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Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame
Hall-of-Fame-Award.jpg
Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Award designed by Ed Mell and John Cleaver.
Congratulations to the 2011 Hall of Fame Inductees!
  • Chef Extraordinaire - Chrysa Roberts of Rancho Pinot
  • Pastry Chef Extraordinaire - Eugenia Theodosopoulos of Essence Bakery Cafe
  • Exceptional Establishment - Vincent on Camelback
 
Top chefs and restaurant industry professionals from across the state will gather in downtown Scottsdale to honor the newest members of the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame.  This event recognizes exceptional chefs, pastry chefs and restaurants in the state.

The list of incredible award winners from the past 19 years is below.

You can be a part of Hall of Fame history by voting for the 2011 Chef Extraordinaire, Pastry Chef Extraordinaire and Exceptional Establishment. Voting ends Thursday, March 31st.

2011 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Nominees

From Left to Right
Front - Julia Baker (Julia Baker Confections), Mark Tarbell (Tarbell’s), Tammie Coe (Tammie Coe Cakes), Nobuo Fukuda (Teeter House), Roy Pell (The Phoenician)
Back - Lee Hillson (T. Cook’s), Chrysa Robertson (Rancho Pinot), Kevin Binkley (Binkley’s), Amy Binkley (Binkley’s), Tracy Dempsey (Tracy Dempsey Originals), Vincent Guerithault (Vincent on Camelback), Eugenia Theodosopoulos (Essence Bakery Café)

Hall-of-Fame-Award.jpg
Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Award designed by Ed Mell and John Cleaver.
Congratulations to the 2011 Hall of Fame Inductees!
  • Chef Extraordinaire - Chrysa Roberts of Rancho Pinot
  • Pastry Chef Extraordinaire - Eugenia Theodosopoulos of Essence Bakery Cafe
  • Exceptional Establishment - Vincent on Camelback
 
Top chefs and restaurant industry professionals from across the state will gather in downtown Scottsdale to honor the newest members of the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame.  This event recognizes exceptional chefs, pastry chefs and restaurants in the state.

The list of incredible award winners from the past 19 years is below.

You can be a part of Hall of Fame history by voting for the 2011 Chef Extraordinaire, Pastry Chef Extraordinaire and Exceptional Establishment. Voting ends Thursday, March 31st.

2011 Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame Nominees

From Left to Right
Front - Julia Baker (Julia Baker Confections), Mark Tarbell (Tarbell’s), Tammie Coe (Tammie Coe Cakes), Nobuo Fukuda (Teeter House), Roy Pell (The Phoenician)
Back - Lee Hillson (T. Cook’s), Chrysa Robertson (Rancho Pinot), Kevin Binkley (Binkley’s), Amy Binkley (Binkley’s), Tracy Dempsey (Tracy Dempsey Originals), Vincent Guerithault (Vincent on Camelback), Eugenia Theodosopoulos (Essence Bakery Café)

Event Details
Date & Time: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:00pm
Location: Technique Restaurant at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
Maps:
Parking: Steet parking or parking garage located SW of Scottsdale Rd & 5th Ave is available
Attire: Cocktail
Tickets:
By Invitation Only
  All events, prices, personalities, performances, venues, dates and times subject to change without notice. No refunds or exchanges. No one under 21 will be admitted.

 

Date & Time: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:00pm
Location: Technique Restaurant at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
Maps:
Parking: Steet parking or parking garage located SW of Scottsdale Rd & 5th Ave is available
Attire: Cocktail
Tickets:
By Invitation Only
  All events, prices, personalities, performances, venues, dates and times subject to change without notice. No refunds or exchanges. No one under 21 will be admitted.

 


Event Sponsors


Previous Award Winners
Congratulations to the Culinary Hall of Fame Award Winners!
2010 Winners

 

Aaron May
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire         

David Blom
Pastry Chef Extraordinaire

Cowboy Ciao
Best Wine List
(Mari Markogianis in photo)

 

 
 
2009 Winners

 

Sam Fox
Culinary Ambassador

Karen Fernau
Culinary Media Master

Matt Carter
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire

 
 
 
2008 Winners

 

Beau MacMillan
Elements
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire

Mark Tarbell
Culinary Media Master

Jon Paul Hutchins
Culinary Ambassador

Art DeCabooter
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement

 
 
2007 Winners

 

Kim Laurie & Don Sandler
KXAM (1310) Culinary Confessions Radio Show
Culinary Media Master

The Thunderbirds
Culinary Ambassador

Kevin Binkley
Binkley's Restaurant
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
     
2006 Winners    
Candy Lesher
Food & Life Arizona Magazine
Culinary Media Master
 
2006-Hall-of-Fame-Winners.jpg
Fred Unger
Spring Creek Development
Culinary Ambassador
 
Brad Thompson
Mary Elaines - Phoenician
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
Angelo Livi &
Benito Mellino
Avanti Restaurant
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement
 
     
2005 Winners    
Howard Seftel
AZ Republic
Culinary Media Master
 
2005-Hall-of-Fame-Winners.jpg
Rachel Sacco
Scottsdale CVB
Culinary Ambassador
 
Gregory Casale
Gregory's World Bistro
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
David Whitehouse, Jr
Trefethon Vineyards
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement
 
     
2004 Winners    
Eileen Bailey
Culinary Media Master
 
 
Karen Chalmers
Culinary Ambassador
 
Silvana Salcido Esparza
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
Don Luria
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement
 
Don Carson
Scottsdale’s Tout
 
     
2003 Winners 2002 Winners 2001 Winners
Beth McDonald & Bill Austin
Culinary Media Master
Danny Medina
Culinary Media Master
Jan D’Atri
Culinary Media Master
David Rothschild
Culinary Ambassador
D. James McDowell
Culinary Ambassador
Bobbi Jo Haynes
Culinary Ambassador
Chris Bianco
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Michael DeMaria
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Lenard Rubin
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Cathy Bua
Lifetime Achievement
Barbara Colleary
Lifetime Achievement
 
Terry Lucchesi
Special Recognition
   
     
2000 Winners 1999 Winners 1998 Winners
Nikki Buchanan
Culinary Media Master
Pat McMahon
Culinary Media Master
Paul Fleming
Elizabeth Leite
Scott Tompkins
Robyn Lee Rector
Culinary Ambassador
Barbara Pool Fenzl
Culinary Ambassador
 
Charles Wiley
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Mark Tarbell
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
Alex Simons
Lifetime Achievement
   
     
1997 Winners 1996 Winners 1995 Winners
Reed Groban William Eider-Orley Anton Brunbauer
Erasmo Kamnitzer Dominic O’Neill Sylvia Smith
Eddie Matney Robert McGrath Cathy Bua
    Judy Walker
    Roxsand Suarez Scocos
     
1994 Winners 1993 Winners 1992 Winners
Barbara Colleary Louise Dewald Lee Cohn
Eric Denk Barbara Fenzl Christopher Gross
Daniel Huon Jonathan McCabe Vincent Guerithault
Bill Nassikas Janos Wilder Elin Jeffords
Donna Nordin   Carol Steele
     
Congratulations to the Culinary Hall of Fame Award Winners!
2010 Winners

 

Aaron May
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire         

David Blom
Pastry Chef Extraordinaire

Cowboy Ciao
Best Wine List
(Mari Markogianis in photo)

 

 
 
2009 Winners

 

Sam Fox
Culinary Ambassador

Karen Fernau
Culinary Media Master

Matt Carter
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire

 
 
 
2008 Winners

 

Beau MacMillan
Elements
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire

Mark Tarbell
Culinary Media Master

Jon Paul Hutchins
Culinary Ambassador

Art DeCabooter
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement

 
 
2007 Winners

 

Kim Laurie & Don Sandler
KXAM (1310) Culinary Confessions Radio Show
Culinary Media Master

The Thunderbirds
Culinary Ambassador

Kevin Binkley
Binkley's Restaurant
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
     
2006 Winners    
Candy Lesher
Food & Life Arizona Magazine
Culinary Media Master
 
2006-Hall-of-Fame-Winners.jpg
Fred Unger
Spring Creek Development
Culinary Ambassador
 
Brad Thompson
Mary Elaines - Phoenician
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
Angelo Livi &
Benito Mellino
Avanti Restaurant
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement
 
     
2005 Winners    
Howard Seftel
AZ Republic
Culinary Media Master
 
2005-Hall-of-Fame-Winners.jpg
Rachel Sacco
Scottsdale CVB
Culinary Ambassador
 
Gregory Casale
Gregory's World Bistro
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
David Whitehouse, Jr
Trefethon Vineyards
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement
 
     
2004 Winners    
Eileen Bailey
Culinary Media Master
 
 
Karen Chalmers
Culinary Ambassador
 
Silvana Salcido Esparza
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
Don Luria
Alex Simons Lifetime Achievement
 
Don Carson
Scottsdale’s Tout
 
     
2003 Winners 2002 Winners 2001 Winners
Beth McDonald & Bill Austin
Culinary Media Master
Danny Medina
Culinary Media Master
Jan D’Atri
Culinary Media Master
David Rothschild
Culinary Ambassador
D. James McDowell
Culinary Ambassador
Bobbi Jo Haynes
Culinary Ambassador
Chris Bianco
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Michael DeMaria
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Lenard Rubin
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Cathy Bua
Lifetime Achievement
Barbara Colleary
Lifetime Achievement
 
Terry Lucchesi
Special Recognition
   
     
2000 Winners 1999 Winners 1998 Winners
Nikki Buchanan
Culinary Media Master
Pat McMahon
Culinary Media Master
Paul Fleming
Elizabeth Leite
Scott Tompkins
Robyn Lee Rector
Culinary Ambassador
Barbara Pool Fenzl
Culinary Ambassador
 
Charles Wiley
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
Mark Tarbell
Culinary Chef Extraordinaire
 
Alex Simons
Lifetime Achievement
   
     
1997 Winners 1996 Winners 1995 Winners
Reed Groban William Eider-Orley Anton Brunbauer
Erasmo Kamnitzer Dominic O’Neill Sylvia Smith
Eddie Matney Robert McGrath Cathy Bua
    Judy Walker
    Roxsand Suarez Scocos
     
1994 Winners 1993 Winners 1992 Winners
Barbara Colleary Louise Dewald Lee Cohn
Eric Denk Barbara Fenzl Christopher Gross
Daniel Huon Jonathan McCabe Vincent Guerithault
Bill Nassikas Janos Wilder Elin Jeffords
Donna Nordin   Carol Steele
     

Ed Mell
Ed Mell

Ed_Mell.jpgBorn in Phoenix, Arizona in 1942, Ed Mell started drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil. Influenced by his older brother Frank’s drawings of World War II combat aircraft and soldiers, Mell found his own hobby designing model automobiles. His interest in automobiles continued into high school, where Mell could usually be found drawing one of his friend’s cars or watching car commercials for future drawing ideas.Graduating from Phoenix Junior College with an Associated Arts Degree, he enrolled in The Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles to pursue his interest in illustration. During his four years of study there Mell broadened his artistic technique and learned to express his artistic conviction.

In November, 1967, he accepted a position as a junior art director at Kenyon and Eckhardt, a major New York advertising firm. However, in only 10 months Mell found that the advertising world smothered his creativity. Considering a move back to Los Angeles, he called an old friend, Skip Andrews, who assured him that work there was scarce, and that he himself was planning to move to New York. A few months later Mell and Andrews established their own illustration firm, which they named Sagebrush Studios.

Sagebrush Studios became an immediate success, with major corporate clients such as Cheerios and RCA, and illustrations appearing in Esquire and Psychology Today. But success had its price, and within three years the Arizona native was struggling with the fast-paced New York lifestyle and pressures of the advertising business. Mell jumped at the opportunity to teach summer classes in silk screening and drawing on the Hopi Reservation at Hotevilla, Arizona. When the summer session was complete, he took a hard look at his future and decided to get back to his Arizona roots. A few months later he and Andrews closed Sagebrush Studios.

Returning to Phoenix, Mell and his younger brother decided to open their own illustration business. But the Phoenix market for illustration was in less demand than Mell was used to, so during breaks he began sketching landscapes using colored pencils. Colored pencils slowly turned into paints and by 1978 he had made the transition from commercial artist to landscape painter.

Throughout the years, Mell has constantly changed the subjects he depicts and the techniquess to capture them. Beginning specifically with southwest landscapes, he has moved to other southwestern subjets including cowboys, horses, longhorn cattle and cactuses. Although best known for his oil paintings, he also developed an avid body of collectors for his bronze sculptures. Collectors are often left with a unique visual impression when they witness first-hand the tangling of reality with imagination.

Ed Mell has won numerous awards and honors. His art has been exhibited in nine museum shows, including the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Mesa Southwest Museum, and the Rockwell-Corning Museum of Modern Art. More than 40 corporate and private collections have acquired his paintings and sculptures, and his life as an artist has been chronicled in major art publications. His biography, "Beyond the Visible Terrain: The Art of Ed Mell," was published in l996. His art also has been featured prominently in "Leading the West: 100 Contemporary Painters & Sculptors" and "Place of Spirit: Canyon de Chelly, 100 Years of Painting and Photography."

Don Sandler & Kim Laurie
Don Sandler & Kim Laurie

They said it couldn't be done. Well, some restaurant owners said that, anyway, when Kim Laurie and Don Sandler started their new food-focused radio show in 1996 on KXAM (1310) in Phoenix.

Who's laughing now? Laurie and Sandler, of course, because they still are on the air, making them, in their words, the longest continuously running food and restaurant radio show in the Valley.

How did they do it?  We are professional broadcasters who saw a need and didn't let the naysayers discourage us," Laurie said, adding that "we had some restaurants that really believed in us."

Their show, Culinary Confessions with Kim and Don, airs weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The show has been around for over 10 years now.

Laurie and Sandler arrived in the Valley from Boston with no job prospects, but they did have radio experience and a good idea: launching a show that asked listeners to call in with restaurant recommendations.

They bought time on KXAM, an independent station, and searched for sponsors. Some, including Roger and Cheryl Wagner from barbecue restaurant Thee Pitt's Again, still are sponsors, as is Via Delosantos Mexican Café .Others however, shunned them. But they knew after the first show, when 34 people called in, that there was a place for the format. They now have more than 1,000 pages of restaurant reviews from listeners, plus links and maps, on their www.kimanddon.com Web site.

The Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds








Thunderbirds Flyer

The Thunderbirds Lasting Legacy to the Valley of the Sun
Longevity has often been called the hallmark of success. With numerous local organizations and sports franchises celebrating silver anniversaries, 25 years of outstanding contributions to the Valley of the Sun, we focus on another silver tradition in our community. The silver pendant of The Thunderbirds is emblematic of continuous civic pride and unrivaled success in the promotion of the Phoenix area. The Thunderbirds and the FBR Open are currently celebrating their 71st Anniversary. Through the years, these extraordinary citizens have provided so much for so many. The spirit created has provided a lasting legacy for us all. Synonymous with The Thunderbirds is the FBR Open, possibly the finest sporting event in Arizona. Every January, the FBR Open attracts the largest sporting event crowds in the world and is recognized as one of the finest golf events on the PGA TOUR. At the 2005 FBR Open, more than 500,000 fans made their way to the beautiful TPC of Scottsdale. In recent years, PGA TOUR players voted the FBR Open as their favorite stop of the PGA TOUR. While The Thunderbirds' association with professional athletes garners the most recognition and publicity, it is their work with the community that brings them the most satisfaction. Millions of dollars of FBR Open proceeds have been spent to benefit numerous organizations and individuals, most notably, the courageous athletes of the Special Olympics, youngsters of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Scottsdale, Phoenix and East Valley and the affiliated agencies of the Valley of the Sun United Way. As the premier sponsor of the Special Olympics Summer Games, The Thunderbirds are providing an outlet of athletic expression for these challenged competitors. Nowhere will you witness the absolute joy and enthusiasm of a runner as he or she crosses the finish line, not in first place, but in the arms of his or her greeter. This unbridled passion for competition speaks volumes of The Thunderbirds' commitment to these determined individuals.

From caring for the underprivileged to helping those striving to make the United States Olympic teams, The Thunderbirds are doing all they can to make a difference for those who call Phoenix their home. The Thunderbirds began in 1937, when the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce expanded its role as a convention and tourism bureau. There was a need for a special events committee to venture into new fields. Five young executives were selected to lead the committee. The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce suggested that the committee become an "official" group and expand its membership. Each of the five then selected ten additional members to make up a committee of 55. The Thunderbird name was chosen because the emblem of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was, and still is, a Thunderbird derived from American Indian symbols. One of the early inductees was Bob Goldwater, an avid golfer. Goldwater thought it would be a great idea to sponsor a golf tournament. That first year, Goldwater sold the tickets, recruited volunteers and set up the golf course at the Phoenix Country Club. The Phoenix Open caught on, and in 70 years, has developed into one of the leading stops on the PGA TOUR. Goldwater was Tournament Chairman from 1934 through 1951 and is affectionately called the "Father of The Phoenix (FBR) Open." Active Thunderbird membership is limited to 55 members. Each has demonstrated a sincere interest in sports and a dedication to community affairs. All Thunderbird activities and events are the prime responsibility of these Active Thunderbirds and are under the watchful eye of the Big Chief and Thunderbird Council. When a Thunderbird reaches the age of 45, their status changes from Active to that of Life Member. Although they are relieved of continuous duties, it is not unusual to see a Life Thunderbird lending a helping hand at The FBR Open or one of the many other Thunderbird-sponsored events. To date, there are over 300 members comprising The Thunderbirds organization.

Thunderbirds wear large silver pendants suspended on leather thongs, and each year a Bead Committee awards silver beads to those members who have performed their respective duties with quality and efficiency. Thunderbird-sponsored athletes participate in the entire spectrum of sports; but it is in golf that The Thunderbirds have had the most impact. Each year, The Thunderbirds sponsor The Thunderbird Collegiate Invitational. Now in its 32nd year, this tournament is considered by many as the "FBR Open of Collegiate Golf." It is a proven springboard into the PGA TOUR. Players like Bobby Clampett, Corey Pavin, Dan Forsman, Howard Twitty, Jim Carter, Notah Begay, Phil Mickelson, Steve Jones, Tiger Woods, Tom Purtzer and a host of others have participated in this illustrious event. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the men's and women¹s golf programs at Arizona State University. Every summer, The Thunderbirds sponsor the Thunderbird Junior and Senior Golf Classics, which form the nucleus of one of the most extensive junior golf programs in the United States. These tournaments have showcased the talents of current PGA TOUR and LPGA stars like Billy Mayfair and Danielle Ammaccapane. In 1999, The Thunderbirds, in conjunction with the American Junior Golf Association, held the inaugural Thunderbird International Junior at Grayhawk Golf Club. The first event of its kind in junior golf brought together a world-class field of Polo Golf All-Americans and U.S. and International champions of junior golf from throughout the world. This event will annually feature future champions of the golfing world. The Thunderbirds and The FBR Open a winning combination whose success is matched only by its longevity.

Kevin Binkley
Kevin Binkley

Chef Kevin BinkleyKevin Binkley and his wife Amy opened Binkley’s Restaurant in Cave Creek on May 25, 2004.  Binkley’s Restaurant received the Arizona Republic Best New Restaurant Award and Phoenix Magazine’s Best New Restaurant Award in 2004. 

Binkley’s career objective has been to be the Chef/Owner of an award-winning restaurant, and he has been training for this since entering culinary school in 1994.  In July 1995, the Inn at Little Washington hired him as a culinary school extern.  While at “the Inn,” he learned every job in the kitchen and was promoted several times, rising to Executive Sous Chef, second in command to Chef/Owner Patrick O’Connell.  He resigned the position in December 1999 to further enhance his culinary education.  He continued to refine his culinary knowledge by working at the French Laundry under the supervision of Chef/Owner Thomas Keller.  Kevin’s experience at 2 of the 13 top restaurants in the United States has afforded him the opportunity very few professional chefs have had to develop an in-depth understanding of fine dining.

Candy Lesher
Candy Lesher

Chef Candy LesherCandy Lesher (formally Schermerhorn) has devoted a lifetime to the pursuit of culinary related skills, knowledge and excellence. Ms. Lesher first entered the professional culinary world when she opened “Chantilly Cheesecake and Savory Fare,” a successful made-to-order bakery. Owning and operating this unique bakery and Victorian Tea shop provided Ms. Lesher with the invaluable experience and indispensable business savvy that catapulted her into the role of instructor, television personality, consultant, author, and eventually, editor-in-chief of food & life magazine plus host and executive producer of food & life television.

A self-taught chef, she was entranced by cooking with both wine and beer, Ms. Lesher recognized a gap in the knowledge of the later, and so began writing and consulting for the Association of Brewers in 1990. Through this experience she penned the award winning “Great American Beer Cookbook” published in 1994, containing over 200 original recipes created by Ms. Lesher. Originally sold in six countries, the book established Ms. Lesher as a world authority on cooking utilizing classic beers styles in the early days of the microbrewing renaissance; the book garnered exceptional reviews on a national and international basis. Three months after the release of her book, Ms. Lesher was honored by having it featured at New York City’s American Institute of Wine and Food Annual Conference with recipes from her book served at their annual gala banquet.

Ms. Lesher further demonstrated her culinary abilities through association with some of this country’s most successful and fastest growing microbrewing companies in the early '90's, including Pete’s Brewing Company. As the culinary consultant for their aggressive beer and cuisine campaign, she was personally credited with assisting in their phenomenal growth.

As a paid culinary consultant for the Association of Brewers, which includes the Institute for Brewing Studies and Brewers Publications, she created many nationally acclaimed banquets throughout the U.S. In addition, she was sought by IDG, publisher of the highly successful For Dummies series of books. Their book, Beer for Dummies, includes a chapter of 10 brew-enhanced recipes created by Ms. Lesher.

Ms. Lesher is a veteran instructor, having conducted over 600 cooking classes both locally and nationally, including such locations as the prestigious “Cooking School of the Rockies” in Boulder, Colorado. It was through these classes that Ms. Lesher became a popular addition to Phoenix’s NBC affiliate, KPNX-TV Channel 12 for over eleven years. Off screen, those years were spent renovating a historic building to house her restaurant and brewery, then later assisting in the development and launch of food & life magazine (originally AZ Food & Lifestyles magazine), where she was ultimately offered the position of editor-in-chief.

Ms. Lesher is, once again, stretching her wings. Since November of 2003, she has not only shouldered her duties as Editor-in-Chief, but taken on the role of both host and executive producer of the successful show, food & life television, where she follows her passion… "Bringing the pages of food & life magazine to life" for viewers. Since its inception, the show aired on AZTV, but as of March 5, has moved to NBC affiliate KPNX-TV 12; the show can now be seen every Sunday at 4:00.

When asked what she enjoys most about the business side of life, Ms. Lesher didn't hesitate… "It's the opportunity to showcase those independent and resort chefs, restaurants, and businesses that give our Valley and state its culinary character."

Fred Unger
Fred Unger

Chef Fred UngerMr. Unger is the founder and President of Spring Creek Development, a Scottsdale-based firm established in 1992, specializing in the restoration, development and management of signature real estate projects, with an emphasis on boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants.  Mr. Unger and his team, which include Jennifer Unger, CFO, and Randall Brown, Vice President, are responsible for such notable properties as the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, Arizona, the Royal Palms Hotel and Casitas in Phoenix, Arizona, and South Bridge at the Scottsdale Waterfront in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Mr. Unger’s newest project is a 125,000 sq. ft. mixed-use redevelopment in downtown Scottsdale, where Spring Creek has been assembling property on behalf of Scottsdale Canal Project LLC for nearly ten years.  Set along the South Bank of the Arizona Canal, across from the 1,000,000 sq. ft. Scottsdale Waterfront project and Fashion Square Mall, the development, called South Bridge, will feature four individually designed buildings constructed atop a new City-funded parking garage.  The buildings, which will be crafted to resemble those found in an operating vineyard, will provide approximately 30,000 sq. ft. of restaurant space, 15,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and 80,000 sq. ft. of office condominiums.  Occupancy is scheduled for fall 2007.

The former home and studio of cowboy artist Lon Megargee, The Hermosa Inn was purchased in 1992 and meticulously restored as Arizona’s only authentic hacienda.  Paying the utmost attention to historical accuracy, the 35-room Hermosa Inn and its award-winning restaurant, Lon’s, officially opened in 1994.  Mr. Unger and Spring Creek still own and operate the popular inn, recently adding a library, an executive boardroom, and an underground wine cellar to the intimate resort’s amenities.

The Royal Palms Hotel was purchased in 1995, whereupon Spring Creek commenced a major reconstruction effort to transform the property into an authentic Mediterranean villa.  The resort has long been a traditional motel for affluent travelers to the Scottsdale area, but today, the award-winning, 117-room resort is considered by most to be the preferred ticket in the competitive Scottsdale luxury hotel segment.  By way of example, President Bush requested to stay there on most recent campaign stops in Phoenix, and the latest 2004 readers’ survey of Travel + Leisure magazine scored the Royal Palms higher than all other Greater Phoenix hotels and resorts, including the Phoenician, the Princess, the Boulders, and the Four Seasons.  Mr. Unger sold the Royal Palms to Destination Hotels and Resorts in 1998 after he had restored and stabilized the property.

A cornerstone of Spring Creek projects, both the Hermosa Inn and the Royal Palms boast popular and award winning restaurants.  At the Hermosa Inn, Lon’s features American cuisine and was named the Number One restaurant in the city by ZAGAT, among other accolades.  At the Royal Palms, T. Cook’s features Mediterranean- influenced cuisine and has also been the recipient of dozens of local and national culinary awards, all of which can be found on the resort’s website.

Mr. Unger remains an active member of the community, giving generously of his time to such organizations as the Phoenix Symphony, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, and several neighborhood community organizations.

Angelo Livi
Angelo Livi

Chef Angelo LiviAngiolo Livi, originally from Florence Italy, draws daily on his Italian cooking roots and his Grandmother’s memory for inspiration.  “I grew up after World War II and we didn’t have any fancy cream or brown sauces just simple amazing fresh ingredients like wild porcini mushrooms and organic sage growing off the side of a mountain, wild boar and pheasants. With these simple ingredients and only a fireplace to cook with, my Grandmother used to create the most amazing meals.”

As a small boy Livi would watch his Grandmother prepare these meals and was eager to help. Little did he know at the time this would become the foundation for his illustrious 40 plus year career in the food service industry.

After stints in the Bahamas, Cayman Isands, and Barcelona, Spain where Livi worked in all facets of the food and beverage industry Livi came to Arizona ( 1974) as one of the founding partners of the Avanti Restaurant Group.

Today, after 30 plus years Livi and his partner are still involved in the day-to-day operation and management of Avanti and their catering division.

Culinary Awards/Affiliations:

Livi’s professional affiliations include: The Heritage Registry of Who’s Who,The National Restaurant Association, Arizona Restaurant Association and is a member of the James Beard Foundation.

Livi, is best known for his infectious laugh and offers everyone a hearty welcome. He spends his evenings in the restaurant creating favorite dishes, experimenting with new recipes and schmoozing with his many celebrity clientele and friends: And oh, the celebrities that have dined at Avanti over the years.  The walls are decorated with autographed photos from greats like Robert Mitchum, Jimmy Stewart to Ringo Star. “I like it more today than ever, “Livi says”, we’re like a big family”.

Livi spends his down time at his Paradise Valley home with his wife of over 30 years Patricia, a daughter and son. Livi enjoys gardening and grows organic vegetables.  During the rainy season in the White Mountains he can be found hunting for tasty porcini mushrooms, he dabbles in painting and is a voracious reader of recipes and cookbooks.

Charitable Contributions: Over the years his charitable contributions include: The United Way, Scottsdale Boys and Girls Club, Homebase Youth Services, Scottsdale League for the Arts, The Phoenix Theatre, Paradise Valley Relay for Life, The Kiva School.

Benito Bellino
Benito Bellino

Chef Benito MellinoBenito Mellino’s culinary globe trotting has spanned the continent of Europe to the beaches of the Bahamas. Italian-born, Mellino came to Arizona in 1974 as one of the founders of the Avanti Restaurant Group.  His vision at the time was to introduce globally inspired cuisine to a city best known for chuck wagon supper clubs and taco stands.

With the opening of Avanti Restaurant in Phoenix, Scottsdale followed along with restaurants in California.  Mellino was one of the first restaurant owners to segue into the concept of catering services: providing food and beverage off premise.

Throughout his career, his food philosophy has remained authentic to his Italian roots and he considers himself a ‘purist’. “Regardless of what you cook always use the freshest ingredients available and keep it simple.  Styles like Nouvelle cuisine look nice but that’s not enough, I like food that fills your belly and touches your soul.”

Currently, Mellino has expanded his culinary interest to include the study of wine making, hosting several wine makers from abroad, visiting wineries and has introduced quarterly wine maker dinners at the restaurant.

Avanti is a testimate to his philosophy and hard work celebrating over 30 years in the Valley.

Culinary Awards:  With a culinary career that spans over 40 years; Mellino’s enduring success is attributed to hard work and the ability to administrate. He is known as the consummate host and task master. On any given night you may find him seating and greeting guest, whipping up something special in the kitchen or selecting an appropriate wine.  Mellino is listed in the Heritage Registry of  Who’s Who, is a Member of the James Beard Foundation, Member of  the National Restaurant Association, and is the recipient of numerous culinary awards and accolades affiliated with Avanti Restaurant.  The Business Journal Book of Lists, Arizona Republic, Gourmet Magazine’s Top Table Award to name a few.

Charitable Contributions include organizations local as well as national:

The Phoenix Symphony, The Phoenix Zoo, PBS Channel 8, United Food Bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Boy’s and Girl’s Club, The Az. Humane Society, Youth ETC, Homebase Youth Services, Az. Heart Institute, United Way, Hospice of the Valley.

Hobbies/Personal Info:

Married 16 years, Tina Mellino, a Cocker Spaniel, Sofia, business partner of 40 years Angiolo Livi.  Hobbies include, gardening, golf, fitness training, wine making, travel, hiking, investing.

Beau MacMillan
Beau MacMillan

As Executive Chef of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and its signature restaurant, elements, Beau MacMillan inspires his staff with his passion for fresh ingredients.  His ingenuity in the kitchen is stimulated by his belief that food should not be overworked, but rather appreciated for its simplicity and natural perfection.  This philosophy is evident in Chef MacMillan’s innovative seasonal menus that focus on fresh, local ingredients procured from a network of artisans and organic farmers.

Chef MacMillan has cooked in some of America’s most distinguished kitchens. He hails from Plymouth, Massachusetts and is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. His culinary career began at the age of 16 when he secured a position at Crane Brook Tea Room in Carver, Massachusetts.  Chef MacMillan spent a year under the tutelage of Chef Francios Demueloge.  Inspired by this experience, he joined the brigade at La Vieille Maison in Boca Raton Florida, rising through the ranks to the position of Sous Chef.  Drawn to the culinary scene on the West Coast, Chef MacMillan moved to Los Angeles where he held Sous Chef positions at the prestigious Hotel Bel Air, and later Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.  He was recruited to Arizona in 1998 to develop the cuisine at The Ranch on Camelback, which later became Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.  Chef MacMillan and former Executive Chef Charles Wiley opened elements restaurant in March of 2001. 

Now as executive chef, MacMillan’s innovation has brought elements national recognition and acclaim.  In March 2006, Chef MacMillan was invited to The Food Network’s kitchen stadium to compete in an episode of the hit series, Iron Chef America.  Chef MacMillan was pitted against Iron Chef Bobby Flay in “Battle
American Kobe Beef.”  Ultimately, Chef MacMillan’s cuisine reigned supreme, letting him claim victory over Flay. 

In addition to his appearance on Iron Chef America, Chef MacMillan has cooked at The James Beard House and at Bon Appetit Magazine in New York, and regularly conducts cooking classes for the guests of Sanctuary. He is also the personal Chef for Wayne Gretzky and his family and has cooked for such personalities as President Bush, Britney Spears, U2, Michele Richard, Jacques Pepin and Michele Roux, Sr.

Chef Mark Tarbell
Chef Mark Tarbell

Mark Tarbell is the owner of Tarbell’s in Phoenix and co-owner of The Oven in Lakewood Colorado.  He studied in Paris, receiving wine training at the l'Academie du Vin and earning a Grande Diplome d'Etude Culinaire from La Varenne Ecole du Cuisine.  Mark was the youngest Food & Beverage Director of any Five Diamond property in the world when he went to work for The Boulders resort in Carefree at the age of 23.  Nominated for “Best Chef – Southwest” by the James Beard Foundation in 2001, he has been invited to cook at many special events around the country and for a stellar line-up of political, sports, and entertainment celebrities including the Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali and Clint Eastwood. Mark’s restaurants have earned 35 “Best Of” awards, including Food & Wine “Best Restaurant”.

