal small plates passed on circulating carts as part of their meal. The restaurant has been included in Bon Appétit’s “America’s Best New Restaurants 2016” list as well as Texas Monthly’s 2016 “Where To Eat Now” list.

Christine Rivera

Galaxy Taco
La Jolla, CA

Born and raised in San Diego, California. Chef Christine Rivera has always had a love for Mexican Food and Culture, which is where she draws her inspiration for her cooking. Her restaurant career began as a dishwasher at a local seafood restaurant by her parent’s house. Today she is the Chef de Cuisine at Partner/Executive Chef Trey Foshee’s Galaxy Taco, a causal Mexican eatery recently opened in La Jolla Shores.

While in culinary school Christine gained experience by working at various kitchens throughout San Diego including Kensington Grill, Premiere Foods and the Ocean Terrace/California Modern at George's at the Cove. She has also staged in varies national acclaimed kitchens such as Taco Maria in Orange County and Cosme in New York City. In 2016, Christine was awarded one of Eater Young Gun 2016, for her tortilla/masa program she has built at Galaxy Taco. Here is where she is able to apply her craft to make the perfect tortilla from heirloom blue corn from Mexico.

Jason Neroni

The Rose
Venice, CA

Chef at The Rose in Venice, CA. Opened B-side Pizzeria in NYC. Previously at Superba Snack Bar, Chez Panisse, Spago, Le Cirque 2000, Tabla, Essex House. Eater LA's 2012 Chef of the Year, dad, husband, pizza lover & star wars freak.

Julia Doran

Bernadine's
Houston, TX

Julia is the Pastry Chef and Sous at Bernadine's in Houston. She previously worked at Magnolia Bakery, Craft, Fat Cat Creamery, and the Pass & Provisions. When not working she enjoys petting her dog, eating in Chinatown with her husband Adam, and enjoying the amazing museums in Houston.

Sterling Ridings

Guild
Austin, TX

Born and raised Austinite. Cooking for twelve years. French trained (owing no small part to Ned) also trained in Japanese. Father of two little boys, husband to a babe. I really like tacos, egg rolls and Lyonnaise salads. Head Chef of Guild, a new restaurant coming to Austin in 2017. Before Guild, Sterling formerly worked at Foreign & Domestic and Uchiko, as Executive Chef.

Amanda Rockman

Café No Se
Austin, TX

Amanda Rockman’s interest in the culinary field began at an early age. Growing up in Katy, Texas, she was inspired by the dinner parties her mom would throw for friends. Rockman remembers seeing her mom dust the outline of the Kremlin on a chocolate sachertorte, thinking it was the coolest thing she’d seen. Her mom’s passion for food sparked the same interest in her.

Rockman went on to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where she received her A.O.S. in Baking and Pastry Arts and completed an internship under Emily Luchetti at Farallon in San Francisco. Her career then took her to Chicago, where she worked at the acclaimed TRU, Spring, three Michelin-starred L.2o, and The Peninsula Hotel. Rockman also opened The Bristol, Balena and Thompson Hotel’s Nico Osteria as Executive Pastry Chef.

Having previously worked in Austin as Executive Pastry Chef at Fino and Asti, Rockman returned to Texas in 2015 as Executive Pastry Chef at South Congress Hotel. There, she oversees the pastry and bakery programs for in-room dining, banquets, and the hotel’s four food & beverage outlets: Café No Sé, Central Standard, Mañana Coffee & Juice, and the Stephen F. Frostin’ ice cream truck.

Rockman was named a James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist in 2015, received the Jean Banchet Pastry Chef of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012, and was named Chicago Tribune’s Pastry Chef of the Year in 2012. She has appeared on Top Chef Just Desserts, Hungry Hound, The Better Show, and Windy City Live. She currently writes her own pastry blog, Pastrylandia.

Tim Archuleta

ICHI Sushi
San Francisco, CA

Chef/Owner of ICHI Sushi in San Francisco. Tim is an 18-year veteran sushi chef, uses traditional Japanese ingredients and ethics with a sustainable approach. ICHI was named a SF Chronicle Top 100 Restaurant 2014.

