Must be 21 years of age or older to attend Sun Wine and Food Fest.
Chefs are subject to change.
For the past twenty-five years, Billy Harris has been wowing audiences throughout the United States and around the world. His razor-sharp timing and brilliant improvisational skills have made him one of the most sought-after MC's in the business. A cousin of Vaudeville great Georgie Jessel, Billy has been performing his entire life. By the tender age of five and a half, he understood how to "work a room"!
Adam Young began his career at the age of 12 washing dishes at the local inn in his hometown of Brandon, Vermont. He grew up on working dairy farm, where he would milk the cows before school and developed a strong worth ethic set forth by his farming parents. He went on to attend New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT and found himself working all along the East Coast after graduation. He was fortunate to work under the late French Master Chef René Bajeux,, and Olympic Chef Joe Faria, where he gained a strong passion for cultivating the talents of the next generation of young chefs. Adam Young was the Executive Pastry Chef at Ocean House Hotel & Resort, a Forbes Five Star, Five Diamond, Relais & Chateaux property where he was on the opening culinary team and ran a 24-hour pastry operation for six years. In 2016, he left Ocean House to venture out on his own, and opened Sift Bake Shop in Mystic, CT to rave reviews. He has since opened a second Sift location in Watch Hill, Rhode Island and completed a massive expansion of Sift Mystic that includes a rooftop cocktail bar called Mix at Sift. In summer 2020, Young opened his eponymous doughnut shop, Young Buns in Downtown Mystic. Young is also the chef behind A.T.Y confections, which was born out of a desire to create handcrafted chocolates for the bakery and beyond.
Adam Young was crowned Food Networks’ “Best Baker in America”, in 2018 and was also named “Best Pastry Chef in Connecticut” by the CT Restaurant Association in 2019. He is a frequent contributor to Food Network and can recently be seen as a guest judge on Holiday Gingerbread Showdown and Chopped Sweets. Currently Young is also working on writing his own cookbook and enjoys spending his free time with wife and daughter.
Culinary Director of Summer Shack Restaurants When Dell Leandro, Culinary director for Jasper White's Summer Shack, says that he loves what he does, you can take him at his word. He started at Summer Shack more than 20 years ago. Beginning in the pantry and quickly working his way from fish preparation to quality control and then the sauté station ("My first day was not pretty," he humbly admits), he learned different facets of the business while also discovering his affinity for the kitchen. "Cooking, it's truly a passion," he states.
In his current role, Leandro is still responsible for quality control, while adding employee training and development of menu specials to his list of duties, all while keeping an eye on costs. His most important duty, however, is to cultivate new talents. "I would never be a director if it wasn't for the support I had from the Summer Shack team," said Dell.
The Summer Shack's signature dish is the pan-roasted lobster with bourbon, chives, chervil and lemon butter, which Leandro describes as "an experience." When the goal is to serve the freshest of the ocean's bounty, though, there are always surprises in store, even for repeat visitors.
Summer Shack's "mantra" is "Food is love." For Leandro, it's obvious that the love starts in the kitchen.
There are three Summer Shack locations- Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, Cambridge at Alewife Station and at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT.
Born and raised in New Jersey, chef, television personality, and author Amanda Freitag has become a culinary maven. Following her graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, Amanda worked in a diverse mix of restaurants in New York City, including Jean-George Vongerichten's Vong, Verbena, Il Buco, Cesca, and The Harrison, running the culinary gamut of Mediterranean, Italian and Classic American. She sharpened her skills through world travel, including working under Chef Alain Passard in Paris, and continued expanding her culinary expertise into a variety of international cuisines.
Outside of the restaurant business, Amanda has become a household name for her work both on and off the television screen. She is well known for being a judge on Food Network’s Chopped and has appeared on Iron Chef America, Next Iron Chef, Unique Eats, Beat Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions, and more.
Her mission to make cooking more approachable inspired the creation of her cookbook The Chef Next Door, her set of five unique spice blends, a collection of soon-to-be-released bottled cocktails, and other ongoing culinary projects. Amanda has also earned notoriety on social media for her tutorial series EasyAF, where she shows audiences that delicious food can be fun and simple to make in the comfort of your own home.
Chef Ben Ford is most known for his famous restaurant in Culver City Ford's Filling Station and his newest additional restaurant just opened in the Delta terminal at LAX. The acclaimed chef and restaurateur, Harrison Ford's son, is one of Southern California's brightest culinary stars.
Co-owner of Hollywood restaurant Grub, this native of San Francisco has appeared on Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef Masters as well as Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels. Grub's signature cuisine, "California Comfort Food," has won a broad range of awards from “Best Breakfast in LA” to “Best Brunch Spot,” is famous for its tuna melt and was featured on The Travel Channel's Bacon Paradise with her "Crack Bacon." She made her famous "Ba-Da-Bing Betty's Grilled Cheese Sandwich" for Al Roker on Today. Betty also operates the highly successful As You Like It Catering with her partner Denise DeCarlo.
For New York Times best-selling author Buddy Valastro, 41, mixing eggs, sugar, butter and flour means a lot more than “making a cake.” As a fourth generation baker, it’s a constant source of pleasure, pride and creativity. Creating amazing cakes connects Buddy with the memory of his father Buddy Sr. and his extended Italian family history. His talent and passion for the family business, Carlo’s Bakery, has earned the straight-talking cake expert the moniker, and TLC TV show, Cake Boss. In December 2010, TLC premiered the spin-off series, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, where Buddy challenged bakers from around the country to compete for a chance to work alongside the Valastro family at Carlo’s. This past August, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker crowned its fourth season winner. December 2013, TLC launched Buddy’s Bakery Rescue (formally Bakery Boss), a series following Buddy Valastro across the country helping other family-run bakeries that are struggling to find their own sweet success with his famous blend of business skills and baking expertise. Following the launch of his best-selling first book, Cake Boss, Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia (Free Press, Nov. 2010), Buddy brought the pages of stories and tips to life on stage via his highly successful Bakin’ with The Boss Tour. Buddy went on to release a how-to book, Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy’s Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets (Free Press, Nov 1, 2011). A year later, Buddy shared his savory skills and favorite Italian recipes in his how-to book, Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss: Family Favorites as Only Buddy Can Serve Them Up (Free Press, Nov 6, 2012) and hit the road for his much-anticipated Homemade for the Holidays Tour. Last November, Buddy offered families festive tips and tricks to celebrate the holidays with his newest how-to book, Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss (Atria Books, Nov 5, 2013). Expanding outside of Hoboken for the first time, Buddy and the famiglia built a 100,000 square foot baking facility in Jersey City in 2011, opened multiple new locations throughout the United States and in Brazil. In October 2013, Buddy brought his family’s classic Italian recipes to the table, opening his first restaurant, Buddy V’s, in the Venetian Las Vegas; Buddy then went on to open additional Buddy V’s restaurants in San Antonio, TX and Bethlehem, PA. Old favorites and new recipes are on the menu as well as desserts you know and love from Carlo’s Bakery. Taking his talents behind the camera lens, Buddy and long-time partner Art Edwards have launched Cakehouse Media, a production company focused on creating original high quality lifestyle programming. Buddy also hosted two seasons of the Food Network competition series, Bakers vs. Fakers.