Mark has been a judge for ten years for the L.A. County Fair wine competition, one of the oldest in the country.  He serves on many other advisory councils and boards, from the Arizona Department of Education to the Phoenix Theatre.  He has appeared on "Good Morning America", the "Today Show", Fox and Lifetime networks, and several Food Network programs.  In September 2007 Mark's "cuisine reigned supreme" in his battle with Iron Chef Cat Cora on "Iron Chef America".

Mark is the weekly wine columnist for the Arizona Republic newspaper, has been published in numerous local and national magazines, and collaborated with Lance Armstrong’s trainer Chris Carmichael on Chris Carmichael’s Fitness Cookbook.

Jon Paul Hutchins
Jon Paul Hutchins

Whether he is appearing with Al Roker on the Today Show or meeting a student for the first time, Jon-Paul’s passion for all things culinary and all things Arizona is evident. A transplant from New Jersey in 1992, Jon-Paul moved to Arizona after meeting with Elizabeth Leite, founder of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. “I was captivated by her passion and wanted to be a part of her mission to create a great culinary institution for Arizona”

At 13, Jon-Paul began his career as a pot scrubber but as the years passed he found himself exploring the many facets of this amazing industry, including small bistros, caterers, hotels, and luxe fine dining establishment that catered to US Presidents, dignitaries and high profile celebrities. The journey led him to the discovery of his life’s passion, teaching.

His career at SCI has grown from instructor to Executive Chef where he has overseen the schools two award winning restaurants and helped develop standards and curriculum. Jon-Paul has been a regular fixture on Arizona media, most notably as the regular chef on ABC’s Sonoran Living Live and on the radio as Jan D’Atri’s co-host on her KFYI show. Jon-Paul is also a member of the Arizona Republic’s Tasting panel. On the national stage he has been a featured guest on the Food Network, HGTV, ESPN and the Today Show. 

Known for his high energy, humor and his compassion for students and charitable causes, Jon-Paul uses his sense of humor, honed after years as a stand-up comedian to engage visitors and students alike as they explore the vibrant Arizona culinary scene or to gain support for the many causes and events that he and SCI continue to support.

Art DeCabooter
Art DeCabooter

Art DeCabooter has served as president of Scottsdale Community College since 1978. His civic leadership includes serving as chair of the City of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission and serving as chair of the City of Scottsdale’s Ad Hoc Ethics Committee. He has served in leadership roles for myriad clubs and organizations including the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, the Scottsdale Charros, the Arizona Town Hall, Scottsdale Historymakers, Community Celebrating Diversity, and Xavier College Preparatory School. He has been president of the Arizona Community College Presidents’ Council, the Scottsdale Rotary Club, Scottsdale Healthcare Systems, Xavier College Preparatory School for Girls Advisory Board, the Scottsdale/ Paradise Valley Y.M.C.A and the Scottsdale Foundation for the Handicapped. 

At the national level, Dr. DeCabooter is a member of the board of directors of the National Catholic Educational Association and chairman of the board of the National Association of Boards, Commissions and Councils of Catholic Education. He holds degrees from St. Gregory’s Junior College, St. John’s University and Indiana University. Dr. DeCabooter has received many honors and awards including Arizona Communuity College President’s Council Award for Service and Leadership, Charro of the Year, Citizen of the Year, City of Scottsdale Historymakers Hall of Fame Award in 1999, Scottsdale Healthcare Honor Ball Recipient, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Leadership Award, Volunteer of the Year, and Scottsdale Foundation for the Handicapped Board of Directors Award.

Brad Thompson
Brad Thompson

With a background deeply rooted in New England’s culinary history, Chef Bradford Thompson’s culinary palette is strongly influenced by his summers spent lobster trapping off the coast of Maine and picking fresh blueberries with his grandmother. Upon completion of his studies at the University of Rochester, Bradford combined his passion for fresh ingredients with the classic training he received working under renowned Chefs: Vincent Guerithault, Alessandro Strata and Daniel Boulud and staging in the kitchens of Michelin Starred restaurants throughout France. These experiences led Bradford to the helm of one of the finest restaurants in the country, Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona. While at Mary Elaine’s, Bradford was able to combine his strong American culinary sensibilities with his classic French training, ultimately creating food that is uniquely his own. 

Under Bradford’s watch, Mary Elaine's scored some of the most coveted industry awards such as the prestigious Five-Diamond designation by the American Automobile Association, The Mobile 5-star award, and the esteemed Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. Bradford was named one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2004 and he won the prestigious James Beard Award: Best Chef Southwest in 2006. In 2006, Bradford was also inducted into the Scottsdale Culinary Hall of Fame for his contribution to the community and the culinary world. Bradford and his cuisine has been featured on many national print and television outlets including the TV Food Network, NBC Today Show, CBS Early Show, Wine Spectator, Food Arts, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food and Wine.

Jon Paul Hutchins
Jon Paul Hutchins

Whether he is appearing with Al Roker on the Today Show or meeting a student for the first time, Jon-Paul’s passion for all things culinary and all things Arizona is evident. A transplant from New Jersey in 1992, Jon-Paul moved to Arizona after meeting with Elizabeth Leite, founder of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. “I was captivated by her passion and wanted to be a part of her mission to create a great culinary institution for Arizona”

At 13, Jon-Paul began his career as a pot scrubber but as the years passed he found himself exploring the many facets of this amazing industry, including small bistros, caterers, hotels, and luxe fine dining establishment that catered to US Presidents, dignitaries and high profile celebrities. The journey led him to the discovery of his life’s passion, teaching.

His career at SCI has grown from instructor to Executive Chef where he has overseen the schools two award winning restaurants and helped develop standards and curriculum. Jon-Paul has been a regular fixture on Arizona media, most notably as the regular chef on ABC’s Sonoran Living Live and on the radio as Jan D’Atri’s co-host on her KFYI show. Jon-Paul is also a member of the Arizona Republic’s Tasting panel. On the national stage he has been a featured guest on the Food Network, HGTV, ESPN and the Today Show. 

Known for his high energy, humor and his compassion for students and charitable causes, Jon-Paul uses his sense of humor, honed after years as a stand-up comedian to engage visitors and students alike as they explore the vibrant Arizona culinary scene or to gain support for the many causes and events that he and SCI continue to support.

Whether he is appearing with Al Roker on the Today Show or meeting a student for the first time, Jon-Paul’s passion for all things culinary and all things Arizona is evident. A transplant from New Jersey in 1992, Jon-Paul moved to Arizona after meeting with Elizabeth Leite, founder of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. “I was captivated by her passion and wanted to be a part of her mission to create a great culinary institution for Arizona”

At 13, Jon-Paul began his career as a pot scrubber but as the years passed he found himself exploring the many facets of this amazing industry, including small bistros, caterers, hotels, and luxe fine dining establishment that catered to US Presidents, dignitaries and high profile celebrities. The journey led him to the discovery of his life’s passion, teaching.

His career at SCI has grown from instructor to Executive Chef where he has overseen the schools two award winning restaurants and helped develop standards and curriculum. Jon-Paul has been a regular fixture on Arizona media, most notably as the regular chef on ABC’s Sonoran Living Live and on the radio as Jan D’Atri’s co-host on her KFYI show. Jon-Paul is also a member of the Arizona Republic’s Tasting panel. On the national stage he has been a featured guest on the Food Network, HGTV, ESPN and the Today Show. 

Known for his high energy, humor and his compassion for students and charitable causes, Jon-Paul uses his sense of humor, honed after years as a stand-up comedian to engage visitors and students alike as they explore the vibrant Arizona culinary scene or to gain support for the many causes and events that he and SCI continue to support.

Akira Back
Akira Back

Executive Chef, Yellowtail Sushi Restaurant & Bar

A Korea native and former professional snowboarder who was raised in Colorado, Akira Back brings his sense of adventure and boundless creativity to the kitchen at Yellowtail Sushi Restaurant & Bar, which opened in the summer of 2008 at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort & Casino.  His menu is rooted in classical Japanese cuisine and highlights innovative dishes that utilize fresh ingredients from the world’s top purveyors.  Akira’s signature dishes earned him the title of “Rising Star” in October 2008 by Restaurant Hospitality, and in December 2008 he had the distinct honor of hosting a multi-course dinner at the prestigious James Beard House.

Akira spent his early years as a professional snowboarder, showing off his talents in extreme movies and garnering praise in industry magazines like Snowboarder and Transworld.  To supplement the small income, Akira started cooking in local Aspen restaurants to earn extra cash.  He discovered the adventure and thrill he experienced on the slopes also existed in the kitchen, and after seven years on the professional snowboarding circuit, Akira decided to leave it behind in favor of a culinary career. 

After graduating from The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes in Colorado, Akira began his epicurean adventure in earnest — at Kenichi in Aspen.  He was later recruited to help open Kenichi in Austin, Texas, and then Kenichi in Kona on Hawaii’s big island.  Akira’s love of travel and culinary exploration took him to Japan and Europe, where he learned the value of using rare and exotic ingredients, staging at some of the world’s great kitchens under master chefs including Masaharu Morimoto and Brian Nagao.  Returning to Aspen from his time abroad, Akira was hired to work as the executive chef of Matsuhisa, during which time he trained and worked with international celebrity chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa.  While working with Nobu, Akira was introduced to the acclaimed chef’s fusion-style cooking that blends traditional Japanese cuisine with South American ingredients.

His tenure with Nobu instilled a deep appreciation for this style of cuisine, reflected on his menu at Yellowtail Restaurant & Sushi Bar in dishes including Big Eye Tuna Pizza with shiso; Maine Lobster Carpaccio with sweet onion and cilantro; Unagi & Banana Roll with cucumber, avocado and scallions; and Strawberry Roll with spicy tuna and cucumber.  Akira was a contestant on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America in 2008 battling Bobby Flay and became a spokesperson for Japanese knife company Suisin knives. Back also was a spokesperson for The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes and was featured on the school’s Fall ’08 ad campaign that aired on the Food Network. 

Executive Chef, Yellowtail Sushi Restaurant & Bar

A Korea native and former professional snowboarder who was raised in Colorado, Akira Back brings his sense of adventure and boundless creativity to the kitchen at Yellowtail Sushi Restaurant & Bar, which opened in the summer of 2008 at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort & Casino.  His menu is rooted in classical Japanese cuisine and highlights innovative dishes that utilize fresh ingredients from the world’s top purveyors.  Akira’s signature dishes earned him the title of “Rising Star” in October 2008 by Restaurant Hospitality, and in December 2008 he had the distinct honor of hosting a multi-course dinner at the prestigious James Beard House.

Akira spent his early years as a professional snowboarder, showing off his talents in extreme movies and garnering praise in industry magazines like Snowboarder and Transworld.  To supplement the small income, Akira started cooking in local Aspen restaurants to earn extra cash.  He discovered the adventure and thrill he experienced on the slopes also existed in the kitchen, and after seven years on the professional snowboarding circuit, Akira decided to leave it behind in favor of a culinary career. 

After graduating from The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes in Colorado, Akira began his epicurean adventure in earnest — at Kenichi in Aspen.  He was later recruited to help open Kenichi in Austin, Texas, and then Kenichi in Kona on Hawaii’s big island.  Akira’s love of travel and culinary exploration took him to Japan and Europe, where he learned the value of using rare and exotic ingredients, staging at some of the world’s great kitchens under master chefs including Masaharu Morimoto and Brian Nagao.  Returning to Aspen from his time abroad, Akira was hired to work as the executive chef of Matsuhisa, during which time he trained and worked with international celebrity chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa.  While working with Nobu, Akira was introduced to the acclaimed chef’s fusion-style cooking that blends traditional Japanese cuisine with South American ingredients.

His tenure with Nobu instilled a deep appreciation for this style of cuisine, reflected on his menu at Yellowtail Restaurant & Sushi Bar in dishes including Big Eye Tuna Pizza with shiso; Maine Lobster Carpaccio with sweet onion and cilantro; Unagi & Banana Roll with cucumber, avocado and scallions; and Strawberry Roll with spicy tuna and cucumber.  Akira was a contestant on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America in 2008 battling Bobby Flay and became a spokesperson for Japanese knife company Suisin knives. Back also was a spokesperson for The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes and was featured on the school’s Fall ’08 ad campaign that aired on the Food Network. 

Jeff Barba
Jeff Barba

Director, Food & Beverage

Jeffery S. Barba joined The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2003 as Director of Food & Beverage.  As director, Barba is responsible for the daily operations of the food and beverage division at the 732-room Resort.  The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa opened in November 2002 and features eight dining options, 24-hour room service and a full-service Conference Service and Catering operation housing more than 175,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space.

With more than 25 years in the food and beverage field, prior to joining The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Barba served as Director of Food & Beverage at several of the most prestigious resorts in Arizona; including The Phoenician, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa and the Royal Palms Resort & Spa. 

For the past seven years, Barba has been on the advisory board of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) - Arizona Chapter. C-CAP is a national nonprofit whose mission is to promote and provide career opportunities for underserved youth through a curriculum enrichment program that links public high school culinary teachers and their students to the foodservice industry. C-CAP manages the largest independent high school culinary scholarship program in the United States.

Barba has also spent more than five years serving on the advisory board for the Scottsdale Culinary Institute (SCI). SCI, a Le Cordon Bleu Program, offers Bachelor of Arts degrees, Associate of Occupational Studies degrees and Certificate programs in three areas: Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Restaurant Management and Patisserie & Baking.

Barba is a current member of the James Beard Foundation and has had the opportunity to manage more than ten James Beard-related fundraising events; both in New York City at the James Beard House as well at various locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale. For the past several years, the “Friends of James Beard” benefit dinners he has helped to coordinate, have been produced in conjunction with the Scottsdale Culinary Festival and have afforded C-CAP Arizona students numerous scholarships coming from both the Beard Foundation and the Scottsdale League for the Arts.

Barba is a current member of Chaine des Rotisseurs, Scottsdale Bailliage.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University.  He and his family reside in Scottsdale.

Director, Food & Beverage

Jeffery S. Barba joined The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2003 as Director of Food & Beverage.  As director, Barba is responsible for the daily operations of the food and beverage division at the 732-room Resort.  The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa opened in November 2002 and features eight dining options, 24-hour room service and a full-service Conference Service and Catering operation housing more than 175,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space.

With more than 25 years in the food and beverage field, prior to joining The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Barba served as Director of Food & Beverage at several of the most prestigious resorts in Arizona; including The Phoenician, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa and the Royal Palms Resort & Spa. 

For the past seven years, Barba has been on the advisory board of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) - Arizona Chapter. C-CAP is a national nonprofit whose mission is to promote and provide career opportunities for underserved youth through a curriculum enrichment program that links public high school culinary teachers and their students to the foodservice industry. C-CAP manages the largest independent high school culinary scholarship program in the United States.

Barba has also spent more than five years serving on the advisory board for the Scottsdale Culinary Institute (SCI). SCI, a Le Cordon Bleu Program, offers Bachelor of Arts degrees, Associate of Occupational Studies degrees and Certificate programs in three areas: Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Restaurant Management and Patisserie & Baking.

Barba is a current member of the James Beard Foundation and has had the opportunity to manage more than ten James Beard-related fundraising events; both in New York City at the James Beard House as well at various locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale. For the past several years, the “Friends of James Beard” benefit dinners he has helped to coordinate, have been produced in conjunction with the Scottsdale Culinary Festival and have afforded C-CAP Arizona students numerous scholarships coming from both the Beard Foundation and the Scottsdale League for the Arts.

Barba is a current member of Chaine des Rotisseurs, Scottsdale Bailliage.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University.  He and his family reside in Scottsdale.

Noah Bekofsky
Noah Bekofsky

Executive Chef
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Executive Chef Noah Bekofsky began his tenure as a chef working tables at a four star restaurant at the age of 14.  Realizing his comfort behind the stove, Bekofsky embarked on a 20+year adventure that led him to his newest position as Executive Chef at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

Bekofsky was an active participant in the Chicago culinary and social community. His exclusive program “shop with the chef” is a summer-long education program in conjunction with Chicago’s Green City Market to educate and inform Chicago residents about local and organic purveyors. Bekofsky has participated for three years in Great Meals, Green Deals, a city-wide program with Chicago Gateway Green to raise funds for a greener Chicago. He also sits on the Chef Advisory Board of Common Threads, a not-for-profit program teaching at-risk children about tolerance and diversity through food and nutrition.  Bekofsky is a regular fixture on Chicago television, appearing on Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and WGN to share his knowledge of food safety and selection.

Prior to joining the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Chef Noah served as the executive chef for the Fairmont Chicago for 3.5 years.  Before that he held the executive chef position at the Kapalua Bay Hotel and Ocean Villas in Kapalua Hawaii and at the Westin Salishan Lodge and Golf Resort in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

Executive Chef
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Executive Chef Noah Bekofsky began his tenure as a chef working tables at a four star restaurant at the age of 14.  Realizing his comfort behind the stove, Bekofsky embarked on a 20+year adventure that led him to his newest position as Executive Chef at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

Bekofsky was an active participant in the Chicago culinary and social community. His exclusive program “shop with the chef” is a summer-long education program in conjunction with Chicago’s Green City Market to educate and inform Chicago residents about local and organic purveyors. Bekofsky has participated for three years in Great Meals, Green Deals, a city-wide program with Chicago Gateway Green to raise funds for a greener Chicago. He also sits on the Chef Advisory Board of Common Threads, a not-for-profit program teaching at-risk children about tolerance and diversity through food and nutrition.  Bekofsky is a regular fixture on Chicago television, appearing on Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and WGN to share his knowledge of food safety and selection.

Prior to joining the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Chef Noah served as the executive chef for the Fairmont Chicago for 3.5 years.  Before that he held the executive chef position at the Kapalua Bay Hotel and Ocean Villas in Kapalua Hawaii and at the Westin Salishan Lodge and Golf Resort in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

Todd Berry
Todd Berry

Executive Chef
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Leading the imaginative culinary experience at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is, Executive Chef and Arizona Native, Todd Berry. Known for his inventive regional cuisine, Berry leads a team of nearly 100 members charged with servicing Nellie Cashman's Monday Club Café, J. Swilling's Pool Bar & Grill, The Rim, Waltz & Weizer Saloon, Coffee Flats and Snowbowls, Brittlebush Bar & Grill, and Deseo, a specialty restaurant inspired by Nuevo Latino inventor Douglas Rodriguez.  Berry also oversees all banquet events for the Resort, which offers more than 175,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space.

Berry is known for his creative execution, forward-thinking approach to cooking and strong desire to teach and mentor his staff. Berry joined the Westin Kierland team in April of 2006 as head of the resort’s banquet department. He was quickly noticed for his ability to keep cool under pressure and for possessing a natural talent and pure passion for cooking. He also gained a reputation for having a genuine interest in the happiness and success of all his team members.

Prior to joining The Westin Kierland Resort, Berry served as Executive Chef at both the Sheraton Grand Sacramento and Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer, Ariz. Other previous experience includes the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch, where he worked for 11 years, the Hotel Westcourt in Scottsdale and the French Corner, also in Scottsdale.

Executive Chef
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Leading the imaginative culinary experience at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is, Executive Chef and Arizona Native, Todd Berry. Known for his inventive regional cuisine, Berry leads a team of nearly 100 members charged with servicing Nellie Cashman's Monday Club Café, J. Swilling's Pool Bar & Grill, The Rim, Waltz & Weizer Saloon, Coffee Flats and Snowbowls, Brittlebush Bar & Grill, and Deseo, a specialty restaurant inspired by Nuevo Latino inventor Douglas Rodriguez.  Berry also oversees all banquet events for the Resort, which offers more than 175,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space.

Berry is known for his creative execution, forward-thinking approach to cooking and strong desire to teach and mentor his staff. Berry joined the Westin Kierland team in April of 2006 as head of the resort’s banquet department. He was quickly noticed for his ability to keep cool under pressure and for possessing a natural talent and pure passion for cooking. He also gained a reputation for having a genuine interest in the happiness and success of all his team members.

Prior to joining The Westin Kierland Resort, Berry served as Executive Chef at both the Sheraton Grand Sacramento and Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer, Ariz. Other previous experience includes the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch, where he worked for 11 years, the Hotel Westcourt in Scottsdale and the French Corner, also in Scottsdale.

Kevin Binkley
Kevin Binkley

Chef Kevin BinkleyKevin Binkley and his wife Amy opened Binkley’s Restaurant in Cave Creek on May 25, 2004.  Binkley’s Restaurant received the Arizona Republic Best New Restaurant Award and Phoenix Magazine’s Best New Restaurant Award in 2004. 

Binkley’s career objective has been to be the Chef/Owner of an award-winning restaurant, and he has been training for this since entering culinary school in 1994.  In July 1995, the Inn at Little Washington hired him as a culinary school extern.  While at “the Inn,” he learned every job in the kitchen and was promoted several times, rising to Executive Sous Chef, second in command to Chef/Owner Patrick O’Connell.  He resigned the position in December 1999 to further enhance his culinary education.  He continued to refine his culinary knowledge by working at the French Laundry under the supervision of Chef/Owner Thomas Keller.  Kevin’s experience at 2 of the 13 top restaurants in the United States has afforded him the opportunity very few professional chefs have had to develop an in-depth understanding of fine dining.

Matt Carter
Matt Carter

The Mission, Executive Chef/Proprietor

Phoenix native Matt Carter had little interest in becoming a chef when he was growing up in the valley of the Sun. But after graduating from high school, he moved to California and took a job as a dishwasher at The Eggery breakfast restaurant in San Diego. Carter immediately took to the restaurant business and quickly advanced from dishwasher to prep cook to working on the line. After realizing that cooking could be a legitimate career option, he enrolled at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, graduating in 1989.

After culinary school, Carter cooked at Scottsdale's La Chaumiere, where he was immediately smitten with the artistry, demands and disciplines of French gastronomy. His experience there inspired him to pursue additional classical training in Paris, where he took courses at Le Cordon Blue, refined his skills at various restaurants and gained exposure to the world's finest cuisine.

Upon his return to Arizona in 1992, his Parisian experience helped him land a job as Chef de Partie at Christopher's, the highly acclaimed restaurant of chef/restaurateur Christopher Gross, where he stayed for over six years. Gross was a caring mentor to Carter, who considers him his greatest influence in the culinary world. "I truly learned to cook from Chris," he says, adding, "he taught me things you can't learn at any culinary school". Carter eventually ascended to the position of Chef de Cuisine at Christopher's, which at the time was the preeminent dining venue in the burgeoning Phoenix metropolitan area.

Thanks to a chance meeting with super chef Thomas Keller in 1998, the young chef was given the opportunity to cook in an even more acclaimed kitchen, Keller's illustrious French Laundry, in Napa Valley. After working as Poissonnier for Keller, Carter returned to Scottsdale to take the job of Executive Chef at Michael's at the Citadel, widely recognized for its contemporary American cuisine with European influences. After two-and-a-half years at Michael's, Matt left to collaborate with current partner, Terry Ellisor, becoming the Executive Chef at Zinc Bistro in 2001. The 39-year-old chef and father of four believes that bistro cooking, which is based on the simplicity of ingredients and presentation, to be one of the most versatile and thus most creative gastronomic directions.

Terry Ellisor and Chef Matt Carter recently teamed up with entrepreneur Brian Raab to create Carter’s newest endeavor, The Mission. The idea originated years ago through Carter’s deep love for weekend pig roasts serving friends and family slow-roasted, homemade pork tacos. They received such great reviews, Ellisor and Raab agreed it was time to perfect the cuisine and bring it to life as a restaurant. “I do have a thing for tacos,” admitted Carter years ago, “Someday I might just have to open a taco shop to support my habit.” Well, that is exactly what the three partners have done and the results are phenomenal. Their synergy is evident in the high quality of the cuisine, ambience and uniqueness of The Mission experience. The Mission opened on October 15, 2008 in Old Town Scottsdale and Carter’s twist on the traditional Latin dishes have been winning praise from critics since day one.

The Mission, Executive Chef/Proprietor

Phoenix native Matt Carter had little interest in becoming a chef when he was growing up in the valley of the Sun. But after graduating from high school, he moved to California and took a job as a dishwasher at The Eggery breakfast restaurant in San Diego. Carter immediately took to the restaurant business and quickly advanced from dishwasher to prep cook to working on the line. After realizing that cooking could be a legitimate career option, he enrolled at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, graduating in 1989.

After culinary school, Carter cooked at Scottsdale's La Chaumiere, where he was immediately smitten with the artistry, demands and disciplines of French gastronomy. His experience there inspired him to pursue additional classical training in Paris, where he took courses at Le Cordon Blue, refined his skills at various restaurants and gained exposure to the world's finest cuisine.

Upon his return to Arizona in 1992, his Parisian experience helped him land a job as Chef de Partie at Christopher's, the highly acclaimed restaurant of chef/restaurateur Christopher Gross, where he stayed for over six years. Gross was a caring mentor to Carter, who considers him his greatest influence in the culinary world. "I truly learned to cook from Chris," he says, adding, "he taught me things you can't learn at any culinary school". Carter eventually ascended to the position of Chef de Cuisine at Christopher's, which at the time was the preeminent dining venue in the burgeoning Phoenix metropolitan area.

Thanks to a chance meeting with super chef Thomas Keller in 1998, the young chef was given the opportunity to cook in an even more acclaimed kitchen, Keller's illustrious French Laundry, in Napa Valley. After working as Poissonnier for Keller, Carter returned to Scottsdale to take the job of Executive Chef at Michael's at the Citadel, widely recognized for its contemporary American cuisine with European influences. After two-and-a-half years at Michael's, Matt left to collaborate with current partner, Terry Ellisor, becoming the Executive Chef at Zinc Bistro in 2001. The 39-year-old chef and father of four believes that bistro cooking, which is based on the simplicity of ingredients and presentation, to be one of the most versatile and thus most creative gastronomic directions.

Terry Ellisor and Chef Matt Carter recently teamed up with entrepreneur Brian Raab to create Carter’s newest endeavor, The Mission. The idea originated years ago through Carter’s deep love for weekend pig roasts serving friends and family slow-roasted, homemade pork tacos. They received such great reviews, Ellisor and Raab agreed it was time to perfect the cuisine and bring it to life as a restaurant. “I do have a thing for tacos,” admitted Carter years ago, “Someday I might just have to open a taco shop to support my habit.” Well, that is exactly what the three partners have done and the results are phenomenal. Their synergy is evident in the high quality of the cuisine, ambience and uniqueness of The Mission experience. The Mission opened on October 15, 2008 in Old Town Scottsdale and Carter’s twist on the traditional Latin dishes have been winning praise from critics since day one.

Dustin Clark
Dustin Clark

Executive Chef Wildwood Restaurant

Dustin Clark says in the Pacific Northwest, he has found some of the best produce worldwide. "When I spent three months traveling around Europe, I always compared it to the great fruits and vegetables in Oregon. Even the open-air markets in Nice on the coast of France didn't measure up," he says.

A South Dakota native, Dustin began work in restaurants during his teen years after having spent his youth fishing, hunting and gardening. At 18, he was enrolled at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, and did one of his externships at Wildwood. "I hadn't been introduced to Cory yet," says Dustin, "when he followed me around on my first day. He thought my method for cooking asparagus was unusual. Then he tried one," Cory has trusted Dustin ever since. "His influence on Wildwood's menu has brought a deeper focus to the study and definitions of foods of the Pacific Northwest," notes Cory. "Dustin understands the raw product so well - he puts in into its simplest form, which emphasizes its true flavor." In 2006, Dustin quickly moved to Chef de Cuisine, and on to Executive Chef at Wildwood.

Dustin has a very cerebral approach to cooking, and he especially enjoys preparing game. "The challenge is to balance and enhance the flavors," he says. "The mistake is when other flavors on the plate overpower a mild taste, like rabbit, or to not use strong enough tastes so that they're lost next to the flavors of wild game."

Executive Chef Wildwood Restaurant

Dustin Clark says in the Pacific Northwest, he has found some of the best produce worldwide. "When I spent three months traveling around Europe, I always compared it to the great fruits and vegetables in Oregon. Even the open-air markets in Nice on the coast of France didn't measure up," he says.

A South Dakota native, Dustin began work in restaurants during his teen years after having spent his youth fishing, hunting and gardening. At 18, he was enrolled at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, and did one of his externships at Wildwood. "I hadn't been introduced to Cory yet," says Dustin, "when he followed me around on my first day. He thought my method for cooking asparagus was unusual. Then he tried one," Cory has trusted Dustin ever since. "His influence on Wildwood's menu has brought a deeper focus to the study and definitions of foods of the Pacific Northwest," notes Cory. "Dustin understands the raw product so well - he puts in into its simplest form, which emphasizes its true flavor." In 2006, Dustin quickly moved to Chef de Cuisine, and on to Executive Chef at Wildwood.

Dustin has a very cerebral approach to cooking, and he especially enjoys preparing game. "The challenge is to balance and enhance the flavors," he says. "The mistake is when other flavors on the plate overpower a mild taste, like rabbit, or to not use strong enough tastes so that they're lost next to the flavors of wild game."

Jan Datri
Jan Datri

Jan D’Atri is a well-known and respected Emmy award-winning television personality, radio talk show host, newspaper columnist, cookbook author and owner of Jan D’Atri Gourmet Foods in Phoenix, Arizona.

In her successful 30-year television career, Jan has hosted and produced seven television shows. She has won three Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, the national Gabriel Award and Chicago International Film Festival honor in the categories of producing, writing and hosting. Her 23-year tenure at KTVK TV in Phoenix, Arizona led to her own one-hour syndicated television show, Southwest Style, airing in 24 cities in eight states.

In 1990, armed with treasured family recipes, Jan opened D’Atri Gourmet Foods
in Arizona and began to manufacture and distribute a gourmet line of Italian Sausages and Biscotti. Jan has since created an upscale brand of Italian cookies sold regularly on QVC under her Momma and Me label.

In 2001 Jan added restaurateur to her list of accomplishments when she opened D’Atri’s Cinema Paradiso in Scottsdale, a quaint and casual 14-table eatery named one of Arizona’s Top 100 Restaurants.

Jan’s second restaurant D’Atri’s At The Scottsdale Airport incorporated fine dining and soon became noted for its elegant Tuscan atmosphere, magnificent view of the runway and “Best Of Phoenix” homemade Panini sandwiches.

In 2006, Jan and her Mother Livia collaborated on their first cookbook, Momma & Me & You, which chronicles Livia’s original recipes and stories from her own gourmet Italian restaurant, D’Atri’s at Lake Tahoe, which became a favorite gathering spot for celebrities during the 1950’s. The cookbook sold out in it’s first airing recently on QVC.

Jan currently co-hosts and creates cooking and life-style segments for KPNX TV 12 (NBC) in Phoenix, Arizona. She produces and hosts, The Jan D’Atri Show, weekly on KFYI Radio. (Clear Channel). Jan also writes a weekly syndicated home and lifestyle for the Arizona Republic and a cooking column for the Scottsdale Times. She is currently writing her second cookbook. Jan lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband John.

Jan D’Atri is a well-known and respected Emmy award-winning television personality, radio talk show host, newspaper columnist, cookbook author and owner of Jan D’Atri Gourmet Foods in Phoenix, Arizona.

In her successful 30-year television career, Jan has hosted and produced seven television shows. She has won three Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, the national Gabriel Award and Chicago International Film Festival honor in the categories of producing, writing and hosting. Her 23-year tenure at KTVK TV in Phoenix, Arizona led to her own one-hour syndicated television show, Southwest Style, airing in 24 cities in eight states.

In 1990, armed with treasured family recipes, Jan opened D’Atri Gourmet Foods
in Arizona and began to manufacture and distribute a gourmet line of Italian Sausages and Biscotti. Jan has since created an upscale brand of Italian cookies sold regularly on QVC under her Momma and Me label.

In 2001 Jan added restaurateur to her list of accomplishments when she opened D’Atri’s Cinema Paradiso in Scottsdale, a quaint and casual 14-table eatery named one of Arizona’s Top 100 Restaurants.

Jan’s second restaurant D’Atri’s At The Scottsdale Airport incorporated fine dining and soon became noted for its elegant Tuscan atmosphere, magnificent view of the runway and “Best Of Phoenix” homemade Panini sandwiches.

