ORIGINALLY FROM SILVER SPRING, MD, MARCELLE AFRAM GREW UP IMMERSED IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY, ASSISTING HER PARENTS IN THE KITCHENS OF THEIR MOM & POP PIZZA SHOPS AND LEBANESE RESTAURANTS. IN HER EARLY CAREER SHE TRAVELED AND TRAINED THROUGHOUT SPAIN UNDER MANY NOTABLE CHEFS. LATER IN LIFE, MARCELLE WORKED FOR STIR FOOD GROUP UNDER BRYAN MOSCATELLO. AS EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF AT POTENZA, MARCELLE CREATED THE ACCLAIMED RESTAURANT’S PIZZA PROGRAM, AND LATER MOVED TO ZOLA WINE & KITCHEN AS THEIR CHEF DE CUISINE BEFORE OPERATING HER OWN CONSULTING BUSINESS.
SHE ULTIMATELY LANDED AT BLUEJACKET BEFORE THE OPENING IN OCTOBER 2013. AT BLUEJACKET, MARCELLE DRAWS ON HER ITALIAN AND MEDITERRANEAN CULINARY TRAINING WHICH INSTILLED IN HER THE APPROACH TO USE ONLY THE BEST INGREDIENTS OF THE SEASON, BY BUILDING CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS TO LOCAL FARMERS AND PURVEYORS. BLUEJACKET SERVES A SEASONAL MENU WITH BEER GARDEN FLARE AND PROUDLY SOURCES NEARLY 100% OF ITS PRODUCE AND MEAT LOCALLY.
Clearwater, FL raised Greg Baker set his sights on Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR directly out of high school. He chose to leave the sunshine and white sandy beaches (and a fully paid college tuition) for diverse farmland, abundant adventurous eaters and an awesome punk rock scene. It would be in Portland where he would find his love and cement his respect for the elegance of Poor Man Food. Forging partnerships with local farmers for nearly a decade, Greg took these lessons back home to Tampa Bay where he would single handedly change the culinary scene by putting faces to farmers and daringly utilize all aspects of proteins. To do this successfully, he was forced to change his menu every week. In the beginning, there were only crickets; with each week passing he forged a new food climate in an area known for little culinary creativity. He now boasts thousands of food fans that travel from all over to enjoy his creations. But Baker remains very humbled by his success often being quoted “I’m just a dumb kid who cooks.”
Baker opened The Refinery with his wife; Michelle, in 2010 in the historic neighborhood of Seminole Heights, Tampa. His menus incorporate the flavors of the vast countrysides from across the globe, mixed with classical French techniqueall the while keeping in mind Florida’s rich cultural history. He is known forresurrecting nearly lost Florida ingredients and cooking techniques, for whole
animal butchery, whole vegetable use, sustainable seafood advocate and for being an avid defender of farmer worker rights and policy reform.
Both The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Bay Times consider the Refinery one of the most prized restaurants of Tampa Bay. Chef Greg and The Refinery has been named in Bon Appetit , Southern Living, Conde Nast Traveler, Forbes.com, Esquire Magazine, New York Magazine, The Local Palate, USA Today, The Washington Post, Edible Tampa Bay and Garden & Gun Magazine as well as countless local and national online and weekly publications. Southern Living Magazine named The Refinery Best 100 Restaurants in the South 2014. Zagat rated The Refinery ‘Best Restaurant’ 2012 - 2015. The James Beard Foundation named The Refinery as a semi-finalist Best New Restaurant in 2011 and named Baker a semi-finalist for Best Chef South in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, as well as a Smart Catch Leader in 2018.
Bio to come. Photo by Sera Petras.
Harper's interest in cuisine began during childhood growing up in a family that for generations adored food and time together at the table. His initiation into the restaurant world began while working summers in restaurants on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during his college years. Harper worked his way through some of Coastal Virginia's best kitchens. Coming up under the guidance of Todd Jurich and Pete Evans provided integral years of learning that culminated with a five-year stint under Sam McGann at Vintage Tavern in Suffolk, where he worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine.
He opened Harper's Table in July 2012 on Main St. in downtown Suffolk. Harper's Table has earned a reputation for honest cooking and remarkable hospitality. One of the most notable events to date were the Oak Island Suppesr hosted by Harper's Table to benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance. The events in 2014 and 2015 featured the SFA director John T. Edge along with many well-known Southern chefs and producers.
One of the biggest honors for Harper’s Table to date was being invited and participating in the “Small Towns, Big Flavors” event at the James Beard House in New York City in April 2016.
You’ve seen him on A Chef’s Life and now you’ll see him at FFF, the owner of Brothers Farm! Warren grew up on his family farm and many generations of his family have worked this same land. Warren and his wife Jane have known each other since fifth grade.
From Devon, England, to Tidewater Virginia, to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to Institute, North Carolina, the Brothers have loved to farm. Over the hundreds of years, the Brothers farmers have grown traditional crops: tobacco, corn, sweet potatoes, cotton and wheat. Warren now grows forty-seven varieties of all-natural vegetables, in a transition to organic farming. Warren now farms with his first-cousin, once-removed, Warren Clark, and together with the rest of their family, spouses, siblings, children, grand-children and cousins, are enjoying running a small family farm.
When Chef Vivian Howard and her husband Ben started Chef and the Farmer, Warren asked her if he could raise vegetables and flowers for her and soon became one of her favorite farmers. Photo by Baxter Miller.
An agent of alternatives, Erik Bruner-Yang – a 2015 James Beard-finalist, creates space. Through his Washington D.C.-based concept development company, Foreign National, he offers an alternative: food and space as commons. There exists a constant dialogue of community, culture and progress. His restaurants are instinctual; contemporary yet habitual. Erik Bruner-Yang hopes that Brothers and Sisters, and Spoken English, two concepts located in The LINE DC, as well as Maketto, will show guests that experiences are the new luxury.
