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Aaron McCargo, Jr. competed on and won Season Four of The Next Food Network Star in 2008, beating out thousands of culinary hopefuls for the ultimate dream job – his own Food Network show. The currently running Big Daddy’s House premiered August 3, 2008 and ranked as the number one “In the Kitchen” weekend show during its initial six-episode run. With the show’s continued success, Aaron consistently films new episodes of Big Daddy’s House with Follow Productions outside Philadelphia.
On Big Daddy’s House, Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking. From comfort foods to barbeque favorites to breakfast delights, Aaron whips up mouth-watering recipes inspired by many years of culinary experience and his fun-loving family while bringing a down-to-earth vibe and warm smile to the kitchen. Whether cooking with his children, relatives, friends, or even by himself, big food and big fun reign supreme.
A family man who adores all things flavorful, Aaron’s passion for cooking was sparked at the age of four when he started baking cakes in his sister’s Easy Bake Oven. . At the age of 13, Aaron worked as a Junior Volunteer in the kitchen at Cooper Hospital University. From there Aaron’s entrepreneurial spirit set in as he began making and selling cakes and cookies to his childhood friends. He has since worked in nine New Jersey restaurants including casual and fine dining. In 2003, Aaron opened his own restaurant in Camden, N.J., called McCargo’s Restaurant. Most recently, Aaron served as the Executive Chef of Catering at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He attended Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts.
Aaron has been featured on numerous national news programs including The Today Show, Regis and Kelly, and Rachael Ray. His rise to fame has been covered everywhere from The New York Times, to Essence Magazine. As a contributing editor for both the June and July 2009 issues of Essence Magazine, Aaron shared his insight on one of his favorite topics: how to get the family into the kitchen. Furthermore, Aaron continues to donate his time to nonprofits likes Share Our Strength and their Great American Dine Out to help end childhood hunger.
Born and raised in Camden, N.J., Aaron regularly speaks to youth at schools and community events illustrating that they too can succeed despite the odds. He is also the founder of the Play to Win Charity to increase the graduation rates of male youths. Honoring him for his success and service, Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison presented Aaron with the keys to the city in 2008 and designated September 25 as Aaron McCargo, Jr. Day.
Aaron comes from a large family (he has five brothers and sisters) whose constant support has helped him achieve his goals. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys Bible study, tennis, Buffalo wings, watching sports, and traveling. Married with three children, Aaron lives with his family in New Jersey.
Meet Ramona Singer from BRAVO'S the Real Housewives of New York at Friday evenings Newport UnCorked event, Saturday evenings Grand Tasting Session II , and the Celebrity Chefs & Prosecco Brunch. She will be pouring her signature wine Ramona Pinot Grigio.
Ramona Singer is an astute businesswoman and a true aficionado of fashion with a passion for being a wife and mother. In addition to her role on BRAVO’s The Real Housewives of New York City, Ramona has taken the beauty and accessory industries by storm.
Ramona was born the eldest of four children in upstate New York. She learned responsibility at a very young age and wanted to have a career in business combined with fashion. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, with a B.S. Degree in Business. Ramona started her professional career thirty years ago as a buyer for Macy’s, and then created her first company RMS Fashions, Inc.
Her businesses include Tru Renewal skin care, True Faith Jewelry, Ramona Singer Collections on Amazon and most notably, Ramona Singer Jewelry for HSN. Her line of pendants, bracelets, earrings and rings, priced $200 and up, was inspired by her love for estate and art deco, which she says she adores because it is timeless. “I don’t want a trendy piece of jewelry to hand down to my daughter Avery, because it will be out of style and she won’t want to wear it,” Singer notes. “Estate jewelry will always be in style, and women will always wear it.”
Having conquered the design world, Ramona was inspired to create a skin care line, Tru Renewal, after struggling to find products she herself could use that were effective, yet free of chemicals that could potentially harm and irritate her skin. Singer worked with a world-renowned chemist and a top New York City doctor to create her line. The key ingredient to garner skin-firming results is green algae. “After using the products for just 6 weeks, all of my friends noticed a difference in my appearance. My skin looks and feels healthier; it really is more vibrant and glowing!”
Her entrepreneurial skills have received praise from media industry giants such as Women’s Wear Daily, FoxBusiness, People, and Examiner to name a few. Ramona’s newest venture has her expanding to the wine world with Ramona Pinot Grigio. Ramona was constantly asked by fans what her favorite Pinot Grigio was and not being able to name one that she loved inside and out, she decided to create one. Ramona Pinot Grigio is a 100% Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italy. The wine undergoes a long, cold fermentation in stainless steel to fully extract the fragrant aromas and preserve the clean, pure character of the grapes and other flavors, without the artificial influences of oak aging. The palate includes notes of fresh fruit with a hint of citrus and mineral.
Ramona lives and works in Manhattan with her husband Mario and their daughter Avery. After 19 years of marriage and going strong, Ramona and Mario’s relationship is as beautiful as ever. The two truly are best friends and confidants and share the greatest luxury of being parents to Avery. Ramona very much enjoys playing tennis, dancing and spending all the time she can with her family and their dog Coco in the Hamptons.
Founder & Executive Director of the Boston Wine School
Jonathon Alsop is founder & executive director of the Boston Wine School and author of The Wine Lover's Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice & Lore for the Ardent Aficionado published in July 2010 by Quarry Books.
Jonathon started life as a wine writer covering wine, food & travel in 1988. He is author of the long-running wine column In Vino Veritas by Jonathon Alsop as well as many articles for the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor's Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others. He founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes.
Executive Chef at Copper Beach Inn Winner of the Food Network series “Chopped” Season 2
Passionate about food and cooking “from the ground up”, Chef Tyler Anderson runs the kitchens and all restaurant operations at the Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton, Connecticut where he brings a modern approach to cooking regional foods using seasonal ingredients.
A California native, Tyler started working in kitchens at the age of 16. And he never left. He credits his work with such notable chefs such as Charlie Trotter, Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris of Prairie Grass Café and Chicago’s Ritz Carlton as influencing his culinary style.
