2017 Talent

Hugh AchesonHugh Acheson

HUGH ACHESON is a chef and food writer who lives in Athens, GA. He is the co-owner of the Athens, Georgia, restaurants 5&10 and The National, the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South and coffee shop Spiller Park Coffee, and the Savannah restaurant The Florence. His cookbook, A NEW TURN in the SOUTH won the award for Best Cookbook in the field of “American Cooking” by the James Beard Foundation in 2012. His second cookbook is PICK a PICKLE, andhis third, THE BROAD FORK,was released in the spring of 2015. Food & Wine Magazine named him Best New Chef way back in 2002and the James Beard Foundation awarded him Best Chef Southeast in 2012. Hugh competed in Bravo's Top Chef Masters, Season 3 and starred as a judge on Top Chef, Seasons 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13. His thoughts about Canada, college football, crappy television,current events, politics, and old Far Side comics can be found on Twitter @hughacheson.

David AlanDavid Alan

David Alan joined the Patrón Spirits Company as Manager of Trade Education & Mixology in 2015, with two decades in the hospitality industry. In 2007 he founded the Tipsy Texan consultancy, based in his hometown of Austin, TX, working around the United States, promoting his agenda of making the world a friendlier place for beverage alcohol. He is a co-founder of the Texas chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) and in 2013 he published his first book, Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State. David can be reached at DAlan@patronspirits.com

Jamie BissonnetteJamie Bissonnette

Jamie Bissonnette, a 2014 winner of the James Beard Award Best Chef: Northeast, co-helms the popular tapas destination Toro in Boston, NYC and Bangkok; Boston's beloved Italian enoteca Coppa and the recently-opened Little Donkey in Cambridge. Jamie is also the winner of Food Network's Chopped series and Food & Wine first ever People's Choice Best New Chef. A champion of nose-to-tail cuisine, Jamie debuted his first cookbook in August 2014: The New Charcuterie Cookbook, with a foreword by Andrew Zimmern. In 2017, Jamie alongside co-chef/owner Ken Oringer, will open Toro Dubai.

Shayn BjornholmShayn Bjornholm

Shayn Bjornholm has served as wine director for the world-class Canlis restaurant in Seattle, education director for the Washington State Wine Commission and is now the examination director for the Court of Master Sommeliers-Americas. Along the way he has moonlighted as a frequent speaker at illustrious gastronomic events such as this, a wine columnist for Seattle magazine and a featured sommelier in numerous publications, including FOOD & WINE and The Wall Street Journal. He was named a Most Trustworthy Sommelier in the United States by GQ magazine and was a brief-but-memorable-to-his-loved-ones performer in the well-received documentary SOMM. More than anything, Shayn enjoys chaperoning wine-lovers to their next great discovery; he is thrilled to return to the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen to do exactly that.

Richard BlaisRichard Blais

Richard Blais is a successful chef, restaurateur, James Beard nominated cookbook author and television personality. He competed on the fourth season of Bravo's Top Chef and was the winner of 2010's Top Chef: All-Stars. Today, Blais owns and operates Trail Blais, a forward-thinking culinary company that has consulted on, designed and operated popular eateries including multiple outposts of Flip Burger Boutique. Blais currently resides in San Diego where he is a partner at the popular Juniper & Ivy and Crack Shack restaurants. His second cook book, So Good, will be released this May, and his new television show, Man vs Master, will debut on the FYI Network this fall.

Daniel BouludDaniel Boulud

A native of Lyon, France, Daniel Boulud is considered one of America's leading culinary authorities and one of the most revered French chefs in New York, his home since 1982. Daniel is Chef-Owner of 13 restaurants around the world, and is best known for his eponymous, exquisitely refined DANIEL on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Boulud is also the author of nine cookbooks and the recipient of numerous awards, including James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur.” He is a generous supporter and Co-President of Citymeals-on-Wheels for more than than two decade, and is Chairman of the ment'or BKB foundation.

Anne BurrellAnne Burrell

With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell has been sharing her passion for food and cooking with America and isn't slowing down.

Not only has Anne worked at some of the top restaurants in New York and studied the culinary traditions of Italy, she is the host of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition, where she mentors a team of celebrities who are in serious need of some cooking pointers. Anne currently hosts Food Network's hit show, Worst Cooks in America, the ninth season premieres on Food Network in January 2017. Burrell has battled alongside Mario Batali as his sous chef on Iron Chef America and is a New York Times best-selling author with her cookbook “Cook Like a Rock Star.” Her second cookbook, “Own Your Kitchen: Recipes to Inspire & Empower” was released in October 2013. In January 2017, Anne will be opening her first owned and operated restaurant, Phil & Anne's Good Time Lounge, in Brooklyn, New York.