In 2006, Jan and her Mother Livia collaborated on their first cookbook, Momma & Me & You, which chronicles Livia’s original recipes and stories from her own gourmet Italian restaurant, D’Atri’s at Lake Tahoe, which became a favorite gathering spot for celebrities during the 1950’s. The cookbook sold out in it’s first airing recently on QVC.

Jan currently co-hosts and creates cooking and life-style segments for KPNX TV 12 (NBC) in Phoenix, Arizona. She produces and hosts, The Jan D’Atri Show, weekly on KFYI Radio. (Clear Channel). Jan also writes a weekly syndicated home and lifestyle for the Arizona Republic and a cooking column for the Scottsdale Times. She is currently writing her second cookbook. Jan lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband John.

John DuToit
John DuToit

Chef John du Toit is a very well recognized and respected chef not only locally but nationally as well – always keeping himself involved in as many different kitchen environments as possible to need and push the boundaries in culinary arts. 

Chef du Toit has directed some of the most renowned establishments in the country and has had the opportunity to excel in not only savory food but sweet as well. Chef du Toit was most recently the Chef de Cuisine - The Los Angeles Hilton Universal City, Executive Chef -  Indigo Bistro, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Executive Chef -  The Wrigley Mansion Club and Chef de Cuisine - The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa Waldorf Astoria before opening his own confection and bakery.

Chef du Toit is not content in just settling in as an executive chef or chef de cuisine for the rest of his career, he likes the challenges of precise baking and chocolate work along with sugar displays and show pieces.

Not many chefs have what it takes to transfer from savory cooking into the demanding world of pastries. Chef du Toit has kept himself busy working long hours and showcasing his talents in such places as Miami, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Denver and Chicago for large celebrity and political events.

Although Chef du Toit strives to create gourmet individual pastries, cakes, torts and masterful wedding cakes from dreamy to classical. Satisfying high end clients and the most specifically sophisticated brides to deliver that perfect grand finale, it is chocolate that is his new found love.

Chef John du Toit is creating such cutting edge truffles with colors, patterns and flavors that have not been seen before and working with some of the best names in the industry like Max Felchlin and Hero. High end truffles filled with cream flavored Ganache such as passion fruit, lemonade, lavender, crème fraiche, passion vanilla, habanero with mango lime, root beer, cookie dough, strawberry balsamic and cheese cake just to name a few. The product line will be named accordingly “John du Toit Patisserie” and will be based locally out of Phoenix for the first year.

The Patisserie will also offer seasonal treats as well as toffees, caramels, taffy, peanut brittle and fudge, along with the bakery creating wonderful special occasion cakes and wedding cakes for that one of a kind creation. Chef du Toit will be unavailing his new collection of confections called “Parisians” to view at the 2009 Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

Chef John du Toit is a very well recognized and respected chef not only locally but nationally as well – always keeping himself involved in as many different kitchen environments as possible to need and push the boundaries in culinary arts. 

Chef du Toit has directed some of the most renowned establishments in the country and has had the opportunity to excel in not only savory food but sweet as well. Chef du Toit was most recently the Chef de Cuisine - The Los Angeles Hilton Universal City, Executive Chef -  Indigo Bistro, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Executive Chef -  The Wrigley Mansion Club and Chef de Cuisine - The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa Waldorf Astoria before opening his own confection and bakery.

Chef du Toit is not content in just settling in as an executive chef or chef de cuisine for the rest of his career, he likes the challenges of precise baking and chocolate work along with sugar displays and show pieces.

Not many chefs have what it takes to transfer from savory cooking into the demanding world of pastries. Chef du Toit has kept himself busy working long hours and showcasing his talents in such places as Miami, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Denver and Chicago for large celebrity and political events.

Although Chef du Toit strives to create gourmet individual pastries, cakes, torts and masterful wedding cakes from dreamy to classical. Satisfying high end clients and the most specifically sophisticated brides to deliver that perfect grand finale, it is chocolate that is his new found love.

Chef John du Toit is creating such cutting edge truffles with colors, patterns and flavors that have not been seen before and working with some of the best names in the industry like Max Felchlin and Hero. High end truffles filled with cream flavored Ganache such as passion fruit, lemonade, lavender, crème fraiche, passion vanilla, habanero with mango lime, root beer, cookie dough, strawberry balsamic and cheese cake just to name a few. The product line will be named accordingly “John du Toit Patisserie” and will be based locally out of Phoenix for the first year.

The Patisserie will also offer seasonal treats as well as toffees, caramels, taffy, peanut brittle and fudge, along with the bakery creating wonderful special occasion cakes and wedding cakes for that one of a kind creation. Chef du Toit will be unavailing his new collection of confections called “Parisians” to view at the 2009 Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

Brian Duncan
Brian Duncan

For the past nine years, Wine Director Brian Duncan has contributed his expertise to one of Chicago’s premier dining destinations, BIN 36 Restaurant, Wine Bar & Market. Featured as one of America’s leading wine experts in the November 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, the February 2007 issue of GQ and the September 2006 issue of Food & Wine magazine; a return seminar leader and panelist at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic; a previous recipient of the prestigious “Good Eating” award from the Chicago Tribune and the recipient for four nominations for Chicago’s Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence in the Best Sommelier category, Duncan is recognized for his knowledgeable, friendly and sympathetic approach to wine education. In Spring 2008, Duncan was honored as the Gourmet Wine Cellar Wine Director of the Year (Chicago), and received his second consecutive James Beard Award nomination in the national Outstanding Wine Service category, spotlighting his commitment to making wine education and appreciation fun and approachable. BIN 36 received an Award of Unique Distinction from Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2007 for its commitment to delivering the most wine-friendly experience to its guests. And in the Fall 2006 issue of Wine & Spirits magazine, BIN 36 was chosen as “the Best Wine-Pairing System” in the nation, crediting Duncan, its creator, with producing a smart, friendly approach. Honing his wine knowledge through years of experience at such nationally acclaimed restaurants as Spruce, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo and Zinfandel, Duncan’s mission is to share his love of wine by making it accessible to everyone. Duncan’s dedication shows in all his ventures, from writing fun and exciting wine descriptions for the BIN 36 wine list to teaching interactive wine seminars and creating his own wines for the BIN 36 brand.

Gaining the trust and confidence of some of the best boutique winemakers in the United States, Duncan is able to offer many highly allocated vintages (which even connoisseurs have a hard time getting their hands on) on the BIN 36 list. Duncan rounds out BIN 36’s  innovative selection with wines that he purchases at auctions or discovers in his travels (Australia, Austria, Italy, Germany, Argentina, France, Greece, California, Washington and Oregon in the past few years alone). “In general, I find diners are more interested in a broader selection of wine, and they’re willing to experiment,” he says. “They’ve read about the cult, hand-crafted wines that they don’t see in retail stores – this is a chance for us to showcase what I think are some of the best American wines available – and then I look around the world for their peers.” While rare wines often have high price tags, Duncan’s list proves that this does not have to be the case: He has a strong list of wines that will not require a second mortgage.

Brian’s most recent venture has been the creation of the retail BIN 36 Wines brand. Partnering with Hahn Estate vineyards, Duncan tasted barrel samples to become familiar with all varieties being planted and to identify interesting wines. Based on quality and availability, he purchased specific lots of wine and then decided how he wanted to blend them, including percentages and types of wood used. The food-friendly and moderately priced BIN 36 Wines, as well as a proprietary red wine called D&S, hit retail wine shops and restaurant wine lists across the country in September 2007. The next release is slated for January 2009. Duncan has also produced a number of in-house vintages that are served and sold only at BIN 36, called the Brian’s Blends. These include seven vintages of Syrah from Beckmen Vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley, California, five vintages of Zinfandel and two vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from Napa Valley, California, and the newest additions to this impressive portfolio of wines, the 2003 and 2004 Brian’s Blends Pinot Noirs from the Santa Lucia Highlands, California. “I wanted to partner with winemakers that I know personally and whose commitment to quality I was already familiar with. I can count on the quality from these vineyards, and have more control over the final blend, as opposed to purchasing pre-made wine and putting my label on it. I’m interested in creating wines that both accompany food well and drink beautifully on their own,” says Duncan.

Duncan’s passion for wine includes a desire to create a whole new generation of wine drinkers by doing everything possible to add to his guests’ wine knowledge. At BIN 36, Duncan writes accessible and exciting wine descriptions for the wines available by the glass and in the Market and meets with the staff on a daily basis in tandem with Executive Chef John Caputo to discuss interesting food and wine pairings. In addition, Duncan has developed BIN School, which addresses various levels in learning about wine and food and wine synergy, and the “Discovery Series,” an interactive series of seminars that includes executive training for creating win-win dining and wining situations. These classes explain everything from choosing a restaurant and wine selections to making sure your guests are treated like royalty.

Duncan also oversees the wine programs at bin wine cafe and A MANO, sister establishments that opened in Chicago in 2005 and 2007, respectively. In addition to making regular appearances on ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, Duncan can be found coast to coast – and everywhere in between – at vineyards, wine symposiums, as a return presenter at the Taste of Ebony, for the third year at the Food & Wine Entertaining Showcase in November 2008, presenting for the sixth consecutive year at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic in 2009 and much more.

For the past nine years, Wine Director Brian Duncan has contributed his expertise to one of Chicago’s premier dining destinations, BIN 36 Restaurant, Wine Bar & Market. Featured as one of America’s leading wine experts in the November 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, the February 2007 issue of GQ and the September 2006 issue of Food & Wine magazine; a return seminar leader and panelist at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic; a previous recipient of the prestigious “Good Eating” award from the Chicago Tribune and the recipient for four nominations for Chicago’s Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence in the Best Sommelier category, Duncan is recognized for his knowledgeable, friendly and sympathetic approach to wine education. In Spring 2008, Duncan was honored as the Gourmet Wine Cellar Wine Director of the Year (Chicago), and received his second consecutive James Beard Award nomination in the national Outstanding Wine Service category, spotlighting his commitment to making wine education and appreciation fun and approachable. BIN 36 received an Award of Unique Distinction from Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2007 for its commitment to delivering the most wine-friendly experience to its guests. And in the Fall 2006 issue of Wine & Spirits magazine, BIN 36 was chosen as “the Best Wine-Pairing System” in the nation, crediting Duncan, its creator, with producing a smart, friendly approach. Honing his wine knowledge through years of experience at such nationally acclaimed restaurants as Spruce, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo and Zinfandel, Duncan’s mission is to share his love of wine by making it accessible to everyone. Duncan’s dedication shows in all his ventures, from writing fun and exciting wine descriptions for the BIN 36 wine list to teaching interactive wine seminars and creating his own wines for the BIN 36 brand.

Gaining the trust and confidence of some of the best boutique winemakers in the United States, Duncan is able to offer many highly allocated vintages (which even connoisseurs have a hard time getting their hands on) on the BIN 36 list. Duncan rounds out BIN 36’s  innovative selection with wines that he purchases at auctions or discovers in his travels (Australia, Austria, Italy, Germany, Argentina, France, Greece, California, Washington and Oregon in the past few years alone). “In general, I find diners are more interested in a broader selection of wine, and they’re willing to experiment,” he says. “They’ve read about the cult, hand-crafted wines that they don’t see in retail stores – this is a chance for us to showcase what I think are some of the best American wines available – and then I look around the world for their peers.” While rare wines often have high price tags, Duncan’s list proves that this does not have to be the case: He has a strong list of wines that will not require a second mortgage.

Brian’s most recent venture has been the creation of the retail BIN 36 Wines brand. Partnering with Hahn Estate vineyards, Duncan tasted barrel samples to become familiar with all varieties being planted and to identify interesting wines. Based on quality and availability, he purchased specific lots of wine and then decided how he wanted to blend them, including percentages and types of wood used. The food-friendly and moderately priced BIN 36 Wines, as well as a proprietary red wine called D&S, hit retail wine shops and restaurant wine lists across the country in September 2007. The next release is slated for January 2009. Duncan has also produced a number of in-house vintages that are served and sold only at BIN 36, called the Brian’s Blends. These include seven vintages of Syrah from Beckmen Vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley, California, five vintages of Zinfandel and two vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from Napa Valley, California, and the newest additions to this impressive portfolio of wines, the 2003 and 2004 Brian’s Blends Pinot Noirs from the Santa Lucia Highlands, California. “I wanted to partner with winemakers that I know personally and whose commitment to quality I was already familiar with. I can count on the quality from these vineyards, and have more control over the final blend, as opposed to purchasing pre-made wine and putting my label on it. I’m interested in creating wines that both accompany food well and drink beautifully on their own,” says Duncan.

Duncan’s passion for wine includes a desire to create a whole new generation of wine drinkers by doing everything possible to add to his guests’ wine knowledge. At BIN 36, Duncan writes accessible and exciting wine descriptions for the wines available by the glass and in the Market and meets with the staff on a daily basis in tandem with Executive Chef John Caputo to discuss interesting food and wine pairings. In addition, Duncan has developed BIN School, which addresses various levels in learning about wine and food and wine synergy, and the “Discovery Series,” an interactive series of seminars that includes executive training for creating win-win dining and wining situations. These classes explain everything from choosing a restaurant and wine selections to making sure your guests are treated like royalty.

Duncan also oversees the wine programs at bin wine cafe and A MANO, sister establishments that opened in Chicago in 2005 and 2007, respectively. In addition to making regular appearances on ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, Duncan can be found coast to coast – and everywhere in between – at vineyards, wine symposiums, as a return presenter at the Taste of Ebony, for the third year at the Food & Wine Entertaining Showcase in November 2008, presenting for the sixth consecutive year at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic in 2009 and much more.

Barbara Fenzl
Barbara Fenzl

Barbara Pool Fenzl, C. C. P., is a major figure on the American culinary stage:  owner of Les Gourmettes Cooking School in Phoenix, established in 1983; television host of the 13-week PBS series, “Savor the Southwest,” and host of KAET-TV’s last ten cooking-related pledge drives and a regular guest on “Your Life,” a local morning television show; author of Southwest the Beautiful Cookbook (Collins San Francisco, 1994), Savor the Southwest (Bay Books, 1999), and Seasonal Southwest Cooking (Northland Publishing, 2005); renowned cooking teacher in both the United States and the Périgord region of France; former food editor of Phoenix Home and Garden magazine and a frequent contributor to Bon Appétit magazine; past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals; benefactor and past board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food; past president of the Arizona Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier; and a  past member of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards Committee. She holds B.S. and M.A. degrees and has studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu (London), Ecole LeNotre, and Luberon College.

Barbara Pool Fenzl, C. C. P., is a major figure on the American culinary stage:  owner of Les Gourmettes Cooking School in Phoenix, established in 1983; television host of the 13-week PBS series, “Savor the Southwest,” and host of KAET-TV’s last ten cooking-related pledge drives and a regular guest on “Your Life,” a local morning television show; author of Southwest the Beautiful Cookbook (Collins San Francisco, 1994), Savor the Southwest (Bay Books, 1999), and Seasonal Southwest Cooking (Northland Publishing, 2005); renowned cooking teacher in both the United States and the Périgord region of France; former food editor of Phoenix Home and Garden magazine and a frequent contributor to Bon Appétit magazine; past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals; benefactor and past board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food; past president of the Arizona Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier; and a  past member of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards Committee. She holds B.S. and M.A. degrees and has studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu (London), Ecole LeNotre, and Luberon College.

Christina Machamer
Christina Machamer

Chef Christina Machamer was born in St. Louis and began working in restaurants at the age of sixteen. After a brief stint as a pre-law major in college, she realized her path lay in the hospitality industry. After an apprenticeship for world renowned chef Larry Forgione at An American Place, she began her formal education at Forest Park Community College in 2003.

Having attended classes for nearly two years, Chef Christina realized that if she wanted to make it in the industry, she needed a stronger degree. After traveling through Europe and the United States looking for a school, she decided to attend The Culinary Institute of America in the spring of 2006.

Chef Christina completed her externship while working for the Caneel Bay Resort on the isle of St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. After returning to The Culinary, she withdrew between her fourth and fifth terms to film the fourth season of Hell’s Kitchen. The series wrapped in late October of 2007, and she returned to The Culinary to complete her degree in February 2008.

Chef Christina returned to St. Louis for the airing of Hell’s Kitchen in the spring and spent time in the kitchen of the newly opened Revival Restaurant working under friend and mentor, chef Cary McDowell. 

The secret of her triumph in Hell’s Kitchen was revealed in early July 2008, and following a whirlwind publicity tour, Chef Christina relocated to Los Angeles to assume her current position as Executive Sous Chef at the aptly named Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood Hotel. She remained grounded by working long hours and absorbing all she can from some of the world’s premier culinary talents. 

This past month, the restaurant received its first Michelin star, having only been open a few months.  Although this is another great achievement, Chef Christina is working hard campaigning to receive a second star next year.  With her significant other, Cory, a chef at Patina also working towards his second star, it makes for an interesting home life, and some great leftovers.

Chef Christina Machamer was born in St. Louis and began working in restaurants at the age of sixteen. After a brief stint as a pre-law major in college, she realized her path lay in the hospitality industry. After an apprenticeship for world renowned chef Larry Forgione at An American Place, she began her formal education at Forest Park Community College in 2003.

Having attended classes for nearly two years, Chef Christina realized that if she wanted to make it in the industry, she needed a stronger degree. After traveling through Europe and the United States looking for a school, she decided to attend The Culinary Institute of America in the spring of 2006.

Chef Christina completed her externship while working for the Caneel Bay Resort on the isle of St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. After returning to The Culinary, she withdrew between her fourth and fifth terms to film the fourth season of Hell’s Kitchen. The series wrapped in late October of 2007, and she returned to The Culinary to complete her degree in February 2008.

Chef Christina returned to St. Louis for the airing of Hell’s Kitchen in the spring and spent time in the kitchen of the newly opened Revival Restaurant working under friend and mentor, chef Cary McDowell. 

The secret of her triumph in Hell’s Kitchen was revealed in early July 2008, and following a whirlwind publicity tour, Chef Christina relocated to Los Angeles to assume her current position as Executive Sous Chef at the aptly named Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood Hotel. She remained grounded by working long hours and absorbing all she can from some of the world’s premier culinary talents. 

This past month, the restaurant received its first Michelin star, having only been open a few months.  Although this is another great achievement, Chef Christina is working hard campaigning to receive a second star next year.  With her significant other, Cory, a chef at Patina also working towards his second star, it makes for an interesting home life, and some great leftovers.

Robin Miller
Robin Miller

Robin has eighteen years of experience as a food writer and nutritionist and is the author of the bestselling cookbook “Quick Fix Meals”.  Her popular show, “Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller” currently airs on Food Network.  Her prime time show, “Robin to the Rescue” premiered on Food Network in March 2007. 

Robin’s recipes and nutrition features can be seen regularly in a variety of magazines, including Clean Eating, Experience Life, Guideposts, Cooking Light, Health, Fit Pregnancy, and Toddler. 

Robin has been a guest on hundreds of local and national television and radio programs.  She has hosted home videos (for Jane Fonda), cable television vignettes (for Food Network and a variety of food companies) and spoken at media events in various markets nationwide.  Currently, she appears on local, network and cable television.  Programs of particular interested include: The Early Show (CBS), Regis & Kelly, The View, The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), CNN, ABC Eyewitness News, CBS Evening News, Fox News Channel, Food Network, Discovery Channel, Health Network, and Joan Lunden’s Women’s Supermarket Network.

She has written eight books: Robin to the Rescue (Taunton, 2008), Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller (Taunton, 2007), Picnics (Clarkson Potter, 2005), Verdure (Clarkson Potter, June 2001), The Newlywed Cookbook (Sourcebooks, 1999), The Daily Soup (Hyperion, 1999), Jane Fonda, Cooking for Healthy Living (Turner, 1996), and The Newlywed Cookbook (R&E Publishers, 1991).

Robin’s newest book, Robin Rescues Dinner: 52 Weeks of Quick-Fix Meals, 350 Recipes, and a Realistic Plan to Get Home-Cooked Weeknight Dinners on the Table (Potter) will be released in May 2009.

Robin has a master’s degree in Food and Nutrition from New York University, 1998.

For more information, check out www.robin-miller.com.

Robin has eighteen years of experience as a food writer and nutritionist and is the author of the bestselling cookbook “Quick Fix Meals”.  Her popular show, “Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller” currently airs on Food Network.  Her prime time show, “Robin to the Rescue” premiered on Food Network in March 2007. 

Robin’s recipes and nutrition features can be seen regularly in a variety of magazines, including Clean Eating, Experience Life, Guideposts, Cooking Light, Health, Fit Pregnancy, and Toddler. 

Robin has been a guest on hundreds of local and national television and radio programs.  She has hosted home videos (for Jane Fonda), cable television vignettes (for Food Network and a variety of food companies) and spoken at media events in various markets nationwide.  Currently, she appears on local, network and cable television.  Programs of particular interested include: The Early Show (CBS), Regis & Kelly, The View, The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), CNN, ABC Eyewitness News, CBS Evening News, Fox News Channel, Food Network, Discovery Channel, Health Network, and Joan Lunden’s Women’s Supermarket Network.

She has written eight books: Robin to the Rescue (Taunton, 2008), Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller (Taunton, 2007), Picnics (Clarkson Potter, 2005), Verdure (Clarkson Potter, June 2001), The Newlywed Cookbook (Sourcebooks, 1999), The Daily Soup (Hyperion, 1999), Jane Fonda, Cooking for Healthy Living (Turner, 1996), and The Newlywed Cookbook (R&E Publishers, 1991).

Robin’s newest book, Robin Rescues Dinner: 52 Weeks of Quick-Fix Meals, 350 Recipes, and a Realistic Plan to Get Home-Cooked Weeknight Dinners on the Table (Potter) will be released in May 2009.

Robin has a master’s degree in Food and Nutrition from New York University, 1998.

For more information, check out www.robin-miller.com.

Stephanie Izard
Stephanie Izard

Although she didn’t know it at the time, by the age of 10, Stephanie Izard had already figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up.  In her hometown of Stamford, Connecticut, her favorite activity was to play “restaurant,” offering her friends and family a menu she created from scratch and then cooking them dishes such as chicken cordon bleu.  Influenced by her parent’s global cooking and the gourmet club they hosted each month, her love affair with food had already begun.  As she grew older she always enjoyed cooking, but somehow thought her career should be business-related.  So in pursuit of a non-food career, Stephanie attended the University of Michigan.  But she couldn’t deny her interest burgeoning interest in food, so she ultimately decided that after earning her degree in Sociology she would go forward and attend culinary school. 

After graduating in 1998, Stephanie headed west and earned her Culinary Degree at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.  Finally embarking on her destined career she began as a line cook at French-inspired Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie.  After 2 years in Arizona, her birth town of Chicago was calling her name, so in a spur-of-the-moment decision, she decided to pack up and move to the great food town of Chicago.  She was lured by the wonderful community of chefs and began right away as line cook at Jean Georges’ restaurant, Vong’s Thai Kitchen.  She next moved to the position of roundsmen at Shawn McClain’s award-winning New American/Asian restaurant Spring, and afterward became sous chef at the critically-acclaimed French bistro, La Tache.

At La Tache Stephanie was in charge of creating the seafood special every day, and her dishes were so successful that one day a colleague told her she should open her own restaurant.  With the extra burst of confidence, a week later she quit and began a new venture.  Stephanie has always been driven and a bit of a risk-taker, so despite the lack of a management team or additional resources, in 2004 she opened Mediterranean-influenced Scylla to critical acclaim, and in 2007 Bon Appetit magazine named it one of the ten finest small restaurants in the country.  After three busy years of 110-hour weeks, Stephanie decided that it was time to take a break and closed Scylla in order to take some time to travel and think about her next venture.  In addition to exploring new flavors, Stephanie loves to scuba dive, so she headed to Southeast Asia and fell in love with the wonders of fish sauce and the clear warm waters. 

On return from her travels, in the fall of 2007 Stephanie received a call from the producers of Bravo’s Top Chef, so her life was put on hold and she began competing for the title of Top Chef.   She had always been an avid fan of the show (but had to watch via TiVo due to the long hours), so went into it with the wise mantra “Just make it taste good,” trying not to worry about the surrounding drama.  In the end, her focus paid off and Stephanie came away as the overall winner and was also voted fan-favorite.

While still getting used to the hoots and cheers while walking down the street, Stephanie is now on the hunt for the location of her next restaurant venture.  She is thrilled at the prospect of having a team to plan with, and especially excited to build her own kitchen with brand new equipment. The restaurant will incorporate innovative flavor combinations, taking comfort-style dishes to the next level, and the menu is sure to include tons of seafood as well as pork products.  Stephanie plans to open the to-be-named restaurant in the spring of 2009 in Chicago, so look out for it!

Although she didn’t know it at the time, by the age of 10, Stephanie Izard had already figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up.  In her hometown of Stamford, Connecticut, her favorite activity was to play “restaurant,” offering her friends and family a menu she created from scratch and then cooking them dishes such as chicken cordon bleu.  Influenced by her parent’s global cooking and the gourmet club they hosted each month, her love affair with food had already begun.  As she grew older she always enjoyed cooking, but somehow thought her career should be business-related.  So in pursuit of a non-food career, Stephanie attended the University of Michigan.  But she couldn’t deny her interest burgeoning interest in food, so she ultimately decided that after earning her degree in Sociology she would go forward and attend culinary school. 

After graduating in 1998, Stephanie headed west and earned her Culinary Degree at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.  Finally embarking on her destined career she began as a line cook at French-inspired Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie.  After 2 years in Arizona, her birth town of Chicago was calling her name, so in a spur-of-the-moment decision, she decided to pack up and move to the great food town of Chicago.  She was lured by the wonderful community of chefs and began right away as line cook at Jean Georges’ restaurant, Vong’s Thai Kitchen.  She next moved to the position of roundsmen at Shawn McClain’s award-winning New American/Asian restaurant Spring, and afterward became sous chef at the critically-acclaimed French bistro, La Tache.

At La Tache Stephanie was in charge of creating the seafood special every day, and her dishes were so successful that one day a colleague told her she should open her own restaurant.  With the extra burst of confidence, a week later she quit and began a new venture.  Stephanie has always been driven and a bit of a risk-taker, so despite the lack of a management team or additional resources, in 2004 she opened Mediterranean-influenced Scylla to critical acclaim, and in 2007 Bon Appetit magazine named it one of the ten finest small restaurants in the country.  After three busy years of 110-hour weeks, Stephanie decided that it was time to take a break and closed Scylla in order to take some time to travel and think about her next venture.  In addition to exploring new flavors, Stephanie loves to scuba dive, so she headed to Southeast Asia and fell in love with the wonders of fish sauce and the clear warm waters. 

On return from her travels, in the fall of 2007 Stephanie received a call from the producers of Bravo’s Top Chef, so her life was put on hold and she began competing for the title of Top Chef.   She had always been an avid fan of the show (but had to watch via TiVo due to the long hours), so went into it with the wise mantra “Just make it taste good,” trying not to worry about the surrounding drama.  In the end, her focus paid off and Stephanie came away as the overall winner and was also voted fan-favorite.

While still getting used to the hoots and cheers while walking down the street, Stephanie is now on the hunt for the location of her next restaurant venture.  She is thrilled at the prospect of having a team to plan with, and especially excited to build her own kitchen with brand new equipment. The restaurant will incorporate innovative flavor combinations, taking comfort-style dishes to the next level, and the menu is sure to include tons of seafood as well as pork products.  Stephanie plans to open the to-be-named restaurant in the spring of 2009 in Chicago, so look out for it!

Rock Harper
Rock Harper

Rahman "Rock" Harper is the Executive Chef at Ben’s Next Door in Washington D.C. After being announced the winner from Season 3 of the reality show, Hell's Kitchen.

Rahman discovered his love of cooking when he was in his teens.  In high school, he took both cooking and home economics classes.  He soon became obsessed with the challenge of running a restaurant kitchen, and decided that this would be his career.  Making the most of his talent and determination Rahman became an award-winning, honors culinary graduate of the noted Johnson and Wales University.  Here, he gained extensive experience in both front and the back of the house at the University-run J&W Radisson in Rhode Island.  During his school vacations, Harper worked as Chef's Assistant to Chef Osama El-Sayed, on his acclaimed internationally syndicated television show Bil Hanna Wa Shiffa (With Joy and Good Health).  This became Rahman's first full-time position after graduation from Johnson & Wales.

Rahman's resume also includes stints at Head Chef at Terra Verde Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada, Café Calliope in the Embassy Suites Hotel, Alexandra, VA, and as Sous Chef at Planet Hollywood, Washington D.C.  By age 21, Rahman was Sous Chef at Bet On Jazz restaurant in Washington, DC where he helped to revitalize the kitchen and to improve the food and streamline operations.  It was here that he further refined his ability to recognize the freshest and most flavorful meats and produce as he was solely in charge of all food purchasing.  Rahman joined B. Smith's Union Station in 1999 as Sous Chef and has earned his promotion to Executive Chef through his characteristic dedication, hard work, and a touch of brilliance.

"I've worked with many chefs, all with different cultural influences, such as French, Caribbean, Southern, Cajun, West African and American," says Rahman.  "In each kitchen, I dedicated myself to learning as much as I could and to understanding the unique elements of each culturally-distinctive cuisine.  My goal is to highlight the best of the best of these taste elements with my own distinct personal touches, all presented with a fun flair!"

Rahman is 31 and lives in Henderson, Nevada with his wife and their 2 children, their son who has inherited Rahman's infectious smile.

Rahman "Rock" Harper is the Executive Chef at Ben’s Next Door in Washington D.C. After being announced the winner from Season 3 of the reality show, Hell's Kitchen.

Rahman discovered his love of cooking when he was in his teens.  In high school, he took both cooking and home economics classes.  He soon became obsessed with the challenge of running a restaurant kitchen, and decided that this would be his career.  Making the most of his talent and determination Rahman became an award-winning, honors culinary graduate of the noted Johnson and Wales University.  Here, he gained extensive experience in both front and the back of the house at the University-run J&W Radisson in Rhode Island.  During his school vacations, Harper worked as Chef's Assistant to Chef Osama El-Sayed, on his acclaimed internationally syndicated television show Bil Hanna Wa Shiffa (With Joy and Good Health).  This became Rahman's first full-time position after graduation from Johnson & Wales.

Rahman's resume also includes stints at Head Chef at Terra Verde Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada, Café Calliope in the Embassy Suites Hotel, Alexandra, VA, and as Sous Chef at Planet Hollywood, Washington D.C.  By age 21, Rahman was Sous Chef at Bet On Jazz restaurant in Washington, DC where he helped to revitalize the kitchen and to improve the food and streamline operations.  It was here that he further refined his ability to recognize the freshest and most flavorful meats and produce as he was solely in charge of all food purchasing.  Rahman joined B. Smith's Union Station in 1999 as Sous Chef and has earned his promotion to Executive Chef through his characteristic dedication, hard work, and a touch of brilliance.

"I've worked with many chefs, all with different cultural influences, such as French, Caribbean, Southern, Cajun, West African and American," says Rahman.  "In each kitchen, I dedicated myself to learning as much as I could and to understanding the unique elements of each culturally-distinctive cuisine.  My goal is to highlight the best of the best of these taste elements with my own distinct personal touches, all presented with a fun flair!"

Rahman is 31 and lives in Henderson, Nevada with his wife and their 2 children, their son who has inherited Rahman's infectious smile.

Douglas Rodriguez
Douglas Rodriguez

deseo Restaurant
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Regarded as the inventor of Nuevo Latino cuisine, Chef Rodriguez’s westward dining venture landed him in Scottsdale at The Westin Kierland. deseo, which means “desire” in Spanish,” offers authentic Latin-influenced dishes in an upbeat atmosphere featuring a full exhibition ceviche bar as well as floor-to-ceiling windows with vast views of the mountains.

Douglas Rodriguez is one of America’s most honored chefs. He has owned some of the hottest restaurants in the country including: Chicama, Pipa and OLA (Of Latin America) in New York City, OLA Miami, and Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia. Educated at Johnson & Wales University, Rodriguez’ professional career began in Miami. In 1994 he opened New York’s Patria, garnering three stars from the New York Times in 1996. Awards and honors include the Chefs of America Award (1991), Culinary Master of North American and New York Award (1994), the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef Awards” (1996), and a nomination for Beard's 1999 Best Chef: New York.

Rodriguez is also the author of four cookbooks published by Ten Speed Press: Nuevo Latino, Latin Ladles, Latin Flavors on the Grill, and his most recent release, The Great Ceviche Book.

Lee Hillson
Lee Hillson

Executive Chef
T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa

 Lee Hillson’s progression up the food chain is paved with award-winning culinary experiences.  Hillson began his restaurant career in 1987 at the age of 16 when he enrolled in culinary school at Bournemouth and Poole College in his native England.  Two years later, degree in hand, he took off to the Hyatt in Austin, Texas to explore new worlds and new cuisines.