While at the Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton, Chicago, the restaurant was awarded the highest Zagat rating in America, and received a Mobil Five‐Star rating. Following his mentors to the Prairie Grass Café, Tyler helped the restaurant achieve a Three‐Star rating from the Chicago Tribune and recognition as one of the 50 Hottest Restaurants in the U.S. by Bon Appétit Magazine. Before joining The Copper Beech, he was Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage at two Rock Resort properties; the Equinox in Manchester, Vermont, awarded four stars by the Mobil Travel guide, and the new Arabelle Hotel, a Five-Star hotel and called “Vail’s culinary hot spot” by Gayot.com. Tyler also assisted in the opening of the Rock Resorts new Five-Star hotel The Landings in St. Lucia.
Working in Vermont, Tyler grew to love New England, its local farms and artisan producers. At The Copper Beech, he is committed to serving sustainable seafood and meats and vegetables that have been raised, foraged, farmed or produced within a 150‐mile radius of the Inn. Tyler and crew run a full charcuterie curing room and work with locally‐raised heritage pork breeds. His style of cooking is very much modern American, with a New England influence. And he puts his spin on French bistro classics for the Inn’s Brasserie Pip. In April of 2009, he presented his menu to a sold out crowd at the James Beard House, where he was also honored to cook in 2007.
More recently, Tyler was the winner of “Chopped” on the Food Network, and has some more exciting TV appearances upcoming.
He and his wife Sonja live with their two children ‐ 2‐year‐old Averi and 5‐year‐old Gavin ‐ near the ocean in Westbrook, Connecticut.
Copper Beach Inn
The Copper Beech Inn portrays subtle and refined elegance in traditional New England style. The intimate country hotel is situated in the hamlet of Ivoryton, Connecticut, one of three small villages within the historic town of Essex on the Connecticut River. The classic New England inn's renowned AAA Four Diamond Copper Beech restaurant and the chic and fashionable Brasserie Pip offer innovative culinary choices created by award-winning chef Tyler Anderson.
Chef Ed Brown
For more than 25 years, Chef Ed Brown has cultivated a culinary prowess by working in some of the most celebrated kitchens in the world. His passion and considerable talent in regards to all things seafood have earned him wide acclaim including numerous New York Times stars and a Michelin star. Brown’s skills, creativity and expertise with the finest seasonal ingredients are now on regular display at his latest venture, Ed’s Chowder House located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
In 1990, Ed joined Restaurant Associates as Executive Chef of Tropica in the famed MetLife building. After some time away to focus on his own projects, including the critically acclaimed Eighty One, he returned to Restaurant Associates as Senior Vice President of Food & Beverage, where he is now tasked with not only creating and executing new concepts, but maintaining quality control and staff values on behalf of thousands of restaurant employees. Ed’s vast experience in the kitchen combined with his corporate expertise and ability to create fine dining outlets on a massive national scale, make him truly an expert in his field.
Ed’s highly respected status as one of the country’s best chefs is not limited to the confines of the kitchen. He also shines in the media world with frequent appearances on such outlets as NBC’s The TODAY Show and CBS’ Early Show, as well as competing on Iron Chef America in 2010 and providing numerous contributions to culinary publications.
Ed Brown At-A-Glance
Ed’s food is…
Ed’s signature style…
Ed’s published works
In 2009, New York Times writer, Eric Asimov, proclaimed Joseph Carr, a producer to watch for, and put his wines alongside the likes of Far Niente, Clos du Val, Heitz, Grgich Hills and Rubicon. Mr. Asimov continues to comment, that these are "wines of balance and restraint".
For centuries, the Nègociant has produced some of the world's finest wines: Louis Jadot, Joseph Drouhin and Georges Deboeuf, to name just a few. Joseph Carr works with small estate growers, coopers and winemakers, not unlike a classic nègociant, to produce handcrafted boutique wines.
After 10 years, serving as a world-class sommelier, then another ten as an international industry executive, Mr. Carr set out on his own in 2005, to form his family-owned wine company. It was, as Mr. Carr says "a chance to follow a dream." As director of Joseph Carr Napa Valley, Joseph continues to work with many of the associates he has met throughout his long career; those who share his passion and desire to produce world class wines. Influenced by the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, Joseph Carr's winemaking philosophy is balance, sophistication and approachability.
Mr. Carr, his wife Deirdre, his daughter Cailen, and Max, his dog, own and operate Joseph CarrWines, producing fine wines from Napa Valley, California, along with limited production wines from Carneros and the Sonoma Coast. "We have the luxury of working with some of the best growers in Napa Valley and produce all of our wines at Larson Family Vineyards in Carneros" states Mr. Carr. Since launching his business in 2005, Mr. Carr's wines have been received with great enthusiasm. His wines grace some of the finest restaurant lists in the United States and abroad.
Joseph Carr has recently worked with Tom Larson to produce his second label, named "Josh Cellars" -his "vin de garage" - as he jokingly refers to it. It is a North Coast Vineyard project, from sites organically and sustainably farmed. It is dedicated to his father.
Chef Kevin Cottle became a household name during his appearance on the 6th season of Hell's Kitchen. Kevin spent five and a half weeks on location in California where he and his fellow contestants were sequestered from any outside contact. Early on, Kevin became known as the "fixer" of the group. As the season progressed, and as contestant after contestant handed in their chef blues or reds, it became clear that Kevin was a frontrunner. Episode after episode Chef Kevin produced dishes that appeared to be works of art, receiving praise from the judges and cheers from his adoring fans. Yet, it wasn't meant to be as Kevin had to settle for second place during the final episode of the season. Taking it in stride, Kevin congratulated his opponent and assured his fans that he had a blast, stating, "I have no regrets. I would do it again if I had the chance."