Patrick CappielloPatrick Cappiello

Patrick Cappiello is the Operating Partner and Wine Director of Rebelle and Pearl & Ash restaurants, creator of Renegade Wine Dinner, Chef Sommelier for Daniel Johnnes "La Paulée", and Food & Wine host for Playboy Magazine.

With over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, his wine career has given him access to four of the worlds greatest wine cellars. All have been recipients of Wine Spectators "Grand Award"; TriBeCa Grill, Veritas, GILT, and Pearl & Ash. Additionally he was named "Sommelier of the Year 2014" by Food & Wine Magazine, "Wine Person of the Year 2014" by Imbibe Magazine, and "Sommelier of the Year 2015" by Eater National.

He has been featured in the New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine, Men's Journal, the New York Post, Martha Stewart, and many additional times in Wine Spectator issues. Mr Cappiello resides on New York City's Lower East Side. He is an avid vinyl record collector, enjoys traditional Mexican tacos, beer in a can, and Irish whiskey.

Andy ChabotAndy Chabot

Andy graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2002, began with Blackberry Farm, and was promoted to Director of Dining and Beverages in 2007. In 2014 The Barn at Blackberry Farm, under Andy's direction, received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program. Andy's features include Imbibe Magazine, Wine Spectator Magazine, Food and Wine Magazine, The TODAY Show and more.

Andy has exceeded the advanced level of the Court of Master Sommeliers Exam and received the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship. Today, Andy is responsible for all aspects of managing Blackberry Farm's award winning wine program and Food and Beverage programs.

Justin ChappleJustin Chapple

Justin Chapple is the Deputy Editor of FOOD & WINE'S Test Kitchen and host of their video series Mad Genius Tips, for which he was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. Justin is the author of F&W's cookbook, Mad Genius Tips (Oxmoore House, November 2016). He is currently working on his second book, Just Cook It! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Spring 2018). Justin joined FOOD & WINE in 2010, helping produce the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. He's a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Justin appears regularly on NBC's Today Show.

Ashley ChristensenAshley Christensen

Ashley Christensen is the chef/owner of Poole's Diner, Beasley's Chicken + Honey, Chuck's Fox Liquor Bar, Death + Taxes and Bridge Club, all located in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Ashley's cooking—hinged on her philosophy of bright, fresh flavors and locally grown, season ingredients—has garnered local and national acclaim. Ashley is involved in a number of charities, including the Frankie Lemmon Foundation, the Southern Foodways Alliance and Share Our Strength. In 2014, Ashley was awarded the James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast.” She is the author of the cookbook, Poole's Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner, which was published by Ten Speed Press in fall 2016.

Scott ConantScott Conant

Chef, restauranteur, cookbook author and TV personality Scott Conant brings a deft touch and unwavering passion to creating culinary experiences with thoughtful hospitality and soulful cuisine. He is the chef and owner for Scarpetta in Miami and Las Vegas, wine bar D.O.C.G Enoteca and Impero Caffé at the Innside New York hotel. His latest ventures include Mora Italian, a modern osteria in Phoenix, AZ and The Ponte, a contemporary Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, CA. Scott has published three cookbooks and is a frequent guest judge of Food Network's “Chopped” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

Chris CosentinoChris Cosentino

Cosentino's first executive chef position began at Incanto in 2002 where his innovative Italian and whole animal cookery drew critical acclaim. Cosentino is the chef & co-owner of San Francisco's celebrated Cockscomb restaurant, showcasing a range of sustainable meat cuts and dishes inspired by the city's culinary history, which San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer awarded 3 stars.

Cosentino has appeared on Bravo's “Top Chef Masters,” earning over $140,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation as the season four winner and is currently working on a title dedicated to offal with writer and photographer Michael Harlan Turkell, published by Clarkson Potter.

Cosentino will also debut Jackrabbit in Portland, OR (winter 2017) and Acacia House in St. Helena at the forthcoming Las Alcobas Napa Valley (spring 2017).

Suzanne CuppsSuzanne Cupps

Suzanne Cupps is the Executive Chef of Untitled and Studio Cafe in the Whitney Museum of American Art. Born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina, Suzanne was exposed to the concept of farm to table at an early age, while spending summers on her grandfather's farm. As a child, Suzanne often dodged her mother's requests for help in the kitchen, and it wasn't until the end of her undergraduate years at Clemson University that Suzanne began to consider cooking as a potential career.