Carlos Salgado

Taco Maria
La Jolla, CA

Host of Indie Chefs Week SoCal and Executive Chef/Owner of Taco Maria in Costa Mesa, CA. Previously at Winterland, Coi, Commis. Mixes traditional and modern Mexican flavors, techniques, and ingredients in prix-fixe meals.

Adam Puskorius

Fixe Restaurant
Austin, TX

After various front and back of house positions just out of high school and in college, Adam started his culinary journey under the tutelage of Emmett and Lisa Fox at Asti Trattoria. From there, Adam was the CDC at Mark's and Polo's in Houston before taking over as a Chef Partner with Eddie V's where he opened their locations as Executive Chef In Houston, Tampa, Orlando, Virginia, and Chicago. He spent three years at their Chicago location before moving home to open his own Stoked Tacos and Tequila in Houston. Adam now lives in Austin with his wife April, dog Rambo, and "soon-to-be" little girl Addison. Adam is the Executive Chef of Fixe in downtown Austin as they look to expand to Forth Worth in 2018.

Misti Norris

Petra and the Beast
Dallas, TX

Misti Norris is a North Carolina native and was raised in Houston and Dallas. She is now the chef and creator of Petra and the Beast, a series of pop up dinners with a focus on the use of farms, foraging, fermentation and fire. Mist is the former Executive Chef at Small Brewpub and was a Sous Chef at FT33.

Aron Habiger

Vacation Bar
Santa Ana, California

Chef Aron is the Executive Chef of Vacation Bar and also runs a roving dinner series called On the Lam. He hails from the Pacific Northwest and made a name for himself in Orange County at such restaurants as The Crosby and The North Left before landing a coveted gig as Chef de Cuisine at Petit Trois under Chef Ludo Lefebvre.

Jose Salazar

Salazar / Mita's
Cincinnati, OH

Chef Jose Salazar was born in Colombia, South America and raised in Queens, NY. Jose got his start as a bartender and waiter at some of New York’s hottest establishments—among them, Donatella Arpia’s Bellini. However, it was the kitchen that eventually caught his eye. Upon graduating from the New York Restaurant School in 2001, he interned with famed Chef Jean George Vongerichten at his namesake restaurant: Jean George. After, he worked with some of New York’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs—Geoffrey Zacharian of Town; Josh De’ Chellis of Sumile, Eric and Bruce Bromberg of Blue Ribbon. However, it was Chef Thomas Keller who made the most palpable impression on Jose’s cooking philosophies. In 2003, he opened Chef Keller’s acclaimed Per Se restaurant as chef de partie. Then in 2006, he opened Chef Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, where he rose to the position of Executive Sous Chef.

In 2008, Jose took his talent to Cincinnati, Ohio to be the Executive Chef of The historical Cincinnatian Hotel and Palace restaurant. It was here Jose honed his style of cooking, incorporating ingredients and techniques of the Americas, Europe, and Japan. Since his arrival to the Queen City, Jose’s garnered national attention: in 2011 Food & Wine magazine awarded him People’s Choice “Best New Chef.”

In December 2013, Jose and his wife Ann opened Salazar, their much anticipated restaurant in Over the Rhine. Salazar was an instant hit. The little forty-five-seater modern bistro is always packed, and despite being just four years old, is recognized as one of the best restaurants in the city. Jose and Ann then opened Mita’s in August 2015, located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. In just a year-and-a-half Mita’s—which focusus on the cuisine of Spain and Latin America—has already set itself apart receiving praise from countless publications, both locally and nationally.

Chef Salazar is a 2016 and 2017 James Beard Nominee for “Best Chef Great Lakes.”

Adam Brick

Marina's
Austin, TX

Adam Brick is the Chef/ Partner of the forthcoming Marina's in Austin, TX. Before Marina's, Brick was the opening Chef de Cuisine of Apis and Pizzeria Sorellina in Spicewood where Brick led the team to much acclaim. While at Apis Brick was awarded a rising star chef from Star Chefs, 30 under 30 rising stars for Zagat, and led the restaurant to the highest numerically rated review ever written by the Austin American Statesman. Brick is diligently working on his forthcoming project Marina's set to open in 2018.