Chef Cottle's roots and culinary interest began when he was a young boy living in Cape Cod where his father was a fisherman and his mom was a chef. Kevin graduated top of his Culinary Art Class at Plymouth South Vocational High School in Plymouth, MA. Kevin was formally trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Chef Cottle's professional journey in the culinary arts began in Philadelphia, at such places as The Sheraton Society Hill, and Sfuzzi. It was Kevin's love of the ocean that brought him back to Boston, where he worked at the Colonnade Hotel. Kevin was part of the transforming team that opened "Brasserie Jo" under the watchful eye of skilled Master Chef John Joho. On his days off from the Colonnade, Kevin volunteered a helping hand at "Sandrine's Bistro" in Cambridge, where he gained invaluable experience from French Master Chef Raymond Ost.
In 1998 Kevin decided to venture west to Colorado where he initially worked as a Banquet Chef and then later as the Executive Sous Chef of the mobile rated four star/four diamond Sonnenalp Resort of Vail.
Kevin returned home to Cape Cod, where he accepted a job at the Wequassett Inn Resort and Golf Club. In 2002, as Chef de Cuisine, he presided over the opening of Wequassett fine dining restaurant, "28 Atlantic", which has received numerous awards and accolades, including mobile's four diamond award and the Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence. Chef Kevin was also honored to cook at the James Beard house as part of the best hotel chef series featuring "28 Atlantic" restaurant.
In September of 2005 Kevin joined the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In 2006 Kevin transformed Mountain View's signature restaurant, "The Main Dining Room," into the only mobile four diamond rated hotel or resort dining facility in New Hampshire.
In April of 2007, Kevin packed up his family and moved to the nutmeg state to become the Executive Chef at the Country Club of Farmington, in Farmington, CT. Kevin spent 3 years fine tuning his craft, while restructuring all culinary operations within the private member club. In these three years, Kevin's talents were being read about in magazines, viewed on local news stations, and even cheered on Fox's Hell's Kitchen, where Chef Cottle was Season six's runner up.
In the summer of 2010, Kevin moved his talents to Jordan Caterers as Executive Chef in charge of restructuring their culinary operations. Jordan's has been recognized by Connecticut Magazine as the best caterer in Connecticut for the past 11 straight years. Jordan's also manages the food operations for a private country club, museum, a private yacht club, and a tavern.
Kevin is deeply involved with the Farm to Chef Program. As a board member, Kevin interacts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is Kevin's goal to market products that are local; from farms to fisheries. He feels strongly about incorporating these products into Jordan's daily menu selections. Knowing the importance of sustaining CT's farms, Chef Cottle also works closely with the Connecticut Farmland Trust in an effort to obtain federal funding for local farmers.
In addition to Chef Kevin's culinary talents being viewed on numerous television shows, such as his "live: weekly cooking segment on FOX61 Hartford, and written about in many magazines, he also delivered the keynote address at the 2010 International Boston Seafood Show on "why local and sustainable seafood make sense."
When Kevin is not cooking or promoting sustainable practices, he enjoys having his wife Nancy critique his latest creations and watching their son Kai play hockey, and trying to keep up with their new born daughter Kallie.
Chef Mike Elder
Mike Elder is the owner of Black Sheep Custom Cakes in Clinton, MO. A former hot rod builder, race car driver and pilot, Mike is a quickly rising star in the sugar arts world. 3-time undefeated winner of TLC's Ultimate Cake-Off, Mike has become known for his detailed cake sculptures and in-your-face style. Unafraid to tackle anything in cake - his work covers everything from an "over-the-top" hot rod cake to artistically refined and sophisticated cakes for high-profile weddings and events. His work has been featured in USA Weekend Magazine, Brides, Baking Buyer and many other local and regional publications. He has also made several appearances on radio and TV. Always happy to share his love for the sugar arts, Mike is a certified instructor and member of ICES, teaching his sometimes unorthodox style and techniques to students nationwide.
Father of 3 - in his free time, if he has any, Mike is an avid cyclist, artist, and aficionado of anything mechanical. It is his mechanical background that Mike credits as a major influence of his work.
Chef Tiffani Faison
Chef Tiffani Faison has been around exceptional culture and cuisine from the very beginning. Born in Northern Germany, and moving throughout the world as a kid, she was exposed to a wide range cultures and food. From Greek, Mediterranean, and Austrian cuisine, to Modern American, Southern Classics and New England-style delicacies, her appetite for learning was inspired by her varied surroundings.
Tiffani began as a line cook for Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur, Todd English. She soon caught the eye of her superiors, opening an early door that allowed her to travel and cook side by side with Chef Todd English.
Chef Tiffani was then hand-selected by Chef Daniel Boulud to open his first west coast venture, where the Wynn Hotel earned the Mobil 5 star, 5 Diamond award.
Chef Tiffani was cast on the first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef”, coming in as the runner-up. Her direct approach and obvious talent earned her respect and praise from industry insiders and the viewing public. She has appeared on various television specials, radio programs and has been a contributing chef to numerous cookbooks.
After the frenzy of “Top Chef”, Tiffani elected to work for Gabriel Frasca and Amanda Lydon on Nantucket to “get back to the roots” of cooking.
She was then tapped by her former mentor Todd English and became the executive Chef for a 400-room boutique hotel and restaurant in post-Katrina New Orleans.
After her stint in New Orleans, Tiffani was asked to work privately for Will and Jada Smith, earning her recognition and visibility within the Hollywood A-List.
Tiffani was then recruited to work as a consultant for The Culinary Edge in San Francisco, CA where she worked with the principals of the companies on a myriad of projects.
After moving back to Boston Tiffani accepted the Executive Chef Position at Rocca Kitchen and Bar, earning a glowing three-star review from the Boston Globe. Tiffani has been featured in SELF-Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine and Food & Wine magazine. Tiffani was one of eighteen chefs invited to compete in Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars where she has established herself as a new “fan favorite”. She has been a guest on the TODAY SHOW, SIMPLY MING and several other national and local shows.