Since 1969, at the age of 15, Lynn has been a big part of both the culinary and hospitality industries, working with chefs from every corner of the world. With a firecracker of a personality and over 20 years at Mohegan Sun, he serves proudly and passionately as Director of Culinary and Executive Pastry Chef. Chef Lynn spent his childhood on his parent's dairy farm in the South of Wales, charting a big life course of food and art!
Originally from Virginia, Chef Plum has lived in Connecticut since 1999 and is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. He’s been a professional chef for more than 25 years.
Chef Plum has been featured on many shows on The Food Network, ABC's The Taste, Ehow.com, Jamie Oliver’s Foodtube, The Hallmark Channel, and The New York Times. He spearheaded the Dinner Underground restaurant pop-up in Connecticut, and he’s been the host and executive producer of multiple video series, including Random Acts of Cooking, On the Road (with Edible Magazine), Elite Chef, and Restaurant Road Trip on PBS.
He hosts his own podcast, Plum Luv Foods Live and is a contributing chef on WTNH’s CT Style, WFSB’s Great Day Food, and Star 99.9.
When he’s not on the air, you can find Chef Plum judging food competitions like the New York Hot Sauce Expo; the Bacon and Beer Classic; The World Food Championship; the New York Best Wings Festival, and most recently, the New York Mac & Cheese Fest.
He’s also a featured chef at the Sun Wine and Food Festival at Mohegan Sun and Cuisines of the Sun at La Estancia.
Chef Chris Santos has over twenty-ﬁve years of experience as an executive chef in New York City’s hottest restaurants as well as his expansions on the West Coast. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Chef of Beauty & Essex Restaurants in the Lower East Side, at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and in Hollywood, CA. He oversees the menu development and culinary operations of all three properties with more locations in the works and is currently developing a new brand to debut in 2022 in Las Vegas.
After graduating from Johnson & Wales University and traveling extensively through Europe, Chef Santos honed his craft, palette, and style in various restaurants around New York City including the cult classic Wyanoka, the famed Time Café, and award-winning Latin restaurant, Suba.
In 2005, he and partner Rich Wolf introduced the world to their unique brand of communal dining with the debut of their restaurant, The Stanton Social. The New York Times praised his innovative talent in which he tweaks traditional classics with an “infectious playfulness.” In 2007, he was named Star Chefs Rising Star Chef and began developing a sister restaurant to his ﬁrst smash hit. In December of 2010, Santos and Wolf welcomed Beauty & Essex to the Lower East Side. With an operational pawnshop entrance, the breathtaking design transforms the turn-of-the-century townhouse into a seductive, bi-level restaurant and lounge. A few years later, Santos introduced Beauty & Essex to the West Coast in Las Vegas, and again in Los Angeles in 2017.
Santos released his ﬁrst cookbook in 2017 to critical acclaim: SHARE – Delicious and Surprising Recipes to Pass Around Your Table. In addition to his three restaurants, he has been a series regular and sitting judge on Food Network’s hit series Chopped since its debut in 2008 and is a two-time Chopped champion himself. Santos has been featured on NBC’s TODAY Show, CBS’s Early Show, The Martha Stewart Show, and The Rachael Ray Show among many others.
After nearly thirty years residing in New York City, Chef Santos now lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Actress Natalie Makenna, and their two Frenchies Frankie & Gigi.
Chef Esther Choi, owner and founder of New York City’s mŏkbar and partner of Ms. Yoo, is an influential female chef driven by her Korean roots. With a personal passion for introducing New Yorkers to the flavors of Korean culture, Chef Esther’s cooking combines traditional and modern influences with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Mŏkbar has four bustling locations in the Chelsea Market, Brooklyn, The Hugh, and now a location in DC at Le Fantome. Each menu blends traditional and modern Korean recipes with a wide variety of Asian influences.
The popular restaurant received the Village Voice’s 2014 Reader’s Choice “Best New Restaurant” and “Best Kimchi” in 2015 by Epoch Taste.
Chef Esther is a co-owner of Ms. Yoo, a food-driven pub where traditional American bar food and drink is reimagined with authentic Korean flavors, ingredients, and techniques. Zagat has declared it one of the city’s hottest new restaurants as well as Thrillist naming it the best place to eat during a Lower East Side bar crawl.
Chef Esther received formal training at New York’s institute of culinary education and has worked across the kitchens of ilili, La Esquina, and the Food Network. Since the 2014 opening of her first venture, in Chelsea Market, Esther has been hailed as “New Rising Chef” by Food Republic and in 2015 was named a “Zagat 30 under 30” NYC Culinary Rockstar. From 2018 to 2019, Choi hosted Eater’s The Kitchen Gadget Test Show. Chef Esther can be found giving her culinary advice and expertise on a variety of shows from Beat Bobby Flay to being a finalist in Iron Chef. Her knowledge of Korean cuisine doesn’t stop at just food shows but extends to two hosting two podcasts Get Down with K-town and Hotline Offline.
Inspired by the old-aged techniques of her Korean grandmother’s cooking, Chef Esther believes that food is the ultimate expression of a country’s culture. From its history and social customs to its language, geography, and arts, Chef Esther seeks to offer guests an understanding and appreciation of Korean foods.
Sessy- Premium CBD Sesame Oil
Chef and restaurateur Esther Choi, owner of NYC’s Mokbar, recently launched Sessy, a new CBD infused toasted sesame oil. Created in partnership with Pot d’Huile, Sessy contains 250mg of hemp derived CBD per bottle, combining the distinctive toasty, nutty flavor of sesame oil with the healing and calming properties of CBD. Inspired by the time honored techniques of her grandmother’s cooking, Esther believes that food is the ultimate expression and appreciation of Korean food. Sesame oil is a major ingredient in everyday Korean cooking, just a teaspoon or two adds a rich burst of flavor to any recipe, from vegetables, marinades, stir-frying, sauces, and even baked goods. Esther has used CBD everyday for several years, for its wide range of wellness benefits, and looks forward to sharing a piece of her Korean culture in CBD form. Sessy is available for purchase online.
Govind Armstrong’s acclaimed California cuisine has evolved from his passionate commitment to sustainability and locality, and straightforward seasonal approach to cooking. Armstrong made a heralded mark with his Table 8 restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami, followed by the highly popular 8 oz. Burger Bar currently located in several cities nationwide. Armstrong has been a guest chef aboard the Queen Mary 2, and was featured in People's 50 Most Beautiful issue, Bon Appétite, Gourmet and O. He has numerous television appearances including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Iron Chef America, Today, Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. Armstrong is also the author of Small Bites, Big Nights: Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions and Lavish Parties.