Jason is the Orchard Manager at Horne Creek Living Historic Farm in Pinnacle, NC, one of NC’s historic sites and home to the country’s only public site devoted to southern apples. Jason is in charge (among other things) with shepherding Lee Calhoun’s collection of 300 or so southern apples, including many suited for cider. He’s also been involved in cider apple research by Appalachian State University and has done his own share of home cider making.
Born and raised in San Diego, Brittany Cassidy started training as a dancer at a young age and pursued the art during her young adulthood. Discovering a love for cooking while dancing professionally for a company, Cassidy often catered intermissions during show performances, until finally someone suggested she go to culinary school. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and started working at restaurants in Los Angeles, such as Ink, Public Kitchen and Bar, and Josie’s. She started at Rustic Canyon as a line cook, where executive chef Jeremy Fox, also author of the 2018 James Beard-nominated On Vegetables, promoted her to chef de cuisine to run the day-to-day operations for the ultra-seasonal California kitchen in Santa Monica. After a five-year run at Rustic Canyon, she left to travel and expand her education as she waits to open Fox’s newest project, Birdie G’s, as chef de cuisine.
I spent my childhood days watching and learning to bake from my Mother and Grandmother, who had worked in her father’s bakery after school making rolls and bread. Hunting and fishing with my Dad and brother taught me to respect the product. I am a history geek in every way, since my family became involved with living history in 1989.
After an injury in College football, my dreams switched from the field to the kitchen. I had brief stints cooking in Pennsylvania followed by 2 years in coastal Maine.
After a stage at McCrady’s in Charleston I was intrigued by charcuterie and went to do an apprenticeship under world renowned butcher Dario Cecchini at Panzano in Chianti, Italy. Working for Dario changed my life. It made me realize that getting up and loving what you do everyday is rare, do whatever you have to do to achieve this!
I went back to the states after my apprenticeship was over and got a job as the butcher at Husk Restaurant under Chef Sean Brock and Chef De Cuisine Travis Grimes. The next 7 years I worked for the Neighborhood Dining Group at various positions and developed the charcuterie and bread program at Husk.
Half Crown Bakehouse was born from my love of history and food. All of the people in my life have inspired me in some way to make this vision real.
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. Ísabel is now the pastry chef at Cosme, the Enrique Olvera & Daniela Soto-Innes restaurant in NYC.
A graduate of the nationally accredited Art Institute of Atlanta in the field of Culinary Arts, Joy specialIzes in researching and preparing locally grown, and organic foods. A long-time proponent of farm-to-table cooking, Joy’s philosophy centers around using natural ingredients wherever possible, with a keen eye toward foods grown, farmed, butchered and purveyed in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Her food is nestled in the Southern, home-cooked style, but highlights healthy ingredients and a refined presentation while celebrating the seasons’ best offerings.
Her culinary career began in Los Angeles working as the caterer and event planner for the President of Capitol Records. There, she hosted countless functions for musicians and executives, sharpening her skills in presentation and large-scale planning. At the same time, she worked on private events for Warner Bros. Television. She was a go-to private chef for actors and executives on Warner’s television series and feature films. In 2005, Joy relocated to Atlanta Georgia, where she attended the Art Institute of Atlanta. While working on her degree, she studied under Chef Bradley Rouse, head chef for the NBA team The Atlanta Hawks. There, Joy worked closely with Chef Rouse planning menus and preparing meals for the private dining facility for both the NBA players and their families. There was a particular focus on the specialized athlete’s diet.
Upon graduation from the Art Institute, Joy began cooking at Woodfire Grill as an apprentice to Chef Micahel Tuohy. Chef Tuohy has been credited with shifting the local / organics / farm-to-table practices from Northern California to the Atlanta restaurant scene. At Woodfire Grill Joy cultivated her skills in several methods of cooking, including meat curing, butchery, fruit preservation, sauce-making and wine-pairing. She worked closely with local Atlanta farmers and purveyors, and learned the art of fine seasonal cooking in an upscale atmosphere. In 2008, Tuohy turned the ownership of Woodfire Grill over to Chef Kevin Gillespie (“Top Chef” Contestant, Season 6). Chef Gillespie remains there currently, and Joy proudly worked on his team for nearly two years.
Additionally, Joy has had the honor of cooking directly with some of the South’s finest chefs, including Virginia Willis, author of the nationally-acclaimed cookbook, “Bon Appetit, Y’all; Chef Ford Fry, Chef/owner, JCT Kitchen & Bar; Chef Hilary White, Chef/owner, The Hil at Serenbe Farms; Chef Scott Peacock, former Executive Chef at the award-winning restaurant Watershed in Decatur, and Chef Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s, Krog Bar and Kevin Rathbun Steak.
In 2008, Joy founded FOODĒ as a home-based private event and catering company in Atlanta. In 2010, FOODĒ grew to a physical location on Caroline Street in Historic Downtown Fredericksburg. There, Joy and her team pride themselves in putting their key philosophy into practice for their guests and clients. Namely, they provide a large variety of seasonal, market-fresh, natural and organic meals prepared in a comfortably refined style. FOODĒ Fredericksburg opened in January, 2011. Joy appeared on Season 12 of Top Chef last fall and her signature Chicken & Waffles won the Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Madness Challenge in April. In spring 2015, she opened her second restaurant, Mercantile, in Fredericksburg.
Chef Scott Drewno was raised in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes wine region, a rural area known for its vineyards and its family-owned farms. Watching his mother turn fresh, seasonal produce from local farm stands into bubbling pies and cobblers first piqued his interest in cooking and planted the seed for Drewno’s culinary ambition. Drewno joined the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group in 1998. At Chinois, he learned to meld French cooking techniques with vibrant Asian flavors. At Spago, he came to understand the importance of beginning with only the finest ingredients. Drewno furthered his knowledge and solidified his passion for Asian cuisines at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vong and Stephen Hansen’s Ruby Foo’s.