Chef Michael Ferraro
As early as childhood, Chef Michael Ferraro's interest in food took flight revolving around his family's kitchen table. With Southern Italian parents, Michael was exposed to a style of cooking that fused fine Mediterranean flavors with the quality and freshness of Southern Italy's ingredients. This authentic Italian home cooking experience paved the road for Michael as he went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America at the young age of 20. His driven zeal
for the kitchen sparked many prominent opportunities fresh out of the CIA.
Beginning with an internship under Chef Waldy Malouf at Beacon Restaurant, Ferraro's culinary repertoire continued to flourish. Taking on Chef de Partie at Jean-Georges', then, two-star restaurant, Mercer Kitchen, he developed and refined his culinary techniques even further.
Michael proceeded to New York City's famed 5-star, 5-diamond Four Seasons Hotel where he
served as Chef Tournant. It was here where he extended his skills to all outlets of the hotel,
landing him at their fine dining restaurant, Fifty Seven Fifty Seven, pleasing the palettes of New
York City's most exclusive clientele. After spending 3 years with the Four Seasons, Ferraro went
on to take the role of Sous Chef at the Biltmore Room working under Chef Gary Robins. At the
Biltmore Room, Ferraro was exposed to the creative expressions of Chef Gary Robins' use of
Asian and progressive American cooking techniques. Following the closing of the Biltmore Room,
Ferraro took top toque as Chef de Cuisine at Patina Restaurant Groups' Café Centro.
Drawing on his prior experiences and creativity, Ferraro honed and complimented the classic
French flavors at Café Centro by bringing inventive techniques and modern flair to the classic
Parisian brasserie. Ferraro's next move brought him to the fine dining seafood restaurant, Fresh
Ferraro is currently in the kitchen at the popular Soho restaurant, Delicatessen where he has
made significant changes to the menu. Ferraro's vast menu of whimsical comfort food is one
you'll want to select from again and again including such offerings as Pat La Freida's Short Rib
Sliders, Prince Edward Island Mussels, and Foie Gras Dumplings with Spiced Consommé.
Ferraro is also the Executive Chef of macbar, a restaurant fully dedicated to gourmet macaroni &
cheese. Located behind big sister Delicatessen, Chef Ferraro has created a menu full of unique
flavors including such standouts as Mayan Chipotle with chicken diablo, chihuahua cheese and
green onions; Mac Lobsta' with tender chunks of fresh lobster, cognac, tarragon and
marscapone; Mac Quack with duck confit, fontina, caramelized onion and fine herbs; and
Carbonara with pancetta, green peas and parmigiano cheese.
His elegantly casual approach to cooking has brought him acclaim from journalists and diners
alike. Chef Ferraro has also been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Food Network, and the
Chef Michael C. Giletto, Executive chef of Ocean Place Resort and Spa and Gourmet Butterfly Media developed his love of culinary arts as a young child during his time spent harvesting fresh ingredients from the land his family farmed and watching these ingredients be transformed into family feasts. From this early interest in the kitchen, Giletto has successfully expanded his culinary calling to encompass numerous awards and nominations, national television and radio media appearances, and a flourishing career as Executive Chef at one of the top rated Resorts and Media companies in America. Presently Giletto will be filming his new show "Look who's Cooking at The Jersey Shore" in June and will air on Spike TV and HDTV.
Giletto’s culinary creations are inspired by French, Sicilian, American, and other various ethnic and world cultures. His Sicilian heritage allows him to add the flair and wide range of bold flavors found in Mediterranean cooking to other cuisines. “The style of my food reflects exquisite, sophisticated, contemporary, American cuisine with Mediterranean influences,” says Chef Giletto. “I focus on locally-grown products, seasonal ingredients, impeccable presentation, and cutting-edge menu choices to create a truly memorable dining experience.” A key element of Chef Giletto’s philosophy is that food should be as fresh and as local as possible. He has a carefully cultivated network of area growers/suppliers who enable Giletto to practice what he believes is best for procuring and serving food.
His ability to effortlessly assemble an exceptional dining experience has allowed Chef Giletto to excel in his career. Mere months after graduating from the JNA Institute of the Culinary Arts in Philadelphia, he was awarded the “Chef of the Year Award” from the American Culinary Foundation (ACF) in 2002. Soon after, Chef Giletto became the Executive Chef for the Peacock Inn’s Le Plumet Royale and the four-star restaurant was awarded the distinguished James Beard Award for the “great Country Inn Chef’s Series” in 2003. In 2006, Giletto’s laudable Chef of the Year nomination from Chef Magazine was followed by national recognition of being appointed the Celebrated Chef for the National Pork Board. Giletto was also named Winning Chef for the National Cattleman’s Beef Backer Award in February of 2008 in Reno, Nevada.
From these commendable beginnings, Giletto has become an inspiring and accomplished chef, making numerous appearances on both network and local television. After working as the lead Food Stylist for the Book and the Cook Fair in 2005, Giletto’s talents were recognized by Food Network’s Cat Cora. Since then, Giletto has received cooking spots on “Iron Chef America,” appearing as one of Cat Cora’s competition Sous-chefs. Most recently, Giletto has appeared on the Food Network’s Culinary Competitions, “Chopped” and “Ultimate Recipe Showdown.” He also competed on The Tyra Banks Show and won the title of “Top Pop Chef” which awarded him the opportunity to work with Patti LaBelle as her Personal chef. Giletto also appeared in the documentary film “Pressure Cooker” which followed the trials and tribulations of a handful of culinary students as they work build their culinary careers in the Tri-state area.