Suzanne's first job in the hospitality industry was an HR administrator position at the Waldorf Astoria, where she quickly realized that her interests lay firmly in the kitchen. Soon after, Suzanne enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education and found the creative and competitive atmosphere of a professional kitchen to her liking.

After graduating from ICE in 2005, Suzanne began her culinary career with Union Square Hospitality Group as an extern at Gramercy Tavern, developing a deep respect for Chef Mike Anthony's careful sourcing and New American approach to cooking. This experience further cemented her passion for the industry and after her externship, Suzanne went on to hone her skills at Anita Lo's restaurant Annisa. Three years into her time at Annisa, the restaurant was destroyed by a fire, and Suzanne played an integral role in rebuilding and re-opening the restaurant nine months later.

In 2011, Suzanne chose to continue her fine dining education and returned to Gramercy Tavern as a line cook. Most recently, Suzanne held the position of Untitled's Chef de Cuisine under Michael Anthony, before ultimately assuming the role of the restaurant's Executive Chef in 2017.

Jackie Cuscuna and Brian SmithJackie Cuscuna and
Brian Smith

Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith were novice entrepreneurs and new parents when they opened Ample Hills Creamery in the Spring of 2011. Terrified no one would show up and wholly unprepared when they did, Brian & Jackie learned quickly how to survive & thrive. Jackie spent twenty years teaching at an alternative high school in New York City, creating internships and guiding students through real-life job experiences. Brian is a recovering screenwriter. He wrote several pretty bad monster movies; Flu Bird Terror and Alien Express-to name a couple. Jackie & Brian have dedicated themselves to making playful and whimsical flavors of ice cream and creating experiential spaces that celebrate creativity, play, learning and togetherness. Now they have 8 shops in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Florida.

Graham ElliotGraham Elliot

Graham Elliot is a critically acclaimed chef, restaurateur and television personality who also happens to be one of the most recognized faces cooking in America today.

Graham received three James Beard Award nominations and was named one of Food & Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs" and became the youngest Four Star Chef in the U.S., all before the age of 30.

In 2012, Graham was inducted into the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame, named "Chef of the Year", and saw September 19th officially proclaimed as "Graham Elliot Day" in the city of Chicago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Graham resides in Chicago with his wife Allie, and his three children.

Anya FernaldAnya Fernald

Anya Fernald is the Co-Founder and CEO of Belcampo, America's premier eco-conscious source for carnivores. Belcampo’s organic and Animal Welfare Approved farm and slaughterhouse sell meat via its restaurants and butcher shops throughout California. Anya started her career as a chef, a baker, and a cheesemaker, but left the kitchen behind to focus on building businesses that grow and sell great food. She has been a regular judge on the Food Network's Iron Chef since 2009. Anya’s debut cookbook, Home Cooked, was released in spring 2016 with Ten Speed Press. Anya is an avid consumer and producer of almost everything fermented, and spends her spare time with her young children - daughter, Viola, and son, Theo.

Anthony GiglioAnthony Giglio

Anthony Giglio is one of the most entertaining wine and spirits authorities on the planet. He is a writer, educator and raconteur who motivates countless imbibers to trust their own tastes. His witty, unpretentious style can be discerned in the weekly “Wine Wise Guy” column he writes for FOOD & WINE, for whom he is a longtime Wine & Spirits Contributor. Anthony is also the Wine Director for The CenturionSM Lounge, a groundbreaking network of premium airport lounges by American Express. Giglio has written 11 books, writes regularly for Departures, and has written for numerous publications, including New York, Esquire, Details, The New York Observer, Robb Report, Worth, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Parade. He has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Food Network, CNBC, and FOX Business News and has been featured in The New York Times twice. Giglio is currently a wine reporter for CBS News Radio.

Will GuidaraWill Guidara

Coming Soon

Carla HallCarla Hall

Carla Hall is a co-host of ABC's Emmy award winning, popular lifestyle series “The Chew,”. Hall is best known as a competitor on Bravo's “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars”, where she won over audiences with her fun catch phrase, “Hootie Hoo” and her philosophy to always cook with love. Carla's approach to cooking blends her classic French training and Southern upbringing for a twist on traditional favorites. She is committed to health and balance in everyday living.

Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen – the chef's first restaurant opened in June 2016. A fast casual love letter to Nashville, the restaurant features iconic Nashville Hot Chicken and southern sides, which are anchored by Hall's family recipes and perfected with her personal touches. Her cookbooks are “Carla's Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World” and “Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You”.