In 2007, Wolfgang Puck tapped Drewno as the opening Executive Chef of The Source. The restaurant was honored with numerous accolades including three-star reviews from both The Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) awarded The Source “New Restaurant of the Year” in 2008 and “Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year” in 2011. Drewno received the coveted “Chef of the Year” prize in 2010 and again in 2016. In 2012 and 2013, Drewno was a semifinalist for the “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” James Beard Award.
Drewno has won many culinary competitions benefiting important causes, including the DC Crab Cake Competition, Pig Out for Diabetes, and DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight. He won the Washington, DC leg of Cochon 555 (twice), a traveling culinary competition promoting sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs, and won the Cochon 555 Heritage Fire barbecue competition. Drewno serves on the Board of the RAMW, and is an Honorary Board Member of the DC Food & Beverage Collective. Each year, Drewno hosts fundraising events for DCFBC and the George Washington University Hospital Mobile Mammography Unit, two causes he holds near and dear to his heart.
In 2017 The Fried Rice Collective was formed with their first restaurant CHIKO, a Chinese-Korean, fine-casual concept. Zagat hailed the restaurant as one of "DC's Most Important Restaurant Openings of 2017". In 2018 the restaurant was nominated as a semifinalist for "Best New Restaurant" James Beard Award. Tom Sietsema (The Washington Post) recently gave CHIKO 3 stars (Excellent), stating "The latest definition of crack in Washington is the “orange-ish” chicken at CHIKO on Capitol Hill." in 2018, CHIKO also received recognition through the Washingtonian for 100 Very Best Restaurants in DC and also received a 3 star rating for the new concept.
A consummate hospitality figure, Richmond Edes can do it all. For more than a decade, he has immersed himself in Boston’s restaurant industry in all aspects, from developing new menus to studying under the tutelage of the city’s finest chefs, including Barbara Lynch and Ken Oringer.
While attending the Ohio State University, Richmond pursued a Bachelor’s in classical percussion performance with a minor in education. After years of strenuous rehearsals, memorization, and performing as a vital part of a musical ensemble, he traded his sheet music in for a recipe book and put the skills he’d honed behind the drums to work in a new arena: the kitchen.
Richmond got his first taste of the restaurant industry at Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton, MA, where he oversaw all back of house and managerial operations. He quickly rose through the ranks mastering each rung of the culinary ladder. Richmond soon became skilled at creating balanced, yet creative dishes, allowing his personality to shine through in this new art form.
Over the years Richmond fine-tuned his skills in the kitchen, mastering butchery, charcuterie, and pasta making, perfecting classic French and Italian techniques, and ultimately leading some of Boston’s best kitchen teams. His prowess in the kitchen earned him cardinal positions at some of Boston’s most venerable restaurants, such as Beacon Hill Bistro, Clio, Menton, and No. 9 Park, in addition to numerous “Best Of” awards in Bon Appétit, Esquire and other publications. He considers Menton to be his “home kitchen” – the place where he truly came into his own, both as a member of the opening team and later as a Sous Chef under Colin Lynch. After years of working for Chef Barbara, he was named the Chef de Cuisine at Boston restaurant institution No. 9 Park.
In 2015, Richmond joined the Grafton Group team as Executive Chef of Temple Bar, where he is able to apply his well-rounded skill set and years of dedication to his role. When he’s not in at the restaurant, Richmond spends his spare time at home in Somerville with his impressive cookbook collection and trusty Black Labrador, Gradey, perfecting bread recipes.
Chef Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks Q, Tiger Mama, and Fool’s Errand has made a name for herself nationwide for her dynamic personality, fierce work ethic and distinct ability to create restaurants that are warm, creative, and instantly loveable.
She opened Sweet Cheeks Q in 2011 in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, drawing inspiration from her love of Southern barbecue and extensive travels in Texas. Sweet Cheeks became an instant hit for its laidback Southern charm and addictive barbecue offerings. Shortly after opening, Sweet Cheeks garnered a three-star review from The Boston Globe, and it has been consistently awarded “Boston’s Best Barbecue” by Boston magazine. Forbes deemed its biscuits the “Best Biscuits in the World.”
In December 2015, Tiffani expanded on her culinary skills, creativity and business savvy with a new restaurant: Tiger Mama, found on the same block as Sweet Cheeks in the Fenway. The seeds of Tiger Mama formed during Tiffani’s travels to Southeast Asia. Tiger Mama offers a chic, tropical meets urban atmosphere and a menu that journeys through Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
In August 2018, Tiffaniopened her third restaurant – an adult snack bar called Fool’s Errand which neighbors Sweet Cheeks Q and Tiger Mama. With its intimate, standing-room only space, Fool’s Errand’s snack forward menu works with top quality, luxurious ingredients to deliver irreverent bites.
Marking her many culinary achievements, in 2018 the James Beard Foundation nominated Tiffani as Best Chef: Northeast and Boston magazine awarded her “Best Chef: General Excellence” in 2016.
A runner-up on Top Chef Season One, Tiffani is now a frequent judge on Food Network’s Chopped and Chopped Grill Masters.
Tiffani lives in Jamaica Plain with her wife and business partner Kelly Walsh and furry kids. She is a tireless advocate of LGBT human rights.
Diane Flynt, founded Foggy Ridge Cider in 1997 by planting one of the first 20th century cider apple orchards in the south. Located at 3000 feet elevation in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, the Foggy Ridge orchards include over 25 classic cider apple varieties, such as Dabinett, Tremlett’s Bitter and Ashmead’s Kernel, as well as American cider apples such as Harrison and Hewe’s Crabapple.
Since its first 2005 vintage, Foggy Ridge Cider has been recognized as producing high quality, orchard focused cider. By 2017, Foggy Ridge Cider was distributed in 15 states and produced over 5,000 cases annually. Flynt has received James Beard Award nominations for “Outstanding Beverage Professional” in 2015 and 2016, and was a Finalist for this award in 2017 ad 2018. Diane is active in national and state cider initiatives and has played a leading role in promoting Virginia beverages. She is a member of the governor-appointed Virginia Wine Board, a Board Member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and she speaks frequently on cider, farming and food culture in national and regional forums.