Currently, Chef Giletto can be found in New Jersey and Manhattan, NY where he is the Executive Chef for Ocean Place Resort and Spa and Gourmet Butterfly Media. Giletto has played an integral role at the Resorts culinary team and the rejuvenation of this beautiful, dramatically changing the companies cuisine from basic continental fare to a menu with a more upscale worldly flair. Though his management responsibilities at Ocean Place and GMB take up much of Giletto’s time, he regularly visits the JNA Institute of Culinary Arts in Philadelphia to teach classes and offer cooking demonstrations as adjunct faculty. Chef Giletto also plans to continue making network television appearances and will be appearing for a re-match on Food Network’s competition “Chopped” which will air on January 12, 2010. Chef Giletto can be seen on Food Network's Chopped and Chopped Redemption 2009, Ultimate recipe showdown 2008, Iron Chef America with Cat Cora 2009, 24 hour restaurant battle 2010 and 2011, The Restaurant2010, Restaurant Impossible 2010, the Next Food Network star Finale2010, Tyra Banks show for Top pop Chef 2009, Millionaire Matchmaker with Bravo 2010, Cook Book on Demand Series with Comcast 2007, Flavors of America with PBS 2005, Culinary Bragging Rights with PBS 2010 and three major motion pictures~ Birdy with Nicholas Cage 1984, Just Right with Queen Latifah 2010 and Pressure Cooker 2009.
Chef Billy Grant
Owner/Chef-Restaurant Bricco, Bricco Trattoria
& Grants Restaurant
In 1996 Chef Grant partnered with his brothers to open Restaurant Bricco in West Hartford Center and in 2001 opened Grants Restaurant and Bar right around the corner. Billy Grants newest venture Bricco Trattoria opened in July of 2010 in Glastonbury, CT. Mr. Grant has won many “best chef” accolades and his award winning restaurants have earned mention on Oprah, Esquire magazine, and received a “Don’t Miss” for Bricco Trattoria in the New York Times. He has forged numerous charity alliances to benefit organizations like co-chairing Share our Strength for over five years, March of dimes, Lea’s foundation, Cherish the Children, American Diabetes, Annual Turkey Drives and the Arthritis foundation.
For nearly 3 decades Peter X. Kelly has set the standard for dining in New York State. Operating the most critically acclaimed restaurants in the Hudson Valley. Peter is an experienced, talented and successful Entrepreneur. His Contemporary American Cuisine brings dining to a new level by providing his guests with exquisite food and superb service.
Born in Yonkers, New York, tenth in a line of 12 children, Peter began working in local restaurants at the age of 14. While studying Business Administration at Marist College, Peter held a number of kitchen and front-of-house positions in some of New York States' finest restaurants. In 1983, Peter's culinary interests led him on a pilgrimage to France, and to the pursuit of perfection in the culinary world.
At 23, this self-taught chef opened Xaviar's in Garrison and began his journey to success. To date, Peter owns some of the most renowned & acclaimed restaurants in New York State, all located in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City. Xaviar's at Piermont, The Freelance Cafe and Wine Bar, Restaurant X & The Bully Boy Bar, and X2O Xaviars on the Hudson have all received popular praise and the industry's most coveted awards and accolades which include The New York Times highest rating (Extraordinary), The Mobil Travel Guide Four Star Award, The Dirona Award, Restaurant News Dining Hall of Fame, Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence", Zagat's Survey (29 out of 30), New York State Restaurateur of The Year 1998.
Peter Kelly has been featured in numerous national publications including: New York Magazine, Esquire Magazine, Crain's, USA Today, W Magazine, Food Arts, Gourmet Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine and Bon Appetit.
Peter has been invited to cook at The James Beard House, appeared on the Food Channel TV Network, as well as numerous appearances on CBS & NBC. Peter has also been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Northeast.
In 2007 Peter appeared on the Food Networks Iron Chef America and beat Bobby Flay in Battle “Cowboy Rib Eye”, he also played host to Anthony Bourdain on his “No Reservations” program, introducing Tony to the beauty of the Hudson Valley.
Since the early 90’s Peter has also been a Vintner. His wines at Xaviar's Cellars in Napa Valley were known as "Silenus" (the Teacher of Bacchus in Greek Mythology) and were applauded by the NY Times and Wine Enthusiast Magazine at their introduction in 1991. Peter continues to work with wine growers and makers and has consulted on several bottling’s from the emerging Hudson Valley region.
In 1999, Peter assembled a "dream team" of culinary "superstars" and became the founding chef and culinary director for Impromptu Gourmet, a revolution in home dining.
He is also the founder of "Events by Xaviars", which offers catering for parties between 100 and 2000 people.
Chef Dave Martin gained notoriety as a Chef-testant and finalist on the first season ofBravo's Top Chef winning viewer’s hearts and palates with his intense layering of flavors and vivid descriptions of his dishes. Serving up approachable yet sophisticated takes on old classics, like his signature Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese, he has become a hit from the streets of NYC to the shores of St. Tropez. Years after his season ended, Dave finds himself and his food continually in the spotlight.
But Dave’s road into the culinary world was far from traditional. After leaving a successful career in the technology industry Dave chose to pursue his real love and passion for cooking and making people smile through his food. Graduating with honors from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California he formed his own catering company, “As You Wish Catering” and became the Executive Chef at XO Wine Bistro in Manhattan Beach, California. The first season of Top Chef debuted in 2006 and Dave quickly became a fan favorite winning more challenges than any other contestant (three in all). Finishing third, Dave moved to New York City soon after his appearance on the show and served as the Executive/Consulting Chef at Lola, Crave on 42nd, and VYNLrestaurants introducing city diners to his creative take on comfort food classics.
After much success at each restaurant he moved out of the kitchen and began working on building his brand. In 2009 he self published and released his first cookbook, Flavor Quest, Volume 1 and due to popular demand followed with Flavor Quest, Volume 2 in 2010. That same year Dave began teaching classes in American Regional Cuisine at The French Culinary Institute and to executives from large corporations such as MTV, Oracle and NBC at The Culinary Loft in Soho.
Earlier this year Dave created a line of “Flavor Quest” rubs and sauces, of which he is currently promoting and selling on his website (www.chefdavemartin.com) and is consulting for two projects in the city- a specialty sandwich shop featuring braised meats and The Frying Dutchman, a gourmet french fry food truck. Not surprisingly, The Frying Dutchman immediately gained a cult following as soon as it hit the streets mesmerizing french fry fanatics with Dave’s signature sauces such as prickly pear mustard, lychee and sweet chili aioli and pink guava ketchup!