Ihsan was born and raised in Istanbul, surrounded by bazaars full of varied flavors and fragrances. Ihsan studied at UC Berkeley and played volleyball for the Golden Bears. In 1982, Ihsan moved to Cambridge, MA where he became head volleyball coach at Harvard. Ihsan followed his passion for food working at a local specialty grocer called Formaggio Kitchen. Following retirement from Harvard volleyball, Ihsan put all of his energy into Formaggio Kitchen and, in 1992, took over ownership of the shop. Since then, he has established Formaggio Kitchen as one of the leading retailers of gourmet foods in the country.
One of Boston’s most creative and charismatic chefs, the blue-haired Jason Santos, has wowed his guests with his innovative cuisine and his larger-than-life personality at his four bustling restaurants. They include: Nash Bar & Stage, Buttermilk & Bourbon Boston, Buttermilk & Bourbon Watertown, and Citrus & Salt.
Known for his fun and creative cuisine and restaurant spaces, Chef Jason Santos continues to be one of Boston’s most innovative and exciting chefs. Santos is also a TV personality who can be seen weekly on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and Paramount Network’s “Bar Rescue”. Santos debuted his first cookbook, Buttermilk & Bourbon, which is available at bookstores across the nation and on Amazon, and just released his second cookbook in December 2022 titled Simply Fancy.
Santos lives in Woburn with his wife, Thuy and his daughter, Teagan. He splits his time between running his restaurants, writing cookbooks, performing media appearances and attending culinary events.
Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning chef, author, television personality and founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a recipient of the 2012 "James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award" for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network’s Chopped. In addition to judging roles on Food Network, Maneet also competes at the highest level and most recently won Guy Fieri's Tournament of Champions II, where she was able to donate winnings of $40,000 to help different restaurants survive the pandemic.
Born in Punjab, India, chef Chauhan worked in some of the country’s finest hotels before moving to the U.S. to study at the Culinary Institute of America. She went on to work as executive chef in some of New York City and Chicago’s top restaurants, which received national acclaim under her leadership. After relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Chauhan and her husband, Vivek Deora, co-founded Morph Hospitality Group, opening their first restaurant, Chauhan Ale & Masala House in 2014. With the goal of filling gaps in Nashville’s culinary landscape, the group opened Tansuo, a Chinese concept, and The Mockingbird, a global diner, in 2017, and Chaatable, a nostalgic Indian street food concept in 2018. Chef Chauhan is also a co-founder of Hop Springs, home to the state’s largest craft brewery and a fun-filled 84 acre beer park located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Chauhan is the author of two cookbooks, Flavors of My World and her most recent, Chaat: The Best Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India, which was released in October 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter, the book was inspired by Maneet's epic cross-country railroad expedition that brought her to local markets, street vendors and the homes of family & friends. Chaat has been recognized as one of Fall 2020’s most anticipated cookbooks and has appeared in the New York Times, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Food Network Magazine, and more.
A leader in the Nashville community, Chauhan has been honored as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s “40 under 40”, which highlights young, successful business leaders and was recognized in Nashville Lifestyles’ Women in Business, which showcases local women who are at the top of their respective industries. In March 2020, Chauhan founded Hospitality Strong, a nonprofit benefitting hospitality workers in need and currently serves as an advisory board member for Nashville's COVID-19 Response Fund, founded to assist individuals, families and nonprofits experiencing financial hardship due to the virus.
When she’s not in the kitchen or traveling, chef Chauhan can be found at home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Vivek Deora, their daughter, Shagun, and their son, Karma.
Marc Murphy is a Chef & Restauranteur who has been cooking for over thirty years. Son of a globetrotting diplomat, he started in some of the most highly esteemed kitchens in the world from Paris to Monte Carlo and today is one of New York’s most celebrated chefs. He is a judge on Food Network’s top-rated shows, Chopped and Chopped Junior and has appeared on Guy’s Grocery Games, Guy’s Ranch Kitchen, Beat Bobby Flay, The Today Show, Good Morning Amerca, HSN and the Rachel Ray Show among others.
Today, Murphy’s involvement in the industry moves beyond the kitchen and television. He served as the President of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Assitiation from 2014 to 2018. He is both a Food Council & Board Member of City Harvest, New York City’s largest food rescue organization. Murphy also sits on the Leadership Council for Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. In 2012, Marc joined the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he took part in public diplomacy programs that engaged foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. He traveled to Italy numerous times, China and Turkey as part of the program. Today je continues that work through The Culinary Diplomacy Project traveling to global destinations including Jordan and Belgium as a representative of American culture and cuisine.
Marc is the author of Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking as his top-selling cookbook and in summer 2019 launched his debut podcast, Food 360, hosted by Marc and produced by iHeartRadio.
Michael Aeyal Ginor is co-founder and Chef of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the most comprehensive Foie Gras producer in the world. Michael, with his partner Izzy Yanay, modernized the ancient delicacy known to Pharos and kings by utilizing the hi-tech and scientifically advanced production techniques of the twentieth century. Production is now a unified, controlled and consistent operation based on nature, nurture, and technology. It is a closed, independent production system where the duck and the egg both come first!
Michael was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1963. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and studied for an MBA at New York University. After four years on Wall Street as a Senior Vice-President with David Lerner Associates he decided to take a revolutionary step: having been born to Israeli expatriates living in America, in 1988 Michael joined the Israeli Defense Forces. He served as a patrol-commanding Captain in the Gaza Strip and as the Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson. It was in Israel that Michael first discovered the potential of modern-age Foie Gras processing. Michael pursued his dream by establishing what is today the major Foie Gras producer in the United States. The company distributes its moulard duck products through a network of distributors extending throughout the United States, and beyond.
HVFG has received the 1993 "Gold Merit Award" from Chefs in America and the 1996 "Award for Excellence" from The James Beard Foundation. In 1996, HVFG received the "Five Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and the 1998 "Award of Excellence" from the American Tasting Institute. Michael has served as Honorary Event Chairman for the Spinazzola Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Fund. In May 1996, Michael received the first "Olive Branch Award" from the Jewish National Fund for humanitarian and professional achievements. He was honored with the 1997 "Angel Award" from The James Beard Foundation for dedication, contribution and foresight and in 1998, Michael received the "American Master Taster Award" from the American Tasting Institute. Both Michael and Izzy Yanay were inducted into the James Beard Foundation "Who's Who of Food and Beverage".
While HVFG is the bedrock of Michael’s pursuits, since 1990, Michael has dedicated his time to the many facets of the culinary world, including product development, creating and organizing gourmet and charitable events, workshops and demonstrations. Thus, Hudson Valley Foie Gras is committed to and is associated with: The James Beard Foundation, where Michael serves as a member of the National advisory Board, The Culinary Institute of America, New England Culinary Institute, Meals on Wheels, Share Our Strength, The Robert Mondavi Master Chefs Program, The Television Food Network, The Masters of Food and Wine, The St. Mortiz Food & Wine Festival, Singapore World Gourmet Summit, and the Bangkok World Gourmet Festival among numerous others.