A year later, he returned to London for the unique opportunity to be the Pastry Chef at the Roux Patisserie, owned by world-renowned chefs, Albert and Michel Roux.  Hillson then served as Pastry Chef at the Michelin star Le Poussin in Hampshire, England.   His next stop was  Hintlesham Hall in Ipswich, Suffolk, England where he began as the Pastry Chef and three years later was appointed Sous Chef at this European award-winning, fine dining restaurant.

 In November of 1998, Hillson crossed the Atlantic again to become Executive Sous Chef at Vanderbilt Hall in Newport, Rhode Island at its Alva restaurant.  Within a few short months, he was appointed Executive Chef at this restaurant ranked as one of the country’s top five restaurants by Country Inn magazine.

 From Rhode Island, Hillson ventured cross country in 2000, and teamed up with another nationally acclaimed restaurant, T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa.    As Sous Chef, Hillson has been part of the lineup that has garnered acclaim from the likes of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, Travel + Leisure magazine and a host of Phoenix/Scottsdale food writers.  During his tenure at T. Cook’s, Hillson has cooked on more than one occasion at the James Beard House in New York as part of the T. Cook’s team as well as at the resort for a Friends of James Beard dinner and numerous local high profile culinary events.  According to resort General Manager, Greg Miller, “Lee’s leadership has been one of the key ingredients in the success and recognition we’ve achieved at T. Cook’s.”

Craig Leeser
Craig Leeser

Chef Craig has been working in the culinary industry since he was 15 years old and has an enormous passion for food and service. After winning two culinary competitions as a young teen in El Paso Texas, Craig was fortunate to receive a scholarship to the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. During his time in Arizona, Craig has been the Executive Chef at Drift & Stingray Restaurant in Scottsdale, General Manager of Western Pizza & Wine Bar, Sous Chef at Earl’s Restaurant and has had the privilege to cook for many celebrities. Craig brings a certain work ethic and energy to The Wrigley Mansion that is guaranteed to show in the taste of his food! “Food is not just a way to nourish your body, it is an experience” said Chef Leeser.

Chef Craig has been working in the culinary industry since he was 15 years old and has an enormous passion for food and service. After winning two culinary competitions as a young teen in El Paso Texas, Craig was fortunate to receive a scholarship to the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. During his time in Arizona, Craig has been the Executive Chef at Drift & Stingray Restaurant in Scottsdale, General Manager of Western Pizza & Wine Bar, Sous Chef at Earl’s Restaurant and has had the privilege to cook for many celebrities. Craig brings a certain work ethic and energy to The Wrigley Mansion that is guaranteed to show in the taste of his food! “Food is not just a way to nourish your body, it is an experience” said Chef Leeser.

Lee Ann Wong
Lee Ann Wong

Executive Chef/Special Events Consultant
International Culinary Center

Chef Lee Anne Wong exchanged one creative calling for another when she abandoned her career in fashion design to attend The French Culinary Institute in 2000. She has since returned to the school as the Executive Chef of Event Operations, where she now composes original menus of her modern global fusion style, drawing on her artistic background for inspiration.

After graduating The FCI, she worked her way up through Marcus Samuelsson’s kitchen at Aquavit to become the restaurant’s sous chef. After learning all she could from Chef Samuelsson, she spent two years as the private chef for the head of a Fortune 500 company and as an integral part of the opening staff at Jean Georges Vongrichten’s much lauded Chinese restaurant, 66.

Chef Lee Anne returned to her alma mater as Executive Chef of Event Operations. In this post, she draws on her creativity to design and customize one-of-a-kind menus and events for the clients of the school’s International Culinary Theater. “I try to create menus that capture an artistic essence, with dishes that are a joy to look at, different, fun, and almost sculptural, while exciting the palate with subtle layers of flavor and unexpected tastes and textures,” says Chef Lee Anne. She also plays an important part in the education of the students at The French Culinary Institute as the host and coordinator of the school’s Chef Demonstration Program, working side-by-side with the culinary world’s leading luminaries such as  Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner, Tyler Florence, and Martin Yan. Lee Anne has established herself amongst her peers not only professionally, but also personally with friends such as Aaron Sanchez and Nils Noren.

Chef Lee Anne doesn’t just work with world famous chefs in her kitchen though; she maintains close ties to what’s going on in the industry by traveling the globe to complete stages in some of the world’s most respected restaurants and also by competing in culinary competitions. She has already worked at the French Laundry, Charlie Trotter’s of Chicago, Nobu Malibu, Trio, Casa Oaxaca in Mexico, and Cap Jaluca in the British Virgin Islands. In addition to working as a guest in various kitchens, Chef Lee Anne also conducts classes at the Culinary Vegetable Institute at Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio, and at The Chopping Block Cooking School in Chicago. She is also an active member in WCR (Women Chefs & Restaurateurs), the James Beard Foundation, and IACP (The International Association of Culinary Professionals). She has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors for The Gohan Foundation, an organization dedicated to fostering Japanese culinary and cultural heritage in the US, via chefs and other culinary professionals. In addition, Lee Anne was recently named “National Toastmaster” for Project by Project’s 10th Anniversary. Project by Project is a volunteer based organization which supports and partners with Asian American non-profit organizations and their goals, ranging in focus from children and families, to media and arts, to human trafficking.

In late 2005, Lee Anne flew out west to film Bravo’s new reality series “Top Chef”, a culinary competition showcasing some of the nation’s top new talent. Upon her return to New York, Chef Wong rang in 2006 by cooking an extravagant New Year’s Eve dinner at The James Beard House. These days she is as busy as ever, recently completing culinary consultation on the new Warner Brothers film “No Reservations”, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. She also assisted in the production of  “Chef’s Story”, a new TV series filmed at The FCI starring 26 of America’s greatest chefs including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Rick Bayless, which aired on PBS in Spring of 2007. Chef Lee Anne returned from Los Angeles and Hawaii after being brought onboard as the Supervising Culinary Producer for Season Two of Top Chef. She is currently starring in her own weekly webisode series, “The Wong Way to Cook” on Bravotv.com., which is in it’s fourth season of airing. Chef Lee Anne is also playing a vital role in the design of The FCI’s Culinary Lab, a state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom outfitted with today’s most cutting edge technology and equipment, slated to open in 2009. Here, she will work alongside visiting chefs and The FCI’s Director of Culinary Technology, David Arnold, in continuing to develop and showcase the next generation of avant garde cooking techniques.

Lee Anne is moving forward with her versatile pursuits in 2009, continuing her role as the Supervising Culinary Producer for Top Chef, completing Seasons Three and Four in Miami and Chicago in 2007, and Season Five in her hometown of New York this summer. She is currently working on a food art book with published photographer, John Mark Sorum, and is in the midst of developing her own television food show. While she maintains her role as a special events consultant at The French Culinary Institute, she continues to be in demand across the country, making guest appearances and consulting on new culinary projects.

Executive Chef/Special Events Consultant
International Culinary Center

Chef Lee Anne Wong exchanged one creative calling for another when she abandoned her career in fashion design to attend The French Culinary Institute in 2000. She has since returned to the school as the Executive Chef of Event Operations, where she now composes original menus of her modern global fusion style, drawing on her artistic background for inspiration.

After graduating The FCI, she worked her way up through Marcus Samuelsson’s kitchen at Aquavit to become the restaurant’s sous chef. After learning all she could from Chef Samuelsson, she spent two years as the private chef for the head of a Fortune 500 company and as an integral part of the opening staff at Jean Georges Vongrichten’s much lauded Chinese restaurant, 66.

Chef Lee Anne returned to her alma mater as Executive Chef of Event Operations. In this post, she draws on her creativity to design and customize one-of-a-kind menus and events for the clients of the school’s International Culinary Theater. “I try to create menus that capture an artistic essence, with dishes that are a joy to look at, different, fun, and almost sculptural, while exciting the palate with subtle layers of flavor and unexpected tastes and textures,” says Chef Lee Anne. She also plays an important part in the education of the students at The French Culinary Institute as the host and coordinator of the school’s Chef Demonstration Program, working side-by-side with the culinary world’s leading luminaries such as  Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner, Tyler Florence, and Martin Yan. Lee Anne has established herself amongst her peers not only professionally, but also personally with friends such as Aaron Sanchez and Nils Noren.

Chef Lee Anne doesn’t just work with world famous chefs in her kitchen though; she maintains close ties to what’s going on in the industry by traveling the globe to complete stages in some of the world’s most respected restaurants and also by competing in culinary competitions. She has already worked at the French Laundry, Charlie Trotter’s of Chicago, Nobu Malibu, Trio, Casa Oaxaca in Mexico, and Cap Jaluca in the British Virgin Islands. In addition to working as a guest in various kitchens, Chef Lee Anne also conducts classes at the Culinary Vegetable Institute at Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio, and at The Chopping Block Cooking School in Chicago. She is also an active member in WCR (Women Chefs & Restaurateurs), the James Beard Foundation, and IACP (The International Association of Culinary Professionals). She has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors for The Gohan Foundation, an organization dedicated to fostering Japanese culinary and cultural heritage in the US, via chefs and other culinary professionals. In addition, Lee Anne was recently named “National Toastmaster” for Project by Project’s 10th Anniversary. Project by Project is a volunteer based organization which supports and partners with Asian American non-profit organizations and their goals, ranging in focus from children and families, to media and arts, to human trafficking.

In late 2005, Lee Anne flew out west to film Bravo’s new reality series “Top Chef”, a culinary competition showcasing some of the nation’s top new talent. Upon her return to New York, Chef Wong rang in 2006 by cooking an extravagant New Year’s Eve dinner at The James Beard House. These days she is as busy as ever, recently completing culinary consultation on the new Warner Brothers film “No Reservations”, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. She also assisted in the production of  “Chef’s Story”, a new TV series filmed at The FCI starring 26 of America’s greatest chefs including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Rick Bayless, which aired on PBS in Spring of 2007. Chef Lee Anne returned from Los Angeles and Hawaii after being brought onboard as the Supervising Culinary Producer for Season Two of Top Chef. She is currently starring in her own weekly webisode series, “The Wong Way to Cook” on Bravotv.com., which is in it’s fourth season of airing. Chef Lee Anne is also playing a vital role in the design of The FCI’s Culinary Lab, a state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom outfitted with today’s most cutting edge technology and equipment, slated to open in 2009. Here, she will work alongside visiting chefs and The FCI’s Director of Culinary Technology, David Arnold, in continuing to develop and showcase the next generation of avant garde cooking techniques.

Lee Anne is moving forward with her versatile pursuits in 2009, continuing her role as the Supervising Culinary Producer for Top Chef, completing Seasons Three and Four in Miami and Chicago in 2007, and Season Five in her hometown of New York this summer. She is currently working on a food art book with published photographer, John Mark Sorum, and is in the midst of developing her own television food show. While she maintains her role as a special events consultant at The French Culinary Institute, she continues to be in demand across the country, making guest appearances and consulting on new culinary projects.

Robert McGrath
Robert McGrath

Founder, Roaring Fork, An American Western Bistro and Bar
Proprietor of Restaurant REM

Don’t let the awe-shucks attitude and well-worn Stetson cowboy hat fool you; Robert McGrath is one of America’s finest chefs and restaurateurs.  Winner of the prestigious James Beard “Best Chef in America: Southwest” Award, and owner of Restaurant REM in Paradise Valley, Arizona, McGrath has been a nationally noted chef for nearly two decades.  Born in Texas, McGrath’s culinary career began with classical training in France, followed by prestigious postings including Chef de Cuisine at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas; Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, Texas; and Chef/Owner of Sierra Grill in Houston, and Brio Vista in Austin, Texas. 

In 1988, Food & Wine magazine chose Robert McGrath as one of the “Ten Best Chefs in America.”  The following year, Chef McGrath’s DeVille Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel-Houston was chosen by Esquire magazine as “One of the Best New Restaurants in America,” and in 1991 he was also the chef for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations.  

In 1992, McGrath migrated to Arizona to serve as Chef de Cuisine for Windows on the Green at the Mobil Five Star Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, before moving on to open Roaring Fork in 1997.  Named after the river that flows through Aspen, Colorado, Roaring Fork’s distinctive, ruggedly elegant menu—featuring seasonal ingredients and Old West recipes restored with a new west twist—changed the face of American Western cuisine and broadened McGrath’s already successful career in the culinary industry.  In 2006, he sold his interests in Roaring Fork.

Nominated five times by The James Beard Foundation as “Best Chef in America: Southwest” (he brought home the honor in 2001), Chef McGrath is also a member of Arizona’s Culinary Hall of Fame.  He’s appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Morning Show on CBS, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Good Morning Arizona, CNN, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and The Food Network, and also written the popular cookbook, American Western Cooking from the Roaring Fork.  Today, this hard-working father of three lives with his wife, Amy, in Scottsdale, AZ.

Founder, Roaring Fork, An American Western Bistro and Bar
Proprietor of Restaurant REM

Don’t let the awe-shucks attitude and well-worn Stetson cowboy hat fool you; Robert McGrath is one of America’s finest chefs and restaurateurs.  Winner of the prestigious James Beard “Best Chef in America: Southwest” Award, and owner of Restaurant REM in Paradise Valley, Arizona, McGrath has been a nationally noted chef for nearly two decades.  Born in Texas, McGrath’s culinary career began with classical training in France, followed by prestigious postings including Chef de Cuisine at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas; Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, Texas; and Chef/Owner of Sierra Grill in Houston, and Brio Vista in Austin, Texas. 

In 1988, Food & Wine magazine chose Robert McGrath as one of the “Ten Best Chefs in America.”  The following year, Chef McGrath’s DeVille Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel-Houston was chosen by Esquire magazine as “One of the Best New Restaurants in America,” and in 1991 he was also the chef for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations.  

In 1992, McGrath migrated to Arizona to serve as Chef de Cuisine for Windows on the Green at the Mobil Five Star Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, before moving on to open Roaring Fork in 1997.  Named after the river that flows through Aspen, Colorado, Roaring Fork’s distinctive, ruggedly elegant menu—featuring seasonal ingredients and Old West recipes restored with a new west twist—changed the face of American Western cuisine and broadened McGrath’s already successful career in the culinary industry.  In 2006, he sold his interests in Roaring Fork.

Nominated five times by The James Beard Foundation as “Best Chef in America: Southwest” (he brought home the honor in 2001), Chef McGrath is also a member of Arizona’s Culinary Hall of Fame.  He’s appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Morning Show on CBS, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Good Morning Arizona, CNN, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and The Food Network, and also written the popular cookbook, American Western Cooking from the Roaring Fork.  Today, this hard-working father of three lives with his wife, Amy, in Scottsdale, AZ.

John Sarch
John Sarch

Few chefs enjoy access to a greater bounty of world-class wines and fresh foods than Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Culinary Director, John Sarich. “It’s incredibly exciting to live in the Pacific Northwest,” says John. “Not only do we have an outstanding variety of ingredients from the land and sea, we also have exceptional wines from Washington’s Columbia Valley, where long summer days and crisp autumn nights produce ideal conditions for well balanced wines.”

John’s innovative approach to matching food and wine reflects his unique culinary background. His wine and food pairings have delighted discriminating palates across the country.

At Chateau Ste. Michelle, John conducts cooking classes, wine and food tastings, wine dinners, and special events, all designed to further people’s enjoyment and understanding of wine and food.

He also presents training seminars and classes for wine and food professionals and aficionados around the world. Culinary tours have led John from Disney World in Orlando, to the Culinary Institute of America in
New York, to hotels in Singapore, Bangkok, and Hawaii, to name a few.

John joined Chateau Ste. Michelle as a winery guide in 1976, the summer the winery first opened its doors. His incredible knowledge and enthusiasm for wine and food quickly became apparent, and before long he was teaching cooking classes in the Chateau’s historic Manor House. Soon after, he moved into sales as a wine and food consultant for chefs up and down the Pacific Coast.

In 1980, John took a hiatus from the winery to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant. He founded Seattle’s highly acclaimed Adriatica Restaurant and later opened Dalmacija Ristoran in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. While at Adriatica, John was selected by Esquire magazine as one of the country’s “hot new chefs,” and listed by The Seattle Times as one of the city’s top five chefs.

After returning to Chateau Ste. Michelle as Culinary Director in 1990, John hosted the Emmy-nominated cooking show Taste of the Northwest for four years. His first cookbook, John Sarich’s Food & Wine of the Pacific Northwest, was published in 1993, and continues to inspire cooks across the country. The second wine and food cookbook, John Sarich at Chateau Ste. Michelle, was released in the fall of 1997.

John currently hosts the nationally and internationally syndicated TV show Best of Taste:
Travels With John Sarich with episodes shot on location in Europe, Asia and across the United States. His companion cookbook, Best of Taste, was released April 2001. His fourth cookbook, entitled Entertaining Simply – Celebrate the Season, was released in September 2001.

For John, educating others about the joy of wine and food is not simply a job, it’s his driving passion. His extensive culinary program and infectious enthusiasm for matching wine and food are establishing Chateau Ste. Michelle as a dominant focus in the Northwest culinary scene.

Few chefs enjoy access to a greater bounty of world-class wines and fresh foods than Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Culinary Director, John Sarich. “It’s incredibly exciting to live in the Pacific Northwest,” says John. “Not only do we have an outstanding variety of ingredients from the land and sea, we also have exceptional wines from Washington’s Columbia Valley, where long summer days and crisp autumn nights produce ideal conditions for well balanced wines.”

John’s innovative approach to matching food and wine reflects his unique culinary background. His wine and food pairings have delighted discriminating palates across the country.

At Chateau Ste. Michelle, John conducts cooking classes, wine and food tastings, wine dinners, and special events, all designed to further people’s enjoyment and understanding of wine and food.

He also presents training seminars and classes for wine and food professionals and aficionados around the world. Culinary tours have led John from Disney World in Orlando, to the Culinary Institute of America in
New York, to hotels in Singapore, Bangkok, and Hawaii, to name a few.

John joined Chateau Ste. Michelle as a winery guide in 1976, the summer the winery first opened its doors. His incredible knowledge and enthusiasm for wine and food quickly became apparent, and before long he was teaching cooking classes in the Chateau’s historic Manor House. Soon after, he moved into sales as a wine and food consultant for chefs up and down the Pacific Coast.

In 1980, John took a hiatus from the winery to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant. He founded Seattle’s highly acclaimed Adriatica Restaurant and later opened Dalmacija Ristoran in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. While at Adriatica, John was selected by Esquire magazine as one of the country’s “hot new chefs,” and listed by The Seattle Times as one of the city’s top five chefs.

After returning to Chateau Ste. Michelle as Culinary Director in 1990, John hosted the Emmy-nominated cooking show Taste of the Northwest for four years. His first cookbook, John Sarich’s Food & Wine of the Pacific Northwest, was published in 1993, and continues to inspire cooks across the country. The second wine and food cookbook, John Sarich at Chateau Ste. Michelle, was released in the fall of 1997.

John currently hosts the nationally and internationally syndicated TV show Best of Taste:
Travels With John Sarich with episodes shot on location in Europe, Asia and across the United States. His companion cookbook, Best of Taste, was released April 2001. His fourth cookbook, entitled Entertaining Simply – Celebrate the Season, was released in September 2001.

For John, educating others about the joy of wine and food is not simply a job, it’s his driving passion. His extensive culinary program and infectious enthusiasm for matching wine and food are establishing Chateau Ste. Michelle as a dominant focus in the Northwest culinary scene.

Roland Passot
Roland Passot

Chef/Proprietor
La Folie
San Francisco, California

Chef Roland Passot began his culinary career at the tender age of fifteen in France's gastronomic capital of Lyon. Traditionally trained, by some of the most famous chefs in France, he began as an apprentice, peeling carrots and potatoes in the kitchens before working his way up to the position of assistant Sous-chef at Léon de Lyon (Michelin Three Stars) under Chef Paul Lacombe.  He was singled out by Jean Banchet of Chicago’s famed Le Français while a member of the brigade de cuisine at the eponymous restaurant of chef Pierre Orsi (Michelin Two Stars) in Lyon.

At barely the age of 20, Passot came to Chicago and spent four years under the tutelage of Banchet as Sous-chef at Le Français.  From there he was lured to San Francisco and did a brief stint at the now defunct Le Castel.  In 1981, Banchet played another integral role in Passot’s career by appointing him the chef to open the swank French Room at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. As Passot likes to say, he became a Texan for a few years, even perfecting his Southern drawl.  While at the French Room, Passot received national accolades and prepared dinners for celebrities and royalty from around the world including Prince Charles and Bob Hope. Following his heart back to San Francisco, Passot became the chef at Chez Michel, but it was not meant to be; the restaurant closed soon after he arrived. 

Passot, with his wife Jamie opened La Folie (2316 Polk Street, San Francisco 415-776-5577) in March of 1988. Ownership of the intimate 60-seat restaurant gave Passot the freedom to truly cook from his heart without the constraint of having to follow someone else’s rules or ideas of what or how to cook.  Through his rigorous French training and several positions in the Midwest, Southwest and in San Francisco, Passot had developed his personal style of cooking, in which he showcases at La Folie.  He combines the freshest of ingredients in unusual marriages as in his Maine Lobster Salad with a Spicy Mango and Citrus Vinaigrette or Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Wild Oregon Huckleberries with Aged Blis Maple Syrup.  Passot’s culinary creativity lies not only in exotic combinations, but in their presentation as well. Each plate leaves the kitchen resembling more a work of art than a meal—a canvas of color and design that tastes even better than it looks.

La Folie was an immediate success with the critics and it has been consistently rated as one of the top restaurants in San Francisco since its opening.  The restaurant received four stars from Food & Wine magazine (1992), “Best Food” and “Best Presentation” in Gourmet magazine (1996) and “Best Food” and “Best Nouvelle French Restaurant” in the Zagat Survey (1998).  Passot himself was awarded the coveted James Beard Rising Star Chef Award in 1990 and in 1991 he was inducted into the prestigious French Chefs’ organization Maîtres Cuisiniers de France.  Other notable accolades continue ~ SF’s “Top Ten” in Gourmet Magazine (2000), “10 Great Places to Eat a la Français” in USA Today (July 2000), “Best French Restaurant” in San Francisco Weekly (2000 and 2001), “Best Chef” in San Francisco Weekly (2000), he was awarded a Four Star review in the San Francisco Chronicle (2000) and “Best French Restaurant” in San Francisco Magazine (2002).

In 1994, Passot teamed up with Edward N. Levine, CEO of Vine Dining Enterprises, Inc. and President of Vine Solutions to develop and open Left Bank in Larkspur.  This 200 seat brasserie features “Cuisine Grand-mere," Passot’s version of French home-style cooking.  It was an immediate success and in August 1998, Passot and Levine took their concept to Silicon Valley opening a second Left Bank in Menlo Park.  What followed was more interest and demand for more locations.  Left Bank in Pleasant Hill opened in October of 2000, Left Bank in San Jose opened in the spring of 2003, and Left Bank in San Mateo opened in the fall of 2003.

Named “Northside Chef of the Year” in 2005 by Northside SF Magazine, and an avid supporter of sustainable fishing, Chef Passot makes a conscious effort to reflect that in the dishes he prepares and the vendors he purchases from. Ranked as one of the Top Ten and Best French Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area by the Zagat Guide in 2006 and 2007, La Folie has continued to flourish in this city which is riddled with great talent, drive and inspiration. Nominated once again for the James Beard Best Chef, California, in 2005, 2006,  and 2007, Passot is dedicated to providing a “fun” environment where his guests can enjoy great food. As a testament to his dedication, in 2007 Passot’s passion and skill were recognized once again as he was one of the first restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area to receive a coveted Michelin Star. In December of 2007, Passot has teamed up with Tsar Nicoulai Caviar to launch “Passot Roe,” a series of flavor infused trout roe.

Although Passot is extremely serious about his food, his talent, his gregarious personality and booming laugh have made him a favorite with local TV producers and as a guest chef with several local culinary centers including Draeger’s, Ramekins and Sur La Table. Chef Passot’s commitment to his métier is reflected locally with his October 2000 induction into the California Culinary Academy’s Chef Stars Walk of Fame. However his June 2001 awarding of Chevalier dans l’Ordre du Mèrite Agricole is perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments, as this is an official French Governmental recognition of his genuine contribution to his native country and the value of his craft.  He also donates his time and talent to his favorite charities including Meals on Wheels, SF Food Bank and the James Beard Foundation.

Chef/Proprietor
La Folie
San Francisco, California

Chef Roland Passot began his culinary career at the tender age of fifteen in France's gastronomic capital of Lyon. Traditionally trained, by some of the most famous chefs in France, he began as an apprentice, peeling carrots and potatoes in the kitchens before working his way up to the position of assistant Sous-chef at Léon de Lyon (Michelin Three Stars) under Chef Paul Lacombe.  He was singled out by Jean Banchet of Chicago’s famed Le Français while a member of the brigade de cuisine at the eponymous restaurant of chef Pierre Orsi (Michelin Two Stars) in Lyon.

At barely the age of 20, Passot came to Chicago and spent four years under the tutelage of Banchet as Sous-chef at Le Français.  From there he was lured to San Francisco and did a brief stint at the now defunct Le Castel.  In 1981, Banchet played another integral role in Passot’s career by appointing him the chef to open the swank French Room at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. As Passot likes to say, he became a Texan for a few years, even perfecting his Southern drawl.  While at the French Room, Passot received national accolades and prepared dinners for celebrities and royalty from around the world including Prince Charles and Bob Hope. Following his heart back to San Francisco, Passot became the chef at Chez Michel, but it was not meant to be; the restaurant closed soon after he arrived. 

Passot, with his wife Jamie opened La Folie (2316 Polk Street, San Francisco 415-776-5577) in March of 1988. Ownership of the intimate 60-seat restaurant gave Passot the freedom to truly cook from his heart without the constraint of having to follow someone else’s rules or ideas of what or how to cook.  Through his rigorous French training and several positions in the Midwest, Southwest and in San Francisco, Passot had developed his personal style of cooking, in which he showcases at La Folie.  He combines the freshest of ingredients in unusual marriages as in his Maine Lobster Salad with a Spicy Mango and Citrus Vinaigrette or Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Wild Oregon Huckleberries with Aged Blis Maple Syrup.  Passot’s culinary creativity lies not only in exotic combinations, but in their presentation as well. Each plate leaves the kitchen resembling more a work of art than a meal—a canvas of color and design that tastes even better than it looks.

La Folie was an immediate success with the critics and it has been consistently rated as one of the top restaurants in San Francisco since its opening.  The restaurant received four stars from Food & Wine magazine (1992), “Best Food” and “Best Presentation” in Gourmet magazine (1996) and “Best Food” and “Best Nouvelle French Restaurant” in the Zagat Survey (1998).  Passot himself was awarded the coveted James Beard Rising Star Chef Award in 1990 and in 1991 he was inducted into the prestigious French Chefs’ organization Maîtres Cuisiniers de France.  Other notable accolades continue ~ SF’s “Top Ten” in Gourmet Magazine (2000), “10 Great Places to Eat a la Français” in USA Today (July 2000), “Best French Restaurant” in San Francisco Weekly (2000 and 2001), “Best Chef” in San Francisco Weekly (2000), he was awarded a Four Star review in the San Francisco Chronicle (2000) and “Best French Restaurant” in San Francisco Magazine (2002).

In 1994, Passot teamed up with Edward N. Levine, CEO of Vine Dining Enterprises, Inc. and President of Vine Solutions to develop and open Left Bank in Larkspur.  This 200 seat brasserie features “Cuisine Grand-mere," Passot’s version of French home-style cooking.  It was an immediate success and in August 1998, Passot and Levine took their concept to Silicon Valley opening a second Left Bank in Menlo Park.  What followed was more interest and demand for more locations.  Left Bank in Pleasant Hill opened in October of 2000, Left Bank in San Jose opened in the spring of 2003, and Left Bank in San Mateo opened in the fall of 2003.

Named “Northside Chef of the Year” in 2005 by Northside SF Magazine, and an avid supporter of sustainable fishing, Chef Passot makes a conscious effort to reflect that in the dishes he prepares and the vendors he purchases from. Ranked as one of the Top Ten and Best French Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area by the Zagat Guide in 2006 and 2007, La Folie has continued to flourish in this city which is riddled with great talent, drive and inspiration. Nominated once again for the James Beard Best Chef, California, in 2005, 2006,  and 2007, Passot is dedicated to providing a “fun” environment where his guests can enjoy great food. As a testament to his dedication, in 2007 Passot’s passion and skill were recognized once again as he was one of the first restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area to receive a coveted Michelin Star. In December of 2007, Passot has teamed up with Tsar Nicoulai Caviar to launch “Passot Roe,” a series of flavor infused trout roe.

Although Passot is extremely serious about his food, his talent, his gregarious personality and booming laugh have made him a favorite with local TV producers and as a guest chef with several local culinary centers including Draeger’s, Ramekins and Sur La Table. Chef Passot’s commitment to his métier is reflected locally with his October 2000 induction into the California Culinary Academy’s Chef Stars Walk of Fame. However his June 2001 awarding of Chevalier dans l’Ordre du Mèrite Agricole is perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments, as this is an official French Governmental recognition of his genuine contribution to his native country and the value of his craft.  He also donates his time and talent to his favorite charities including Meals on Wheels, SF Food Bank and the James Beard Foundation.

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

...His mother, a restaurant manager, familiarized him with the daily grind of the kitchen-from peeling potatoes and shrimp to cleaning bathrooms and washing dishes-as the family moved from town to town after Michael's birth in Gettysburg, South Dakota. After earning a degree in Psychology at the University of Southern Colorado, Michael began work at Chateau Pyrenees, a French restaurant in Denver, where he studied under Jean-Pierre Lelievre and, later Georges Mavro. In 1985, he traveled to the South of France to cook and while in Nice and Cassis he discovered two very important inspirations. First, the Mediterranean food diet, and second, the traditional European approach to artisanal foods. Fueled by these resonating impressions, Michael returned to Chicago in 1987 to work as Sous Chef at Charlie Trotter's. Not satisfied with his European training, he returned to Nice, France in 1989 to be the Executive Chef at L'Albion. Upon his return to Chicago in 1991, he worked as Co-Chef at Carlos' in Highland Park and then Executive Chef at Gordon until 1994.

In 1994 Michael was recruited to be Executive Chef and Corporate Chef for Kansas City's The American Restaurant. Beginning there in 1994, Michael quickly breathed new life into both the menu and the image of the 25-year-old restaurant. His fresh, simple, unfussy American fare, supported by the foundation of his extensive French training, won Michael the 1999 James Beard Award for "Best Chef in the Midwest" a first for him and for Kansas City.

In June of 2002 Michael Smith co-founded the award winning bistro, Forty Sardines  which was nominated for a James Beard Award for "best new restaurant" and won the James Beard Award for "best restaurant graphics" in 2002. Michael opened his eponymous restaurant Michael Smith in July of 2007 and a second, more casual concept called Extra Virgin in late 2008. Michael is also a consulting partner in the highly successful fast casual concept, SPIN Pizza.

As an active member of the culinary community, Michael established a series of annual James Beard Foundation fundraising dinners, as well as developed local seminars and special events that featured celebrity chefs from all over the country. Michael and his recipes have been featured in numerous publications both locally and nationally including Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator and Robb Report. Having lent his face and name to a number of major ad campaigns, including those for Grey Poupon mustard, Vita-Prep Blenders, Kikkoman Products and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Michael continues to rank among the nation's most respected chefs.

...His mother, a restaurant manager, familiarized him with the daily grind of the kitchen-from peeling potatoes and shrimp to cleaning bathrooms and washing dishes-as the family moved from town to town after Michael's birth in Gettysburg, South Dakota. After earning a degree in Psychology at the University of Southern Colorado, Michael began work at Chateau Pyrenees, a French restaurant in Denver, where he studied under Jean-Pierre Lelievre and, later Georges Mavro. In 1985, he traveled to the South of France to cook and while in Nice and Cassis he discovered two very important inspirations. First, the Mediterranean food diet, and second, the traditional European approach to artisanal foods. Fueled by these resonating impressions, Michael returned to Chicago in 1987 to work as Sous Chef at Charlie Trotter's. Not satisfied with his European training, he returned to Nice, France in 1989 to be the Executive Chef at L'Albion. Upon his return to Chicago in 1991, he worked as Co-Chef at Carlos' in Highland Park and then Executive Chef at Gordon until 1994.