Kristine Kittrell

Weather Up
Austin, TX

Kristine Kittrell was a traveler before she was a cook. Originally from Canada, she migrated to the Caribbean after college and discovered ceviche, jerk pork, and fried plantains (among other un-Canadian cuisines). After two years, she left to visit parts of the Mediterranean, Mexico, and South Asia, digesting the culinary culture at every stop. When she landed in Austin in 1997, Kristine began working at Jeffrey's Restaurant. Kristine left Jeffrey's in 2003 to found El Chile Cafe y Cantina. Two years later, she helped open that restaurant's "little brother," El Chilito.

After five years with El Chile, Kristine left to further her culinary studies. She staged in Barcelona, working at Michelin starred Comerc 24 and Cinc Sentits, and spent a summer studying pastry in Vancouver, B.C. After two years as executive chef at Mulberry, a downtown wine bar, she moved to Weather Up where she became the Executive Chef of an amazing little kitchen under the stairs. While the kitchen still thrives under her leadership, Kristine has broadened her scope of work at Weather Up Austin, where she is now the managing partner. She plays a key role in syrup and cocktail development, curates and coordinates events such as the annual Billy Reid shindig during SXSW, and polishes a lot of glassware. Weather Up is more than a job for Kristine; it is a family affair.

Nicholas Wilkins

Porta Restaurant Group
Asbury Park & Jersey City, NJ

Born and raised on the south west coast of England. Nicholas draws on his heritage, history and world cuisines, to put his own spin on dishes. Blending classical techniques with a modern approach and seasonal ingredients. Previously at Gees Restaurant Oxford, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, Restaurant Nicholas. Currently with Porta restaurant group.

Jonathan Peters

Clark's Oyster Bar
Austin, TX

(The person, not the horse.) A Texas native, Jonathan moved to Chicago in 2003 after the dotcom bubble burst, and started flipping burgers in a late-night bar for fun. After attending culinary school in London, he moved to Los Angeles in 2005, then returned to Texas in 2013 to be able to spend more time with family and listen to more country music. After helping open Rapscallion in Dallas 2 years ago, he returned to Austin and is now Chef de Cuisine at Clark's Oyster Bar.

Joel Orsini

FT33
Dallas, TX

From a young age, Chef Joel Orsini’s life has been centered around the kitchen. With a pair of skilled home cooks for parents and a family bond forged at the table, he learned to love food early on and dreamed of a career as a chef since age 12. This goal drove him to the Culinary Institute of America and positions in kitchens throughout New York City, gaining expertise that he would eventually bring him back to his home state of Texas.

During his time in New York, Joel served as Sous Chef at Beacon Restaurant, where he trained under Chef Waldy Malouf and gained an intimate knowledge of open-fire cooking, which he considers now a foundation of his culinary style. He then joined the team at Jean-Georges, where he helped maintain the restaurant’s three-Michelin star record. Returning to Texas, he played an integral part in some of Austin’s most respected kitchens, including Uchiko and Foreign & Domestic. His curiosity of the state’s food culture brought him to Dallas. Now Sous Chef at FT33, he maintains the simple and passionate approach to food that he cultivated at the family table. His focus is on suffusing dishes with the careful attention and love that truly create a memorable meal. His goal is for guests to experience “a feeling of comfort like walking into the home of a close friend.” Joel has made contributions to the opening of our sister restaurant, Filament and we are now excited to have his experience in the FT33 kitchen.

Trevor Kunk

The Breslin
New York, NY

Chef Trevor Kunk joined the Breslin team as Executive Chef after spending two years in Napa Valley as the Culinary Director for Press Restaurant and the Oakville Grocery. Trevor is excited to be coming home to New York City where he formerly served as Chef de Cuisine under Dan Barber's Blue Hill New York.

Scott Vivian

Beast Restaurant
Toronto, ON

In June of 2010 Scott was able to fulfil his dream of owning a restaurant by taking over the culinarily historical space on 96 Tecumseth Street. His passion of supporting local artisans is the number one philosophy at Beast Restaurant. With a weekly changing menu, Scott allows seasonal produce and top quality Ontario ingredients to become the focal point of the gastronomic experience that is offered.