Michael is also founder of Culinary Brainwaves which consults to the gourmet food industry. He has worked with Rio Suite Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas; Hyatt International; The Regent Group; The Four Seasons Group; Shangri-La Sheraton International; Inter-Continental and the Disney Corporation. He inaugurated the Food and Wine Festivals for Club-Med International.
Michael organizes culinary events and festivals worldwide. By bringing together celebrated American chefs and local chefs, Michael helps to create an intercultural culinary exchange program, which introduces American ingredients and techniques to world markets. Such events have been organized in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Great Britain, Finland, Hong Kong, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand. He is a board member of the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival and the World Gourmet Summit.
Michael is a food and travel contributor to such stellar publications as Food Arts Magazine; The James Beard Magazine; Art Culinaire; Coffee & Cuisine; Singapore’s Cuisine Scene and Great Britain’s Great Hospitality. His cookbook, the internationally acclaimed Foie Gras…A Passion, is a comprehensive reference book accompanied by 84 recipes, received the prestigious 1999 "Prix la Mazille" for best international cookbook of the year from the International Cookbook Revue in Versailles.
Michael, along with Chef Ken Oringer launched Boston’s La Verdad, a casual Mexican Taqueria and restaurant, which has already been awarded "The Best Casual Mexican Restaurant in the US" by Bon Appetit Magazine and "One of the best 100 Restaurant in the US" by Food and Wine Magazine.
In July 2007 Michael opened TLV in Great Neck, NY, a Mediterranean restaurant which is garnishing critical acclaim and has received three stars from Newsday – "An oasis of serious food…. by culinary luminary Michael Ginor" as well as "best new restaurant (Long Island) 2008". It received a Zagat "most notable" distinction in 2009. In September 2009 Michael opened “Lola”, a new personal cuisine restaurant, also in Great Neck, NY. Lola is already being hailed as one of Long Island’s best restaurants, receiving 3 ½ stars from Newsday, and described as “brilliant, volatile…shooting stars”. Michael has recently hosted a one-hour Television special food and travel program titled Run Away Chef in Thailand which was aired by PBS in late 2010 and 2011.
Chef Michael Symon cooks with soul. Growing up in a Greek and Sicilian family, the Cleveland native creates boldly flavored, deeply satisfying dishes at his restaurants: Mabel’s BBQ, Bar Symon and Angeline. Michael also shares his exuberant, approachable cooking style and infectious laugh with viewers on Food Network shows Symon’s Dinners & Throwdown.
Since being named a "Best New Chef" by Food & Wine magazine in 1998, Michael and his restaurants have been awarded numerous honors: in 2000 Gourmet magazine chose Lola as one of "America’s Best Restaurants"; in 2010, Michael was the first and only chef ever to host the annual Farm Aid benefit concert. In 2009, Michael earned The James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Chef Great Lakes".
Michael’s television career is full of appearances and hosting gigs, starting back in 1998 when he made his debut on the Food Network. You might remember him on The Melting Pot, Sara’s Secrets and hosting Cook Like an Iron Chef, among many others over the years. In 2008 he went on to win The Next Iron Chef, earning him a permanent spot on the roster of esteemed Iron Chefs. In September 2011, he joined the cast of The Chew on ABC as one of the show’s five hosts. The Chew ran for seven seasons and received widespread critical acclaim including "Daytime Emmys" in 2015 and 2016, and as well as the hearts and stomachs of audiences across the US. In 2015 Michael traveled throughout the United States and hosted Burgers, Brew and Ques, on the Cooking Channel, tasting the best of America’s classics.
Partnering up with his best pal, Bobby Flay in 2019, they engaged in some healthy competition in Food Network’s BBQ Brawl: Flay Vs. Symon. In June 2020 Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out premiered on the Food Network and his fans quickly fell in love with watching Michael use his grilling and BBQ skills in his very own backyard. Most recently, Michael traveled across the U.S. to check out some of the nation’s most prestigious BBQ competitions to get an inside look at some of the competitors and their techniques for BBQ USA.
While Michael shines on television, he is a genuine hometown guy who made his name cooking in his acclaimed restaurants. Lola opened in 1997 and was a cornerstone of Cleveland’s dining scene for 24 years. Roast brought Michael’s meat-centric cooking to Detroit’s Westin Book Cadillac in 2008 and was immediately named "Detroit’s Best Restaurant" and credited with reviving Downtown as well as named one of the ten best steakhouses in the country by Playboy. Mabel’s BBQ opened in 2016 and introduced a new style of mustard--based barbecue Clevelanders could call their own and was quickly recognized nationally as USA Today called their ribs the best in the U.S. A second Mabel’s opened at the Palms In Las Vegas in 2018 to more rave reviews with critics calling it the best BBQ in Vegas. In 2017, he opened Angeline at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City which was named Atlantic City’s best new restaurant and is a nod to his Italian mother, Angel.
Michael published his first cookbook, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook – Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen, in 2009, sharing home cook--friendly recipes that draw on the flavors of his heritage. Since Michael’s first cookbook release, he has also put out Carnivore, dedicated to meat lovers, 5 in 5, inspired by a popular speed--cooking segment on The Chew, 5 in 5 For Every Season. Michael’s latest releases include Playing with Fire and Fix It with Food and Fix It with Food: Every Meal Easy. Playing with Fire is a cookbook focused on BBQ and live fire grilling, while both versions of Fix It with Food came out of his own experiences in addressing auto-immune diseases and inflammation. All of Michael’s cookbooks were hugely successful and Carnivore, 5 in 5 and Fix It with Food made The New York Times Book Review best sellers list.
When he’s not working, Michael is playing golf, gardening in the backyard and spending time with his wife, Liz, their granddaughter Emmy, grandson Butch and English staffie, Norman.
Michele Ragussis is a New England chef with Greek and Italian heritage. Michele uses Mediterranean accents in her food which make it very unique. Michele loves the cuisine and people of New England, has been cooking for 18 years and loves to do food television. Some shows include Chopped, Food Network Star, NBC Food Fighters, Beat Bobby Flay and Midnight Feast.
Chef Natalie Romero is a Los Angeles-based private chef and caterer, who has appeared on Food Networks Guy’s Grocery Games. However, the majority of her culinary career has been devoted to the nonprofit culinary world. Her accomplishments include developing free culinary school programming for second chance individuals, running a sit-down cafe for the homeless, developing urban farming programming in food deserts, teaching family nutrition classes, running a pantry service to provide free healthy groceries, and serving up hundreds of free hot meals to children daily.