Tamron HallTamron Hall

Award-winning journalist, Tamron Hall has been the host of “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall” on Investigation Discovery since September 2013. The series, now in its fifth season, takes an in-depth look at crimes that shocked the nation. She also brought her signature reporting style to the “Guns On Campus: Tamron Hall Investigates” special that explored the importance of securing one's personal safety on public property. In a powerful interview, Tamron brought together two survivors to lay out both sides' positions behind this controversial debate among college campuses.

Tamron was apart of the NBC News team as a co-host of the third hour of NBC News' TODAY and the anchor of “MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall.” She received the 2015 Edward R. Murrow Award for Reporting: Hard News in Network Television for her segment on domestic violence as part of TODAY's “Shine A Light” series. She has also hosted several special reports for MSNBC and NBC News including “Education Nation: Teacher Town Hall,” which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011, and she served as a correspondent for the NBC News special “The Inauguration of Barack Obama,” which won an Emmy for Outstanding Live Coverage in October 2010.

Most recently, Tamron launched The Tamron ❤ Renate Fund with Safe Horizon in honor of her sister to help victims and families affected by domestic violence. In addition, Tamron is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Tamron is a native of Luling, Texas, and she holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Temple University.

Ray IsleRay Isle

Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine, where he oversees wine coverage for the magazine, and writes the monthly “Wine Flight” and “Bottle Service” columns, along with regular magazine and online features on wine, spirits, and wine-and-food-pairing subjects. His articles about wine, beer, food and spirits have appeared in a wide range of national publications, he has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award, and has twice won the IACP Award for Narrative Beverage Writing. He speaks regularly on wine at live events and is a frequent guest on national media, appearing on programs such as Today, CNBC's On the Money & Squawk Box, NPR's “All Things Considered,” and American Public Media's “Splendid Table,” among others. Follow his wine exploits on Twitter @islewine and on Instagram @rayisle.

Stephanie IzardStephanie Izard

Stephanie Izard, James Beard “Best Chef: Great Lakes” recipient 2013, and 2011 Food & Wine “Best New Chef,” is the Executive Chef/Partner of three of Chicago's most-celebrated restaurants: Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Dinner, and Duck Duck Goat.

In addition to her restaurants, Izard launched a product line called This Little Goat, consisting of cooking sauces and spice mixes available for purchase for the home cook. Izard's first book, “Girl in the Kitchen,” was released in the fall of 2011 (Chronicle).

Johnny IuzziniJohnny Iuzzini

Chocolate by Johnny Iuzzini & Sugar Fueled Inc.
Pastry Chef, Chocolate Maker, Cookbook Author, TV Personality
Brooklyn, New York

Judge on ABC’s Great American Baking Show
2006 James Beard “Outstanding Pastry Chef” Award
Author: Sugar Rush and Dessert Fourplay

Helen JohannesenHelen Johannesen

Helen was born in New York City. She started working in restaurants in Madison, WI while she was finishing college. She worked at a place called L'Etoile and the fine dining and farm to table driven experience inspired her to follow her dreams of working in the food and wine industry. She moved to Los Angeles and worked at Craft as a manager for two years before signing on with Jon and Vinny in July of 2009. She is a partner at Jon & Vinny's in Los Angeles, which also houses her wine shop called helen's. helen's is a thriving, curated shop that hosts classes, has a wine club and is an overall gem box. She also oversees the beverage programs for the other restaurants in the group: animal, Son of a Gun, Petit Trois, Trois familia & Trois mec.

Mike LataMike Lata

Mike Lata is Chef/Partner of FIG Restaurant and The Ordinary, an oyster bar and seafood hall, in Charleston, SC. He opened FIG in 2003 with Adam Nemirow, which garnered him a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast, and in 2013, a nomination for The Ordinary for Best New Restaurant. Mike's longstanding and outspoken commitment to support local farmers, fishermen and purveyors has cemented his position as a champion for Charleston's flourishing culinary renaissance.

Ludo LefebvreLudo Lefebvre

Chef Ludo Lefebvre is one of Los Angeles' most influential chefs, known for his inventive, refined cooking at Trois Mec, which has been named as Best New Restaurant (2013) and No. 1 Restaurant in Los Angeles (2013, 2014 & 2016) by LA Weekly.

In 2015, Ludo received the prestigious Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres award from his home country of France. He was also named one of the 50 Greatest Chefs in the World by Relais & Châteaux, and was a James Beard finalist for Rising Star Chef and Best New Restaurant (Petit Trois). Additionally, he has received the prestigious Mobil 5 Star Award at two different Los Angeles Restaurants, L'Orangerie and Bastide. This year, Ludo is a finalist for two James Beard awards: as Best Chef of the West and for the television series Mind of a Chef.