Justin Carlisle

Milwaukee, WI

Chef/Owner of Ardent in Milwaukee, WI. Has cooked at The Greenbrier Resort, Tru, Harvest Restaurant, Restaurant Muramoto, 43 North. Was nominated for James Beard Best Chef Midwest, uses a modern technical approach to support the local food movement.

@jkcarlisle

Eric Gabrynowicz

Armonk, NY

Executive Chef/Partner at Restaurant North in Armonk, NY. CIA Grad, cooked at Union Square Café. Focuses on refined farm-to-table New American fare. Named Zagat Top Newcomer, nominated for James Beard Rising Chef & Best Chef Northeast, & named Food & Wine Magazine’s People’s Best New Chef NY 2012.

@ericgabrynowicz

Aaron Hoskins

Birds and Bubbles
New York and Columbia, SC

Chef Aaron Hoskins started his culinary career after relocating to Richmond, VA in mid-2008. Soon after began working his way through some of the city’s best restaurants, including Comfort, Secco Wine Bar, and The Rogue Gentlemen. Here, he accumulated numerous local and national mentions and accolades, including a glowing 4/4 star review from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Known for modern yet simplistic food, Aaron found his way into the growing conversation of Richmond as one of America’s next great food cities. Commanding a small 2-person team at The Rogue Gentlemen, Aaron brought dynamic, seasonal food and tasting menus that The Washingtonian Dining Editor Todd Kliman found to be “unimprovable” and “composed, beautiful, and exacting.” Further, Richmond Magazine proclaimed the food was equal to that of “any first-rate food Mecca on the map” and The Local Palate stated that “this fellow will wow you.” After leaving The Rogue Gentlemen Aaron moved on to be Chef de Cuisine of 2012 Food & Wine Best New Restaurant, Cure, in Pittsburgh, PA. In September 2015, Aaron relocated to New York City to work with Chef Sarah Simmons and City Grit Hospitality Group on current and future projects in Columbia, SC and elsewhere.

Aron Habinger

On the Lam
OC, CA

Chef Aron hails from the Pacific Northwest and made a name for himself in Orange County at such restaurants as The Crosby and The North Left before landing a coveted gig as Chef de Cuisine at Petit Trois under Chef Ludo Lefebvre. Now, he's getting back to his roots by creating a series of pop up dinners titled: on the lam. A nomadic dining experience that seeks to capture the landscape of the pacific northwest through dishes that are deliciously designed, earthy and mystical. He chars, roasts and smokes a lot of his ingredients to capture that feeling of being on a campsite by the lake in his home state of Washington.

James Mark

Providence, RI

Cook/owner/dishwasher/garbageman/electrician/plumber/demolition man of north and north bakery in Providence, RI. Helped open Momofuku Ko and Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC. Cooks nontraditional American food, the occasional loaf of bread, but mostly just spins in circles.

@foodbynorth

Matthew Gaudet

Superfine Food / Kitchen & Cocktails
Manchester by the Sea & Cambridge, MA

In the spring of 2012, Gaudet opened West Bridge with partner Alexis Gelburd-Kimler where he showcased his talents for French cuisine, while continuing the tradition of utilizing local products and a refined, contemporary style. In it’s first year West Bridge and Chef Gaudet received many accolades. After receiving an amazing 3 ½ out of 4 star review from the Boston Globe the national press caught on. GQ’s Alan Richman named them one of the 12 Best New Restaurants, Bon Appetit added West Bridge to their Top 50 New Restaurants of 2013 and Food & Wine Magazine named Matthew as one of their Best New Chefs 2013. After almost four years, the partners then sold West Bridge to pursue new adventures in new parts of the world. In 2016, Matthew created Superfine with his two partners, a product driven, fast casual concept on the North Shore of Massachusetts in the coastal towns of Manchester-by-the-Sea as well a second on the way in Marblehead. With a small menu of local and simply prepared foods for people all ages, Superfine will be a household name. The multi unit restaurant will feature pizzas, ribs, burgers, seafood and lots and lots of vegetables. In 2017 he will open Kitchen & Cocktails at the Freepoint Hotel in Cambridge, Mass.