But throughout, it has been Chef Natalie’s decade long professional relationship with Chef Betty Fraser that has led to the most fun and inventive culinary creations. Pairing the technical with the creative, and sprinkle in a whole lot of fun, has made for a match made in culinary heaven.
With over 20 years of culinary experience, coupled with a passion for his craft, creative and artistic talent and his strong leadership roles, Chef Calias has lead the culinary operation at The Colonnade Hotel and Brasserie Jo and Huntington Hotels for the past 12 years. Chef Calias was awarded 2013 "Chef of the Year" from The Epicurean Club of Boston & American Culinary Federation Boston and 2015 "Chef of the Year" from The Massachusetts Restaurant Association. Chef Calias went to Newbury College to get his degree in culinary arts. Chef Calias took his first opportunity as an executive chef of The Beach House Restaurant in Hampton NH. During that time, he was featured on The Phantom Gourmet & Wine Spectator. A couple years later Chef Calias took the realms over at The Sheraton Ferncroft Hotel & Country Club, he was the youngest executive chef in the regional for Starwood Hotels and has been running hotels ever since. Chef Calias received his Certification through the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) in 2008 & in 2014 received his Certified Culinary Administrator Certification (CCA). Nicholas participates in judging for the Mass Pro Start for the last 10 years, as well as a national judge for the National Pro Start Competition, San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Award as well as the NH Skills. Nicholas is an active member of The ACF, he is active in Share our Strength as well as many green initiatives at Brasserie JO which is the highest scoring green certified restaurant in Mass. Chef Calias has also been a featured contestant on The Food Networks Guy's Grocery Games and supports Guy's Cooking with Kids as a featured chef for The Best Buddies Festival.
Chef Nyesha J. Arrington developed a diverse palate and a love for cooking at a young age. Born into a multi-cultural family, by age five, she regularly helped her grandmother in the kitchen. With an undeniable talent she later studied at the prestigious Culinary School at the Art Institute of California in Los Angeles. Upon graduating, Chef Nyesha put her skills to the test in highly competitive environments. Today her resume includes work with legendary French chef Joel Robuchon at his Michelin and Mobil award-wining Las Vegas restaurants, L’Atelier and The Mansion, among others. Nyesha hit the national stage as a fan favorite on Top Chef Season 9, is currently the host of Plateworthy on Eater, and will join Gordon Ramsay as a judge/mentor on FOX’s new culinary competition show Next Level Chef. Celebrated for her advocacy of using farm fresh, locally, and responsibly sourced ingredients, she believes food is like a work of art and every plate a canvas.
Blais currently owns and operates Trail Blais, a forward-thinking culinary consulting company that has consulted on, designed, and operated popular eateries across the country. Trail Blais also advises national brands on menu creativity, ideation and employee training sessions. He is the "James Beard Award"-nominated author of Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate, as well as his second cookbook, So Good. In addition, Blais hosts, Food Court, a high-energy, game-show-style podcast, which is climbing the charts in both comedy and culinary.
When not on set, in the kitchen or at home with his family, Blais may be found traveling cross country performing his live “stand up cooking” show to enthusiastic audiences nationwide.
Robert Irvine is a world-class chef and entrepreneur, and a tireless philanthropic supporter of our nation’s military. The host of Food Network’s hit show Restaurant: Impossible, he has given struggling restaurateurs a second chance to turn their lives and businesses around in over 200 episodes and counting.
He would know a thing or two about running a successful business. In addition to his restaurants—Robert Irvine’s Public House at the Tropicana in Las Vegas and Fresh Kitchen by Robert Irvine within the Pentagon—he is the owner of FitCrunch, whose protein bars, powders, and snacks are available nationwide; Robert Irvine Foods, which makes prepared, restaurant-quality dishes available in grocery stores; and the Lansdale, PA-based Boardroom Spirits, creators of handcrafted vodka, rum, whiskey, and more. Two new signature products—Irvine’s Vodka and Irvine’s American Dry Gin—are in the beginning stages of a nationwide rollout.
A portion of the proceeds from all of Robert’s endeavors benefit the Robert Irvine Foundation. Created in 2014, the foundation gives back to our servicemen and women and first responders. Funds raised help at-need veterans and first responders in a variety of ways: training service dogs, making mental health and wellness services available to veterans in need, providing mobility devices for the disabled, and much more.
For his charitable work and service on numerous USO tours, Robert is the recipient of several civilian honors, including "Honorary Chief Petty Officer of the United States Navy", and the Medal of Honor Society’s "Bob Hope Award".
When not filming for television or working overseas with the USO, he can be found on tour with Robert Irvine LIVE, an unpredictable interactive cooking challenge done before a live audience in packed theaters.
He is the distinguished author of four books, Mission: Cook, Impossible to Easy, Fit Fuel, and Family Table By Robert Irvine. He is also the publisher of Robert Irvine Magazine, a free digital publication delivering workouts, recipes, and motivational content.
Learn more at chefirvine.com.
Executive Chef Robert Sisca is one of New England’s true culinary talents. Chef Sisca has a profound appreciation and passion for combining ingredient-driven cuisine with the refined and classic techniques that he has honed at some of the country’s most exclusive culinary destinations. Chef Sisca worked at the historic One if by Land, Two if by Sea in New York City prior to becoming Sous Chef at the renowned Le Bernardin. During his tenure, Le Bernardin earned the coveted "Michelin Three Star" award and four stars from the New York Times. After working with Rhode Island based G Hospitality restaurant group and launching Garde East on Martha’s Vineyard to local and national acclaim, Chef Sisca has returned to Bistro du Midi. Chef Sisca opened Bistro du Midi in 2009 and is proud to return to the kitchen where he earned his initial accolades for epicurean excellence. Chef Sisca is a two-time nominee for Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef” (2011 and 2012), has been invited to cook at the James Beard House on numerous occasions and received a three-star review from The Boston Globe as well as an “A” rating from The Boston Herald.
Rocco DiSpirito is a "James Beard Award"-winning, pioneering Food Network chef and number one New York Times bestselling author who is known for his unique approach to flavor as well as his dedication to proving that healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive.
Most recently, DiSpirito appeared as both judge and competitor on Food Network's Tournament of Champions, Guy's Grocery Games, Guy's Ranch Kitchen and his own Restaurant Divided. He was recently featured in the New York Times Sunday Routine. In 2019 he brought his creative vision and culinary talents to the iconic Standard Grill restaurant at The Standard, High Line. As Chef, he reimagined the menu, led a redesign of the dining room and elevated the kitchen with an expanded raw bar and new Binchotan-fired Josper grill from Spain. Offering exquisite, fresh, organic, locally sourced meals. His celebrated return to a restaurant kitchen earned high praise, including a notable 2-star New York Times review. Rocco also delighted customers by featuring his signature Peconic Bay Scallops & Uni dish first served at his critically acclaimed 3-star restaurant, Union Pacific, which was a culinary landmark in NYC for many years.