Diane’s vision was to “plant excellent ingredients” and to make fine cider using the same techniques and care that go into making fine wine. In early 2018, Flynt retired the Foggy Ridge Cider brand and now focuses full time on growing cider apples for the southern cider community, and on supporting Fine Cider and orchard focused cider in the national market.
Diane lives with her husband, Chuck, in Dugspur, VA on the site of the Foggy Ridge Cider orchards.
Yana Gilbuena, a Filipino-born, critically acclaimed global nomadic chef, started Salo Series to share with the world the vibrant food culture of the Philippines. The Salo Series hosts Filipino Kamayan dinners, in which food is served on communal tables decked with banana leaves, and guests are asked to eat with their hands.
In her American tour, Yana hosted pop-up dinners in 50 states in 50 weeks, as well as across Canada, Mexico, Colombia and her home country, Philippines.
She is a 2017 Stone Barns Exchange Fellow and has also been featured in major publications such as The New York Times and National Geographic. She's been published in The Cherry Bombe Cookbook, Feed the Resistance and is self-publishing her own: No Forks Given this September 2018. This global culinary nomad aims to further her mission and aims to host a Salo on every continent.
Puritan & Company’s Chef/Owner Will Gilson grew up on a New England farm and has taken his background and years of culinary expertise to incorporate it into the award-winning food he serves to his guests. Gilson began his career at age 15, when he apprenticed with Chef Charles Draghi at Marcuccio’s in the North End. He completed his formal culinary arts training at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, where his expert wine knowledge won him the 2004 R.C. Knopf Student Achievement Scholarship, which funded a three-month tour of wineries in Napa Valley, Venice and Paris. Chef Gilson honed his culinary skills at Oleana in Inman Square, Silks at the Stonehedge Inn outside of Lowell, and at the restaurant of London’s most exclusive hotel, The Lanesborough.
Gilson made his name in the Boston area in 2007, when he opened the Garden at the Cellar, a mid-priced restaurant that quickly built up a large following in Cambridge. He left in 2011, as a leader on the forefront of the pop-up restaurant movement in Boston, to introduce a series of successful restaurant ventures, including Eat @ Adrian’s located on the Cape during the summer of 2011.
However, it was at the Herb Lyceum at his family farm in Groton, Mass. where farm to table cooking truly became second nature for the burgeoning chef. Gilson was only 17 years old when he began cooking there, and the experience set the foundation for his appreciation for farm fresh produce and the merit of seasonal cooking.
Gilson’s time at the Herb Lyceum has molded the direction of Puritan & Company, where guests will find touches of his familial hospitality and their passion for herbs sprinkled throughout their experience. It is here that Gilson has realized his dream of owning a refined yet rustic neighborhood restaurant starring the farmer’s market fare he grew up with as a local farmer’s son. Gilson’s vision has seen early success, as within three months of opening his doors he received two 2013 James Beard Award nominations: Best New Restaurant and Rising Star Chef of the Year. Puritan & Co. was also named one of Bon Appetit’s “50 Best New Restaurants” of 2013. Locally, the restaurant has won numerous awards over the past five years and remains one of the best and most prestigious restaurants in the city. Will Gilson has appeared on the “Today Show” a number of times, Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” and on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” as a culinary judge during the Boston season.
In his spare time, Gilson can be found spending time with his wife, Molly, and their dog, Indy, as well as tending to his labor of love for making charcuterie and spending time with his family on the Groton farm.
Carla Hall is a chef, television personality, lifestyle expert, and food activist. She was a cohost of the daytime food talk show The Chew, a finalist on the cooking competitions Top Chef and Top Chef: All Stars, and regularly appears on Food Network. Her path to culinary celebrity started after she graduated from Howard University and discovered her passion for cooking. She attended culinary school and went on to become executive chef in fine dining restaurants and founded acclaimed businesses in catering and food retail. Carla is also the author of Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World and Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You. Carla Hall has been eating soul food her whole life and cooking it her whole career. In her highly anticipated new book CARLA HALL’S SOUL FOOD: Everyday & Celebration, she shares over 150 of her favorite recipes--a combination of easy weeknight meals, centered around seasonal vegetables, and rich celebration dishes for special occasions. These recipes have roots in history and heritage, but are also Carla’s present day twists on the classics, along with her original creations.
In all these ventures and through her travels, Carla connects people through food and across cultures. In addition to her work with social justice, advocacy, and philanthropic organizations, Carla is the Culinary Ambassador for Sweet Home Cafe at the Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., where she lives with her husband. Photo by Gabriele Stabile
Founder of Feastival!
Bryan Hollar is owner and head baker of Réunion Bakery & Espresso in Staunton, VA. A native of Vermont, Bryan has intermittently called the Shenandoah Valley home for the last 15 years.
Réunion Bakery & Espresso serves Bryan’s take on viennoiserie (laminated morning pastry) along with thoughtful and meticulous espresso service. Interested in a less fussy take on fine pastry, Bryan utilizes whole grains and natural fermentation in most every product served on the bakery’s shelves.
Inspired by the Shenandoah valley’s status as a bread basket of the east, Bryan hopes to contribute to Staunton’s status as a small but important culinary destination. He recently joined the board of the Staunton Downtown Development Association, seeking greater input into the future trajectory of his adopted home.
Born in Orlando, FL, Jacob Huder attended Mercer University in Macon, GA, where he studied hospitality management. Following graduation, he began his career at the Old Faithful Inn at Snow Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. There he worked the front of the house, waiting tables, tending bar, and eventually became food and beverage manager.