LA Weekly's Best Chef in Los Angeles (2015), Ludo is also the author of two cookbooks (Crave and Ludobites), and produces and stars in the Ludo à la Maison, a home cooking series which brings accessible French cooking to its audience, currently being distributed on foodandwine.com

Tim LoveTim Love

Texas chef Tim Love is known as much for his vibrant personality as his signature urban western cuisine at critically and popularly acclaimed venues including Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Austin, Fort Worth and Knoxville, Queenie's Steakhouse, Woodshed Smokhouse, Love Shack, and the storied White Elephant Saloon. Love is a founding partner of the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival and Music City FOOD & WINE Festival in Nashville, as well as the official chef of Austin City Limits. He recently debuted Back Dough, a late-night pop-up serving sweet and savory doughnuts out of his restaurants' back kitchen doors on the weekends, with outposts at Queenie's Steakhouse and Lonesome Dove Knoxville and Austin. Love will also be expanding his portfolio to Houston this Spring, with three concepts in the works to open at Levy Park, including a second location of his acclaimed Woodshed Smokehouse. He lives between Austin and Fort Worth with his wife and three children.

Lachlan Mackinnon PattersonLachlan Mackinnon Patterson

Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson began his culinary career at the Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. After moving to Paris in 1999, he obtained his Certificate d'Aptitude Professionnelle at the renowned Ecole Gregoire-Ferrandi, and apprenticed under Benoit Guichard at the two-star Michelin restaurant, Jamin. In 2001, he worked at The French Laundry in Yountville, California. It was there that he met his current business partner, MS Bobby Stuckey.

Patterson and Stuckey opened their first restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine, in August 2004 in Boulder, CO.

Patterson and Stuckey opened Pizzeria Locale Boulder, a full-service contemporary pizzeria inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples, Italy, in January 2011.

Patterson has earned numerous awards: FOOD & WINE Magazine's Best New Chefs 2005; James Beard Foundation Award's Best Chef: Southwest, 2008; and a season competing on BRAVO's Top Chef Masters. In 2013, Frasca Food and Wine won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Wine Service in America.

Carlton McCoyCarlton McCoy

Carlton McCoy, wine director at The Little Nell, is one of the youngest people to have earned the Master Sommelier Diploma and the second of African American descent. He discovered his love for food during a high school culinary arts course, but it was a scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America that called Carlton to his true passion – wine and service. Since then, Carlton has passed through several legendary institutions, including Per Se, Aquavit, Craft Steak and CityZen. He has received many awards including Forbes “30 under 30”, Wine Enthusiast’s “Best New Sommelier” and Star Chefs’ “Rising Star Sommelier.”

Danny MeyerDanny Meyer

Danny Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and the founder of Shake Shack. Union Square Hospitality Group includes Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, The Modern, Maialino, Untitled, North End Grill, Marta, Porchlight, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient, a learning and consulting business. Danny, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards, and in 2015, Danny was named to the TIME 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World. Danny's first business book, Setting the Table (HarperCollins, 2006), a New York Times bestseller, examines the power of hospitality in restaurants, business and life. An active national leader in the fight against hunger, Danny serves on the board of Share Our Strength and has long supported hunger relief initiatives including City Harvest, God's Love We Deliver, and the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.

Chris MorrisChris Morris

Chris Morris is Master Distiller for Woodford Reserve, the seventh since its parent company Brown-Forman began in 1870. A Louisville native, he has spent his working life in the bourbon industry. He is responsible for maintaining the award-winning taste of Woodford Reserve and serves as a brand ambassador at numerous trade and consumer functions.

Morris grew up around bourbon as he is one of three generations of his family to work at Brown-Forman. His career began in 1976 as a trainee in the central lab working for the Master Distiller. In 1988 he went to work for Glenmore Distilleries Company and joined United Distillers through its acquisition of Glenmore in 1991.

In 1997 he returned to Brown-Forman and was chosen to begin training as Master Distiller, a position he has held since 2003. He developed the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection, Double Oaked, Rye and Distillery Series products. In 2015 Morris was given the additional responsibility of Vice President of Whiskey Innovation for Brown-Forman.

As a student of the industry Morris authored the Society of Wine Educator's Certified Spirits Specialist program, introduced the use of taste notes for bourbon in 1992 and developed the Woodford Reserve Flavor Wheel in 2004.