In 1994 Michael was recruited to be Executive Chef and Corporate Chef for Kansas City's The American Restaurant. Beginning there in 1994, Michael quickly breathed new life into both the menu and the image of the 25-year-old restaurant. His fresh, simple, unfussy American fare, supported by the foundation of his extensive French training, won Michael the 1999 James Beard Award for "Best Chef in the Midwest" a first for him and for Kansas City.

In June of 2002 Michael Smith co-founded the award winning bistro, Forty Sardines  which was nominated for a James Beard Award for "best new restaurant" and won the James Beard Award for "best restaurant graphics" in 2002. Michael opened his eponymous restaurant Michael Smith in July of 2007 and a second, more casual concept called Extra Virgin in late 2008. Michael is also a consulting partner in the highly successful fast casual concept, SPIN Pizza.

As an active member of the culinary community, Michael established a series of annual James Beard Foundation fundraising dinners, as well as developed local seminars and special events that featured celebrity chefs from all over the country. Michael and his recipes have been featured in numerous publications both locally and nationally including Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator and Robb Report. Having lent his face and name to a number of major ad campaigns, including those for Grey Poupon mustard, Vita-Prep Blenders, Kikkoman Products and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Michael continues to rank among the nation's most respected chefs.

Victor Scargle
Victor Scargle

As the executive chef of Go Fish, Victor Scargle infuses each dish with his passion for seasonal garden-to-table produce and an ingredient-driven cooking philosophy. Using the freshest sustainable seafood, highest quality meats and organic produce from local purveyors, Scargle has developed a menu that features his signature French technique, clean flavors and elegant presentation.

Scargle’s path to becoming one of the Bay Area’s top toques began in childhood. Growing up near Santa Cruz, California, Scargle enjoyed garden-fresh ingredients at a young age eating apricots right off the trees of his family’s garden which was loaded with the seasonal bounty of Northern California. Enrolling in a children’s cooking class at a local community college piqued his interest in the profession, and the school procured Scargle a special permit to allow him to work in restaurants. By the time he graduated high school, he had learned every station at a local eatery from prep to salads and eventually ran the line before graduation.

Scargle then attended University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in psychology and sociology, but he left college to pursue his culinary dream after receiving an American Culinary Federation apprenticeship in Santa Barbara at the Red Lion Resort. Here he found a mentor in Brian Bird, the executive chef.  For his second year in the program, Scargle followed his mentor’s advice and traveled east to work with chefs in Miami and New York, including Douglas Rodriguez at Patria in Manhattan. He eventually completed stages in some of New York’s famed kitchens including Gramercy Tavern, Tribeca Grill, Park Avenue Café, Lespinasse and Aureole.

Scargle returned to the Bay Area to work for Michael Mina at Aqua and stayed with Mina Restaurant Group for five years, first working at Aqua San Francisco and then assisting with the opening of Aqua Las Vegas and Pisces in Burlingame, where he served as executive chef. During his time there he was named one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s rising star chefs and received three stars from the newspaper. He went on to become executive chef at the Grand Café at the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco and then took a chef de cuisine position to work with Traci Des Jardins at Jardinière where he reconnected with his love of garden-fresh produce, creating dishes that let clean flavors shine.

Prior to Go Fish, Scargle served as executive chef of Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA, receiving acclaim and three and a half stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. While there, Scargle worked closely with the garden curators to form a seamless alliance between garden and kitchen, establishing a program that sourced 80 percent of the summer produce from the COPIA gardens and 60 percent the balance of the year. Using his experience at COPIA as a springboard, the chef has helped plan and increase the size of on-site Go Fish garden to one and one half acres, which augments regional produce deliveries, provides seasonal inspirations and will eventually supply more than 50 percent of the restaurant’s produce. 

Chef Scargle is a spokesperson for the California Avocado Board and a member of the James Beard Foundation. He has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York and at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite Park. He lives in Napa with his wife and son.

As the executive chef of Go Fish, Victor Scargle infuses each dish with his passion for seasonal garden-to-table produce and an ingredient-driven cooking philosophy. Using the freshest sustainable seafood, highest quality meats and organic produce from local purveyors, Scargle has developed a menu that features his signature French technique, clean flavors and elegant presentation.

Scargle’s path to becoming one of the Bay Area’s top toques began in childhood. Growing up near Santa Cruz, California, Scargle enjoyed garden-fresh ingredients at a young age eating apricots right off the trees of his family’s garden which was loaded with the seasonal bounty of Northern California. Enrolling in a children’s cooking class at a local community college piqued his interest in the profession, and the school procured Scargle a special permit to allow him to work in restaurants. By the time he graduated high school, he had learned every station at a local eatery from prep to salads and eventually ran the line before graduation.

Scargle then attended University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in psychology and sociology, but he left college to pursue his culinary dream after receiving an American Culinary Federation apprenticeship in Santa Barbara at the Red Lion Resort. Here he found a mentor in Brian Bird, the executive chef.  For his second year in the program, Scargle followed his mentor’s advice and traveled east to work with chefs in Miami and New York, including Douglas Rodriguez at Patria in Manhattan. He eventually completed stages in some of New York’s famed kitchens including Gramercy Tavern, Tribeca Grill, Park Avenue Café, Lespinasse and Aureole.

Scargle returned to the Bay Area to work for Michael Mina at Aqua and stayed with Mina Restaurant Group for five years, first working at Aqua San Francisco and then assisting with the opening of Aqua Las Vegas and Pisces in Burlingame, where he served as executive chef. During his time there he was named one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s rising star chefs and received three stars from the newspaper. He went on to become executive chef at the Grand Café at the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco and then took a chef de cuisine position to work with Traci Des Jardins at Jardinière where he reconnected with his love of garden-fresh produce, creating dishes that let clean flavors shine.

Prior to Go Fish, Scargle served as executive chef of Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA, receiving acclaim and three and a half stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. While there, Scargle worked closely with the garden curators to form a seamless alliance between garden and kitchen, establishing a program that sourced 80 percent of the summer produce from the COPIA gardens and 60 percent the balance of the year. Using his experience at COPIA as a springboard, the chef has helped plan and increase the size of on-site Go Fish garden to one and one half acres, which augments regional produce deliveries, provides seasonal inspirations and will eventually supply more than 50 percent of the restaurant’s produce. 

Chef Scargle is a spokesperson for the California Avocado Board and a member of the James Beard Foundation. He has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York and at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite Park. He lives in Napa with his wife and son.

Luciano Pellegrini
Luciano Pellegrini

Bergamo, Italy is the birthplace of one of America’s most established chefs, Luciano Pellegrini. Pellegrini began his culinary experience in his mother’s kitchen and at age 13, he enrolled at San Pellegrino, one of Italy’s most prestigious hotel schools. He spent his teenage years attending school and gaining experience at various restaurants throughout Italy. After graduation, Pellegrini was exposed to dining at its finest when working at Locanda dell’Angelo in Bergamo.

At the age of 18, after Pellegrini completed his required one-year of military service as a parachutist, he gained experience and expertise working for an impressive list of top Italian restaurants. In 1985, he took a brave step by moving to the United States to work with restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, who had achieved a solid reputation for bringing genuine Italian cuisine to California.

By 1987, Pellegrini was quickly developing his cooking and leadership skills as a pasta chef at Selvaggio’s restaurant, Primi, and then in 1991 as head chef at Posto restaurant in the San Fernando Valley.  Pellegrini was immediately recognized for his talents and was critically acclaimed by Max Jacobson, Larry Lipson of the Los Angeles Daily News and S. Irene Virbila, restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, who commented that his kitchen excels at “the kind of rustic main courses you might find in the Italian countryside.”


To further perfect his culinary art, Pellegrini returned to Italy. While there, he learned the art of grilling on the “fogolar,” a traditional, flavorful way of cooking on a wood-burning grill. He also spent a great deal of time with Bruno Libralon, a renowned Italian Chef. Libralon, leader of the Italian Chef Association, is often referred to as the “King of Fish.” Pellegrini enhanced his skills worked with a local sausage connoisseur to perfect the art of sausage-making. During different stages in his travels, Pellegrini has worked with some of the most creative and respected Italian chefs in the world including Gianfranco Vissani, Fulvio Pierangelini, Paola DiMauro and Nadia Santini.


When he returned to California and showcased his new talents, the James Beard Foundation listed him among the Top 10 chefs in Los Angeles. He maintained this position for six consecutive years.

In 1999, Pellegrini was given the chance to use his creativity and lead the kitchen as executive chef and partner when Valentino Las Vegas debuted. His dedication has turned Valentino into one of the leading Italian restaurants in Nevada. Backed by his culinary expertise, Valentino Las Vegas has received numerous awards including the esteemed DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) Award of Excellence, six Las Vegas Life Epicurean Awards for Best Italian Restaurant and a 2007 Epicurean Award for Best Wine List. Valentino Las Vegas has also received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator annually since 2002 for its extraordinary wine list.

Pellegrini is also a partner at Giorgio Ristorante E Caffe, a more casual restaurant concept located at Mandalay Place on the Las Vegas strip. The menu, partly created by Pellegrini, reflects the chef’s versatility in designing a selection of simple yet authentic Italian dishes with wide audience appeal.

In 2003, Pellegrini was the only chef in Las Vegas nominated by the James Beard Foundation. He received the prestigious award for Best Chef in the Southwest for his achievements in setting consistent standards of excellence by the Foundation in 2004.  Pellegrini is a frequent guest chef for some of Italy’s leading culinary events, including the Bacco d’Oro di Brunello wine dinner in Montalcino, Gambero Rosso magazine’s dinner gala in Rome and the Guida L’Espresso celebration dinner in Palermo.

Numerous food critics have given Pellegrini rave reviews for his culinary talents and for bringing “a taste of Italian countryside” to America.  He continues to command respect and admiration from his peers, culinary journalists and faithful guests.

Pellegrini is now testing his skills in front of a camera, filming cooking segments for “Cheflive”.  You can view some of his early work on www.cheflive.com.

Bergamo, Italy is the birthplace of one of America’s most established chefs, Luciano Pellegrini. Pellegrini began his culinary experience in his mother’s kitchen and at age 13, he enrolled at San Pellegrino, one of Italy’s most prestigious hotel schools. He spent his teenage years attending school and gaining experience at various restaurants throughout Italy. After graduation, Pellegrini was exposed to dining at its finest when working at Locanda dell’Angelo in Bergamo.

At the age of 18, after Pellegrini completed his required one-year of military service as a parachutist, he gained experience and expertise working for an impressive list of top Italian restaurants. In 1985, he took a brave step by moving to the United States to work with restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, who had achieved a solid reputation for bringing genuine Italian cuisine to California.

By 1987, Pellegrini was quickly developing his cooking and leadership skills as a pasta chef at Selvaggio’s restaurant, Primi, and then in 1991 as head chef at Posto restaurant in the San Fernando Valley.  Pellegrini was immediately recognized for his talents and was critically acclaimed by Max Jacobson, Larry Lipson of the Los Angeles Daily News and S. Irene Virbila, restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, who commented that his kitchen excels at “the kind of rustic main courses you might find in the Italian countryside.”


To further perfect his culinary art, Pellegrini returned to Italy. While there, he learned the art of grilling on the “fogolar,” a traditional, flavorful way of cooking on a wood-burning grill. He also spent a great deal of time with Bruno Libralon, a renowned Italian Chef. Libralon, leader of the Italian Chef Association, is often referred to as the “King of Fish.” Pellegrini enhanced his skills worked with a local sausage connoisseur to perfect the art of sausage-making. During different stages in his travels, Pellegrini has worked with some of the most creative and respected Italian chefs in the world including Gianfranco Vissani, Fulvio Pierangelini, Paola DiMauro and Nadia Santini.


When he returned to California and showcased his new talents, the James Beard Foundation listed him among the Top 10 chefs in Los Angeles. He maintained this position for six consecutive years.

In 1999, Pellegrini was given the chance to use his creativity and lead the kitchen as executive chef and partner when Valentino Las Vegas debuted. His dedication has turned Valentino into one of the leading Italian restaurants in Nevada. Backed by his culinary expertise, Valentino Las Vegas has received numerous awards including the esteemed DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) Award of Excellence, six Las Vegas Life Epicurean Awards for Best Italian Restaurant and a 2007 Epicurean Award for Best Wine List. Valentino Las Vegas has also received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator annually since 2002 for its extraordinary wine list.

Pellegrini is also a partner at Giorgio Ristorante E Caffe, a more casual restaurant concept located at Mandalay Place on the Las Vegas strip. The menu, partly created by Pellegrini, reflects the chef’s versatility in designing a selection of simple yet authentic Italian dishes with wide audience appeal.

In 2003, Pellegrini was the only chef in Las Vegas nominated by the James Beard Foundation. He received the prestigious award for Best Chef in the Southwest for his achievements in setting consistent standards of excellence by the Foundation in 2004.  Pellegrini is a frequent guest chef for some of Italy’s leading culinary events, including the Bacco d’Oro di Brunello wine dinner in Montalcino, Gambero Rosso magazine’s dinner gala in Rome and the Guida L’Espresso celebration dinner in Palermo.

Numerous food critics have given Pellegrini rave reviews for his culinary talents and for bringing “a taste of Italian countryside” to America.  He continues to command respect and admiration from his peers, culinary journalists and faithful guests.

Pellegrini is now testing his skills in front of a camera, filming cooking segments for “Cheflive”.  You can view some of his early work on www.cheflive.com.

Emily Luchetti
Emily Luchetti

Executive Pastry Chef, Waterbar

Emily Luchetti, executive pastry chef at Waterbar in San Francisco, is recognized around the world for her award-winning sweet creations.  With four cookbooks to her credit and numerous awards, including a 2004 James Beard Award, patrons can always count on a delectable, exotic and innovative end to their meal.

In addition to her duties at Waterbar, Luchetti also serves as executive pastry chef at Farallon, where she has been since 1997.  Luchetti’s history with Waterbar co-owner Mark Franz spans more than 20 years when they were both part of the opening team of Stars Restaurant in San Francisco.  It was at Stars that Luchetti began her Bay Area cooking career as a line cook, working her way up to lunch chef and eventually stoking her passion for desserts.  She was named executive pastry chef at Stars in 1987, a position she held through July 1995.  During that time Luchetti was also the co-owned StarBake, a retail bakery, with Jeremiah Tower.

Luchetti has written four cookbooks:  Stars Desserts (HarperCollins, 1991), Four Star Desserts (HarperCollins, 1995), A Passion for Desserts (Chronicle Books, 2003), and A Passion for Ice Cream (Chronicle Books, 2006).  She contributed to The Revised Joy of Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and created the dessert recipes for The Farallon Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2000).

Since the debut of her first book, Luchetti has passionately taught baking to dessert lovers across the country so that people can obtain the same enjoyment she does from creating something with her hands and providing delectable treats to others to savor.  Fundamental to her passion for baking is the belief that desserts increase the social experiences and interactions of friends and family as they linger around the table.  Luchetti and her recipes appear regularly in national newspapers and magazines and she has been featured on numerous news programs and The Food Network’s The Ultimate Kitchen, Sweet Dreams, Cookin’ Live with Sara Moulton, Sara’s Secrets and The Martha Stewart Show.

Luchetti graduated from Denison University in 1979 with a BA in Sociology.  Following graduation, she attended the New York Restaurant School and worked in various New York establishments (including David Leiderman’s Manhattan Market and The Silver Palate), building her resume and sharpening her culinary skills prior to moving to the Bay Area.  She currently resides in Sausalito. 

Roberto Madrid
Roberto Madrid

Born in Northern Mexico, Chef Roberto Madrid specializes in Southwest cooking with an emphasis on using locally-grown produce and indigenous recipes. Madrid was part of Chef Anton Brunbauer’s opening culinary team and is Chef de Cuisine of the resort’s signature restaurant, deseo.  Madrid began his culinary career in Scottsdale in 1982, studying under Chef Tony Fogo at The White Truffle, a French fine-dining restaurant in Scottsdale. He then moved to Jean Carlo to master fine Italian cuisine and spent six years with well-known Chef Michael Salvagio at Steven’s, helping to build the foundation of modern Southwestern cuisine. After opening The Terrace restaurant at The Phoenician Resort & Spa, Madrid joined the newly opened Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch in 1986, where he helped developed The Golden Swan into one of the Southwest’s powerhouses of Mediterranean cuisine.

Born in Northern Mexico, Chef Roberto Madrid specializes in Southwest cooking with an emphasis on using locally-grown produce and indigenous recipes. Madrid was part of Chef Anton Brunbauer’s opening culinary team and is Chef de Cuisine of the resort’s signature restaurant, deseo.  Madrid began his culinary career in Scottsdale in 1982, studying under Chef Tony Fogo at The White Truffle, a French fine-dining restaurant in Scottsdale. He then moved to Jean Carlo to master fine Italian cuisine and spent six years with well-known Chef Michael Salvagio at Steven’s, helping to build the foundation of modern Southwestern cuisine. After opening The Terrace restaurant at The Phoenician Resort & Spa, Madrid joined the newly opened Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch in 1986, where he helped developed The Golden Swan into one of the Southwest’s powerhouses of Mediterranean cuisine.

Eric Howson
Eric Howson

Chef Eric HowsonEric Howson, Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa’s Executive Chef, is responsible for a kitchen staff of 80.  This comprehensive operation spans the resort’s three restaurants- SWB, a southwest bistro; Alto ristorante e bar, serving eclectic Italian cuisine and the Watergarden, offering poolside fare, as well as the extensive banquet facilities, off-property catering and room service. 

Chef Howson is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has extensive experience in French cooking. He has worked in some of the finest kitchens in the country including L’Ermitage Restaurant in Los Angeles, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, and many more. In 1987, Eric helped open the Maui Westin Hotel, where he fell in love with Hawaiian regional cuisine. In 1990, he joined the team at Hyatt Regency Maui as Executive Sous Chef. He became an executive chef with Hyatt at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge in 1992.  Since then, he has served as an Executive Chef for Hyatt at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Nevada, Hyatt Regency Monterey in California and Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort prior to joining the team at Hyatt
Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa in 2006.

Charles Wiley
Charles Wiley

Charles Wiley, enjoys a career that spans more than 30 years. During this time, Wiley has earned national acclaim for his innovative cuisine and natural presentations. His signature cooking style takes advantage of local, seasonal ingredients and time honored flavor marriages; dishes which tend to be light, yet intensely flavored and robust.

Chef Wiley's culinary career and responsibilities continue to expand, most recently to include the role of executive chef for the historic Hotel Valley Ho. Wiley will be responsible for the day-to-day development and operation of the hotel's dining venues which include the legendary Trader Vic's, Polynesian-themed restaurant as well as the Hotel Valley Ho's signature restaurant, Cafe ZuZu. In this same capacity, he will now orchestrate cuisine direction for all present and future Westroc properties.

Wiley opened Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain as executive chef and director of food and beverage in June 2000 where he was instrumental in the concept, menu design and cuisine for all dining options, including elements restaurant. While former Chef de Cuisine Beau MacMillan was promoted to executive chef at Sanctuary in November 2004, Wiley remains involved in the property’s cuisine and operations.

Before joining Sanctuary, Chef Wiley was recruited by Westroc from San Francisco to The Boulders Resort in Carefree, Arizona where he directed the cuisine for ten years as Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage. Prior to that, he was Executive Chef for Deer Valley Ski Resort and The Stein Eirkson Lodge in Park City, Utah.

Wiley has received numerous culinary honors. In April 2000, he was inducted into the Scottsdale Hall of Fame as Chef Honoree. He has been featured in a PBS half-hour segment with host Barbara Fenzl, “Savor the Southwest”, and was named one of “The Ten Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine Magazine. The James Beard Foundation recognized him as one of “America’s Best Hotel Chefs”. He was twice invited to cook at The James Beard House in New York, and in 1998, was invited to prepare the entree for The James Beard Journalism Awards Dinner. He showcased his third dinner at The James Beard House in January 2003.

Nationally, Charles Wiley has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” with Katie Couric, ABC's “Regis & Kelly” and has been a guest on The TV Food Network. His cuisine has been featured in numerous food publications including Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appetit, The Wine Spectator, Food Arts, Art Culinaire, Phoenix Home & Garden, Phoenix Magazine and many others.

Wiley was awarded a scholarship to The School for American Chefs under the direction of Madeline Kamman, and sits on the advisory board of The Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

He resides in Scottsdale with his wife Susan and two daughters.

Michael Rusconi
Michael Rusconi

  Michael Rusconi joined LON’s at the Hermosa as Executive Chef in January, 2005. He is responsible for all food operations, including in-house catering functions and room service for the distinctive boutique resort in Arizona’s Paradise Valley.

  Chef Rusconi has put his indelible mark on LON’s award-winning Artful American cuisine, combining European technique with native ingredients and fresh, local produce.

  Born in California and raised in Chicago, Chef Rusconi earned his culinary degree from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont.

  He moved to the Phoenix-area in 1986 to intern with James Beard award winning chef and author Vincent Guerithault, who had innovated the combining of French technique with ingredients found in the Southwest United States.

  Chef Rusconi later worked at Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenician resort under the tutelage of James Beard award winning Chef Alessandro Stratta and James Boyce. In early 2001 he joined the team at the Royal Palms Resort & Spa as Executive Sous Chef.

  Under his direction, LON’s menus salute the past and celebrate the present, with a constant search for new sources. Chef Rusconi and his staff are constantly scanning the horizon for the freshest, most flavorful beef, pork, duck, seafood, cheese, and produce on the market.

  An example is the desert sweet shrimp featured on both lunch and dinner menus. Its sweet flavor comes from being farm-raised in an ecologically sound manner with no added preservatives; it is produced in southeastern Arizona and packed in ice for its trip to Phoenix.

  Fresh lobster, cod, and mussels are supplied by a small seafood company in Boston. Chef Rusconi contacts them to place his order, the seafood is harvested, packed, air shipped and delivered to the restaurant in 24 hours.

  Much of the greens, herbs and vegetables served at Lon’s are grown in the chef’s garden, a half-acre site north of the property’s kitchens.  This area is cultivated and maintained by the culinary team. Vegetables, citrus and other fruit, chilies, olives, and such specialty items as prickly pear syrup are found locally.

  Chef Rusconi is the creative force behind a staff of 23, including Executive Sous Chef James Gallimore, Restaurant Sous Chef Juctin Olsen. Pastry Chef Trevor Tucker and Banquet Chet Motez Crane.

  Michael Rusconi and his wife, Nancy, live in central Phoenix with their daughter, Jessica, 5.

  As for his food philosophy, Chef Rusconi says simply, “Buy the best ingredients and treat them with love and respect. Only by doing that will you be able to and deliver the best quality possible.”

Nobuo Fukuda
Nobuo Fukuda

As humble today as when he emigrated from Tokyo in 1980, Chef Nobu Fukuda’s diverse background includes both sushi chef (the original Benihana, Yamakasa, Hapa Sushi Lounge) and ski patrol EMT in Arizona’ White Mountains. (Yes, that explains the dinner napkin wound around chopsticks having a look similar to the dynamite used to stop an avalanche!)

In 2002, he partnered with noted Scottsdale restaurateur Peter Kasperski to launch Sea Saw near the emerging Waterfront dining & shopping district. The name is both a play on ‘seafood’ and also evokes wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy which sees beauty in the imperfect, the incomplete and the unconventional. Unconventional for sure, but “completely perfect” is the frequent comment from guests enjoying Fukuda’s cuisine, whether for the very first or tenth time.

Chef Fukuda’s innovative creations blend unpredictable techniques and ingredients – both global and Japanese. He has been praised by national media (Gourmet dubbed him “the other Nobu” and said “Chef Nobu Fukuda has a gift for matching wines with his modern, subtle creations; sit at the counter and watch a genius at work…”) and locally (“Applaud him for exploring new frontiers and going where no chef has gone before...” wrote Phoenix Magazine). Food & Wine was so intrigued by his unusual riffs on Japanese cuisine as to feature him on the July 2003 cover as one of 10 Best New Chefs in the US. Honored for three years running with nominations for James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southwest, in 2008 Chef Fukuda trumped four Texas nominees to bring the medal home.
 
Designed for grazing and sharing, with heady aromas, dramatic presentations and flavors at once bold and delicate, Nobu‘s small plates are miniature works of art; ‘edible magic’ wrote The Arizona Republic.  Enhancing Sea Saw’s charms is the understated décor of the 28-seat space; little distracts attention from the passion and reverence Chef Nobu applies to preparing individual dishes or the parade of plates in his six or eight-course omakase (“trust the chef”) wine pairing menus. Both à la carte and tasting menus change seasonally, weekly and even nightly, based on availability of pristine product and the whims of Mother Nature, more so than those of the chef himself.

A 3000-bottle wine list (shared with neighbors/sister venues Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz and Digestif) has received multiple Wine Spectator “Best Of” Awards and complements the memorable food and wine adventure at Sea Saw. While foie gras is by far the most popular ‘dessert’ course, subtle, Asian-inspired sweets, pleasant alternatives to typical, sugary desserts, are also available.

Co-owner Kasperski’s quartet on Stetson draws foodies and wine lovers of all ages and has garnered attention in The New York Times, The London Times, Bon Appetit, USA Today, Esquire, Cowboys & Indians, Art Culinaire, Restaurant & Wine, Wine & Spirits and more. The resulting synergy has established a highly regarded ’Restaurant Row’ in downtown Scottsdale’s SouthBridge neighborhood. This recently developed, urban district taking shape along the historic Arizona canal has transformed the area into a must-go destination for locals and visitors alike.

The unconventional, 3200-bottle wine list (shared with neighbors/sister venues Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz world wine bar and Digestif) has received multiple Wine Spectator Awards. It complements Sea Saw’s memorable food and allows Fukuda to host winemaker dinners with such prestigious names as Brewer-Clifton and Domaine des Baumard.

Writing in Gourmet, John Mariani dubbed Fukuda “the other Nobu” and praised his “gift for matching wines with his modern, subtle creations; sit at the counter and watch a genius at work.”  Food & Wine quickly noticed his innovative style and featured him on the July 2003 cover as one of American’s 10 Best New Chefs. Fukuda has cooked at New York City’s James Beard Foundation twice and in 2007, trumped four Texas nominees to take home the award for JBF American Express Best Chef Southwest. It’s telling that Sea Saw is a favorite of other local chefs, industry insiders, and visiting restaurateurs.

Since 1997, Kasperski’s Stetson Drive quartet has won over foodies and wine lovers of all ages, creating a highly regarded ’Restaurant Row’ in the Downtown Scottsdale arts district, which is once again one of Arizona’s “must go” locations for dining, shopping and exploring. With the 2008 opening of SouthBridge, a lively urban district taking shape along the historic Arizona canal, the area has truly been transformed into a top destination for locals and visitors alike.

As humble today as when he emigrated from Tokyo in 1980, Chef Nobu Fukuda’s diverse background includes both sushi chef (the original Benihana, Yamakasa, Hapa Sushi Lounge) and ski patrol EMT in Arizona’ White Mountains. (Yes, that explains the dinner napkin wound around chopsticks having a look similar to the dynamite used to stop an avalanche!)

In 2002, he partnered with noted Scottsdale restaurateur Peter Kasperski to launch Sea Saw near the emerging Waterfront dining & shopping district. The name is both a play on ‘seafood’ and also evokes wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy which sees beauty in the imperfect, the incomplete and the unconventional. Unconventional for sure, but “completely perfect” is the frequent comment from guests enjoying Fukuda’s cuisine, whether for the very first or tenth time.

Chef Fukuda’s innovative creations blend unpredictable techniques and ingredients – both global and Japanese. He has been praised by national media (Gourmet dubbed him “the other Nobu” and said “Chef Nobu Fukuda has a gift for matching wines with his modern, subtle creations; sit at the counter and watch a genius at work…”) and locally (“Applaud him for exploring new frontiers and going where no chef has gone before...” wrote Phoenix Magazine). Food & Wine was so intrigued by his unusual riffs on Japanese cuisine as to feature him on the July 2003 cover as one of 10 Best New Chefs in the US. Honored for three years running with nominations for James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southwest, in 2008 Chef Fukuda trumped four Texas nominees to bring the medal home.
 
Designed for grazing and sharing, with heady aromas, dramatic presentations and flavors at once bold and delicate, Nobu‘s small plates are miniature works of art; ‘edible magic’ wrote The Arizona Republic.  Enhancing Sea Saw’s charms is the understated décor of the 28-seat space; little distracts attention from the passion and reverence Chef Nobu applies to preparing individual dishes or the parade of plates in his six or eight-course omakase (“trust the chef”) wine pairing menus. Both à la carte and tasting menus change seasonally, weekly and even nightly, based on availability of pristine product and the whims of Mother Nature, more so than those of the chef himself.

A 3000-bottle wine list (shared with neighbors/sister venues Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz and Digestif) has received multiple Wine Spectator “Best Of” Awards and complements the memorable food and wine adventure at Sea Saw. While foie gras is by far the most popular ‘dessert’ course, subtle, Asian-inspired sweets, pleasant alternatives to typical, sugary desserts, are also available.

Co-owner Kasperski’s quartet on Stetson draws foodies and wine lovers of all ages and has garnered attention in The New York Times, The London Times, Bon Appetit, USA Today, Esquire, Cowboys & Indians, Art Culinaire, Restaurant & Wine, Wine & Spirits and more. The resulting synergy has established a highly regarded ’Restaurant Row’ in downtown Scottsdale’s SouthBridge neighborhood. This recently developed, urban district taking shape along the historic Arizona canal has transformed the area into a must-go destination for locals and visitors alike.

The unconventional, 3200-bottle wine list (shared with neighbors/sister venues Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz world wine bar and Digestif) has received multiple Wine Spectator Awards. It complements Sea Saw’s memorable food and allows Fukuda to host winemaker dinners with such prestigious names as Brewer-Clifton and Domaine des Baumard.

Writing in Gourmet, John Mariani dubbed Fukuda “the other Nobu” and praised his “gift for matching wines with his modern, subtle creations; sit at the counter and watch a genius at work.”  Food & Wine quickly noticed his innovative style and featured him on the July 2003 cover as one of American’s 10 Best New Chefs. Fukuda has cooked at New York City’s James Beard Foundation twice and in 2007, trumped four Texas nominees to take home the award for JBF American Express Best Chef Southwest. It’s telling that Sea Saw is a favorite of other local chefs, industry insiders, and visiting restaurateurs.

Since 1997, Kasperski’s Stetson Drive quartet has won over foodies and wine lovers of all ages, creating a highly regarded ’Restaurant Row’ in the Downtown Scottsdale arts district, which is once again one of Arizona’s “must go” locations for dining, shopping and exploring. With the 2008 opening of SouthBridge, a lively urban district taking shape along the historic Arizona canal, the area has truly been transformed into a top destination for locals and visitors alike.

Peter Kasperski
Peter Kasperski

The creative force behind the downtown Scottsdale restaurant group often called ‘Restaurant Row’ is Peter Kasperski, a 35-year food and beverage veteran. His acclaimed quartet at the intersection of Stetson and 6th has helped raise the bar for memorable Arizona dining since 1997. Kasperski’s formula is simple: creative food; interesting beverage; uniquely designed spaces; knowledgeable, personable staff empowered to thrill each guest, at every visit. He is applauded for the value and humor in his unconventional wine programs, which unpretentiously encourage guests to feel comfortable asking questions and to experiment with the unfamiliar.  

After gaining experience in several Chicago area restaurants and bars, Kasperski moved to Scottsdale in 1979 as a key player with the organization behind Steven café & restaurant. He opened or consulted on subsequent projects in Phoenix, Chicago, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The flagship Scottsdale location won national praise from Esquire, Wall Street Journal, Gourmet, The Washington Post, Wine Spectator and Restaurants & Institutions. Kasperski moved on to regional management posts with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Bravo Restaurants, whose operations took him to Phoenix, Chicago, Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

Since 1997, quartet of eateries on Stetson Drive has attracted foodies and winos of all ages. Cowboy Ciao, Kasperski’s first independent venture, counts over a decade as a local favorite and has been touted by respected local publications as well as The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, Cowboys & Indians, Golf for Women and OK!. Kazimierz world wine bar is packed with multiple demographics every night, thanks to a speakeasy-style entrance, comfortable Old World ambience, frequent live entertainment and of course --  global wines and grazing. Collaborating with chef Nobuo Fukuda, in 2002, Kasperski created Sea Saw
a boutique dinner house which captivates the most jaded foodies and has earned tremendous national acclaim (Art Culinaire, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, James Beard Foundation). 