To further his culinary career, he moved to Charleston, SC, to attend The Art Institute of Charleston. After graduating in 2010, Jacob worked at Carolina’s where he gained experience in every area of the kitchen. Carolina’s was also where Jacob met chef Jeremiah Bacon. He then joined Bacon in moving to Oak Steakhouse. This opportunity led Jacob to become part of the opening team for The Macintosh in 2011. Jacob was named chef de cuisine in 2013, and over the next four years further extended his influence on the menu and overall creative approach. In October 2017, Jacob was promoted to executive chef of the nationally lauded restaurant.
Kevin Jamison is the owner of Commune restaurants in Virginia Beach and Norfolk as well as the 21 acre sustainable farm, New Earth Farm. Kevin studied in Rome, Italy where he received his MA in International Law and Development focusing on food security from St. John's University. He is a co-founder of the non-profit organization Community Development International (CDI) which focuses its efforts on sustainable food and environmental protection projects in the US and in Haiti. Kevin has served as Director of the European Affairs Committee at the United Nations Association, Director of the Center for Global Development at St. John's University and currently as the President of Virginia Beach's Vibe Creative District Business Association. He is passionate about education and sustainable food systems and is an avid art collector. Presently Kevin is working on the buildout of a new 2,600 square ft bakery in Virginia Beach slated to open this fall. Photo by Jessica Shea.
John Kiers, III
In 1996, John and Susan Kiers purchased a 100 acre farm in the Shenandoah Valley for the purpose of growing wine grapes. The Shenandoah Valley drew their interest because of its relatively low rainfall, its cool climate, and its deep limestone soil. Of particular interest was the strong diurnal temperature shift — the difference between day and night temperatures that typifies most of the valley. Diurnal shift is desirable during late summer and fall ripening as it allows sugars to rise without overly diminishing acidity. The site chosen is in Augusta County, near Staunton, Virginia. It has a top elevation of 1830 ft. with slopes that face east-southeast. It was dubbed Ox-Eye after the ox-eye daisies that at times proliferate the landscape. The Kiers family planted their first two acres of grapevines in 1999, eventually covering 23 acres with vines.
The site has proven to be an excellent one. The limestone base provides vital nutrients for healthy vines and fruit. The deep soil allows the vines to thrive without irrigation. Even during drought years there has been little to no drought stress. The constant breezes help control diseases and create good air drainage to combat frost. The diurnal shift helps ripen fruit with some of the highest sugars in Virginia without loss of acidity.
After selling grapes to area wineries for over a decade, the Kiers family built their own winery in 2010 and now bottle 100% Estate wines from fruit grown on their farm.
Julia Kramer is the deputy editor of Bon Appétit, where she has covered restaurants and food culture since 2013. Prior to that, she was a restaurant critic in Chicago for five years. Her work has appeared in the Best American Food Writing anthology and has been unsuccessfully nominated for a few James Beard Awards.
As a child in India, Cheetie could often be found in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother watching and learning as they prepared daily meals.
Her family held strongly to their culinary heritage, thoughtfully passing on generations old technique and authentic preparation. At the age of 8 she arrived in the US and settled in the Bronx, NY. Immersed in a world of various ethnicities, Cheetie was exposed to new cultures, flavors and food. Daily lunches at friend’s houses opened her eyes to a blending of culinary ideas inspired by Korean, Chinese, Thai, Eastern European and South American dishes.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a degree in psychology, her background is almost as diverse as her food. Cheetie is a self-taught cook who studied recipes while pursuing a career as a guitarist in The Cherry Valence and more recently Birds of Avalon, alongside her husband and business partner, Paul Siler. Time on tour and as the owner of the music venue Kings and adjoining cocktail bar, Neptunes Parlour, taught her the value of the independent, artistic spirit that is the backbone of the downtown Raleigh community which she considers home.
Upon moving to North Carolina, she embraced the area's culture of readily available, nationally renowned agriculture, and incorporated these seasonally evolving foods to fit her multi-cultural menus at Garland.
Cheetie’s cooking is created in a refined and thoughtful way, filled with imagination and rebellion. It is unassumingly delicious. Her food may seem “foreign” but is rather an interpretation of local ingredients made through the eyes of someone who grew up in India, New York City and the South.
An active supporter of various charities such as No Kid Hungry, ACLU, Share our Strength, Frankie Lemmon Foundation, InterAct and many more, Cheetie is highly devoted to contributing to the community that has given her so much. Recently she has cooked at the prestigious Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium, Terra Vita Festival, Farm to Fork, Atlanta Food & Wine just to name a few.
In 2017, Cheetie became a semifinalist for James Beard Award’s “Best Chef: Southeast”.
After graduating from the Art Institute of Houston in 2009, Ryan began working as a line cook at several famed Houston eateries, including Gravitas, Stella Sola and Reef before deciding to spend time staging at various restaurants around the country. Under the guidance of chefs like Sean Brock, Donald Link, Ryan Prewitt, Vinny Dotolo, John Shook and Daniel Patterson, Lachaine spent time in some of the most admired restaurants in the nation, including Husk in Charleston, both Cochon and Herbsaint in New Orleans, Animal in LA and Coi in San Francisco. In 2012 he became exec Sous Chef at Underbelly in Houston under Chris Shepherd. Ryan returned to Reef in 2014 as Chef de Cuisine under Bryan Caswell. Ryan is currently the Executive Chef/Partner of Riel Restaurant in Houston Texas. Photo by Mark C. Austin.
Musician, biologist and legal assistant are a few of the hats Danny Lee tried on before finding his perfect toque as Chef and Owner of Mandu, a traditional Korean restaurant in Washington, DC. No stranger to the restaurant business, Lee’s mother, Yesoon Lee, also chef at Mandu, owned a sandwich shop in Old Town Alexandria, VA in the 1980s, and in the late ‘90s, a Charlie Chiang Kwai takeaway store at Reagan National Airport. It was at Charlie Chiang Kwai that Lee learned the basics of running a food establishment. He cemented his restaurant knowledge at Oceanaire, where he worked under Chef Rob Klink who trained him both on the managerial and culinary side of the food business.