Morris has served on the Kentucky Distillers' Association and Kentucky Bourbon Festival's Board of Directors and as co-chair of the DISCUS Master Distillers Committee. He has also served as a judge at the IWSC and ISC competitions. He was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame in 2016.

Nilou MotamedNilou Motamed

Nilou Motamed is the Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc.'s Food & Wine, where she oversees the editorial of one of the most influential media brands in the culinary world. Food & Wine reaches an audience of more than 13 million and has a robust events series anchored by the celebrated Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

A globally recognized food, travel, and lifestyle authority, Nilou hosted the television restaurant review show “Reservations Required” and Travel Channel's “Travel Spies.”

Before joining Food & Wine, Nilou was Conrad Hotels' first-ever Director of Inspiration. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast's Epicurious and was the Features Director & Senior Correspondent for Travel + Leisure.

Born in Iran and raised in Paris and New York, Nilou lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Peter Jon Lindberg. A Binghamton University graduate, she attended the Sorbonne in Paris, and is fluent in four languages. She's on Twitter and Instagram at @niloumotamed.

Gary ObligacionGary Obligacion

Gary Obligacion's hospitality career began at Alice Water's landmark restaurant, Chez Panisse, while he was a freshman at UC Berkeley in 1984. Over the past several decades, he has worked at a variety of award-winning restaurants and hotels including Boulevard Restaurant, The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, and Pebble Beach Resorts. Gary was enticed to the world of major food events and was the initial Operations Director of Pebble Beach Food & Wine, and it was there that he met Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. Gary was asked to join The Alinea Group as Director of Service Operations in 2012 and has served in that capacity since then.

Mark OldmanMark Oldman

Mark Oldman is one the country's leading wine personalities–and, that rarity, a wine expert who is on the side of anyone who wants to enjoy wine more. Author of three acclaimed wine books, Mark recently released the much-lauded How to Drink Like a Billionaire (Regan Arts). Mark's sold-out appearances at the country's top venues have been called “hilariously entertaining” and “must-see events in the world of wine and food”. Visit him at MarkOldman.com.

Ken OringerKen Oringer

James Beard Award-winning chef Ken Oringer has built an empire of restaurants inspired by his travels around the world: Tsukiji Fish Market-style Uni sashimi bar and Roman enoteca Coppa in Boston; and Barcelona tapas bar Toro in Boston, NYC and Bangkok. In 2016, following the recent the expansion of Uni, Oringer debuted his first project in Cambridge, MA— Little Donkey, serving global tapas inspired by the chefs' world travels. In 2017, Oringer and Bissonnette will debut Toro in Dubai. Oringer is currently a finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur in the 2017 James Beard Awards.

John RaganJohn Ragan

Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, John developed a passion for hospitality at a young age while working in restaurants throughout high school and college. After receiving his graduate degree in urban planning at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, John relocated to San Francisco to become the sommelier at the acclaimed Campton Place.

In 2012, he moved to New York City to become Wine Director of Eleven Madison Park. During his time there, the restaurant earned four stars from The New York Times, three Michelin stars, the James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Wine Service,” and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator. John later went on to assume the role of Senior Director of Operations of USHG, where works to ensure operational success among the company's family of restaurants as well as oversees operations at Gramercy Tavern.

In his role, John also directs internal beverage education, teaches public classes for wine enthusiasts and industry professionals, and leads private events and corporate wine experiences. John is also a member of the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers, an honor held by very few individuals worldwide.

Andrea RobinsonAndrea Robinson

Andrea Robinson is one of only 26 women worldwide to hold the title of Master Sommelier, author of four top-selling books on wine and food, a 3-time James Beard Award winner, award-winning lifestyle television host and creator with her husband John of a game-changing line of wine stemware called The ONE.

Sabato SagariaSabato Sagaria

Sabato Sagaria is the Chief Restaurant Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), which includes some of New York City's most acclaimed and beloved restaurants. As Chief Restaurant Officer, Sabato works closely with USHG leadership to continuously improve operations and strengthen the restaurant brands. In addition, he oversees USHG's centralized functions of facilities management, public relations, and marketing to elevate restaurant operations and guest experience through a collaborative, streamlined approach.

Over the past twenty years, Sabato has fulfilled many roles at nationally-acclaimed restaurants and hotels, from cook to restaurant manager to wine director. Most recently, Sabato directed food and beverage operations at The Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, Colorado, during which time he played a pivotal role in refining and developing the hotel's restaurant concepts, including Element 47 and Ajax Tavern. Earlier, Sabato served in leadership roles at The Inn at Little Washington, The Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, and the historic Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. In 2012, Sabato became a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, a prestigious honor held by fewer than 250 individuals worldwide.