Todd English is a renowned chef, restaurateur, author, entrepreneur and television star based in Boston, Massachusetts and New York City. English is a four-time "James Beard Award" winner and inductee into the James Beard Foundation's "Who's Who in Food and Beverage in America". Todd has authored four critically-acclaimed cookbooks, with his most recent, Cooking in Everyday English that was released in October 2011. English has also created the record-breaking housewares line, The Todd English Collection, and hosts the Emmy-nominated PBS travel series Food Trip with Todd English. Todd English Enterprises includes over twenty innovative restaurants spanning the country and abroad, and is most well-known for his Mediterranean restaurant Olives, with locations in Las Vegas, Mexico City, Abu Dhabi and the Bahamas.
Best known for his mastery of BBQ and comfort food, Chad is an acclaimed restaurateur and food innovator. He owns and manages three restaurants in the Philadelphia area including his flagship, The Lucky Well, and will soon launch Motel Fried Chicken – an industry- changing plant-forward food experience in partnership with TiNDLE.
Over the past two decades, Chad has appeared on several local and national television shows, including two seasons of Food Network Star, Chopped Grill Masters, Beat Bobby Flay (which he did), and Good Morning America. He spends much of his time on the food festival circuit, bringing his flare for cooking to the stage. With his electric personality and tangible passion for food, Chad has grounded himself as a must- see culinary entertainer nationwide.
Catalyst restaurant’s chef/owner William Kovel’s interest in food “sparked” at an early age and led him to travel in pursuit of delicious food. A native of West Hartford, Connecticut, William Kovel cooked in a variety of cities and countries before settling back down in New England. Kovel received his degree in Culinary and Hospitality Studies at Southern New Hampshire University prior to moving out west to San Francisco where he was able to broaden his knowledge of cuisine and technique beyond the East Coast. Kovel’s culinary career has brought him overseas to London and across the United States before he decided to settle in Boston with his own restaurant, Catalyst, in Cambridge. Catalyst embodies the expertise and cooking techniques that Kovel is known for and opened in August 2011.
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. Gilson’s vision has seen early success, as within three months of opening Puritan & Company, 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.
Mike Puma started the GBSC in 2013 as a way to bring his love of food and friends together. What was supposed to be a one year burger tour with his close friends has now developed into a lifestyle of great food, beef and spirits. Gotham Burger Social Club has been credited for putting some of NYC’s best burgers on the map.
On instagram they have earned a reputation “as one of the most trusted palettes in NYC and Beyond” based off of the GBSC reviews and social media posts reaching over 180k food followers.
What sets GBSC apart is that they are honest and not scared to write the truth about their experiences, even if their honesty is interpreted as negative! Through COVID and 2020 GBSC has had to pivot and lend their services to the struggling restaurant and bar community hit hard by the pandemic. This has led to supporting many restaurant partners with the GBSC pop up experience. The NYC community has embraced the weekly pop ups, with lines of people waiting to taste the award winning Gotham Smash Burger.
For years GBSC has served up smash burgers at numerous fundraisers and events and the now famous Gotham Smash is available at pop ups at various locations in NYC. After eating and reviewing over 1000 burgers Mike Puma believes that the nostalgic burger he has mastered is the burger that every one loves. What is next for Gotham Burger Social Club? The response has been humbling and the next stage is to find a Brick & Mortar location to call home.
Sister to six siblings, Aunt to eight nieces and nephews, daughter to two loving parents, and friend to many; Chrissy Tracey is a plant-based chef, an artist, and now an entrepreneur who grew up in the small town of Cheshire, CT.
Chrissy was born into a vegetarian household and has maintained that for majority of her life, with no regrets. This was often a challenge because of the limited options for protein available at grocery stores. She became frustrated trying to find a protein source that could truly “wow” her. That’s when she started to experiment with creating her own recipes for plant-based protein alternatives. After several years of trial and error, Chrissy has finally perfected her recipe for seitan – a meat alternative that mimics that taste and texture of various meats. She wanted to find a way to share her passion for vegetarian cooking with the world around her, so she did just that by creating her LLC, “Chrissys”, striving to show the world just how delicious and simple plant-based eating can be.
It is Chrissy’s hope that she can use her mastery of cooking to educate and shift the perspective of those who are skeptical about plant-based diets, and excite the tastebuds of vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike!
Lenny Messina is the Chef at LOLA Restaurant as well as the Culinary Liaison for Hudson Valley Foie Gras. Working alongside Chef and owner, Michael Ginor, the duo operate LOLA, a multi award-winning eclectic pan-Mediterranean restaurant. The New York Times has awarded LOLA with their most prestigious “excellent” rating. Newsday has named LOLA as one of Long Island’s top ten fine dining restaurants. In 2012, Lenny and his culinary team received the American Culinary Federation’s national championship title for competitive cooking. In 2015, LOLA received the “Cutting Edge” award from the same organization. For the past four years, LOLA has received the OpenTable “Diners Choice” award.
Lenny has been a featured chef at Autism Speaks, Hawaii Food and Wine, Pebble Beach Food and Wine, and The James Beard Foundation. Lenny graduated from the State University of New York at Delhi where he received his bachelors in Business Administration with a focus in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Christian Petroni has made a name of himself by becoming one of the most prevalent chefs in Italian cuisine & the art of red sauce in the NY & NYC area. After spending years under the tutelage of Andy Pforzheimer and the Barteca Group, Christian moved on to start the groundbreaking woodfired-Italian restaurant, Fortina, along with his partner John Nealon. During his time at Fortina, Christian made leaps and bounds on the Food Network, winning Next Food Network Star, Season 14; in addition to recurring ongoing guest appearances judging and cooking on shows like Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Guy’s Grocery Games, Guys Ranch Kitchen, Diners Drive Ins & Dives, Supermarket Stakeout, Tournament of Champions and more.
With eyes towards an ever-growing multimedia career and desires to diversify his culinary range, Christian stepped away from the Fortina restaurant group after successfully opening five restaurants in 8 years. In the months that followed, CP founded Gabagool Media: multi-media and consulting company with a specialize focus in creating content/apparel & guidance for chefs and small businesses worldwide.
Take for example the night DJ Irie was spinning at Robert Downey Jr.’s private birthday bash held at Downey’s Malibu mansion. As the story goes, party host Jamie Foxx was on the mic while Irie had a crowd of Hollywood elites—Jodi Foster, Tobey Maguire, Samuel L. Jackson—partying to a remix of Sting and the Police’s classic hit Roxanne. Sometime during the mix, Sting himself grabbed the mic and started singing along. “I was thinking, wow is this really happening!” recalls Irie. “I couldn’t believe that the same music- loving boy from Miami was actually spinning while Sting rocked out to my mix.”