Kasperski authors the eclectic shared wine list –-offering nearly 3,200 labels— which has received multiple Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator and mentions in Food & Wine, Gourmet, Restaurant Wine, Food Arts and Wine & Spirits. He has penned a beverage column for PHOENIX Magazine since 2004 and has also written articles for 944 and Scottsdale Magazine. Kasperski’s visionary reputation and his passion for advancing Scottsdale’s cachet as a dining destination prompted his appointment to the board of directors for the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor Bureau. 

With his latest spot DIGESTIF located in SouthBridge, the urban village blossoming along the historic Arizona canal, Kasperski continues to draw a loyal local clientele and food-savvy visitors; in short, all those hungering for memorable, big-city dining experiences in the heart of Scottsdale’s dynamic downtown.

The creative force behind the downtown Scottsdale restaurant group often called ‘Restaurant Row’ is Peter Kasperski, a 35-year food and beverage veteran. His acclaimed quartet at the intersection of Stetson and 6th has helped raise the bar for memorable Arizona dining since 1997. Kasperski’s formula is simple: creative food; interesting beverage; uniquely designed spaces; knowledgeable, personable staff empowered to thrill each guest, at every visit. He is applauded for the value and humor in his unconventional wine programs, which unpretentiously encourage guests to feel comfortable asking questions and to experiment with the unfamiliar.  

After gaining experience in several Chicago area restaurants and bars, Kasperski moved to Scottsdale in 1979 as a key player with the organization behind Steven café & restaurant. He opened or consulted on subsequent projects in Phoenix, Chicago, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The flagship Scottsdale location won national praise from Esquire, Wall Street Journal, Gourmet, The Washington Post, Wine Spectator and Restaurants & Institutions. Kasperski moved on to regional management posts with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Bravo Restaurants, whose operations took him to Phoenix, Chicago, Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

Since 1997, quartet of eateries on Stetson Drive has attracted foodies and winos of all ages. Cowboy Ciao, Kasperski’s first independent venture, counts over a decade as a local favorite and has been touted by respected local publications as well as The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, Cowboys & Indians, Golf for Women and OK!. Kazimierz world wine bar is packed with multiple demographics every night, thanks to a speakeasy-style entrance, comfortable Old World ambience, frequent live entertainment and of course --  global wines and grazing. Collaborating with chef Nobuo Fukuda, in 2002, Kasperski created Sea Saw
a boutique dinner house which captivates the most jaded foodies and has earned tremendous national acclaim (Art Culinaire, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, James Beard Foundation). 

Kasperski authors the eclectic shared wine list –-offering nearly 3,200 labels— which has received multiple Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator and mentions in Food & Wine, Gourmet, Restaurant Wine, Food Arts and Wine & Spirits. He has penned a beverage column for PHOENIX Magazine since 2004 and has also written articles for 944 and Scottsdale Magazine. Kasperski’s visionary reputation and his passion for advancing Scottsdale’s cachet as a dining destination prompted his appointment to the board of directors for the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor Bureau. 

With his latest spot DIGESTIF located in SouthBridge, the urban village blossoming along the historic Arizona canal, Kasperski continues to draw a loyal local clientele and food-savvy visitors; in short, all those hungering for memorable, big-city dining experiences in the heart of Scottsdale’s dynamic downtown.

Vincent Guerithault
Vincent Guerithault

Vincent Guerithault, chef/owner of Vincent Guerithault on Camelback, is considered by many to be Phoenix's culinary prize.

For over 23 years, Vincent has been combining his expertise in classic French cooking with Southwestern ingredients to create a unique blend of flavors that has become his signature. His style is constantly evolving. Recently he's brought more of a Provençal flair to his menu, reaching deeper into his French roots. Critics note that his food is always "intriguing and inspiring." Patrons say it's sumptuous.

Vincent's love for cooking began in his youth in France, where he worked at L'Oustau de Baumaniere in Les Baux de Provence, and Maxim's and Fauchon in Paris. He came to the U.S. in 1976 to be sous–chef at Chicago's Le Français, and within 10 years opened his own restaurant here that helped put Phoenix on the culinary map.

Vincent was the first chef ever to receive a Citation of Excellence from the International Food & Wine Society. He has enjoyed countless commendations, including the James Beard award as "America's Best Chef: Southwest" and the prestigious Chevalier de L'Ordre du Merite Agricole on behalf of the Republic of France. For more than a decade, Zagat has ranked his restaurant "most popular" and "best in area" and Mobil Travel Guide has awarded it four stars. Gourmet magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel Holiday all have lauded Vincent and his restaurant for his tempting food and attentive service.   In 2003 Vincent’s on Camelback was placed 24th on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants by British based Restaurant Magazine.

Vincent teamed with Esquire's food and wine critic, John Mariani, to write Vincent's Cookbook, cited as "user friendly" by the New York Times and "packed with easy–to–create recipes" according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Meanwhile, Vincent and his culinary expertise have received rave reviews from critics across the country like the New York Times, L.A. Times, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, G.Q., Family Circle and The Arizona Republic. He has been featured on the cover of Money magazine and appeared on the Today Show and Regis & Kathy Lee.

Vincent's talents go well beyond his restaurant doors. He has created a very successful full-service catering business that can handle groups from 5 to 1,000.  For the past 18 years, he has hosted the popular Camelback Market every Saturday from mid-October through April in his parking lot, featuring the freshest produce, cooked-to-order crepes and pastas, breads, cheese, pizzas and much more.   In the fall of 2003 he opened Vincent Market Bistro, adjacent to Vincent’s Restaurant.  The Market Bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, as well as prepared food to go.  And in 2007 he introduced Vincent Van Go, a corporate delivery service featuring sandwiches and salads delivered to contracting businesses.  In 2008 Vincent introduced to Vincent Van Go his wood burning mobile pizza oven.

But Vincent's restaurant is his focus and it shows: While many restaurants in Phoenix, have opened and closed or changed locations over the last decade and a half, Vincent's on Camelback has consistently set the standard for great food in Phoenix, if not the entire Desert Southwest. His wine list has become one of the region's best. His food is extraordinary. Service is some of the finest in Phoenix. And his restaurant has a timeless charm that goes well into the new century.

Vincent Guerithault, chef/owner of Vincent Guerithault on Camelback, is considered by many to be Phoenix's culinary prize.

For over 23 years, Vincent has been combining his expertise in classic French cooking with Southwestern ingredients to create a unique blend of flavors that has become his signature. His style is constantly evolving. Recently he's brought more of a Provençal flair to his menu, reaching deeper into his French roots. Critics note that his food is always "intriguing and inspiring." Patrons say it's sumptuous.

Vincent's love for cooking began in his youth in France, where he worked at L'Oustau de Baumaniere in Les Baux de Provence, and Maxim's and Fauchon in Paris. He came to the U.S. in 1976 to be sous–chef at Chicago's Le Français, and within 10 years opened his own restaurant here that helped put Phoenix on the culinary map.

Vincent was the first chef ever to receive a Citation of Excellence from the International Food & Wine Society. He has enjoyed countless commendations, including the James Beard award as "America's Best Chef: Southwest" and the prestigious Chevalier de L'Ordre du Merite Agricole on behalf of the Republic of France. For more than a decade, Zagat has ranked his restaurant "most popular" and "best in area" and Mobil Travel Guide has awarded it four stars. Gourmet magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel Holiday all have lauded Vincent and his restaurant for his tempting food and attentive service.   In 2003 Vincent’s on Camelback was placed 24th on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants by British based Restaurant Magazine.

Vincent teamed with Esquire's food and wine critic, John Mariani, to write Vincent's Cookbook, cited as "user friendly" by the New York Times and "packed with easy–to–create recipes" according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Meanwhile, Vincent and his culinary expertise have received rave reviews from critics across the country like the New York Times, L.A. Times, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, G.Q., Family Circle and The Arizona Republic. He has been featured on the cover of Money magazine and appeared on the Today Show and Regis & Kathy Lee.

Vincent's talents go well beyond his restaurant doors. He has created a very successful full-service catering business that can handle groups from 5 to 1,000.  For the past 18 years, he has hosted the popular Camelback Market every Saturday from mid-October through April in his parking lot, featuring the freshest produce, cooked-to-order crepes and pastas, breads, cheese, pizzas and much more.   In the fall of 2003 he opened Vincent Market Bistro, adjacent to Vincent’s Restaurant.  The Market Bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, as well as prepared food to go.  And in 2007 he introduced Vincent Van Go, a corporate delivery service featuring sandwiches and salads delivered to contracting businesses.  In 2008 Vincent introduced to Vincent Van Go his wood burning mobile pizza oven.

But Vincent's restaurant is his focus and it shows: While many restaurants in Phoenix, have opened and closed or changed locations over the last decade and a half, Vincent's on Camelback has consistently set the standard for great food in Phoenix, if not the entire Desert Southwest. His wine list has become one of the region's best. His food is extraordinary. Service is some of the finest in Phoenix. And his restaurant has a timeless charm that goes well into the new century.

Christopher Gross
Christopher Gross

Christopher Gross has a love of food and wine. He has spent years discovering and learning about food and wine in kitchens throughout Europe and the great dining rooms of notable American restaurants. Today, he has a solid reputation of a highly regarded, award-winning chef.

From renowned kitchens in Europe to the great dining rooms of American restaurants, Christopher Gross discovered and perfected his love of food and wine, devoting all of his knowledge and experience to establishing his reputation as a highly regarded chef.

His culinary legacy continues with the opening of his newest and most modern restaurant and lounge to date at the Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix, Christopher’s & Crush Lounge, which was already named one of the top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. by Gayot.com.

Christopher's love of food came about by chance. He landed a position with Phoenix's Adam's Hotel in 1974 where he was first exposed to cooking in the French tradition. He relocated to Los Angeles, working at the Marina City Club and Century Plaza from 1975-1978, which eventually led to a decision to head to Europe. He worked in London for a short time at the Thierry Restaurant, but set on Paris, he secured a position in 1979 at Chez Albert, a Michelin starred restaurant. After Chez Albert, Christopher worked in Normandy in a patisserie, Maison Koberly, before returning to the United States.

In 1981, Christopher chose Los Angeles and the outstanding L'Orangerie as the place to continue his cooking career. Returning to the Phoenix valley in 1983, Christopher was Chef de Cuisine at La Champagne, at the Registry Resort in Scottsdale. His first joint venture in 1985 was Le Relais. In 1990, Christopher opened Christopher's and Christopher's Bistro, in the heart of the Biltmore area of Phoenix. In 1998, Christopher opened Christopher's Fermier Brasserie & Paola’s Wine Bar within the Biltmore Fashion Park.

Among his many media recognitions, Christopher was named one of America's 10 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine magazine. Christopher's, the restaurant, was named Best New Restaurant by William Rice of the Chicago Tribune and Best New Restaurant by John Mariani of Esquire. In 1995, Perrier Jouet and the James Beard Foundation named Christopher Best Chef Southwest. In 1997 Christopher was the first chef in Arizona to be bestowed the honor of the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence.

His previous restaurants, Christopher's and Christopher's Bistro, and Christopher’s Fermier at Biltmore Fashion Park received prestigious accolades in Gourmet, Conde Nast, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Bon Appetit, The Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, Phoenix Home and Garden, The New York Times, Connoisseur, Home Beautiful, and others. Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie & Paola’s Wine Bar were also awarded America’s Best Restaurant – Phoenix & Scottsdale, Gourmet Magazine 2002, Best French Restaurant – Best of Phoenix 2002 & 2003, The New Times, and Best Lunch – The Rep’s Best 2002, Arizona Republic.

Christopher has become a dominating figure within the industry, consulting regularly for Club Med, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Cruise Lines, Disney and others. Christopher has also been featured on numerous panels with Jacques Pepin and Julia Child at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. He and his recipes have appeared in numerous cookbooks, including the Julia Child PBS series and cookbook "In the Kitchen with Master Chefs."

He was also a featured chef for the James Beard Foundation Dinner of the Decade,, "A Salute to Peter Kump";, the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games; and has cooked for President Ford, President Reagan, President Bush and Vice President Al Gore.

Christopher orchestrated the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) and was its founding chairman, is on the National Board for the American Liver Foundation, has served as co-chair of the American Liver Foundation’s “Flavors of Phoenix” events, and was former Chair of the Share Our Strength’s “Taste of the Nation” events. Christopher was also on the National Advisory Board for the James Beard Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Art Institute of Phoenix. 

Christopher Gross has a love of food and wine. He has spent years discovering and learning about food and wine in kitchens throughout Europe and the great dining rooms of notable American restaurants. Today, he has a solid reputation of a highly regarded, award-winning chef.

From renowned kitchens in Europe to the great dining rooms of American restaurants, Christopher Gross discovered and perfected his love of food and wine, devoting all of his knowledge and experience to establishing his reputation as a highly regarded chef.

His culinary legacy continues with the opening of his newest and most modern restaurant and lounge to date at the Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix, Christopher’s & Crush Lounge, which was already named one of the top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. by Gayot.com.

Christopher's love of food came about by chance. He landed a position with Phoenix's Adam's Hotel in 1974 where he was first exposed to cooking in the French tradition. He relocated to Los Angeles, working at the Marina City Club and Century Plaza from 1975-1978, which eventually led to a decision to head to Europe. He worked in London for a short time at the Thierry Restaurant, but set on Paris, he secured a position in 1979 at Chez Albert, a Michelin starred restaurant. After Chez Albert, Christopher worked in Normandy in a patisserie, Maison Koberly, before returning to the United States.

In 1981, Christopher chose Los Angeles and the outstanding L'Orangerie as the place to continue his cooking career. Returning to the Phoenix valley in 1983, Christopher was Chef de Cuisine at La Champagne, at the Registry Resort in Scottsdale. His first joint venture in 1985 was Le Relais. In 1990, Christopher opened Christopher's and Christopher's Bistro, in the heart of the Biltmore area of Phoenix. In 1998, Christopher opened Christopher's Fermier Brasserie & Paola’s Wine Bar within the Biltmore Fashion Park.

Among his many media recognitions, Christopher was named one of America's 10 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine magazine. Christopher's, the restaurant, was named Best New Restaurant by William Rice of the Chicago Tribune and Best New Restaurant by John Mariani of Esquire. In 1995, Perrier Jouet and the James Beard Foundation named Christopher Best Chef Southwest. In 1997 Christopher was the first chef in Arizona to be bestowed the honor of the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence.

His previous restaurants, Christopher's and Christopher's Bistro, and Christopher’s Fermier at Biltmore Fashion Park received prestigious accolades in Gourmet, Conde Nast, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Bon Appetit, The Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, Phoenix Home and Garden, The New York Times, Connoisseur, Home Beautiful, and others. Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie & Paola’s Wine Bar were also awarded America’s Best Restaurant – Phoenix & Scottsdale, Gourmet Magazine 2002, Best French Restaurant – Best of Phoenix 2002 & 2003, The New Times, and Best Lunch – The Rep’s Best 2002, Arizona Republic.

Christopher has become a dominating figure within the industry, consulting regularly for Club Med, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Cruise Lines, Disney and others. Christopher has also been featured on numerous panels with Jacques Pepin and Julia Child at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. He and his recipes have appeared in numerous cookbooks, including the Julia Child PBS series and cookbook "In the Kitchen with Master Chefs."

He was also a featured chef for the James Beard Foundation Dinner of the Decade,, "A Salute to Peter Kump";, the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games; and has cooked for President Ford, President Reagan, President Bush and Vice President Al Gore.

Christopher orchestrated the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) and was its founding chairman, is on the National Board for the American Liver Foundation, has served as co-chair of the American Liver Foundation’s “Flavors of Phoenix” events, and was former Chair of the Share Our Strength’s “Taste of the Nation” events. Christopher was also on the National Advisory Board for the James Beard Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Art Institute of Phoenix. 

Sean Kavanaugh
Sean Kavanaugh

Sean has a passion for creating memorable food and delivering superior service; his attention to detail has made him invaluable in new venue start-up operations.  To his credit, Sean has opened all of the major league facilities in Phoenix including Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark), US Airways Arena (formerly America West Arena), Glendale Arena and, now, University of Phoenix Stadium.

Prior to moving to Phoenix, Sean worked for the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida, as part of their opening team.  In 1988, he was moved to Phoenix to open the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix as the Executive Chef.

The menus that Sean creates are  innovative, delectable and imaginative; he is a true artist.  Additionally, his expertise in all areas of food management, food handling and food safety techniques adds considerable value to his award winning menus.

Sean has a passion for creating memorable food and delivering superior service; his attention to detail has made him invaluable in new venue start-up operations.  To his credit, Sean has opened all of the major league facilities in Phoenix including Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark), US Airways Arena (formerly America West Arena), Glendale Arena and, now, University of Phoenix Stadium.

Prior to moving to Phoenix, Sean worked for the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida, as part of their opening team.  In 1988, he was moved to Phoenix to open the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix as the Executive Chef.

The menus that Sean creates are  innovative, delectable and imaginative; he is a true artist.  Additionally, his expertise in all areas of food management, food handling and food safety techniques adds considerable value to his award winning menus.

Guy Villavaso
Guy Villavaso

Owner/Founder
Eddie V's Edgewater Grille, Roaring Fork and Wildfish Seafood Grille

More than 30 years ago, Guy Villavaso envisioned a restaurant that reflected his values of Southern hospitality combined with a flare for the culinary arts. This vision has unfolded into a trifecta of innovative and distinctive restaurants that span numerous markets. Eddie V’s Edgewater Grill, Wildfish Seafood Grill and The Roaring Fork have spread throughout the west, now operating in Arizona, Texas and California. Each concept possesses a unique atmosphere and flavors, maintaining individuality by tailoring the surroundings and menus to reflect the lifestyles and needs of its guests. 

The ideas propelling Villavaso’s success are modest and avant-garde at once. It begins with the food – a selection of highest-quality freshest ingredients available, cooked with simple techniques that accentuate the food’s natural flavors. Next, the culinary entrepreneur stresses the importance of assembling a professional team of people who share a vision of quality, simplicity and service.

Villavaso began his restaurant career in 1975 while attending college at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. It was there he met his long-time business partner Larry Foles, as well as a core group of associates who continue to invest in and support his restaurant ventures to this day.

Villavaso and Foles hit upon their first big success in 1989. The men partnered with long-time friend and founder of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Paul Fleming, to create Z' Tejas Southwestern Grille in Phoenix. The restaurant would offer a distinctive "South by Southwest" dining experience for upscale casual diners, featuring cuisine indigenous to the Southern border region of the United States from Mississippi to California. Villavaso served as president and chief operating officer of the company for a decade, before he and Foles sold their shares. During that time, Z' Tejas opened eight restaurants in Arizona, Texas and Nevada.

Bringing award-winning chefs to the table led to the partners’ success in launching each of their next three restaurant concepts.

In 1997, they enlisted James Beard Award-winning chef Robert McGrath as Executive Chef of The Roaring Fork. The Roaring Fork is a combination of bold American flavors and comfort food enhanced by the wood-fire cooking techniques of the Old West. The first Roaring Fork opened its doors in Phoenix on Camelback Road in 1997 and moved to its current Scottsdale, Ariz. location in 2003. 

Eddie V’s Edgewater Grille was born in 1999, filling what Villavaso saw as a vastly underserved niche in quality seafood restaurants throughout the country. He drew inspiration from the great classic seafood restaurants of New Orleans, San Francisco and New York. To help ensure success in this niche, Villavaso and Foles enrolled in a highly-acclaimed seafood school sponsored by Foley's Seafood Company in Boston. There they learned first-hand the "ins and outs" of production and shipping in the fresh seafood industry. The team then recruited John Carver, a tremendous culinary talent from Atlanta. Together, they tested, planned and executed the exciting combinations of premium seafood dishes and prime steaks that make up Eddie V's acclaimed menu today. The first Eddie V’s opened in the winter of 2000 in downtown Austin, Texas, with an atmosphere that is warm and inviting with live music nightly.

In 2004, Villavaso’s fourth concept, Wildfish Seafood Grille, debuted in Newport Beach, California.  Wildfish is a prime seafood and steak restaurant with the same unpretentious atmosphere that has become Villavaso’s hallmark. Yet, with its exposition-style kitchen and contemporary edge, the seafood is the show.

The level of service guests receive in each of his restaurants is just one indicator of Villavaso’s ability to lead and inspire people to be the best.  He lives and breathes the ideals he instills in his family of restaurants, and at the core “Best Today, Better Tomorrow” is the heart and soul of his vision.

He endeavors to grow his company with integrity and compassion, encouraging all of his employees to manage with the same entrepreneurial spirit that drives him. To date, the restaurants’ core markets are Austin, Texas and the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. They have a presence in California and more plans are in the works for new locations to open throughout central Texas in 2008.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Villavaso also lived in Austin for a number of years. He has lived and worked in Scottsdale since the early 1990s, with his wife, Terri, and their three children – Evan, 17, and twins Emily and Tyler, 16.

Owner/Founder
Eddie V's Edgewater Grille, Roaring Fork and Wildfish Seafood Grille

More than 30 years ago, Guy Villavaso envisioned a restaurant that reflected his values of Southern hospitality combined with a flare for the culinary arts. This vision has unfolded into a trifecta of innovative and distinctive restaurants that span numerous markets. Eddie V’s Edgewater Grill, Wildfish Seafood Grill and The Roaring Fork have spread throughout the west, now operating in Arizona, Texas and California. Each concept possesses a unique atmosphere and flavors, maintaining individuality by tailoring the surroundings and menus to reflect the lifestyles and needs of its guests. 

The ideas propelling Villavaso’s success are modest and avant-garde at once. It begins with the food – a selection of highest-quality freshest ingredients available, cooked with simple techniques that accentuate the food’s natural flavors. Next, the culinary entrepreneur stresses the importance of assembling a professional team of people who share a vision of quality, simplicity and service.

Villavaso began his restaurant career in 1975 while attending college at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. It was there he met his long-time business partner Larry Foles, as well as a core group of associates who continue to invest in and support his restaurant ventures to this day.

Villavaso and Foles hit upon their first big success in 1989. The men partnered with long-time friend and founder of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Paul Fleming, to create Z' Tejas Southwestern Grille in Phoenix. The restaurant would offer a distinctive "South by Southwest" dining experience for upscale casual diners, featuring cuisine indigenous to the Southern border region of the United States from Mississippi to California. Villavaso served as president and chief operating officer of the company for a decade, before he and Foles sold their shares. During that time, Z' Tejas opened eight restaurants in Arizona, Texas and Nevada.

Bringing award-winning chefs to the table led to the partners’ success in launching each of their next three restaurant concepts.

In 1997, they enlisted James Beard Award-winning chef Robert McGrath as Executive Chef of The Roaring Fork. The Roaring Fork is a combination of bold American flavors and comfort food enhanced by the wood-fire cooking techniques of the Old West. The first Roaring Fork opened its doors in Phoenix on Camelback Road in 1997 and moved to its current Scottsdale, Ariz. location in 2003. 

Eddie V’s Edgewater Grille was born in 1999, filling what Villavaso saw as a vastly underserved niche in quality seafood restaurants throughout the country. He drew inspiration from the great classic seafood restaurants of New Orleans, San Francisco and New York. To help ensure success in this niche, Villavaso and Foles enrolled in a highly-acclaimed seafood school sponsored by Foley's Seafood Company in Boston. There they learned first-hand the "ins and outs" of production and shipping in the fresh seafood industry. The team then recruited John Carver, a tremendous culinary talent from Atlanta. Together, they tested, planned and executed the exciting combinations of premium seafood dishes and prime steaks that make up Eddie V's acclaimed menu today. The first Eddie V’s opened in the winter of 2000 in downtown Austin, Texas, with an atmosphere that is warm and inviting with live music nightly.

In 2004, Villavaso’s fourth concept, Wildfish Seafood Grille, debuted in Newport Beach, California.  Wildfish is a prime seafood and steak restaurant with the same unpretentious atmosphere that has become Villavaso’s hallmark. Yet, with its exposition-style kitchen and contemporary edge, the seafood is the show.

The level of service guests receive in each of his restaurants is just one indicator of Villavaso’s ability to lead and inspire people to be the best.  He lives and breathes the ideals he instills in his family of restaurants, and at the core “Best Today, Better Tomorrow” is the heart and soul of his vision.

He endeavors to grow his company with integrity and compassion, encouraging all of his employees to manage with the same entrepreneurial spirit that drives him. To date, the restaurants’ core markets are Austin, Texas and the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. They have a presence in California and more plans are in the works for new locations to open throughout central Texas in 2008.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Villavaso also lived in Austin for a number of years. He has lived and worked in Scottsdale since the early 1990s, with his wife, Terri, and their three children – Evan, 17, and twins Emily and Tyler, 16.

Paula Wolfert
Paula Wolfert

PAULA WOLFERT is an internationally known cookbook author. Her award-winning books, all but one still in print, are admired by chefs and cooking teachers throughout the U.S. as well as from London to Rio de Janeiro to Sydney and places in between.

She has won the Julia Child Award, the James Beard Award, the Tastemaker Award, the M. F. K. Fisher Prize, the Cooks Magazine Platinum Plate Award, the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award, and the Perigueux Award for Lifetime Achievement 1999.

Among her works:
Couscous & Other Good Food From Morocco
Mediterranean Cooking
The Cooking Of Southwest France
Paula Wolfert's World of Food
The Cooking of The Eastern Mediterranean
Mediterranean Grains & Greens
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
Revised Cooking of Southwest France

And soon to be published:
The Mediterranean Clay pot Cooking
 
Paula has taught the cooking of the Mediterranean and Southwest France in hundreds of cooking schools throughout the United States and Canada since 1976. She has been spokesperson for high-end culinary products ranging from Moroccan clementines to the International Olive Oil Council to Courvoisier cognac.

She has appeared multiple times on "Good Morning America" and other national television shows. For the past ten years she has a column in Food & Wine Magazine. Her articles have appeared in Saveur, Gourmet, Travel & Leisure, The New York Times, Conde Naste Traveler, Bon Appetit, House & Garden, Metropolitan Home, Cooks Magazine and Food Arts.

Born in Brooklyn, Paula has lived in Paris, Tangier, Manhattan and Northwest Connecticut. Married to crime fiction writer, William Bayer, she currently lives in the Sonoma Valley.

For further information, please visit her website: www.paulawolfert.com

PAULA WOLFERT is an internationally known cookbook author. Her award-winning books, all but one still in print, are admired by chefs and cooking teachers throughout the U.S. as well as from London to Rio de Janeiro to Sydney and places in between.

She has won the Julia Child Award, the James Beard Award, the Tastemaker Award, the M. F. K. Fisher Prize, the Cooks Magazine Platinum Plate Award, the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award, and the Perigueux Award for Lifetime Achievement 1999.

Among her works:
Couscous & Other Good Food From Morocco
Mediterranean Cooking
The Cooking Of Southwest France
Paula Wolfert's World of Food
The Cooking of The Eastern Mediterranean
Mediterranean Grains & Greens
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
Revised Cooking of Southwest France

And soon to be published:
The Mediterranean Clay pot Cooking
 
Paula has taught the cooking of the Mediterranean and Southwest France in hundreds of cooking schools throughout the United States and Canada since 1976. She has been spokesperson for high-end culinary products ranging from Moroccan clementines to the International Olive Oil Council to Courvoisier cognac.

She has appeared multiple times on "Good Morning America" and other national television shows. For the past ten years she has a column in Food & Wine Magazine. Her articles have appeared in Saveur, Gourmet, Travel & Leisure, The New York Times, Conde Naste Traveler, Bon Appetit, House & Garden, Metropolitan Home, Cooks Magazine and Food Arts.

Born in Brooklyn, Paula has lived in Paris, Tangier, Manhattan and Northwest Connecticut. Married to crime fiction writer, William Bayer, she currently lives in the Sonoma Valley.

For further information, please visit her website: www.paulawolfert.com

Carey Sweet
Carey Sweet

With almost two decades of writing about food, restaurants and the chefs that make them happen, Carey Sweet has won national restaurant criticism and food writing awards, including First Place in the nation from the Society of Professional Food Journalists, and First Place from the Arizona Press Club.

In covering Arizona’s food industry, she contributes to numerous publications, including a weekly Dining News column for the Arizona Republic, plus regular restaurant reviews and food feature stories for the newspaper and its several affiliate magazines. She has a monthly food feature column in Phoenix Magazine, as well as regularly scheduled restaurant reviews and travel features emphasizing culinary adventures. Additionally, she is the Arizona editor for Gayot Guide’s restaurant coverage.

As a near-native of Arizona (she was born in Phoenix), Sweet now splits her time between Scottsdale and Sonoma, where she is active in numerous professional food and wine memberships and activities.

On a regional level, she is a regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle (covering restaurants, food and wine), 944 San Francisco magazine (restaurants, chefs and food), and numerous other North Bay publications. A wine lover, she also consults for a boutique winery with vineyards in Chile and Argentina.

Sweet has been a longtime volunteer for C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program), which provides education, professional chef mentoring, national scholarships and job placement within the restaurant industry for at-risk high school students.

With almost two decades of writing about food, restaurants and the chefs that make them happen, Carey Sweet has won national restaurant criticism and food writing awards, including First Place in the nation from the Society of Professional Food Journalists, and First Place from the Arizona Press Club.

In covering Arizona’s food industry, she contributes to numerous publications, including a weekly Dining News column for the Arizona Republic, plus regular restaurant reviews and food feature stories for the newspaper and its several affiliate magazines. She has a monthly food feature column in Phoenix Magazine, as well as regularly scheduled restaurant reviews and travel features emphasizing culinary adventures. Additionally, she is the Arizona editor for Gayot Guide’s restaurant coverage.

As a near-native of Arizona (she was born in Phoenix), Sweet now splits her time between Scottsdale and Sonoma, where she is active in numerous professional food and wine memberships and activities.

On a regional level, she is a regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle (covering restaurants, food and wine), 944 San Francisco magazine (restaurants, chefs and food), and numerous other North Bay publications. A wine lover, she also consults for a boutique winery with vineyards in Chile and Argentina.

Sweet has been a longtime volunteer for C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program), which provides education, professional chef mentoring, national scholarships and job placement within the restaurant industry for at-risk high school students.

Gwen Walters
Gwen Walters

Born to journalist parents, it was only a matter of time before Gwen Ashley Walters, a professionally trained chef and Certified Culinary Professional settled into a rewarding food writing career.

An honors graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, she honed her cooking skills in commercial kitchens such as the renowned Boulders Resort in Carefree before trading her chef’s knife for a pen. She is the author of three award-winning cookbooks featuring renowned U.S. resorts. She has taught cooking classes across the country and her recipes have been featured in various newspapers and magazines across the country.

It didn’t take long for Gwen to figure out that she preferred following other chefs around with a pen and fork to standing over a hot stove, and soon she began writing restaurant reviews, wine columns and other food stories for The Arizona Republic and its specialty magazines.

She currently writes restaurant reviews and two regular monthly food columns for PHOENIX Magazine and as well as feature stories for Edible Phoenix, three of which will be featured in a national cookbook by Edible Communities due out in 2010.

Gwen is an active member of Les Dames D'Escoffier International, a philanthropic professional women’s food organization and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She holds a Master of Education degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of North Texas. For fun, Gwen regularly dishes about food on her blog, www.penandfork.wordpress.com.

Born to journalist parents, it was only a matter of time before Gwen Ashley Walters, a professionally trained chef and Certified Culinary Professional settled into a rewarding food writing career.

An honors graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, she honed her cooking skills in commercial kitchens such as the renowned Boulders Resort in Carefree before trading her chef’s knife for a pen. She is the author of three award-winning cookbooks featuring renowned U.S. resorts. She has taught cooking classes across the country and her recipes have been featured in various newspapers and magazines across the country.

It didn’t take long for Gwen to figure out that she preferred following other chefs around with a pen and fork to standing over a hot stove, and soon she began writing restaurant reviews, wine columns and other food stories for The Arizona Republic and its specialty magazines.

She currently writes restaurant reviews and two regular monthly food columns for PHOENIX Magazine and as well as feature stories for Edible Phoenix, three of which will be featured in a national cookbook by Edible Communities due out in 2010.

Gwen is an active member of Les Dames D'Escoffier International, a philanthropic professional women’s food organization and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She holds a Master of Education degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of North Texas. For fun, Gwen regularly dishes about food on her blog, www.penandfork.wordpress.com.

Sam Fox
Sam Fox

President & CEO of Fox Restaurant Concepts

Sam Fox was born to run restaurants, a trait he inherited from his father. While pursuing a real estate degree at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, he felt compelled to return to his roots – the restaurant industry.

At the age of 20, he opened his first restaurant, Gilligan’s, in Tucson. After selling Gilligan’s for a tidy profit just two years later, Fox set his visionary sights on changing the restaurant scene in the southwest forever. Since 1998, Fox has developed 11 unique restaurant concepts, and opened 27 restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Texas, with more to come.