Jordan SalcitoJordan Salcito

Jordan Salcito is the Wine Director of Momofuku and she oversees the program for all of the US restaurants. She is a Master Sommelier candidate, a Wine Enthusiast 40-Under-40, and Wine & Spirits Best New Sommelier who has worked in restaurants from wd~50 to Daniel to Eleven Madison Park. She has spent extensive time working in wineries around the globe, from Burgundy to Patagonia. Her wine programs for both Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Ko have been selected as semi-finalists for "Outstanding Wine Program" by the James Beard Foundation, and Ko, Má Pêche and Noodle Bar have been recognized as three of the World's Best Wine Lists by The World of Fine Wine Magazine. Jordan is also the founder of RAMONA Artisanal Wine Coolers and Bellus Wines.

Monica SamuelsMonica Samuels

Monica Samuels is the National Sake Sales Manager for Vine Connections and one of the world's leading non-Japanese sake educators.

Monica has over a decade of experience in the sake industry, including 6 years as the Sake Ambassador for Southern Wine & Spirits. She is a WSET certified Educator for the Level 3 Award in Sake, and was profiled in Wine Spectator's May 2013 issue as one of “Sake's True Believers.” In 2014, Monica was nominated as one of Wine Enthusiast's “Top 40 Tastemakers Under 40” for championing the sake category.

Monica was born in Los Angeles and spent summers in Tokyo at her grandmother's house growing up. As a bilingual individual with a unique perspective on two very different cultures, she has been particularly successful in demystifying sake for the US audience. Her years in the hospitality business and ingrained passion for the restaurant industry have given her an exceptional understanding of pairing sake with food.

Jonathon SawyerJonathon Sawyer

James Beard Award winning chef Jonathon Sawyer is a proud Clevelander, and has opened four restaurants in his hometown, including his flagship The Greenhouse Tavern, a French and seasonally inspired gastropub; Noodlecat, a mash-up noodlehouse focusing on local ingredients, sustainability, and the best ramen Cleveland has ever seen; and Trentina, a northern Italian inspired restaurant with an intimate, eclectic vibe. Both restaurants are certified by the Green Restaurant Association, and The Greenhouse Tavern has earned many accolades including Best New Restaurants in the United States by Bon Appetit. Jonathon Sawyer was also honored as a recipient of Food & Wine's Best New Chef award in 2010. In 2015, Jonathon was named James Beard Award's Best Chef: Great Lakes.

Leslie SbroccoLeslie Sbrocco

An award-winning author, wine consultant and television host, Leslie Sbrocco is the author of Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine and The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide. She is currently working on her third book, 100 Days...100 Drinks. As the founder of multimedia company Thirsty Girl LLC, Leslie's writing has also been published in numerous national media outlets. Leslie's PBS series, Check Please!, has won a James Beard Award, three Taste Awards and three Emmys. She is a featured judge on PBS's The Winemakers, a regular guest on NBC's Today and a frequent keynote speaker and judge at international wine events. She was named one of America's Top 100 Most Influential People in Wine.

Mick SchroeterMick Schroeter

Mick's decorated and storied wine background made him superbly qualified to serve as only the third head winemaker in the history of Sonoma-Cutrer. His expertise brought him to Sonoma-Cutrer in the role as Winemaking Director.

Winemaking is often a trade passed down from generation to generation, and Mick Schroeter is no exception. Starting out on his own as an oenologist at Kaiser Stuhl winery in Australia, Mick wanted to blaze his own trail and had no intentions of following in his father and uncle's footsteps as the Penfolds Winery. Then in 1982, as fate would have it, Penfolds bought Kaiser Stuhl and reunited Mick with his family in the business.

Although Mick was already well versed in winemaking, Penfolds allowed him to continue his pursuit of total enlightenment, sponsoring his winemaking education at the famed Roseworthy College and providing him a scholarship to visit and study Chilean wine country. This was followed with a 6-month tour around the world with his wife and a stop in California to work the wine harvest.

Mick rose rapidly through the Penfold system and had the privilege to be part of their red winemaking team, eventually working on Penfolds legendary Grange Hermitage, the benchmark of Aussie Shiraz. From there, Mick accepted an invitation from Geyser Peak Winery in California to take over as Vice President of Winemaking and for 17 years was in charge of vineyard assessment, harvest scheduling, winemaking direction, budgeting and brand ambassadorship.