Calling Miami home, DJ Irie continues to be a major supporter of numerous local and national non-profit organizations, in addition to his active role with the Irie Foundation. By approaching the Foundation with the same unwavering passion, energy, and commitment that has allowed his career to thrive, Irie and his team continue to expand the scope of the Foundation’s efforts.
In addition to his work in the community, DJ Irie is an international sensation with a contagious enthusiasm and larger-than-life personality. While he’s certainly an authority on electrifying any party, the Irie Music brainchild is no ordinary DJ. Serving as the official DJ of the 3-time NBA World Champion Miami HEAT, Carnival Cruise Lines, and superstar Jamie Foxx, Irie’s partnerships also feature a “Who’s Who” of blue-chip companies and brands, including the likes of Pepsi, Target and Breakthrough Beverage. The St. Croix native is also the man behind Irie Music, Corp., co-owner of Lou La Vie Exotic Car Rental, SweetKix.com, Pucci’s Pizza and Venture Projects, LLC investment firm. He’s the #1 choice for countless celebrities and high-profile events everywhere from South Beach to Singapore, and has performed on some of the world’s biggest stages, including the American Music Awards, MTV VMA’s, FIFA World Cup, International Premier Tennis League, Daytona 500, Super Bowl, and NBA All-Star, and at corporate events for Louis Vuitton, Google, Red Bull, Hublot and General Motors, just to name a few.
Recognized worldwide for his tremendous talent and sharp business acumen, he has picked up numerous accolades, including the Global Spin Awards’ "National Club DJ of the Year" and "Entrepreneur of the Year" awards, "Charles E. Perry Young Alumni Visionary Award", Grey Goose’s "Rising Icon Award" and the "Southern Entertainment Awards’ Nightclub DJ of the Year". He is a mainstay on Good Morning America, and has been featured on Conan, The Early Show, MTV, and E! Entertainment Television, as well as in Fortune Magazine, Forbes, USA Today, Us Weekly, ESPN The Magazine, and countless others.
New York City's Tom Macari not only has the drive and focus to make it in the best city in the world but he also has the talent to back it up. “It’s my tireless work ethic that allows me to excel and do what I love,” says the deejay.
Fortunately he had one advantage, growing up on the outskirts of New York City gave Tom the opportunity to explore a multitude of musical genres and sounds. Before ever even touching a turntable Tom was a music lover whether it was Funk and Soul, 80's or the latest Hip Hop and Pop Tom was playing it on his home stereo. By the time Tom entered high school he had already made a name for himself deejaying any and all events that would allow a 15 year old to play.
Fast forward – starting out young would ultimately give Tom the foundation and confidence to command the fast paced, ever evolving New York club scene. Whether spinning for club kids, Derek Jeter and his Yankee teammates at 1 OAK or Cameron Diaz at the famed Boom Boom Room, not to mention club residencies across the US - Tom's impeccable live sets deliver every time! With his diverse musical skill set, Tom lends his open format touch to numerous fashion, lifestyle, media, tech and celebrity special events in the US as well as internationally. Some bold face brands include Esquire Magazine, LVMH, Google, Facebook, Viacom, Universal, NBC. Perrier, Netflix, Oracle and OK! (to name a few). With recent features in US Weekly, OK!, Star and Esquire Magazine, shows around the US and new music slated for release, watch out for this mix master in 2023!
Jamie “The Bear” McDonald is the co-owner of Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ. Upon opening for business in June 2013, Jamie had a drive to succeed and a vision to bring authentic, homemade Kansas City style BBQ to Connecticut. Originally from Kansas City, Jamie is a veteran of the US Navy where he studied nuclear engineering.
Jamie currently serves as a board member for Connecticut Foodshare, whose mission is to provide nutritious food to people in need. In 2022, Jamie and his son, Collyn, joined World Central Kitchen in Poland - five miles from the Ukrainian border to serve meals to refugees fleeing from the war.
Bear’s currently has over 200 team members across two states and prides its success on commitment to the community. Connecticut is home to four Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ locations and in 2022, Bear’s expanded outside of Connecticut to open three locations in Asheville, North Carolina.
As frontman for multi-platinum-selling Alt-Rock band O.A.R., Marc Roberge has performed for sold-out crowds at many of the world’s most iconic venues and helped to build a singularly devoted fanbase that spans the entire globe. With the band now on their tenth studio album (2022’s The Arcade), the New York City-based singer/songwriter/guitarist has also established a dynamic career as a solo artist over the past decade. In a departure from the unbridled energy of O.A.R.’s live show, Roberge’s solo tours find him taking the stage at more intimate theaters and delivering stripped-back renditions of O.A.R. fan favorites, along with a carefully curated selection of covers. Also rooted in his off-the-cuff and warmly candid conversations with the audience, the result is a prime showcase for Roberge’s deeply personal yet immediately resonant storytelling—an element he’s continually brought to O.A.R.’s music since the Maryland-bred band’s formation in 1996. Naming classic Country troubadours among the main inspirations behind his solo shows, Roberge is now at work on a debut solo album that spotlights the more lyrically driven and Folk-leaning side of his limitless musicality with a chance of special guests.
What compelled two accomplished American actors to journey to a remote Mexican village? It was their profound affection for mezcal, not merely for its inebriating qualities, but for the genuine enthusiasm they both shared for this lesser-known spirit. Aaron introduced Bryan to mezcal, and as close friends and co-stars, they were determined to introduce tequila's enigmatic and less renowned counterpart to a broader audience. Their eagerness to illuminate this captivating hidden treasure aligns with their industry's enduring commitment to propelling undiscovered talents onto grander stages.
Ignite your senses with a Dos Hombres Mezcal Tasting hosted by none other than Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.
A member of the Sazerac team since 2017, Katy joined the Buffalo Trace Distillery family as a veteran of the Los Angeles hospitality scene where she learned from the best and practiced her craft extensively. Her passion for heritage spirits and strong relationships with her community serve her well in creating engaging and educational beverage experiences. She enjoys sharing her excitement and building the Buffalo Trace brand.
With her peers on the Board of Directors of the USBG SoCal Chapter she helped launch the CornerStore project, an effort to provide grocery and meal support to local industry employees during the Covid19 pandemic. A Massachusetts native and wicked awesome tap dancer, Katy earned her BFA in Musical Theater from The Hartt School and lived and worked in New York City as both actress and waitress before heading out west.
Scott Conant is a two-time James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author, and TV personality. With a career spanning more than 35 years, Conant brings a deft touch and unwavering passion to creating culinary experiences with thoughtful hospitality and soulful cuisine. His portfolio of acclaimed restaurants includes Mora Italian (Phoenix, AZ), The Americano (Scottsdale, AZ and Atlanta, GA), and Cellaio at Resorts World Catskills (Monticello, NY). Conant has been a popular presence on Food Network as a recurring judge on Chopped since 2009 and frequent co-host of Beat Bobby Flay.