In 2006, Lee and his mother decided to open their own restaurant, one that played to their strengths and represented their culinary traditions and culture. They opened Mandu’s first location near Dupont Circle in November 2006 and five years later, the second one in DC’s Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood.
Mandu has won “Best Korean” in the Washington City Paper annually since 2010 in addition to being featured in several local and national publications. Mandu was also recognized as a recommended restaurant in the Michelin Guide’s premier Washington, DC issue in 2016 and again in 2017. In the Fall of 2016, Lee and his mother were invited to London to showcase a Korean tasting menu for a two week Mandu residency at Carousel Restaurant.
In 2017, Lee started a new restaurant group with Andrew Kim and Chef Scott Drewno, called The Fried Rice Collective. The group’s first restaurant, CHIKO, opened in July of 2017 on Barrack’s Row in Washington, DC. CHIKO serves modern Chinese and Korean cuisine in a fun and casual environment.
CHIKO immediately garnered local and national interest upon opening, including being named one of Washingtonian Magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2017 with a three star rating. The Washington Post also featured CHIKO in their 2017 Fall Dining Guide as one of the top ten restaurants in the city with the Post’s food critic, Tom Sietsema, giving CHIKO a rating of three stars. In 2018, CHIKO was a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in the country by the James Beard Award Foundation.
Lee has been featured in several national and local publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, Lucky Peach, Washington Post, Washingtonian, and many more.
The Lee Bros.
Siblings Matt and Ted grew up and learned to cook in Charleston, South Carolina, in a townhouse on the city’s fabled Rainbow Row. They left to attend colleges in the Northeast and missed the foods of their hometown so much that they founded The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order catalogue for southern pantry staples. When an editor of a travel magazine asked them to write a story about road-tripping their home state in search of great food, they embarked on a second career as food journalists and cookbook authors.
Since 2000, they have written hundreds of food, wine, and travel features for magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, Southern Living, Saveur, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine. Their three cookbooks, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook (2007), The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern (2009), and The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (2013) have, combined, won six James Beard and IACP Awards, and they are widely credited with bringing a richer understanding of southern cooking into the mainstream. They were on-air commentators for all seven seasons of The Cooking Channel’s hit series Unique Eats, and hosts and executive producers of Southern Uncovered with The Lee Bros. on Ovation.
More recently, Matt and Ted created Cookbook Boot Camp, a two-day seminar that equips aspiring cookbook authors with the knowledge they need to complete and sell their cookbook proposals to national publishers. They are editors of The Lee Bros. Classic Library, a series of vintage-cookbook reissues published by Rizzoli, and they consult to an array of festivals and corporations on food programming and strategy. Their next book, Hotbox, forthcoming from Henry Holt in 2019, explores the world of high-stakes event catering.
Matt, his wife Gia, and their three sons live in Charleston, SC. Ted lives with his wife, the artist E.V. Day, in Brooklyn, NY.
Chef Therese Nelson is a proud Newark, NJ native where she was born and raised in its historic Weequaic section. She is a suma cume laude graduate of Johnson and Wales University where she holds degrees in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts.
Therese's culinary career began in 2000 and spans the east coast where she trained and worked her way through the kitchens of major hotel groups from Hilton and Marriott to Orient Express and Four Seasons. In 2006 she joined the all female team of Get Em' Girl Inc. brands where her culinary talents were used as recipe consultant for the company's 2 branded cookbooks The Get Em' Girl's Guide to the Power of Cuisine and The Get Em Girl's Guide to the Perfect Get Together, as food editor for the brand's lifestyle website Get Em' Girls.com, and acted as the executive chef for the company's in house boutique catering company where her food graced the tables of global brands such as Black Enterprise, Carol's Daughter, BET, MTV, WEEN, Verizon and RocNation. In 2014 The company dissolved and Chef Nelson focused her culinary career in the private sector working as a private chef for a small list of clients, writing freelance for publications like First We Feast and Taste Cooking and consulting with small catering and restaurant businesses throughout the tristate area.
In addition to her culinary life Therese is the founder and culinary curator of Black Culinary History, an organization she founded in 2008 as a way to connect chefs of color to preserve black heritage throughout the African culinary diaspora, to promote and share the work of her colleagues, and to preserve the legacy being constructed by black chefs for this next generation.
Among her professional affiliations Chef Nelson is a member of Eta Sigma Delta, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Southern Foodways Alliance, National Association of Professional Women, and the Culinary Historians of New York. She currently resided in East Harlem, NY where she enjoys being a part of that community's rich and diverse culinary landscape both personally and professionally.
A 13-year veteran of the industry, Luke Owens joined the Vivian Howard Restaurant Group in 2016. He’s worked as Chef de Cuisine at the Boiler Room Oyster Bar and now, at Chef & the Farmer— Vivian Howard and Ben Knight’s flagship restaurant in Kinston, NC. Luke has contributed to the high standards of Chef & the Farmer that honor eastern North Carolina food traditions while bringing his own creativity to the menu. While at Boiler Room in 2016, Luke’s blended burger was voted in the top 20 in the James Beard Blended Burger contest. Luke is a bone broth enthusiast and owns his own bone broth company. As a former musician, he volunteers with Rock the Arts, a youth arts program in Greenville, NC. Photo by Baxter Miller.
In 2005, The New Yorker identified Dave’s strength as “knowing when something needs a little something.” Similarly, Frank Bruni, in his three-starNew York Times review of ESCA, called Dave a “fish whisperer.” Indeed, Dave respects the nuances of fish cookery and embraces its subtleties. In 2004, the James Beard Foundation recognized Dave as Best Chef: New York City. He’s also an avid fisherman and is equally enthusiastic about catching fish as he is about serving it. At ESCA, freshness reigns, whether it’s a just-caught halibut from the Pacific, flown in a few hours before dinner or a local striped bass caught by Dave himself at home on the Long Island Sound.