Fox has an inherent ability to recognize underserved markets and then create just the right concept to fill the need. His uncanny ability to identify dining trends and leadership skills to assemble the right team of professionals to execute his concepts, have placed Fox directly in the top echelon of highly regarded national restaurateurs.

Unafraid of taking calculated risks and energetically driven to achieve his goals, Fox is building a multimillion dollar restaurant empire the old fashioned way – through hard work, forward thinking and a genuine passion for the craft of hospitality.

Fox’s hands-on approach sets a standard rarely found in multi-unit restaurant organizations. He encourages an “un-corporate” corporate culture that nourishes and grows talent, which in turn, translates into wildly successful
restaurants.

Fox believes in sharing the rewards of his success and Fox Restaurant Concepts generously gives back to all of the communities it serves. Fox is a member of the Young President’s Organization and the philanthropic
Thunderbirds, an invitation only Arizona non-profit group whose mission is to assist children and families in need.

President & CEO of Fox Restaurant Concepts

Sam Fox was born to run restaurants, a trait he inherited from his father. While pursuing a real estate degree at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, he felt compelled to return to his roots – the restaurant industry.

At the age of 20, he opened his first restaurant, Gilligan’s, in Tucson. After selling Gilligan’s for a tidy profit just two years later, Fox set his visionary sights on changing the restaurant scene in the southwest forever. Since 1998, Fox has developed 11 unique restaurant concepts, and opened 27 restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Texas, with more to come.

Fox has an inherent ability to recognize underserved markets and then create just the right concept to fill the need. His uncanny ability to identify dining trends and leadership skills to assemble the right team of professionals to execute his concepts, have placed Fox directly in the top echelon of highly regarded national restaurateurs.

Unafraid of taking calculated risks and energetically driven to achieve his goals, Fox is building a multimillion dollar restaurant empire the old fashioned way – through hard work, forward thinking and a genuine passion for the craft of hospitality.

Fox’s hands-on approach sets a standard rarely found in multi-unit restaurant organizations. He encourages an “un-corporate” corporate culture that nourishes and grows talent, which in turn, translates into wildly successful
restaurants.

Fox believes in sharing the rewards of his success and Fox Restaurant Concepts generously gives back to all of the communities it serves. Fox is a member of the Young President’s Organization and the philanthropic
Thunderbirds, an invitation only Arizona non-profit group whose mission is to assist children and families in need.

Shelly Sikora
Shelly Sikora

Preparing and sharing food has been a life-long passion for Shelley Sikora. Drawing upon her family’s Sicilian roots, Sikora uses that passion to conceive and launch unique restaurant concepts while writing and teaching others about her style of cooking.  As a proven successful entrepreneur, Sikora has founded and franchised restaurants in the U.S. and Australia.  As a published author and broadcast host, she shares her love of good food through her cookbooks and television cooking show.

Beginning in the late 1980’s and continuing through 2005, Shelley Sikora co-owned and managed dozens of full-service restaurants across eight states and franchised in Australia under the  Bobby McGee’s USA & Bobby McGee’s of Arizona brands.

While Sikora managed the restaurant empire, she conceived and launched a smoothie bar franchisor, Juice Works.  After developing the brand, recipes, menus and even sales and training materials, the entire operation was purchased by national yogurt franchisor, TCBY.

But Sikora’s biggest project was yet to come.  Based on national research and taste tests in barbecue capitols across the country, Sikora launched a new 10,000 sq. ft. restaurant concept, BOBBY Q, GREAT STEAKS AND REAL BBQ, located in Phoenix, Arizona.  Sikora’s creative menu treatment of classic barbeque entrees were quickly accepted by customers and the critics.  Customers patiently waited for seating while the awards rolled in:  “Best Food” at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, Great Arizona Picnic 2006, as well as “Best New Restaurant, Phoenix Magazine and “Best BBQ” by AOL City Search among others.

Sikora maintains her passion for food by sharing her experience with readers and viewers.  Her first published cookbook, “An Italian Affair” was released in December, 2002.  As a second generation Sicilian, Sikora literally grew up in the kitchen learning to cook and bake from her mother whose treasured recipes are included in the book. In 2006, her second cookbook “100 Tantalizing Ways to Make Tomatoes & Mozzarella” was released by Harvard Common Press.  That same year, she was one of 34 U.S. chefs chosen to appear in the 2006 IACP cookbook, “For the Love of Food”.

Sikora is also as comfortable in front of the camera as she is over the stove.  She created, produced and hosted her own TV cooking show, “Home Plates”, broadcast on Phoenix CBS affiliate, KPHO Channel 5. She frequently appears as a guest on many other local and national TV and Radio programs.  

In addition to her business success, Sikora has been recognized with a certificate of appreciation for her work with community activities, such as Wine, Women and Jazz.  She maintains membership with the Scottsdale League for the Arts. 

Sikora success as a chef, businesswoman, author, host and teacher and community volunteer continues the teaching tradition through her cooking classes conducted at Sur La Table, Kitchen Classics and Sweet Basil Gourmet.

Preparing and sharing food has been a life-long passion for Shelley Sikora. Drawing upon her family’s Sicilian roots, Sikora uses that passion to conceive and launch unique restaurant concepts while writing and teaching others about her style of cooking.  As a proven successful entrepreneur, Sikora has founded and franchised restaurants in the U.S. and Australia.  As a published author and broadcast host, she shares her love of good food through her cookbooks and television cooking show.

Beginning in the late 1980’s and continuing through 2005, Shelley Sikora co-owned and managed dozens of full-service restaurants across eight states and franchised in Australia under the  Bobby McGee’s USA & Bobby McGee’s of Arizona brands.

While Sikora managed the restaurant empire, she conceived and launched a smoothie bar franchisor, Juice Works.  After developing the brand, recipes, menus and even sales and training materials, the entire operation was purchased by national yogurt franchisor, TCBY.

But Sikora’s biggest project was yet to come.  Based on national research and taste tests in barbecue capitols across the country, Sikora launched a new 10,000 sq. ft. restaurant concept, BOBBY Q, GREAT STEAKS AND REAL BBQ, located in Phoenix, Arizona.  Sikora’s creative menu treatment of classic barbeque entrees were quickly accepted by customers and the critics.  Customers patiently waited for seating while the awards rolled in:  “Best Food” at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, Great Arizona Picnic 2006, as well as “Best New Restaurant, Phoenix Magazine and “Best BBQ” by AOL City Search among others.

Sikora maintains her passion for food by sharing her experience with readers and viewers.  Her first published cookbook, “An Italian Affair” was released in December, 2002.  As a second generation Sicilian, Sikora literally grew up in the kitchen learning to cook and bake from her mother whose treasured recipes are included in the book. In 2006, her second cookbook “100 Tantalizing Ways to Make Tomatoes & Mozzarella” was released by Harvard Common Press.  That same year, she was one of 34 U.S. chefs chosen to appear in the 2006 IACP cookbook, “For the Love of Food”.

Sikora is also as comfortable in front of the camera as she is over the stove.  She created, produced and hosted her own TV cooking show, “Home Plates”, broadcast on Phoenix CBS affiliate, KPHO Channel 5. She frequently appears as a guest on many other local and national TV and Radio programs.  

In addition to her business success, Sikora has been recognized with a certificate of appreciation for her work with community activities, such as Wine, Women and Jazz.  She maintains membership with the Scottsdale League for the Arts. 

Sikora success as a chef, businesswoman, author, host and teacher and community volunteer continues the teaching tradition through her cooking classes conducted at Sur La Table, Kitchen Classics and Sweet Basil Gourmet.

Aaron May
Aaron May

Chef Aaron May's passion for food led him out to the Ecole Ritz Esscofier in Paris, France where he began his culinary training. Upon graduating Chef May began his career at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale Arizona where he worked at both The Crescent Moon and their fine dining restaurant Acacia, which has won numerous local awards.

Chef May's passion for food was a perfect match for the passionate cuisine of Latin and South America. He found himself working alongside celebrity chef Douglas Rodriguez, a pioneer in Latin American restaurants in New York and Arizona, at Deseo at the Westin Resort and Spa. At Deseo Chef May began his love affair with the Latin American cuisine and it led him to New York for a new adventure.

While in New York Chef May worked again with Chef Rodriguez at his celebrated restaurant Ola which led him to another famed chef, Mario Batali. Chef May worked at Chef Batali's, Casa Mono, one of the preeminent Spanish restaurants in Manhattan and has continued his love for Spanish cooking at his own restaurant Sol y Sombra which opened in Scottsdale Arizona in April 2006.

Chef May has traveled extensively to Spain to learn as much as he can about Spanish cuisine and culture. He continues to make yearly visits to bring back the most exciting food developments from a country that is as passionate about food as they are about life. Spain is, and has been for quite some time, a culinary hotbed of the most exciting restaurant and chefs in Europe. Chef May is eager to bring the excitement of Spanish cooking and lifestyle to Arizona.

Chef Aaron May's passion for food led him out to the Ecole Ritz Esscofier in Paris, France where he began his culinary training. Upon graduating Chef May began his career at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale Arizona where he worked at both The Crescent Moon and their fine dining restaurant Acacia, which has won numerous local awards.

Chef May's passion for food was a perfect match for the passionate cuisine of Latin and South America. He found himself working alongside celebrity chef Douglas Rodriguez, a pioneer in Latin American restaurants in New York and Arizona, at Deseo at the Westin Resort and Spa. At Deseo Chef May began his love affair with the Latin American cuisine and it led him to New York for a new adventure.

While in New York Chef May worked again with Chef Rodriguez at his celebrated restaurant Ola which led him to another famed chef, Mario Batali. Chef May worked at Chef Batali's, Casa Mono, one of the preeminent Spanish restaurants in Manhattan and has continued his love for Spanish cooking at his own restaurant Sol y Sombra which opened in Scottsdale Arizona in April 2006.

Chef May has traveled extensively to Spain to learn as much as he can about Spanish cuisine and culture. He continues to make yearly visits to bring back the most exciting food developments from a country that is as passionate about food as they are about life. Spain is, and has been for quite some time, a culinary hotbed of the most exciting restaurant and chefs in Europe. Chef May is eager to bring the excitement of Spanish cooking and lifestyle to Arizona.

Mel Mecinas
Mel Mecinas

Meliton “Mel” Mecinas, a 10-year veteran chef of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, was named executive chef of the Scottsdale property in February 2006.

Mecinas’ passion for cooking began at home, following in his father’s footsteps, working at Yoshiro, an Asian restaurant in Encino, California. Mecinas gradually began to hone his culinary skills, “learning by doing” and through considerable practice, precision and perseverance.

Mecinas’ next step found him working with veteran restaurateur Joachim Splichal, owner of West Hollywood’s Patina Restaurant, Pino Bistro in Studio City, and Café Pinot in Los Angeles.  Mecinas credits the nine years working with Splichal as the backbone of his training in the importance of service, presentation and attention to detail – all skills that would later serve him well in his career with Four Seasons.

“I learned the value of elegant presentation, and the importance of using only the highest quality, freshest ingredients,” says Mecinas.  “Mr. Splichal had very high expectations for his staff.  But that’s how I learned to be the best, and the most creative at what I do.”

In 1997, Mecinas began his career with Four Seasons, at the property in Santa Barbara.  During his time in Santa Barbara, Mecinas cooked the second course in a seven-course 90th birthday celebration dinner for renowned culinary personality Julia Child.  His Smoked Salmon Parfait with Osetra Caviar and Vodka Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta won rave reviews from the culinary great.

From Santa Barbara, Mecinas joined the team at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, his most recent appointment prior to Scottsdale.  From high-profile celebrity guest requests and impressive gala award dinners to entertaining visiting politicians and dignitaries, Mecinas put his culinary training to the test overseeing Gardens restaurant, the Café, Windows Bar and Lounge, and the Poolside Grille.

In Scottsdale, Mecinas is responsible for the property’s many dining options, including the two main restaurants – Talavera and Crescent Moon.  Both provide seating indoors and al fresco.  Additionally, Mecinas oversees Saguaro Blossom, the casual poolside venue that caters to guests from lunchtime through pre-dinner cocktails.

Mecinas also is responsible for all food and beverage service throughout the conference and banquet facilities, juggling everything from a casual Southwestern barbeque for 100 guests on the Resort’s Troon Lawn to plated dinner service for an elegant wedding reception in the new Ironwood Ballroom.

Following his arrival, Mecinas reinvented Crescent Moon with a new menu featuring classic American cuisine influenced by the regional ingredients of the Arizona Sonoran Desert, thereby rebranding it as an American “Sonoran” Kitchen.

Meliton “Mel” Mecinas, a 10-year veteran chef of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, was named executive chef of the Scottsdale property in February 2006.

Mecinas’ passion for cooking began at home, following in his father’s footsteps, working at Yoshiro, an Asian restaurant in Encino, California. Mecinas gradually began to hone his culinary skills, “learning by doing” and through considerable practice, precision and perseverance.

Mecinas’ next step found him working with veteran restaurateur Joachim Splichal, owner of West Hollywood’s Patina Restaurant, Pino Bistro in Studio City, and Café Pinot in Los Angeles.  Mecinas credits the nine years working with Splichal as the backbone of his training in the importance of service, presentation and attention to detail – all skills that would later serve him well in his career with Four Seasons.

“I learned the value of elegant presentation, and the importance of using only the highest quality, freshest ingredients,” says Mecinas.  “Mr. Splichal had very high expectations for his staff.  But that’s how I learned to be the best, and the most creative at what I do.”

In 1997, Mecinas began his career with Four Seasons, at the property in Santa Barbara.  During his time in Santa Barbara, Mecinas cooked the second course in a seven-course 90th birthday celebration dinner for renowned culinary personality Julia Child.  His Smoked Salmon Parfait with Osetra Caviar and Vodka Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta won rave reviews from the culinary great.

From Santa Barbara, Mecinas joined the team at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, his most recent appointment prior to Scottsdale.  From high-profile celebrity guest requests and impressive gala award dinners to entertaining visiting politicians and dignitaries, Mecinas put his culinary training to the test overseeing Gardens restaurant, the Café, Windows Bar and Lounge, and the Poolside Grille.

In Scottsdale, Mecinas is responsible for the property’s many dining options, including the two main restaurants – Talavera and Crescent Moon.  Both provide seating indoors and al fresco.  Additionally, Mecinas oversees Saguaro Blossom, the casual poolside venue that caters to guests from lunchtime through pre-dinner cocktails.

Mecinas also is responsible for all food and beverage service throughout the conference and banquet facilities, juggling everything from a casual Southwestern barbeque for 100 guests on the Resort’s Troon Lawn to plated dinner service for an elegant wedding reception in the new Ironwood Ballroom.

Following his arrival, Mecinas reinvented Crescent Moon with a new menu featuring classic American cuisine influenced by the regional ingredients of the Arizona Sonoran Desert, thereby rebranding it as an American “Sonoran” Kitchen.

David Linville
David Linville

Chef David Linville grew up in the Central Valley of Northern California near the San Joaquin River where he experienced the typical Tom Sawyer country life. His early experiences in the kitchen were at the side of his grandmother as she used the garden fresh tomatoes and wild mustard greens he brought home from the fields for her to cook with.

Chef David took his first cooking job in a seafood restaurant at the age of 16 and quickly found himself at home. Traveling extensively throughout Europe, living in Amsterdam and on the Gold Coast of Spain a few years later, he absorbed the local foods and flavors. He continues to apply these experiences and foods to his cooking style today.

His background includes LA’s most prestigious restaurants and hotels, such as the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey, St. Regis Hotel, Viceroy Hotel Santa Monica, Mastros Beverly Hills and The Standard Hotel on Sunset.

He has also worked as a sought after private chef on yachts for some of Hollywood’s elite. Chef David was one of ten Celebrity Chefs featured in Los Angeles Magazine’s prestigious Food Event ’08 at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, CA.

Chef David’s deep-rooted, down home childhood is quite evident in his cooking style of internationally inspired CA comfort cuisine and his gracious table manner. He firmly believes that fresh quality ingredients combined with passion create a happy table.

David Linville is currently the Executive Chef of the Award-Winning Shore Restaurant and Lounge in Hermosa Beach, CA. He resides in Venice Beach, CA.

Chef David Linville grew up in the Central Valley of Northern California near the San Joaquin River where he experienced the typical Tom Sawyer country life. His early experiences in the kitchen were at the side of his grandmother as she used the garden fresh tomatoes and wild mustard greens he brought home from the fields for her to cook with.

Chef David took his first cooking job in a seafood restaurant at the age of 16 and quickly found himself at home. Traveling extensively throughout Europe, living in Amsterdam and on the Gold Coast of Spain a few years later, he absorbed the local foods and flavors. He continues to apply these experiences and foods to his cooking style today.

His background includes LA’s most prestigious restaurants and hotels, such as the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey, St. Regis Hotel, Viceroy Hotel Santa Monica, Mastros Beverly Hills and The Standard Hotel on Sunset.

He has also worked as a sought after private chef on yachts for some of Hollywood’s elite. Chef David was one of ten Celebrity Chefs featured in Los Angeles Magazine’s prestigious Food Event ’08 at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, CA.

Chef David’s deep-rooted, down home childhood is quite evident in his cooking style of internationally inspired CA comfort cuisine and his gracious table manner. He firmly believes that fresh quality ingredients combined with passion create a happy table.

David Linville is currently the Executive Chef of the Award-Winning Shore Restaurant and Lounge in Hermosa Beach, CA. He resides in Venice Beach, CA.

Eddie Matney
Eddie Matney

One of the biggest personalities in town and affectionately known as "the most colorful chef" in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, Eddie Matney's approach to New American Cuisine embraces the belief that the "melting pot theory" applies equally well to cooking as to sociology. According to Chef Eddie, his cooking is a "Mirror of America", multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and utilizes the many flavors that are native to classic American and Mediterranean cooking.

Prior to coming to Arizona in 1986 to open Steamers, Chef Eddie co-owned and operated the successful Stockbridge CafÈ in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. In 1988, he opened the award winning restaurant, Eddie's Grill in Phoenix. In September 1998, Eddie and his wife and partner Jennifer Blank-Matney opened a new restaurant, Eddie Matney's in the tony Biltmore neighborhood of the Valley. In 2006, Chef Eddie partnered with NBA player Amare Stoudemire to open Stoudemire's Downtown, located right in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. He also was asked by The Golf Club Scottsdale, one of the most prestigious private clubs in Scottsdale, to enhance its culinary offerings during 2007. Eddie has now ventured back to do what he does best; cook, and be an entrepreneur. The buzz has already started about his latest venture: Eddie's House, to be located in energetic downtown Scottsdale.
 
Chef Eddie is a co-host on "Your Life A to Z" on Arizona's Channel 3, two times a week. Along with being dubbed the "Number One Chef in the Valley" for five consecutive years by Phoenix Magazine, he has been celebrated for his unique culinary style in a number of prestigious publications including Food and Wine, USA Today, Bon Appetit, Food Arts, Nation's Restaurant News and Money Magazine. While in New York for his dinner presentation at The James Beard House, Chef Eddie was featured on CBS' The Early Show. This is Chef Eddie's eighth year representing the Arizona Cardinals at the prestigious "Taste of the NFL" event. He also found time to co-author Heartfelt Cuisine, which is a quick and easy heart healthy comfort food cookbook. He teamed up with Poore Brothers Potato Chips® to produce and market several seasonal flavors including: Chef Eddie's Mediterranean Spiced Chips, 4 Onion Dip Chips, Chicago Style Pizza Chips, s Pesto Chips and Smokehouse Cheddar Chips. Sunwest Distributors designated Eddie the exclusive representing chef of Viking brand in the valley.

His colorful and innovative approach to the preparation and presentation of food, coupled with his bold individualism and dynamic persona make Eddie a unique force in the local and national culinary scene.

One of the biggest personalities in town and affectionately known as "the most colorful chef" in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, Eddie Matney's approach to New American Cuisine embraces the belief that the "melting pot theory" applies equally well to cooking as to sociology. According to Chef Eddie, his cooking is a "Mirror of America", multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and utilizes the many flavors that are native to classic American and Mediterranean cooking.

Prior to coming to Arizona in 1986 to open Steamers, Chef Eddie co-owned and operated the successful Stockbridge CafÈ in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. In 1988, he opened the award winning restaurant, Eddie's Grill in Phoenix. In September 1998, Eddie and his wife and partner Jennifer Blank-Matney opened a new restaurant, Eddie Matney's in the tony Biltmore neighborhood of the Valley. In 2006, Chef Eddie partnered with NBA player Amare Stoudemire to open Stoudemire's Downtown, located right in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. He also was asked by The Golf Club Scottsdale, one of the most prestigious private clubs in Scottsdale, to enhance its culinary offerings during 2007. Eddie has now ventured back to do what he does best; cook, and be an entrepreneur. The buzz has already started about his latest venture: Eddie's House, to be located in energetic downtown Scottsdale.
 
Chef Eddie is a co-host on "Your Life A to Z" on Arizona's Channel 3, two times a week. Along with being dubbed the "Number One Chef in the Valley" for five consecutive years by Phoenix Magazine, he has been celebrated for his unique culinary style in a number of prestigious publications including Food and Wine, USA Today, Bon Appetit, Food Arts, Nation's Restaurant News and Money Magazine. While in New York for his dinner presentation at The James Beard House, Chef Eddie was featured on CBS' The Early Show. This is Chef Eddie's eighth year representing the Arizona Cardinals at the prestigious "Taste of the NFL" event. He also found time to co-author Heartfelt Cuisine, which is a quick and easy heart healthy comfort food cookbook. He teamed up with Poore Brothers Potato Chips® to produce and market several seasonal flavors including: Chef Eddie's Mediterranean Spiced Chips, 4 Onion Dip Chips, Chicago Style Pizza Chips, s Pesto Chips and Smokehouse Cheddar Chips. Sunwest Distributors designated Eddie the exclusive representing chef of Viking brand in the valley.

His colorful and innovative approach to the preparation and presentation of food, coupled with his bold individualism and dynamic persona make Eddie a unique force in the local and national culinary scene.

Candy Lesher
Candy Lesher

A long time culinary veteran, Ms. Lesher has embraced many aspects of the culinary industry over the years, including chef, instructor, restaurateur, award-winning author, consultant, editor, writer, television personality and executive producer, public speaker and passionate foodie.

Ms Lesher has had the honor of being inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame as Culinary Media Master, is a former James Beard Panelist, and is a member of Les Dames D’Escoffier. Most recently, Ms. Lesher was recruited by SunWest (distributor of Viking appliances in the Southwest) to launch their new cooking school, Cooking Studio AZ, which is being held in their stunning, live Viking demonstration kitchen.

Noteable Accomplishments

- Award-winning television host and executive producer, Food & Life Television
- Inductee into Culinary Hall of Fame as Culinary Media Master
- Former James Beard Panelist
- Editor-in-Chief, Food & Life magazine
- Public speaker, host and emcee
- Culinary Consultant
- Author, Great American Beer Cookbook
- Chef and former restaurateur
- Veteran cooking instructor

A long time culinary veteran, Ms. Lesher has embraced many aspects of the culinary industry over the years, including chef, instructor, restaurateur, award-winning author, consultant, editor, writer, television personality and executive producer, public speaker and passionate foodie.

Ms Lesher has had the honor of being inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame as Culinary Media Master, is a former James Beard Panelist, and is a member of Les Dames D’Escoffier. Most recently, Ms. Lesher was recruited by SunWest (distributor of Viking appliances in the Southwest) to launch their new cooking school, Cooking Studio AZ, which is being held in their stunning, live Viking demonstration kitchen.

Noteable Accomplishments

- Award-winning television host and executive producer, Food & Life Television
- Inductee into Culinary Hall of Fame as Culinary Media Master
- Former James Beard Panelist
- Editor-in-Chief, Food & Life magazine
- Public speaker, host and emcee
- Culinary Consultant
- Author, Great American Beer Cookbook
- Chef and former restaurateur
- Veteran cooking instructor

Beau MacMillan
Beau MacMillan

As Executive Chef of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and its signature restaurant, elements, Beau MacMillan inspires his staff with his passion for fresh ingredients.  His ingenuity in the kitchen is stimulated by his belief that food should not be overworked, but rather appreciated for its simplicity and natural perfection.  This philosophy is evident in Chef MacMillan’s innovative seasonal menus that focus on fresh, local ingredients procured from a network of artisans and organic farmers.

Chef MacMillan has cooked in some of America’s most distinguished kitchens. He hails from Plymouth, Massachusetts and is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. His culinary career began at the age of 16 when he secured a position at Crane Brook Tea Room in Carver, Massachusetts.  Chef MacMillan spent a year under the tutelage of Chef Francios Demueloge. Inspired by this experience, he joined the brigade at La Vieille Maison in Boca Raton Florida, rising through the ranks to the position of Sous Chef.  Drawn to the culinary scene on the West Coast, Chef MacMillan moved to Los Angeles where he held Sous Chef positions at the prestigious Hotel Bel Air, and later Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.  He was then recruited to Arizona in 1998 to develop the cuisine at The Ranch on Camelback, which later became Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.  Chef MacMillan and former Executive Chef Charles Wiley opened elements restaurant in March of 2001. 

As Executive Chef, MacMillan’s innovation has brought elements national recognition and acclaim. In March 2006, Chef MacMillan was invited to The Food Network’s kitchen stadium to compete in an episode of the hit series, Iron Chef America. Chef MacMillan was pitted against Iron Chef Bobby Flay in “Battle American Kobe Beef.”  Ultimately, Chef MacMillan’s cuisine reigned supreme, letting him claim victory over Flay. 

Beau also appeared on NBC’s Today Show in December 2006, February 2008 and most recently, January 2009.

Chef MacMillan has cooked at The James Beard House and at Bon Appetit Magazine in New York, and regularly conducts cooking classes for the guests of Sanctuary. In addition, Chef MacMillan lends his time and talent to several local and national charities and was recently named “Culinary Chef Extraordinaire” by the local non profit, Scottsdale League for the Arts for his outstanding charitable contributions in his community.  

Karen Fernau
Karen Fernau

For the last eight years, Karen Fernau has been a food writer for the Arizona Republic's Food & Drink section published every Wednesday. She brought a passion for food and a strong background in reporting to the position. As a food writer, she has had the priveledge of working with some of the Valley's top chefs and sharing their talents with a food loving public.

Fernau joined the Phoenix Gazette/Arizona Republic in 1979 as a city hall reporter, and through the years has covered politics, business, criminal justice and features. She also worked as a breaking news and community news editor.

A graduate of the University of Arizona, Fernau worked as a sports writer in Tucson, features editor for a Philadelphia suburban paper and political writer for Tempe Daily News prior to prior to  joining the Phoenix-based newspaper.

For the last eight years, Karen Fernau has been a food writer for the Arizona Republic's Food & Drink section published every Wednesday. She brought a passion for food and a strong background in reporting to the position. As a food writer, she has had the priveledge of working with some of the Valley's top chefs and sharing their talents with a food loving public.

Fernau joined the Phoenix Gazette/Arizona Republic in 1979 as a city hall reporter, and through the years has covered politics, business, criminal justice and features. She also worked as a breaking news and community news editor.

A graduate of the University of Arizona, Fernau worked as a sports writer in Tucson, features editor for a Philadelphia suburban paper and political writer for Tempe Daily News prior to prior to  joining the Phoenix-based newspaper.

Wade Moises
Wade Moises

Executive Chef and co-owner, PastaBAR

Crisp and casual, Wade Moises with co-owner Nicholas Gentry have created a restaurant in the cultural and arts area of Downtown Phoenix. Wade Moises enhances PastaBAR’s cuisine with his extensive experience in crafting Italian meals that are authentic as well as uniquely modern. With exceptional simplicity, PastaBAR offers classic dishes crafted with homemade pasta and the finest Arizona grown ingredients to match. Throughout his 15-year career, Moises has traveled in Italy, refreshing his tastes and perfecting his skills.

With a passion for food, the personable and animated Moises consistently experiments with new and seasonal elements that add a modern flare to classic Italian dishes. Prior to opening PastaBAR, Moises was the Executive Chef for Sassi in North Scottsdale.  Wade assisted in the planning and opening of Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romana in New York City where he served as Sous Chef. A recognized top chef, Moises has received rave reviews from The New York Times for his cuisine and preparation of handmade salumi and cured meat products.

In his early years, Moises worked in numerous restaurants and resorts in Vail, Colorado where he developed his passion for cooking. In 1995, Moises moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America. While gaining a formal education in culinary school, Moises held culinary externships at Mary Elaine's at The Phoenician Resort and The Terrace in Arizona.  One year later, Moises took his talents to Babbo Enoteca Ristorante where he first worked under Chef Batali as a grill cook. After running Lupa for 4 years he returned to the valley in 2003 as the Executive Chef at Sassi where Moises cultivated seasonal and local ingredient-driven menus.

One year later, Moises took his talents to Babbo Enoteca Ristorante where he first worked under Chef Batali as a grill cook.  In his early years, Moises worked in numerous restaurants and resorts in Vail, Colo. where he developed his passion for cooking.  In 1995, Moises moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America.  While gaining a formal education in culinary school, Moises held culinary externships at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician Resort and The Terrace in Arizona.

Executive Chef and co-owner, PastaBAR

Crisp and casual, Wade Moises with co-owner Nicholas Gentry have created a restaurant in the cultural and arts area of Downtown Phoenix. Wade Moises enhances PastaBAR’s cuisine with his extensive experience in crafting Italian meals that are authentic as well as uniquely modern. With exceptional simplicity, PastaBAR offers classic dishes crafted with homemade pasta and the finest Arizona grown ingredients to match. Throughout his 15-year career, Moises has traveled in Italy, refreshing his tastes and perfecting his skills.

With a passion for food, the personable and animated Moises consistently experiments with new and seasonal elements that add a modern flare to classic Italian dishes. Prior to opening PastaBAR, Moises was the Executive Chef for Sassi in North Scottsdale.  Wade assisted in the planning and opening of Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romana in New York City where he served as Sous Chef. A recognized top chef, Moises has received rave reviews from The New York Times for his cuisine and preparation of handmade salumi and cured meat products.

In his early years, Moises worked in numerous restaurants and resorts in Vail, Colorado where he developed his passion for cooking. In 1995, Moises moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America. While gaining a formal education in culinary school, Moises held culinary externships at Mary Elaine's at The Phoenician Resort and The Terrace in Arizona.  One year later, Moises took his talents to Babbo Enoteca Ristorante where he first worked under Chef Batali as a grill cook. After running Lupa for 4 years he returned to the valley in 2003 as the Executive Chef at Sassi where Moises cultivated seasonal and local ingredient-driven menus.

One year later, Moises took his talents to Babbo Enoteca Ristorante where he first worked under Chef Batali as a grill cook.  In his early years, Moises worked in numerous restaurants and resorts in Vail, Colo. where he developed his passion for cooking.  In 1995, Moises moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America.  While gaining a formal education in culinary school, Moises held culinary externships at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician Resort and The Terrace in Arizona.

Sean Griffin
Sean Griffin

Sean Griffin joined the Mina team with a 20-plus year culinary career.  He most recently hailed as Chef de Cuisine for four years of Nero’s at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.   In 2005 he was chosen as one of the Rising Chefs of Las Vegas 2005 by Starchefs.com.  He previously honed his skills at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, where he had the opportunity to stage with several renowned chefs.  His culinary passions grew while at Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside, California working his way up to Sous Chef of Duane’s, AAA four diamond restaurant.  Griffin was raised in California in a restaurant family where his late father owned three restaurants.

Sean Griffin joined the Mina team with a 20-plus year culinary career.  He most recently hailed as Chef de Cuisine for four years of Nero’s at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.   In 2005 he was chosen as one of the Rising Chefs of Las Vegas 2005 by Starchefs.com.  He previously honed his skills at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, where he had the opportunity to stage with several renowned chefs.  His culinary passions grew while at Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside, California working his way up to Sous Chef of Duane’s, AAA four diamond restaurant.  Griffin was raised in California in a restaurant family where his late father owned three restaurants.

Jeff Smedstad
Jeff Smedstad

Fans of chef Jeff Smedstad’s unique cuisine creations are grateful that Smedstad didn’t leave Arizona but only moved up the road.

Smedstad, formerly of Scottsdale’s acclaimed Los Sombreros, is known for his creative twists on traditional Mexican food — fall-off-the-bone meats, hand-rolled tamales and slow-simmered molé sauces. Those inimitable touches are now part of the tantalizing fare at Elote Café, located at the Kings Ransom Sedona Hotel in beautiful Sedona.