In addition, Dave also travels around the country for various Food & Wine Festivals, winemaker dinners, consulting projects, auction dinners, corporate and private catering events, guest chef and pop-up restaurant appearances. Through these events he has built solid relationships with the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), The Culinary Loft in Soho, The French Culinary Institute, Certified Angus Beef Brand, Cisco Systems, Perfect Puree and many more.
Firmly believing in giving back to the community, Dave supports several charitable organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House (NYC), Leake & Watts, Greenwich House, Share our Strength (Taste of the Nation) and The Special Olympics.
Noel Jones started working in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant at the age of 14 and realized early that he had a love for the craft. Inspired by his mother, who was the maitre d', he responded well to the high standards that were expected of him and the rest of the staff. He credits his uncles, who were both executive chefs at leading restaurants, with taking him under their wings at a young age and guiding him through his early career. In fact, one uncle was a lecturer for hotel management whose counsel was sought after throughout Europe. "They were my mentors, and taught me that the most important aspects of cooking were respect for ingredients, integrity, and discipline," he says.
Having graduated at the top of his class in culinary school in Ireland, Noel has worked on both sides of the Atlantic. He worked his way up through the ranks to become chef tournant at the Hotel Europe. In addition, he was executive chef of the Limetree in Kenmare, which earned a Michelin rating during his tenure. He was also a member of the Panel of Chefs Ireland. In 2005, he was inducted into the Les Amis d'Escoffier Society.
Prior to joining ON20, Noel was corporate executive chef at the United Technologies Companies. A firm believer in using his talents to support the community, Noel has represented ON20 at a number of charity events such as The Celebration of Connecticut Farms, Hartford's Taste of the Nation for Share Our Strength, and Artworks' 30th anniversary celebration.
In keeping with ON20's credo of excellence, Chef Noel provides the Hartford area with stellar cuisine, the likes of which is generally found in New York City and other cosmopolitan areas. Through training and experience, he is grounded in the classic technique of European cooking. With this important foundation, Noel works with modern culinary technology to present artful and delicious dishes.
A true professional, Noel is also a gastronomic explorer, continuously experimenting with new flavors and new techniques to bring excitement to each dish he presents before his guests. His passion for culinary creativity is neatly summed up in his philosophy: "Take classic cuisine and use it as a springboard for the imagination to create new dishes."
Chef/Owner of Ristorante Potenza
Passion should be Walter Potenza's middle name. His restaurants are quite possibly the most authentic in New England. He is as much a historian as he is a chef. His attention to details and devotion to history gives his customers a delicious taste of the real Italy.
Chef Walter Potenza, a native of Abruzzo, Italy, is known as one of the most passionate and accomplished practitioners of traditional Italian cooking in the nation. Potenza came to America at the age of 19, to live with his family and study history at Rhode Island College, but it was clear very quickly, his love of cooking would draw him in another direction, directly to the restaurant business.
Potenza has led kitchens in some of the most renowned restaurants in New England as well as in his Italian hometown. Potenza opened The Sunflower Café and La Locanda del Coccio, both located in Providence, in 1994. Opening in 1999 to raves from enthusiastic foodies, Chef Walter’s Aquaviva Eurobistro, the first tapas-style restaurant-cafe in Rhode Island was launched. History repeats itself, as is the case with Chef Walter. Having opened his first fine dining restaurant appropriately named Walter’s, in 1985, and originally located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, Walter was anxious to reinvent this establishment elsewhere.
While still guiding the kitchens at his other properties, Walter found the perfect venue and surroundings. This new fine dining jewel opened in 2004, housed in an historic 1917 Palazzo located on historically significant Federal Hill in Providence, the cultural centerpiece for the Italian immigration colony of the 1900. Christened Walter’s Ristorante d’Italia, the public enjoys the first-of-its-kind fine dining menu to feature "Vera cucina Italiana" authentic cuisine derived from several periods through out Italian culinary history. Potenza’s unique cooking style is honed from a special love of recreating and reinterpreting Holiday dishes and foods traditional to the Italian Jews. The Jewish Heritage has been associated with Italy for over 2,000 years, and its culinary repertoire integrated into the land.
Spezia Foodsmith’s Organic Natural Market and Café opened in 2006, and is the latest brainchild from this energetic and passionate Italian-American. Dedicated to the finest quality foods, Spezia offers take- out, casual setting, tasting, and a wine bar, as well as specialty packaged foods and condiments. Chef Walter’s hope was for his guests to recreate a culinary experience of their own at home, with foods lovingly created from Spezia, which features ingredients with no trans-fats, hormone free, no GMO, Gluten free, and sustainable products from 50 miles of territory. Many of the produce and cheese products found here come from local artisans and sustainable farming co-ops hand selected by Chef Walter.
In addition to operating his restaurants and Spezia Foodsmith’s, Potenza is the Director of Chef Walter’s Cooking School, operating both in Gubbio, Italy and Providence, Rhode Island. Lately, he has added a new location for his Travel & Cooking. His native Abruzzo is the centerpiece of the new Italian culinary discovery, specifically the province of Teramo where the chef was born. He was the first chef in the United States to introduce the century’s old technique and art of Terra cotta cooking with Chef Potenza devising historically accurate food dishes specially designed to be cooked in these clay pots. His latest venture is a new concept / restaurant named "Spiga Trattoria " with Italian farm cooking being the focus of the menu'. The concept is to fairly showcase the humble origins of Italian farmers who developed their own culinary repertoire during the various segments of farm laboring.
Potenza’s culinary awards include the Five-Star Diamond Award, the Porto-Novo Award, and the prestigious Insignia Award given to Chef Walter in 2000 by the Italian government. This award identifies Chef Walter as one of the Ambassadors of Italian Culture worldwide. His articles are published in national and international gastronomic publication. He has been featured on channels such as the Food network, Fox, We, Travel, Rai, CBS, NBC, and the host of two cooking shows: Flavors & knowledge with ABC, and Stir it up with Cox network. His Federal Hill cook book is at his 4th printing, and in the process of releasing two more; "Federal Hill Dolciumi", and the much awaited "19 Ghettos" the life and the foods of the Jews in Italy after the Inquisition.