Phillip Rhodes is the executive managing editor of Garden & Gun. He is part of the team that led the title to its National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2015, and produced and co-authored The Southerner’s Cookbook, a New York Timesbest seller and James Beard Award nominee.Previously he was executive managing editor at Cooking Light, where he introduced such programs as the Sunday Strategist digital meal plans and the Cooking Light Garden. Prior to that, he was nutrition editor for Men’s Health, contributed to the best-selling Abs Dietbooks, and worked on the launch team for Women’s Health. He was born in North Carolina, raised in Tennessee, received a B.A. in communication arts from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, and resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his partner, Randy.
As a native San Diegan, Chef Christine Rivera has always had a love for Mexican food and culture. Her restaurant career began as a dishwasher at a local seafood restaurant near her parents’ house. Today, she is the Chef de Cuisine at Chef Trey Foshee’s Galaxy Taco, a casual Mexican eatery in La Jolla Shores.
Christine is a graduate of the Culinary Arts Program at Grossmont College, having studied under Chef Joseph Orate and Chef James Foran. While in school, Christine gained knowledge and experience by working at various kitchens throughout San Diego including: Kensington Grill, Premiere Foods and George's at the Cove. She has also staged in various national acclaimed kitchens including Taco Maria in Orange County and Cosme in New York City. Christine was chosen as a 2016 Eater Young Gun, a national competition recognizing the most inspiring young talent in the industry for the heritage blue corn tortilla/masa program that she has built at Galaxy Taco.
With over four decades of food service industry experience, self-proclaimed “Ham Evangelist,”Keith Roberts, has always had a passion for the culinary world. In 2010, Roberts joined the Edwards team, where he works closely with third-generation cure master Sam Edwards III as the company’s National Wholesale Sales Manager. In this role, Roberts has doubled Edwards’ wholesale business and grabbed the attention of James Beard Award-winning chefs like David Chang and Sean Brock as well as spots on their respective restaurant menus, securing Edwards’ place in the modern culinary conversation. Roberts works tirelessly to educate Americans on the company’s time-honored tradition of curing and smoking meats, positioning S. Wallace Edwards & Sons for continued growth and success for the fourth generation and beyond. In the last five years, Roberts’ efforts have helped Edwards land numerous accolades, including the Good Food Awards “Charcuterie Division Award”, the Virginia Department of Agriculture “Best New Product Award”, Specialty Food Associations “Sofi Award”, and multiple National Country Ham Association Grand/Reserve Champion Titles.
Building on his previous success in Chicago restaurants, Chef Noah Sandoval introduced Oriole to the West Loop scene with the help of his partners, wife and General Manager Cara Sandoval. Oriole offers a comprehensive experience focused on the guest through informed service, carefully crafted dishes, and a modern industrial ambiance with homey comfort. Oriole was awarded two Michelin Stars in the restaurant’s first eligible year.
Since opening Oriole in March of 2016, Sandoval was recognized as a Food & WineBest New Chef, received three semifinalist James Beard nominations, and was named Chef of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. Oriole also earned 4-star reviews from the Chicago Tribuneand Chicago magazine.
Sandoval and his culinary team develop a large format tasting menu with seasonal foundations and a focus on ingredients and their origin. “My culinary philosophy can change year-to-year, but in approaching food, I always try to find the best ingredients and build dishes around that,” says Sandoval. Taking the concept even further, Sandoval considers each product’s origin in designing a dish, capturing other facets of the region for a deeply rooted collection of flavors. He also encourages collaboration and creativity among the team. “I like to get as much input from those I share the kitchen with as possible,” he says. “We inspire each other.”
With a father in the Navy, Sandoval relocated a lot during his youth, from Virginia to California to Scotland before settling back in Richmond, VA. Upon returning to his birthplace at the age of 16, Sandoval picked up a job washing dishes at local landmark restaurant Helen’s and was soon promoted to the salad station, working under Chef David Shannon. Sandoval then followed the chef to open Dogwood Grille & Spirits. Shannon served as Sandoval’s mentor, showing him a way into a world of creativity, freedom, and families formed in the kitchen; this influence inspired the aspiring chef to enroll in culinary school in New Orleans.
While in the Big Easy, Sandoval continued to develop his culinary chops at Marisol under Chef Pete Vazquez. He then moved back to Richmond for a stint as sous chef at Dogwood until he discovered an unexplored world of food through his travels and made the move to Chicago in 2007 to place himself among international culinary excellence.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s C-House gave Sandoval an opportunity to further explore seasonal cooking before heading to Spring to work under James Beard-awarded Chef Shawn McClain. In 2011, Sandoval took a position alongside another award-winning chef, Michael Carlson, as sous chef of Schwa, known for its seasonal New American menu. At Schwa, Sandoval focused on honing his technique in a demanding environment, often using unconventional ingredients and methods. Prior to founding Oriole, Sandoval spent a few years at Senza as executive chef, earning a Michelin star for the restaurant in each eligible year.
Steven Satterfield is the executive chef and co-owner of Miller Union, an award-winning, seasonally-driven restaurant located in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood. Since opening in 2009, the restaurant has received various honors on many national lists including Eater, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and Esquire. In 2015, Satterfield released his first cookbook, Root to Leaf, to broad critical acclaim. In 2017, after four previous nominations, Satterfield was named “Best Chef: Southeast” by the James Beard Foundation. Satterfield’s dedication to seasonal cooking and his unwavering support for local farmers is the driving philosophy behind his restaurant and everything he does. Photo by Heidi Geldhauser.
Ryan Smith is Executive Chef of Staplehouse in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally from State College, Pennsylvania, Smith has called Atlanta home for the last 14 years. Ryan took an interest in cooking while in school and working in the kitchens at Penn State University. He quickly decided that cooking would be his career and chose to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Ryan received his degree in 2000 and was drawn to Atlanta by a fellow chef, who heralded the emerging national fascination with Southern cuisine.