Named for the popular Mexican snack of grilled corn rolled in cojita cheese, Elote Café features organic and naturally raised ingredients, including Arizona-grown tomatoes and Silver Queen corn.

Smedstad’s career had an improbable beginning in the Coast Guard, where he cooked for a crew of 30 men three times a day.  He went on to hone his culinary skills at the renowned Scottsdale Culinary Institute.  His passion for Mexican food took shape as he studied with Suzanna Trilling at her prestigious Seasons of My Heart culinary school in Oaxaca and traveled nearly every state of Mexico, from Baja to the Yucatan. The recipes gleaned from those travels have become the signature dishes of his illustrious career.

The Arizona Republic gave Los Sombreros 5 stars and proclaimed it the Best Mexican Restaurant in the Phoenix area.  Los Sombreros also received similar recognition from City Guide Scottsdale, the East Valley Tribune, Desert Living Magazine and Phoenix New Times. The Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote, “Smedstad is poised to be the next Rick Bayless of the South.” As such rave notices testify, Smedstad’s style is one of a kind in the Southwest.

Smedstad also has shared his knowledge with students at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and taught private classes. His recipes have appeared in the Arizona Republic and he has been featured in Sunset Magazine, Latina Magazine and The New York Times.  He has appeared several times on TV affiliates of ABC, NBC and CBS. 

Elote Café is at 771 Highway 179 in Sedona, only 90 minutes north of metropolitan Phoenix. Call (928) 203-0105 or (928) 282-7151 for more information.

Fans of chef Jeff Smedstad’s unique cuisine creations are grateful that Smedstad didn’t leave Arizona but only moved up the road.

Smedstad, formerly of Scottsdale’s acclaimed Los Sombreros, is known for his creative twists on traditional Mexican food — fall-off-the-bone meats, hand-rolled tamales and slow-simmered molé sauces. Those inimitable touches are now part of the tantalizing fare at Elote Café, located at the Kings Ransom Sedona Hotel in beautiful Sedona.

Named for the popular Mexican snack of grilled corn rolled in cojita cheese, Elote Café features organic and naturally raised ingredients, including Arizona-grown tomatoes and Silver Queen corn.

Smedstad’s career had an improbable beginning in the Coast Guard, where he cooked for a crew of 30 men three times a day.  He went on to hone his culinary skills at the renowned Scottsdale Culinary Institute.  His passion for Mexican food took shape as he studied with Suzanna Trilling at her prestigious Seasons of My Heart culinary school in Oaxaca and traveled nearly every state of Mexico, from Baja to the Yucatan. The recipes gleaned from those travels have become the signature dishes of his illustrious career.

The Arizona Republic gave Los Sombreros 5 stars and proclaimed it the Best Mexican Restaurant in the Phoenix area.  Los Sombreros also received similar recognition from City Guide Scottsdale, the East Valley Tribune, Desert Living Magazine and Phoenix New Times. The Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote, “Smedstad is poised to be the next Rick Bayless of the South.” As such rave notices testify, Smedstad’s style is one of a kind in the Southwest.

Smedstad also has shared his knowledge with students at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and taught private classes. His recipes have appeared in the Arizona Republic and he has been featured in Sunset Magazine, Latina Magazine and The New York Times.  He has appeared several times on TV affiliates of ABC, NBC and CBS. 

Elote Café is at 771 Highway 179 in Sedona, only 90 minutes north of metropolitan Phoenix. Call (928) 203-0105 or (928) 282-7151 for more information.

Tim Fields
Tim Fields

Tim Fields has cultivated his culinary passion on a journey that began in his grandparent’s kitchen and led him to the hills of Tuscany, the Mountains of Colorado, and the Valley of the Sun. This award-winning chef has now accepted the position of Executive Chef of Sushi Roku at the W Scottsdale Hotel & Residences. An Innovative Dining Group concept based on serving sushi in a sleek, sophisticated environment, Sushi Roku Scottsdale joins the illustrious list of IDG concepts that can be found in L.A. and Las Vegas. 

Chef Fields, born in Big Spring, Texas, earned his executive chef certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Fields has received numerous professional awards including first place and a gold medal in the 2001 Governors Symposium in Keystone, Colo., an ACF-sponsored mystery bag competition in which chefs create and cook a dish from a mystery bag of ingredients unknown to them before the competition.He has also received five gold and four silver ACF medallions in culinary competitions throughout his career in Arizona and Colorado including “Colorado Hotel and Lodging Chef of the Year” in 2001.

Fields was most recently the executive sous chef at the five-diamond Boulders Resort in Carefree, Ariz., (near Scottsdale) where he perfected his skills in upscale catering and a la carte-style banquets
Fields began his gastronomic career at the famed Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Ariz. where he spent 16 years, starting as a cafeteria cook. Working under the tutelage of notable culinary experts such as Takashi Shiramizu and Tim Rodgers, he worked his way up through increasingly responsible positions in the Loews organization, achieving the position of executive chef and director of food and beverage at the Loews Denver Hotel and the famed Tuscany Restaurant.

Fields had toured the Tuscan hillsides with Lorenza De Medici researching, tasting and experiencing the culture in the small hilltop hamlets. This mission of love enabled him to guide his staff through a transformation of a once “Cal-Ital” menu to one that became an undeniably authentic Tuscan experience.

While there, he cooked for luminaries such as Barbara Bush, Billy Joel, Cher, Brian Adams and Janet Jackson.

“My first understanding that food was something much more than just a meal came from preparing fruits and vegetables in my grandmother’s kitchen. My grandfather grew it or trapped it and my grandmother braised it, roasted it, sautéed it or pickled it. They taught me techniques to cook proteins like venison and pheasant and helping make desserts like pecan pie and homemade ice cream.,” says Fields.

Perhaps most notably, Fields has a chapter dedicated to his career in writer/photographer Carol Maybach's 2005 epicurean cookbook, “Creating Chefs: A Journey through Culinary School with Recipes and Lessons.”

When not devising or preparing culinary masterpieces in the kitchen, Fields can often be found enjoying golf, skiing, gardening or recapturing his love of travel, inspired by his youthful experiences as the son of a U.S. Air Force officer.

Tim Fields is passionate about cooking.  But culinary passion is a given for someone who holds a position such as his: executive chef of Sushi Roku at the W Scottsdale Hotel & Residences. What sets this talented travel-lover apart from many of his peers is the age at which he became keenly aware of food as something to be labored over and appreciated. At seven, when most kids are interested in little more than Cheerios and PB&Js, Fields was learning the rudiments of cooking.

Born in Big Springs, Texas, Fields credits his grandparents for teaching him that food is more than mere sustenance. “My grandfather grew it , hunted it, fished it or trapped it,” he says, “and my grandmother braised it, roasted it, sautéed it or pickled it.” At an early age, he learned to churn ice cream, bake pies and prepare meats such as venison and pheasant which require a high level of proficiency. His grandfather foraged mushrooms and grew fresh herbs and vegetables in the garden, inadvertently teaching the boy the value of freshness and simplicity.

Fields began his career at Charles, an elegant French restaurant in Tucson, staying there for four years before moving to Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, where Takashi Shiramizu  (a French-trained Japanese chef with an eye for detail) became his mentor. In 1991, Fields moved to the Loews Denver Hotel, where he became both executive chef and food and beverage director, presiding over the Tuscany Room.

In preparation for the job, Chef Fields spent a month in Tuscany, squired around by famous cookbook author and TV personality Lorenza Di Medici. He spent his time there well—buying wine, stomping grapes, eating rustic Tuscan specialties, living in residences and generally soaking up the local culture—all of which prepared him  to transform the Tuscany Room’s Cal-Ital menu to something authentically Tuscan. During his time in Denver, Fields cooked for Barbara Bush, Billy Joel, Cher, Bryan Adams and Janet Jackson.

During that time, Fields  won multiple awards in cooking competitions as well as the “Colorado Hotel and Lodging Chef of the Year” in 2001.

That same year, Fields opened Mirabel (a private golf club in Scottsdale, AZ), where he began to revisit the techniques he’d learned from his mentor Shiramizu so many years ago. He challenged himself to create six-and seven-course sashimi meals for a customer who requested them every Thursday night.
Surely, there was prescience, as well as courtesy, in his actions. After a brief stint as executive sous chef at The Boulders (where Fields refined his skills in upscale catering and a la carte-style banquets), he was hired by Innovative Dining Group, founders of the Sushi Roku concept, in January, 2008. He spent three months of intensive training in Pasadena, CA, where he was immersed in Japanese cooking techniques, vocabulary and culture.

His new job has brought him full circle. These days, he collaborates with Executive Sushi Chef Shinya Toyoda, sourcing the freshest fish from California and finest ingredients from local farmers and purveyors.  And he remembers what his grandparents taught him: there is beauty in simplicity.

Tim Fields has cultivated his culinary passion on a journey that began in his grandparent’s kitchen and led him to the hills of Tuscany, the Mountains of Colorado, and the Valley of the Sun. This award-winning chef has now accepted the position of Executive Chef of Sushi Roku at the W Scottsdale Hotel & Residences. An Innovative Dining Group concept based on serving sushi in a sleek, sophisticated environment, Sushi Roku Scottsdale joins the illustrious list of IDG concepts that can be found in L.A. and Las Vegas. 

Chef Fields, born in Big Spring, Texas, earned his executive chef certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Fields has received numerous professional awards including first place and a gold medal in the 2001 Governors Symposium in Keystone, Colo., an ACF-sponsored mystery bag competition in which chefs create and cook a dish from a mystery bag of ingredients unknown to them before the competition.He has also received five gold and four silver ACF medallions in culinary competitions throughout his career in Arizona and Colorado including “Colorado Hotel and Lodging Chef of the Year” in 2001.

Fields was most recently the executive sous chef at the five-diamond Boulders Resort in Carefree, Ariz., (near Scottsdale) where he perfected his skills in upscale catering and a la carte-style banquets
Fields began his gastronomic career at the famed Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Ariz. where he spent 16 years, starting as a cafeteria cook. Working under the tutelage of notable culinary experts such as Takashi Shiramizu and Tim Rodgers, he worked his way up through increasingly responsible positions in the Loews organization, achieving the position of executive chef and director of food and beverage at the Loews Denver Hotel and the famed Tuscany Restaurant.

Fields had toured the Tuscan hillsides with Lorenza De Medici researching, tasting and experiencing the culture in the small hilltop hamlets. This mission of love enabled him to guide his staff through a transformation of a once “Cal-Ital” menu to one that became an undeniably authentic Tuscan experience.

While there, he cooked for luminaries such as Barbara Bush, Billy Joel, Cher, Brian Adams and Janet Jackson.

“My first understanding that food was something much more than just a meal came from preparing fruits and vegetables in my grandmother’s kitchen. My grandfather grew it or trapped it and my grandmother braised it, roasted it, sautéed it or pickled it. They taught me techniques to cook proteins like venison and pheasant and helping make desserts like pecan pie and homemade ice cream.,” says Fields.

Perhaps most notably, Fields has a chapter dedicated to his career in writer/photographer Carol Maybach's 2005 epicurean cookbook, “Creating Chefs: A Journey through Culinary School with Recipes and Lessons.”

When not devising or preparing culinary masterpieces in the kitchen, Fields can often be found enjoying golf, skiing, gardening or recapturing his love of travel, inspired by his youthful experiences as the son of a U.S. Air Force officer.

Tim Fields is passionate about cooking.  But culinary passion is a given for someone who holds a position such as his: executive chef of Sushi Roku at the W Scottsdale Hotel & Residences. What sets this talented travel-lover apart from many of his peers is the age at which he became keenly aware of food as something to be labored over and appreciated. At seven, when most kids are interested in little more than Cheerios and PB&Js, Fields was learning the rudiments of cooking.

Born in Big Springs, Texas, Fields credits his grandparents for teaching him that food is more than mere sustenance. “My grandfather grew it , hunted it, fished it or trapped it,” he says, “and my grandmother braised it, roasted it, sautéed it or pickled it.” At an early age, he learned to churn ice cream, bake pies and prepare meats such as venison and pheasant which require a high level of proficiency. His grandfather foraged mushrooms and grew fresh herbs and vegetables in the garden, inadvertently teaching the boy the value of freshness and simplicity.

Fields began his career at Charles, an elegant French restaurant in Tucson, staying there for four years before moving to Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, where Takashi Shiramizu  (a French-trained Japanese chef with an eye for detail) became his mentor. In 1991, Fields moved to the Loews Denver Hotel, where he became both executive chef and food and beverage director, presiding over the Tuscany Room.

In preparation for the job, Chef Fields spent a month in Tuscany, squired around by famous cookbook author and TV personality Lorenza Di Medici. He spent his time there well—buying wine, stomping grapes, eating rustic Tuscan specialties, living in residences and generally soaking up the local culture—all of which prepared him  to transform the Tuscany Room’s Cal-Ital menu to something authentically Tuscan. During his time in Denver, Fields cooked for Barbara Bush, Billy Joel, Cher, Bryan Adams and Janet Jackson.

During that time, Fields  won multiple awards in cooking competitions as well as the “Colorado Hotel and Lodging Chef of the Year” in 2001.

That same year, Fields opened Mirabel (a private golf club in Scottsdale, AZ), where he began to revisit the techniques he’d learned from his mentor Shiramizu so many years ago. He challenged himself to create six-and seven-course sashimi meals for a customer who requested them every Thursday night.
Surely, there was prescience, as well as courtesy, in his actions. After a brief stint as executive sous chef at The Boulders (where Fields refined his skills in upscale catering and a la carte-style banquets), he was hired by Innovative Dining Group, founders of the Sushi Roku concept, in January, 2008. He spent three months of intensive training in Pasadena, CA, where he was immersed in Japanese cooking techniques, vocabulary and culture.

His new job has brought him full circle. These days, he collaborates with Executive Sushi Chef Shinya Toyoda, sourcing the freshest fish from California and finest ingredients from local farmers and purveyors.  And he remembers what his grandparents taught him: there is beauty in simplicity.

Jacques Qualin
Jacques Qualin

Accomplished chef Jacques Qualin first teamed with world-renowned chef and businessman Jean-Georges Vongerichten in 1998 to become First Sous Chef at the now legendary Jean Georges. A decade later, the dazzling duo joins together once more for the highly anticipated J&G Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Acclaimed as a “master of his art,” Qualin hails from the Franche-Comté region of France, a verdant area near the Jura Mountains. At age 16, he began his apprenticeship in a hotel kitchen, spending the next five years honing his craft at various hotels across France.

Qualin was soon lured to the bright lights of Paris where he studied under Michelin-rated chef Michel de Matteis before landing a prestigious post at the three-star Restaurant Taillevent, described by The New York Times as, “the best in Paris, if not all of France.” Qualin spent a year learning from celebrated chef Claude DeLigne before jumping the pond in 1990 to work for another French icon — Daniel Boulud at New York’s Le Cirque.

From 1991 to 1996, Qualin worked in Paris as Chef de Partie at famed Restaurant La Marée and again at Restaurant Taillevent before returning to New York for a stint at JoJo.. Qualin’s considerable culinary talent captured the attention of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who hired him to serve as First Sous-chef at Vongerichten’s AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Five Star Jean Georges Restaurant, the restaurant that launched Vongerichten’s growing empire.

In 2003, Qualin became the executive chef at Le Périgord, where his revisions of traditional French cooking received rave reviews from New York City’s top food critics. He later left to launch his own fine-dining restaurant, called The French Corner, in upstate New York, which was well-received by critics and locals alike. After five years away, Qualin returns to the Vongerichten fold, happy to collaborate once again with his friend and to head up what is sure to be the Valley’s best steakhouse.

Accomplished chef Jacques Qualin first teamed with world-renowned chef and businessman Jean-Georges Vongerichten in 1998 to become First Sous Chef at the now legendary Jean Georges. A decade later, the dazzling duo joins together once more for the highly anticipated J&G Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Acclaimed as a “master of his art,” Qualin hails from the Franche-Comté region of France, a verdant area near the Jura Mountains. At age 16, he began his apprenticeship in a hotel kitchen, spending the next five years honing his craft at various hotels across France.

Qualin was soon lured to the bright lights of Paris where he studied under Michelin-rated chef Michel de Matteis before landing a prestigious post at the three-star Restaurant Taillevent, described by The New York Times as, “the best in Paris, if not all of France.” Qualin spent a year learning from celebrated chef Claude DeLigne before jumping the pond in 1990 to work for another French icon — Daniel Boulud at New York’s Le Cirque.

From 1991 to 1996, Qualin worked in Paris as Chef de Partie at famed Restaurant La Marée and again at Restaurant Taillevent before returning to New York for a stint at JoJo.. Qualin’s considerable culinary talent captured the attention of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who hired him to serve as First Sous-chef at Vongerichten’s AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Five Star Jean Georges Restaurant, the restaurant that launched Vongerichten’s growing empire.

In 2003, Qualin became the executive chef at Le Périgord, where his revisions of traditional French cooking received rave reviews from New York City’s top food critics. He later left to launch his own fine-dining restaurant, called The French Corner, in upstate New York, which was well-received by critics and locals alike. After five years away, Qualin returns to the Vongerichten fold, happy to collaborate once again with his friend and to head up what is sure to be the Valley’s best steakhouse.

Milo Rodriguez
Milo Rodriguez

U.S. Master Mixologist

Milo Rodriguez, a U.K. native, is an award-winning mixologist; and Bombay Sapphire’s national Master Mixologist.

Bringing London’s cutting edge cocktail culture to the U.S., Milo has used his extensive bartending and cocktail development expertise to educate consumers and bartenders on the quality and versatility of Bombay  Sapphire across the country.

Milo has spent the last nine years working as head bartender/mixologist in some of the finest dining establishments and bars in the United Kindgom including The Player, Milk ‘n Honey, Sosho (Match Bar Group), Crazy Bear, and most recently, Gordan Ramsay’s newest venues in the US, plus Angela Hartnett’s Cielo in Boca Raton, Florida. 

Milo’s superior cocktail creations have earned him numerous awards including 1st place at the Mozart Liqueurs 2006 UK Competition, as well as   Drinks International Magazine Best Bartender of 2006.  Milo has created signature drinks recipes and & opened cocktail bars across Europe, the US and the Carribean inspiring bartenders to raise their game and attitude with the aim of becoming modern professional bartenders.

U.S. Master Mixologist

Milo Rodriguez, a U.K. native, is an award-winning mixologist; and Bombay Sapphire’s national Master Mixologist.

Bringing London’s cutting edge cocktail culture to the U.S., Milo has used his extensive bartending and cocktail development expertise to educate consumers and bartenders on the quality and versatility of Bombay  Sapphire across the country.

Milo has spent the last nine years working as head bartender/mixologist in some of the finest dining establishments and bars in the United Kindgom including The Player, Milk ‘n Honey, Sosho (Match Bar Group), Crazy Bear, and most recently, Gordan Ramsay’s newest venues in the US, plus Angela Hartnett’s Cielo in Boca Raton, Florida. 

Milo’s superior cocktail creations have earned him numerous awards including 1st place at the Mozart Liqueurs 2006 UK Competition, as well as   Drinks International Magazine Best Bartender of 2006.  Milo has created signature drinks recipes and & opened cocktail bars across Europe, the US and the Carribean inspiring bartenders to raise their game and attitude with the aim of becoming modern professional bartenders.

John Mariani
John Mariani

John Mariani is an author and journalist of 30 years standing, having begun his writing for New York Magazine in 1973.  Since then, he has become known as one of America’s premiere food writers (a three-time nominee for the James Beard Journalism Award) and author of several of the most highly regarded books on food in America today. He has been called by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “the most influential food-wine critic in the popular press.”  His first book, The Dictionary of American Food & Drink (Ticknor & Fields, 1983) was hailed as the "American Larousse Gastronomique" and was chosen "best reference book on food for 1983" by Library Journal.    After a decade when the book was declared a "classic" of American food studies, Hearst Books issued a completely revised edition in 1994. In 1999 Lebhar-Friedman published a revised, expanded version entitled The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink.

Mariani' s second book. Eating Out: Fearless Dining in Ethnic Restaurants (Quill, 1985) was called by Food & Wine Magazine “a diner's manual to guerilla tactics for restaurant survival." His third book, Mariani's Coast-to-Coast Dining Guide (Times Books, 1986), which he edited, was widely acclaimed as the American counterpart to France's Guide Michelin. His next book, America Eats Out (William Morrow, 1991) won the International Association of Cooking Professionals Award for Best Food Reference Book.  From  1989 through 1999  Mariani co-authored  annual editions of Passport to New York Restaurants (Passport Press) and was editor of  Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques  (Italian Wine & Food Institute), which became the textbook for  Italian cooking studies at the Culinary Institute of America, and he has written the food and restaurant sections of the Encyclopedia of New York City (The New-York Historical Society and Yale University Press, 1995) and contributed entries to Chronicle of America (Chronicle Publications).

Mariani's latest books are The Four Seasons: A History of America's Premier restaurant (Crown, 1997; revised 1999); Vincent's Cookbook (Tenspeed Press, 1995), with chef Vincent Guerithault; The Dictionary of Italian Food & Drink  (Broadway Books, 1998) which was nominated for an IACP award; and, with Marie Rama, Grilling for Dummies (IDG Books, 1998. In September, 2000, he and his wife Galina published The Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, which won the Foreward Magazine first prize in the cookbook category and was nominated for an IACP award in 2001.

This year he and his brother Robert published Almost Golden, a memoir of growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s.

In 1985 Cook's Magazine voted Mariani onto its "Who's Who in American Cooking,” and he was winner of the prestigious Barbi-Colombini Journalism award for outstanding wine writing.

Mariani is currently food & travel columnist for Esquire; wine columnist, radio/TV reporter  for Bloomberg News; contributing editor at  Wine Spectator; food columnist for Diversion;  food columnist for ForbesTraveler.com; food and wine columnist for Cowboys & Indians; wine columnist for Culinary Concierge.   He writes regularly for Town & Country, Town & Country Travel, Entrée, , and Delta Sky. He also writes and publishes the weekly Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet Newsletter.

In 1989 Mariani hosted his own PBS-TV series called "Crazy for Food," and was previously restaurant reporter for WNEW-TV's "Saturday Morning Live." he is a frequent speaker at food and restaurant-related seminars, and, for his writings over the years on the restaurant scene in Houston, TX, the city’s Mayor named a day in his honor in 2000.

Mariani was a ten-year member of the Restaurant Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation, a Member of the Corporation  of the Culinary Institute of America, member of the Chevalier des Coteux de Champagne, the Bregata Spendereccia, and the Corporation des Vignerons de Champagne.

Mariani was born in New York City, received his B.A. from Iona College (from which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002), and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He lives in Tuckahoe, NY, with his wife, Galina, and two sons, Michael and Christopher.

John Mariani is an author and journalist of 30 years standing, having begun his writing for New York Magazine in 1973.  Since then, he has become known as one of America’s premiere food writers (a three-time nominee for the James Beard Journalism Award) and author of several of the most highly regarded books on food in America today. He has been called by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “the most influential food-wine critic in the popular press.”  His first book, The Dictionary of American Food & Drink (Ticknor & Fields, 1983) was hailed as the "American Larousse Gastronomique" and was chosen "best reference book on food for 1983" by Library Journal.    After a decade when the book was declared a "classic" of American food studies, Hearst Books issued a completely revised edition in 1994. In 1999 Lebhar-Friedman published a revised, expanded version entitled The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink.

Mariani' s second book. Eating Out: Fearless Dining in Ethnic Restaurants (Quill, 1985) was called by Food & Wine Magazine “a diner's manual to guerilla tactics for restaurant survival." His third book, Mariani's Coast-to-Coast Dining Guide (Times Books, 1986), which he edited, was widely acclaimed as the American counterpart to France's Guide Michelin. His next book, America Eats Out (William Morrow, 1991) won the International Association of Cooking Professionals Award for Best Food Reference Book.  From  1989 through 1999  Mariani co-authored  annual editions of Passport to New York Restaurants (Passport Press) and was editor of  Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques  (Italian Wine & Food Institute), which became the textbook for  Italian cooking studies at the Culinary Institute of America, and he has written the food and restaurant sections of the Encyclopedia of New York City (The New-York Historical Society and Yale University Press, 1995) and contributed entries to Chronicle of America (Chronicle Publications).

Mariani's latest books are The Four Seasons: A History of America's Premier restaurant (Crown, 1997; revised 1999); Vincent's Cookbook (Tenspeed Press, 1995), with chef Vincent Guerithault; The Dictionary of Italian Food & Drink  (Broadway Books, 1998) which was nominated for an IACP award; and, with Marie Rama, Grilling for Dummies (IDG Books, 1998. In September, 2000, he and his wife Galina published The Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, which won the Foreward Magazine first prize in the cookbook category and was nominated for an IACP award in 2001.

This year he and his brother Robert published Almost Golden, a memoir of growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s.

In 1985 Cook's Magazine voted Mariani onto its "Who's Who in American Cooking,” and he was winner of the prestigious Barbi-Colombini Journalism award for outstanding wine writing.

Mariani is currently food & travel columnist for Esquire; wine columnist, radio/TV reporter  for Bloomberg News; contributing editor at  Wine Spectator; food columnist for Diversion;  food columnist for ForbesTraveler.com; food and wine columnist for Cowboys & Indians; wine columnist for Culinary Concierge.   He writes regularly for Town & Country, Town & Country Travel, Entrée, , and Delta Sky. He also writes and publishes the weekly Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet Newsletter.

In 1989 Mariani hosted his own PBS-TV series called "Crazy for Food," and was previously restaurant reporter for WNEW-TV's "Saturday Morning Live." he is a frequent speaker at food and restaurant-related seminars, and, for his writings over the years on the restaurant scene in Houston, TX, the city’s Mayor named a day in his honor in 2000.

Mariani was a ten-year member of the Restaurant Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation, a Member of the Corporation  of the Culinary Institute of America, member of the Chevalier des Coteux de Champagne, the Bregata Spendereccia, and the Corporation des Vignerons de Champagne.

Mariani was born in New York City, received his B.A. from Iona College (from which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002), and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He lives in Tuckahoe, NY, with his wife, Galina, and two sons, Michael and Christopher.

Carlos Marquez
Carlos Marquez

For some the pursuit of a culinary career is a matter of nurture, that is to say a talent or a skill picked up on life’s journey. For chef Carlos his culinary endeavors can best be attributed to nature. For him the kitchen is the heart and soul of the home and while growing up in a large family, cooking was a group effort. It was a place where bonds were strengthened, relationships forged and appetites satiated by fulfilling one of the most basic of human needs: Eating good food. It is with this zeal that Chef Carlos decided to formalize his culinary talents by attending the Le Cordon Bleu and receiving his Grand Diplome.

With well over a decade of professional experience specializing in International, Italian, Nuevo and European cuisines, Chef Carlos attributes his artistic success to his philosophy on food and its preparation. Being a student of molecular gastronomy, ingredients, their interaction and their preparation are scrutinized from a micro perspective with a near scientific analysis of why and how flavors interact. To paraphrase Carlos’ culinary dogma:  Cooking is like a well conducted symphony, with the kitchen as his opera hall and the ingredients as his instruments, all must be in perfect harmony to delivery a supreme product. 

With beginnings as the Corporate Executive Chef for Main Street and Main, Chef Carlos laid the foundation for his future entrepreneurial endeavors by learning the critical business skills that are essential in running a successful restaurant. With an expanded knowledge of the industry,  Carlos went on to become a partner in two restaurant / bar concepts, Sozzle Grille and Javinos Wine Bar where an already extroverted personality discovered that life exists beyond the kitchen walls. Interacting with guests and becoming more of a presence in the front of the house gave him that personal connection between his food and people that was reminiscent of his early days in his family’s kitchen from which his passion is derived.

Chef Carlos can currently be found at his latest concept, Pinata’s Latin Kitchen and Lounge in North Scottsdale where he has prepared a menu using fresh organic ingredients and is able to showcase his multifaceted talents as an entertainer, entrepreneur, and most importantly your chef, delivering to you a unique culinary experience.

For some the pursuit of a culinary career is a matter of nurture, that is to say a talent or a skill picked up on life’s journey. For chef Carlos his culinary endeavors can best be attributed to nature. For him the kitchen is the heart and soul of the home and while growing up in a large family, cooking was a group effort. It was a place where bonds were strengthened, relationships forged and appetites satiated by fulfilling one of the most basic of human needs: Eating good food. It is with this zeal that Chef Carlos decided to formalize his culinary talents by attending the Le Cordon Bleu and receiving his Grand Diplome.

With well over a decade of professional experience specializing in International, Italian, Nuevo and European cuisines, Chef Carlos attributes his artistic success to his philosophy on food and its preparation. Being a student of molecular gastronomy, ingredients, their interaction and their preparation are scrutinized from a micro perspective with a near scientific analysis of why and how flavors interact. To paraphrase Carlos’ culinary dogma:  Cooking is like a well conducted symphony, with the kitchen as his opera hall and the ingredients as his instruments, all must be in perfect harmony to delivery a supreme product. 

With beginnings as the Corporate Executive Chef for Main Street and Main, Chef Carlos laid the foundation for his future entrepreneurial endeavors by learning the critical business skills that are essential in running a successful restaurant. With an expanded knowledge of the industry,  Carlos went on to become a partner in two restaurant / bar concepts, Sozzle Grille and Javinos Wine Bar where an already extroverted personality discovered that life exists beyond the kitchen walls. Interacting with guests and becoming more of a presence in the front of the house gave him that personal connection between his food and people that was reminiscent of his early days in his family’s kitchen from which his passion is derived.

Chef Carlos can currently be found at his latest concept, Pinata’s Latin Kitchen and Lounge in North Scottsdale where he has prepared a menu using fresh organic ingredients and is able to showcase his multifaceted talents as an entertainer, entrepreneur, and most importantly your chef, delivering to you a unique culinary experience.

Ilan Hall
Ilan Hall

Ilan Hall is best known as the winner of the second season of the Bravo television network's reality series Top Chef. As a teenager, Ilan trained at Lorenzo de Medici Apicus Program in Italy and also at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He attended the CIA at the same time as his Top Chef runner-up Marcel Vigneron. At the time of his season two Top Chef competition, Ilan was a line cook at Casa Mono, a Spanish restaurant in Manhattan. Today, Ilan is doing private chef work and planning the opening of his very own restaurant.

Ilan Hall is best known as the winner of the second season of the Bravo television network's reality series Top Chef. As a teenager, Ilan trained at Lorenzo de Medici Apicus Program in Italy and also at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He attended the CIA at the same time as his Top Chef runner-up Marcel Vigneron. At the time of his season two Top Chef competition, Ilan was a line cook at Casa Mono, a Spanish restaurant in Manhattan. Today, Ilan is doing private chef work and planning the opening of his very own restaurant.

2011 Event Photo Gallery
2011 Event Photo Gallery
AZ Culinary Hall of Fame Awards Event Menu
AZ Culinary Hall of Fame Awards Event Menu
MENU
 
Assorted Gourmet Pizza
 
Pommes Mignonette cooked in Duck Fat
 
Braised Pork Cheek, Fennel, Beets, Parisienne Gnocchi (Station)
 
Roast Lamb Chops with Truffle Demi Duxelle 
 
Wild Arugula Polenta with Roasted Quail Egg and Parmesan Foam
 
Veal Consommé with English Pea Tortellini and White Asparagus
 
Citrus Cured Salmon on Black and White Sesame Cracker with Fennel Seed Pollen (Station)
 
Seared Sea Scallop au Poivre on Caramelized Sweet Onions
 
Foie Gras Torchon on Brioche with Quince Jam (Station)
 
Duck Confit, Roasted Fingerling Potato, Meyer Lemon Gastrique
 
Braised Oxtail with Chili guava sauce/ jicama slaw on roasted corn milk buns(Station)
 
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Micro Greens and Balsamic Caviar
 
 
SWEETS
 
Pecan Toffee Torte
 
Pound Cake with Crème Fraiche Ice Cream Macerated Berries
 
Assorted Bon Bon’s
 
AZ Culinary Hall of Fame Awards Participating Wineries
AZ Culinary Hall of Fame Awards Participating Wineries


Vintage Selections
Vintage Selections
Website: www.vintageselections.com

Festival Event(s):
  • AZ Culinary Hall of Fame

    Wines provided by Vintage Selections:

    • Darcie Kent
    • Concannon
    • A Mano
    • Cupcake
  • 2010 SCF Photo Gallery
    2010 SCF Photo Gallery

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    2011 Event Photos
    2011 Event Photos
    2010 Event Photos
    2010 Event Photos
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