Potenza was one of a select group of chefs named to the James Beard Specialty Chef Program, held during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Utah. A 2002 winner of the State of Rhode Island’s, Man of the Year, Potenza continues to teach the history of hundreds of years of culinary experimentation to many in his community and around the country. Lately he is designing his new cooking school, and scouting for new locations for his travel and cooking business in Italy.
Chef Doug Quint
Throughout his twenty years living in New York City, Douglas Quint’s main focus was always as a musician — until he got himself a Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Armed with a concept but no practical experience whatsoever, Doug and partner, Bryan Petroff, began the long process of developing a brand identity, researching unique topping ideas, securing their Mobile Food Vendor Licenses, and bringing their vision to life. The truck debuted in June 2009 at Brooklyn Pride. Since then, the business has seen a whirlwind of publicity and has become a New York favorite. With a playful attitude, Doug and Bryan’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck spins a new take on old-school soft-serve by creating fun and unique ice cream toppings and frozen treats that appeal to a diverse mix of clientele.
The pair have been featured on Cooking Channel, Sundance Channel and Food Network, international programs, and were featured guests on The Rachael Ray Show. The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck has won numerous press accolades and awards, has been called "the most influential food truck in the country," and holds the distinction of being the only food truck invited to appear at the James Beard House in New York City.
Currently, the truck is on the streets of NYC for its third season. In addition to the truck, Douglas and Bryan are writing The Big Gay Ice Cream Book for publication in summer 2012, which hopes to inspire a renaissance of home ice cream creations and also teach you how to hot-wire an ice cream truck, should the need arise. This summer will also see the opening of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Located in the heart of the East Village, the shop will bring rainbow sprinkles and caramelized bacon ice cream sandwiches to ice cream lovers year-round.
Chef Bill Taibe
Owner/Executive Chef, LeFarm Restaurant, Westport, CT
Baltimore International Culinary College, Baltimore, MD: AAS degree
Deer Park Lodge, County Caven, Ireland
European Studies-Certificate Earned
By the age of 33, Chef Bill Taibe had received three “Excellent” ratings from the New York Times. He is among the leaders of the new generation of chefs sourcing from and supporting local farms and distributors.
Chef Taibe’s love for food began early on while working after school at the local butcher shop. In his earlier years, as a culinary professional, both at Two Moons in Port Chester, NY and Wildfire in Greenwich, CT, he quickly went from Sous Chef to Executive Chef. He then moved on to Zanghi on Summer, in Stamford CT which during that time received and “Excellent” from the NY Times.
In 2001, Chef Taibe was offered the Executive Chef position at G/R/A/N/D in Stamford, CT where he helped to develop and design the concept and menu for this upscale lounge, earning much recognition as well as three stars from Connecticut Magazine.
Three years later, Chef Taibe ventured out on his own and created Relish Food & Wine, located in South Norwalk, CT. A 55 seat restaurant and 12 seat wine bar. Chef Taibe received many accolades at Relish, including his second “Excellent”, “Four Stars” from Connecticut Magazine, “Best New Restaurant” and “Best Overall Restaurant” by Fairfield County Weekly.
After much success with Relish, Chef Taibe left to help develop Napa & Co., in downtown Stamford, CT. Consisting of 90 seats, a gourmet market and boutique retail wine shop, Chef Taibe, again, received an “Excellent” from the New York Times, “Four Stars” in CT magazine, “Best New Restaurant”, by CT magazine, and “Best New Restaurant” by Moffly Publications.
Chef Brooke Vosika
A record 28 years with the company, Brooke Vosika is the most tenured Four Seasons Chef.
Currently the Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Boston, Vosika oversees menu development for all of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets. This ranges from the bustling Bristol Lounge to banquet functions and In-Room Dining. Collectively, these outlets serve well over a half a million guests annually, making Boston among the busiest food and beverage operation in the company. Whether creating dishes for an intimate dinner or an event exceeding 1,000 attendees, Vosika’s team of 65 cooks always strives for perfection: “We constantly aim to exceed guests’ expectations. Each day is an opportunity to be creative and to deliver that wow experience to diners.”
Following graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, Vosika’s career began in 1982 as a line cook at Four Seasons Washington D.C. Vosika was quickly promoted through the ranks, graduating to senior positions at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel in Seattle. In 1997, Vosika earned the title of Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, and in 2001 he moved to into that role at Four Seasons Hotel New York.
Over the course of his career, Vosika has received high profile awards including from the prestigious Bocuse d’Or and the James Beard Foundation. As well, Vosika’s talents have been showcased in food and wine festivals throughout the country such as Epcot, Foxwoods, Nantucket, and Tanglewood. Vosika has worked with renowned chefs and personalities of the likes of Martha Stewart, Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon, Gérard Boyer, Paul Bocuse, and cooked for Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush. Vosika has also won top honors for “Best Meatballs in Boston” (2009) and also the “Best Burger in Boston” at the Boston Burger Battle (2010, 2011), among others.
Outside of the kitchen, Vosika enjoys tending to the gardens and orchards of his upstate New York cabin. His grandfather, a founding member of the Woodstock art community, built the cabin where he and Vosika spent summers gardening and cooking together, developing a sincere love for food and its origin. Vosika’s wine collection invokes envy, with European vintages dating back to 1847, and American boutique finds from Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estates. And his personal wine label, Sawkill Creek, and homemade maple syrup and apple cider, also flourish. Vosika carries on his family’s connection to art too, with a gallery of original works from well-known artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Peter Max, and photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Vosika credits his love for local, seasonal, and artisanal products as the foundation for the menus he creates at Four Seasons Hotel Boston. “The unique flavor of each ingredient is where a dish begins. From there, I layer every flavor to bring out the very best elements. The result is a memorable dish…and dining experience.”