Since his arrival in Atlanta, Ryan has worked in some of the city's most prominent restaurants including: Bacchanalia under James Beard Award Winner, Anne Quatrano, Canoe, with Food & Wine's Best New Chef & James Beard winner Linton Hopkins as Chef de Cuisine in Hopkin's Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch, most recently with Food & Wine’s Best New Chef and James Beard winner Hugh Acheson as the Executive Chef of Empire State South. While working with a handful of Atlanta's best chefs, Ryan gained great experience and a sincere fondness for the history and traditions of the Southeast.
Julia Sullivan is the chef and co-owner of Henrietta Red, an oyster bar and seasonal restaurant in Nashville, TN. Her passion for seasonal cooking is evident in her ingredient-driven menus and straightforward style, stemming from her early cooking experience in Nashville and the Hudson Valley. Julia strives to create memorable dining experiences by balancing interesting flavors and elegant presentation with convivial spirit. She is a graduate of Tulane University and the Culinary Institute of America, and has worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Per Se, and Franny’s in New York before returning to her hometown of Nashville, to open her first restaurant. Henrietta Red opened in February 2017 and was named one of Bon Appetite’s 50 Best New Restaurants in America, as well as one of GQ’s 13 Best New Restaurants in America 2018, and was a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant Category of the James Beard Foundation Awards in 2018. Julia was recently named of the Best Young Chefs in America by the Robb Report and a 2018 Food & Wine Best New Chef.
Clay and Linda Trainum
Clay and Linda Trainum’s Autumn Olive Farms is a true and complete family farm model. In the Shenandoah Valley, they focus on Heritage breeds with great genetics. Together with neighbor Bill Patterson of Patterson’s Registered Berkshires they breed and birth all the Berkshires, Ossabaws and Berkabaws that they sell. In addition, they work with other small local farms to help supply their Farmers Cross line of Heritage pork.
AOF believes that with great intention, they have in fact captured the amazing terroir of the Central Shenandoah Valley in their products and that is a huge reason for their success. They continue to receive accolades from the top professionals in their industry, including Purveyor of the Year in 2015 for Richmond’s Elbys and having their products featured 10 times at the James Beard House to date.
Of Autumn Olive Farms. Bio to come.
Kevin Willmann is the Chef and owner of St. Louis’ beloved Farmhaus Restaurant. Willmann was born into a farming family in Greenville IL and self-taught in the culinary arts in the Florida Panhandle before returning to St. Louis. Willmann was a finalist for James Beard Foundation, Best Chef Midwest in 2016 and 2017. Chef Willmann was chosen as a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2011, participated in Food & Wine’s Chef’s Club restaurant at the St. Regis in Aspen, Colorado in 2012, appeared on Bizarre Foods America, 2013 and was featured in the 2016 title “Reel Masters, Chef’s Casting About with Timing and Grace.”
Chef AJ Cress (Jack Vidra) was raised on a farm in Southern Delaware and joined the United States Marines after high school. After working in finance and law, he made the difficult decision to follow his passion, and attend Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. Since then, he has worked in a wide range of culinary settings in order to hone his skills. Moving through the ranks in Michelin rated fine dining kitchen and pastry roles, he obtained an executive chef position after less than two years in the industry.
Along his culinary journey, Cress wanted to continue to challenge himself to do things he was scared to do. Always intrigued by the thought of doing gay adult films as an appeal to his extroverted side, he entertained offers, and agreed to film under the name Jack Vidra. Gaining quick notoriety, he has been nominated for several awards, and worked for large studios such as Raging Stallion, Titan, Hot House, Cockyboys, appeared as a model for Fort Troff, and does appearances around the world for gay events. While enjoying the flexibility that the income and experiences of being an adult film model gave him, he continued work as a chef, teaching culinary classes for three different retailers, managing catering events, and working as a private chef for some of Chicago’s elite.
Social media links:
@JackVidra (Twitter) @jackvidra (Instagram)
Working in a kitchen is deeply engrained in Chef Jason Vincent, who started cooking at age 15 at a pizza restaurant in Cleveland, OH.
Jason studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and then moved to San Sebastian, Spain, where he cooked at Michelin three-starred Arzak. This formative experience taught him the importance of proper technique and how to transform ordinary ingredients into an extraordinary dish.
After moving back to the States, Jason honed his skills at a number of notable restaurants around the country, including James Beard Award winners Fore Street in Portland, ME, and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.
In 2005, Jason moved to Chicago to helm the kitchen at Lula Café and eventually went on to help open its sister restaurant, Nightwood, where his uncomplicated yet refined Midwestern menu earned national acclaim. While at Nightwood, Jason received the highest culinary accolades, including Food & Wine "Best New Chef;” COCHON
555’s “King of Pork;” a JBF semifinalist nomination for "Best Chef: Great Lakes;” and Michelin Guide's "Bib Gourmand” award.
In 2014, after 25 years working in restaurants, Jason very thoughtfully and deliberately decided to take a break from the industry to begin planning a place of his own. During his hiatus, he spent precious time with his young family and traveled for inspiration and a fresh perspective. Giant is the result of this “pause,” a representation of Jason as a chef, a father, a husband and a friend. His concept for Giant is simple—a special little neighborhood spot with great service and honest, unpretentious and delicious food.
Since Giant opened in July 2016, its Midwestern menu and exemplary service have been praised both locally and nationally, including earning the coveted #6 spot on Bon Appetitmagazine’s “Best New Restaurants” list. Jason and his partners, Chef Ben Lustbader and Josh Perlman, recently worked with the Ace Hotel team to launch its Chicago restaurant, City Mouse in 2017 and remain firmly rooted in the Chicago food community.
Kevin Yanaga of Pod in Philadelphia joins Michelle Williams at West Coast Provisions.