Ian Boden

The Shack
Staunton, VA

Chef/Owner of The Shack in Staunton, VA. Previously at The Staunton Grocery and Glass Haus Kitchen. Nominated for James Beard Awards’ Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, and the Shack was named one of the Best New Restaurants in the South by Southern Living Magazine. Neither a Yank nor a southern gent, cooking in a town you've never heard of with some Jewish soul.

David Santos

Good Stock
New York, NY

Chef David Santos brings a wealth of culinary knowledge to Good Stock. The son of Portuguese immigrants, he was immersed in food, cooking, and the act of sharing meals with friends and family from a young age. After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Dave honed his craft at some of the best restaurants in New York City, including Bouley & Per Se. He then launched Um Segredo, an ever-changing supper club hosted in his apartment, and developed a cult following of supporters. He then opened his own restaurant, Louro, to critical acclaim in 2012. After being recruited by Ben, Dave decided to join Good Stock, bringing his creative ideas and rigorous fine-dining techniques to the world of soup.

Rich Parente

Clock Tower Grill
Brewster, NY

Chef/Co-Owner with his wife Cassie of Clock Tower Grill, in Brewster, NY. Focuses on local, sustainable ingredients and having fun. Clock Tower Grill was just named named one of the best new restaurants in the Hudson Valley.

Brett Cooper

Aster
San Francisco, CA

Brett is the Chef/Owner of Michelin starred Aster, in San Francisco. He trained at Rubicon x Coi x Saison, on to lead the expansion of Outerlands, and is now cuddling with his awesome team in the Mission district.

Kendall Melton

Contigo and Chicon
Austin, TX

Kendall was on the opening team of Contigo Austin as their pastry chef in 2011 and endowed the position with joy, passion, and lots of love for three years. After some time away at Odd Duck and opening Al Fico, she has returned home to the family of Chicon, Contigo, and Contigo Catering. Kendall enjoys hiking, reading scientific books about animals, and looking after her three very well-fed rescue cats. She also sojourns frequently to Paris, where she stages at local boulangeries and patisseries. And to eat the bread & cheese.

Justin Severino

Pittsburgh, PA

Executive Chef/Owner of Cure in Pittsburgh, PA. Previously at Bernardus Lodge, Bouche, L’Auberge Carmel, Manresa. Butcher dedicated to supporting ethical farming practices, humane animal husbandry, sustainability, traditional cooking techniques.

@justinseverino

Craig Thornton

Sharksteeth
Los Angeles, CA

Craig, also known as Wolvesmouth, is the Owner/Chef of Wolvesden and Sharksteeth, an underground supper club in Los Angeles, CA.

Ned Elliott

Foreign & Domestic Restaurants
Founder of Indie Chefs Week

Ned Elliott was the founder at critically acclaimed Austin restaurant Foreign & Domestic, which opened its doors in 2010. But his story begins in his childhood hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up gardening in a home where food played an integral role in daily life. Ned was raised by two women, his mothers Sandra and Linda, who shared their love of gardening, cooking and baking with him. Both taught him that life should be about continuous learning, an idea that eventually propelled Ned into culinary school.

Eager to further his career outside of his schooling at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, Ned left the CIA to begin staging at various restaurants in New York City and eventually landed a job at Tabla Restaurant. He continued building an impressive resume as he worked for such prestigious New York restaurants as the Essex House under Chef Alain Ducasse, Picholine, and Country. “My mantra is attention to detail,” says Elliott; “[my mentor] Chef Doug Psaltis instilled this in me and it is an important part of how we define Foreign & Domestic.”

Ned has been inspired by the many young chefs he has met through social media and events, and wanted to establish and host an event to bring them together and encourage collaboration between these creative minds. In 2013, Foreign & Domestic hosted the first Indie Chefs Week, bringing in over 20 chefs to cook together and learn from each other. The event was successful for both attending chefs and guests, and he made plans not only to host the event each year, but to expand to other cities and reach out to more chefs. He is busy recruiting chefs for upcoming Indie Chefs events.

Indie Chefs Table
Each month we’re inviting nationally recognized chefs to collaborate with us at Foreign & Domestic.

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For one night only, the visiting chef will have a 45-minute talk/Q&A with guests, then will work with F&D chefs to create an amazing 7-course meal. Three of the courses will come directly from the visiting chef, and the other four will be created by the chef and F&D.


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