Chef Todd Winer
MET Restaurant Group Corporate Chef
Chef Todd Winer comes from humble food beginnings. Perhaps that's why he's moved by the simplicity of briny West Coast Kumomoto oysters and finds inspiration when he lays his eyes on a basket of plump, rainbow-colored heirloom tomatoes.
Winer's passion for food was first ignited during his teenage years when he began a part time job in the kitchen of an Italian bistro. The contrast between his vegetable-phobic, meat-and-potatoes upbringing and the flavorful, aromatic food being created in the small, bustling kitchen piqued his interest and he decided to learn the fundamentals of fine cooking at the New England Culinary Institute. After graduation his real culinary training began under renowned chefs including Charlie Palmer, Bobby Flay, Nancy Oakes, and Todd English.
Winer spent eight years working alongside Todd English helping to build English's restaurant empire nationally and internationally. His tenure with English proved to be a life-changing experience. He worked in various roles within English's Olive Group Restaurants. All the while developing his own culinary style. During his stint at Olives Tokyo in Japan, Winer started to take a special interest in beef, learning to recognize and prepare the highest grades of beef, a skill that would later prove to be instrumental.
After his time in Tokyo, Winer was named the Executive Chef for Kingfish Hall in Boston where his experience in Japan brought a new level of technique and presentation to this New England seafood concept. His innovative menu ideas and streamlining of kitchen operations were instrumental in the restaurant's success and did not go unnoticed. While at Kingfish Hall, Winer began to receive the recognition that he truly deserved. He was invited to participate in many of the restaurant industry's prestigious events like the International Food Festival in Bangkok, numerous Food & Wine events, James Beard House dinners, and Spinazzola dinners.
In 2006, Winer became the Executive Chef of The Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill, where he brings a remarkable variety of influences and styles to his new role. His taste for full-bodied flavors and eye-appealing arrangements comes from his adventures. "Some of my best ideas have come from my constant search for something new that will complete the puzzle. I search for old cookbooks; I draw inspiration from artwork and replicate the innovation of the design. I always knew I was artistic but it wasn't until I tried food as my medium that I knew I'd found my niche."
As Winer continued to develop his own menus and create signature dishes at The Metropolitan Club guests saw the imprint of his culinary journey on the plate - a unique combination of fearlessness and respect for tradition. His food, although classic, is enhanced by his sophisticated, well-traveled palate.
He took his worldly culinary experience into consideration when he helped owner Kathy Sidell Trustman create the second MET concept, the MET Bar and Grills in both Natick and Dedham. This concept is a more casual concept with a globally influenced burger bar in both locations.
The most recent concept that they have just launched is the MET Back Bay, located on the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth Street in one of Boston’s most posh neighborhoods. Chef Winer created several different themes within this venue including a ham and cheese bar featuring local hams, cured meats and cheeses that he helped hand select by visiting the farms where they are derived from. It also has an innovative menu featuring delicious small plate salads as well as larger dishes that compliment both a lunch and dinner crowd. It has already open to rave reviews and has become one of Boston’s most welcomed dining destinations.
Chef Patricia Yeo
Patricia Yeo has been winning acclaim for her unique cuisine ever since her first restaurant, AZ, opened in 1999. By melding elements of an international upbringing that took her from Malaysia to England to the United States with a precision that she honed as a trained scientist, she has created an innovative, elegant cuisine. Her culinary alchemy was summarized by The New York Times’ William Grimes who enthused in his three-star review at AZ, “In dish after dish, she shows a rare combination of audacity and refinement, sustained with admirable consistency over the entire menu.”
She was on her way to completing a biochemistry degree at Princeton University when she enrolled in a cooking class at the New York Restaurant School. Inspired, she turned in her lab coat for chef whites. While attending culinary school, she met Bobby Flay and the two chefs had an instant rapport. Yeo and Flay worked together at the Miracle Grill, Mesa Grill and Bolo.
Yeo moved to the West Coast to work at China Moon, run by celebrated cookbook author and Chinese scholar Barbara Tropp. Tropp taught Yeo the basic philosophies behind true Asian cooking, further educating her on the adept use of unusual ingredients.
Yeo returned to Manahattan to open Bolo with Flay but found herself nostalgic for the flavors and aromas of Asian cuisine. She seized the opportunity to move back to California to open Hawthorne Lane under Chef Anne Gingrass. There, Yeo received rave reviews, earning three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle for her inventive fusion cuisine.
In 1999, Yeo opened the eclectic Asian-inspired American restaurant, AZ, in Manhattan. New York Magazine’s Gael Greene wrote “every dish cries out for a camera—before the mouth engages the complex texture and audacious flavors.” Three star reviews from all of New York City’s major local papers followed. AZ inspired a cookbook, Cooking from A to Z with Patricia Yeo (St. Martin’s Press) which was released nationally in November 2002. At her second endeavor, Pazo, Yeo applied her signature style to the re-discovery of the Mediterranean.
2004 at Sapa, a French and Southeast Asian eatery in Chelsea she was able to apply much of her inspiration from her travels through Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In October of 2005 she published her second cookbook, Everyday Asian (St. Martin’s Press).
In 2009, Patricia moved from New York to Boston to open Ginger Park. The introduction of world-renowned chef, Patricia Yeo, to Boston illustrates the thriving culinary scene in the city. Yeo is thrilled to be engrossed in Boston’s burgeoning restaurant renaissance. Now in Cambridge at Om Restaurant & Lounge, Patricia brings innovative and inspirational cooking in theme with Om and its Asian-Fusion palate. Patricia has most recently announced her partnership with restaurateur Solmon Chowdhury of OM Restaurant and their forthcoming dining concept, MOKSA. MOKSA will feature Japanese street fare in a casual izakaya setting. It is slated to open in the fall of 2011.
In late 2007, Patricia moved to South East Asia to learn the food ways and culture of the region. While traveling in Asia she worked as a restaurant consultant for various hotels and boutique resorts.
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