JJ Johnson is a James Beard Award-winning chef, TV Personality and Author best known for his barrier-breaking cuisine informed by the Caribbean flavors of his upbringing. Chef JJ’s signature cooking style combines culturally relevant ingredients and classical technique with a global point of view. At FIELDTRIP, his made-to-order rice bowl shop that debuted in 2019, Chef JJ highlights rice as a hero ingredient and showcases it in recipes sourced from around the world. FIELDTRIP’s first outpost opened in Harlem and has since grown to two additional locations including Rockefeller Center and Long Island City. As one of the only fast casual restaurants on Esquire’s “America’s Best New Restaurants” list in 2020, FIELDTRIP utilizes sustainable ingredients and ethically sourced vegetables and proteins, creating a flavorful and diverse dining experience. The brand’s motto, "Rice is Culture,” was born out of Chef JJ’s belief that rice is the universal ingredient that connects us all and can be found at the center of the table in almost every community. Among many other partnerships, Chef JJ is a Mastercard Ambassador and a television host on Just Eats with Chef JJ airing on TV One’s network Cleo TV.
Maddie & Kiki, Canada’s favorite female Grill Masters, were named in the Top 10 Grill Experts of North America and are regularly featured in the prestigious, Forbes Magazine. BBQ industry professionals turn to Maddie & Kiki for consultation, where they share their knowledge, expertise, and input on the development of new products for the BBQ market.
Maddie & Kiki teach BBQ classes in person at their Grill Studio as well as virtually across the globe. The sisters have traveled across the U.S. and Canada, appearing on morning shows, podcasts, radio, and live events, inspiring people of all ages to fall in love with the art of outdoor cookery.
They host and produce the hit digital series, BBQ Happy Place, where they showcase outdoor kitchens from around the world, as well as a weekly live cooking show that airs every Friday at 12:00pm ET across all of the major social media platforms. The show regularly showcases recipes known as “Fridge Clear Outs” where Maddie & Kiki show viewers how to make the most of their leftovers and nearly expired foods to prevent food waste.
Aarón Sánchez is an award-winning chef, TV personality, author and philanthropist. He is a judge on FOX’s culinary competition series MasterChef and MasterChef Junior and the host and executive producer of El Toque de Aarón on Discovery Familia and Hogar de HGTV. Aarón is the founder of the Aarón Sánchez Impact Fund, a nonprofit program whose mission is to uplift the lives of Latino youth through food. He is a partner and creative director for Cocina Media, which creates and produces lifestyle content that uplifts Hispanic culture. Aarón grew up in the restaurant business and is passionate about preserving his family’s legacy through food and encouraging diversity in the kitchen.
Aarón has starred in multiple Food Network shows, most notably as a judge on Chopped and Chopped Junior and as the host of Cooking Channel’s Emmy-nominated series Taco Trip. He has also hosted several Spanish-language shows including 3 Minutos con Aarón, MOTOCHEFS and most recently, El Sabor de Aarón on Discovery, where he also served as the executive producer.
A third-generation cookbook author, Aarón has written two cookbooks - La Comida del Barrio and Simple Food, Big Flavor and a memoir, Where I Come From: Life Lessons From A Latino Chef. He also co-hosts a podcast, Cooking in Mexican from A to Z, on Heritage Radio Network with his mom, Zarela Martinez.
Aarón is the chef/partner of restaurants Johnny Sánchez (with locations in New Orleans and Lake Charles), Showbird (New Orleans) and Adobo Cantina (West Virginia University and Tulane University).
Aarón’s passion extends beyond the kitchen. He is a partner in world-renowned tattoo shop and museum, Daredevil Tattoo in New York City. An avid music lover, he enjoys cooking to the sounds of Portugal the Man, Shakey Graves, Café Tacvba, Alabama Shakes, Tank and The Bangas, Amos Lee, Lianne La Havas, and Lenny Kravitz. He has a son, Yuma, and lives in New Orleans, LA.
Award-winning actor, television personality, and singer Kalen Allen has catapulted into the mainstream media, reaching millions of people worldwide across his social media platforms and through his unique, laugh-out-loud content.
It was recently announced that Kalen will serve as a judge on Roku's upcoming cooking competition series, Celebrity Family Food Battle, hosted by Manolo Gonzalez Vergara and executive produced by Sofia Vergara. In each episode, a food-loving celebrity and their family member will face off against another celebrity family duo in a two-round battle, with each round featuring a culinary challenge inspired by a hit movie or television series. The winning celeb-family duo will receive a cash prize to donate to a charity of their choice. Celebrity Family Food Battle is slated for production this summer 2023 (release date TBA).
Additionally, Kalen's talents captured the attention of the Food Network, where he has appeared as a judge on their breakout discovery+ baking competition series, Cakealikes, and as a host for the season finale of Buddy vs Duff. Kalen has also hosted season one of The Cooking Channel's Snack on This! series, bringing viewers along for a fun, fascinating peek at the production of America's most-iconic food brands to get the stories and manufacturing feats behind everyone's favorite treats and flavorful munchies.
Martha Stewart is the Founder of the first multi-channel lifestyle company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, an entrepreneur, bestselling author of 99 to date lifestyle books and Emmy award winning television show host. Reaching more than 100 million devoted fans on a monthly basis through her magazines, television shows, books, and products for the home, sold on Martha.com and at multiple retail and online outlets, Martha is the "go-to" source for the homemaker. She and her talented staff provide trusted, timely, and useful information on all aspects of everyday living: cooking, entertaining, gardening, home renovating, collecting, organizing, crafting, healthy living, holidays, weddings and pet care, both in print and social media.
Raised in Nutley, New Jersey, in a family of six children, Martha developed her passion for cooking, gardening and homekeeping at an early age. Her mother taught her the basics of cooking, baking, canning, and sewing; her father introduced her to gardening at the age of three. Martha earned a bachelor's degree in history and architectural history at Barnard College. Upon graduating, she became a stockbroker on Wall Street, where she gained her early business training. After moving to Westport, Connecticut, in 1972, she developed a catering business that showcased her remarkable talent and originality. Her unique visual presentation of food and the elegant recipes she created for her thriving event and catering business were the basis for her first book, Entertaining, published in 1982. 97 more have been published, including bestsellers such as Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, Martha Stewart's Cooking School, Martha Stewart Flowers, The Homekeeping Handbook, The Martha Manual: How to Do (Almost) Everything and Martha Stewart's Organizing.
Manouschka Guerrier is a TV Chef/Lifestyle Expert and CEO of Single Serving, a multi-dimensional entertainment brand. Under the Single Serving umbrella, she runs a private chef/catering company, owns the luxury picnic company, The Lemons Theory, runs a popular blog and developed a television docuseries with RelativityREAL. She is most recognized as one of the costars of a popular Food Network series titled Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, which aired in over 22 Countries. She was most recently featured in Delish and Time Magazine.
Bio coming soon.
Must be 21 years of age or older to attend Sun Wine and Food Fest.
Chefs are subject to change.