It is his long track record of success and illustrious career in Australia and California, along with twice being named “Winemaker of the Year” at the London International Wine & Spirit Competition, which gave Mick the encompassing experience to take the reins at Sonoma-Cutrer. He considers it one of the industry's true dream jobs. He is honored to carry on the brand's stories legacy but also eager to take it to new heights.

Schroeter now lives with his wife, Linda, in Sonoma Country, California, along with their children, Matilda, Sadie, and Charlie.

Alon ShayaAlon Shaya

Alon Shaya is Executive Chef and Partner of Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya. Alon discovered his passion for cooking at an early age, spending most of his time in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother in Philadelphia. In 2003, Alon moved to New Orleans, training under Chef John Besh. In 2009, he opened Domenica, an Italian Restaurant. In 2014, he opened Pizza Domenica, a casual Domenica spin-off , in uptown New Orleans. After visits to his birthplace Israel, Alon was inspired to open his namesake Israeli restaurant in 2015. That year, he was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef – South”. In 2016, Shaya Restaurant won the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant.” Shaya has been hailed as one of the country's best by leading outlets including Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, Eater, GQ, Esquire, and more.

Gail SimmonsGail Simmons

Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert and permanent judge on BRAVO's Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series Top Chef, now in its 14th hit season. She was also previously head critic on Top Chef Duels and a co-host of The Feed with Marcus Samuelsson on FYI Network. Gail serves as special projects director at FOOD & WINE. Her memoir, Talking with My Mouth Full, was published by Hyperion in February 2012 and her first cookbook will be released by Grand Central Publishing in October 2017.

Gail frequently appears on television shows such as TODAY on NBC and ABC's Good Morning America. She has been featured in such publications as New York magazine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, People, TV Guide, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by The New York Post.

Gail is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Babson College and sits on the board of several organizations, including City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen and the NBCU Women's Advisory Council. She lives in New York with her husband Jeremy and daughter Dahlia.

Chris SpakeChris Spake

Chris Spake is a 32 year veteran in the Wine & Spirits industry. Having spent 18 years in senior management roles with the Seagram Company Limited, 4 years with Remy-Cointreau USA, and the last 10 years with Patron Spirits Company, Chris has become professionally certified in Scotch, Cognac and Tequila, and holds a CSW degree in Wine. Chris holds an undergraduate BS degree in History and Political Economy, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance.

Currently as Director – Brand Education for Patron Spirits Company, Chris develops and teaches Patron Master Classes to top Retailers, Distributors and Consumers around the world.

Curtis StoneCurtis Stone

Curtis Stone is a chef, restaurateur, author, media personality, and businessman. He began his cooking career in his homeland of Australia and later honed his skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in London with renowned chef Marco Pierre White. His first solo restaurant, Maude (Beverly Hills, CA), opened in 2014 to rave reviews. Curtis opened his second restaurant, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant (Hollywood, CA), with his brother Luke in July 2016. He has appeared on a number of top rated programs including Take Home Chef (TLC), Celebrity Apprentice (ABC), Top Chef Masters (Bravo), and Food Network's All-Star Academy. Curtis is the host of the debut US season of My Kitchen Rules on FOX. Curtis is a New York Times bestselling author with six cookbooks, his most recent title is Good Food, Good Life, and is a regular contributor to several magazines and television shows in the United States and Australia.

www.curtisstone.com @CurtisStone

Bobby StuckeyBobby Stuckey

With tenures at renowned restaurants such as The Little Nell in Aspen, CO and the French Laundry in Yountville, CA, Bobby Stuckey has cultivated wine programs and championed hospitality, garnering numerous accolades, including the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Wine Service Award in 2000.

With the vision of opening a neighborhood restaurant reminiscent of the Italian frasca's they had visited in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Stuckey and his business partner, chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson, opened their first restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine, in August 2004 in Boulder, CO.

In 2004, Stuckey also earned the MS Diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2013 Frasca Food and Wine won Outstanding Wine Service at the James Beard Awards. In 2014, Stuckey was named Wine Enthusiast's Sommelier of the Year.

Ming TsaiMing Tsai

Ming Tsai is the James Beard Award-winning chef/owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon in Massachusetts. An Emmy Award-winner, Ming hosts PBS-TV's Simply Ming, now in its fourteenth season. Ming is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai, Simply Ming, Ming's Master Recipes, Simply Ming One-Pot Meals and Simply Ming In Your Kitchen. Ming supports many charities including Family Reach, a non-profit whose mission is to provide financial relief and support to families fighting cancer, of which he is currently the President of the National Advisory Board.

Bryan VoltaggioBryan Voltaggio

Chef Bryan Voltaggio is a true son of the Chesapeake, born and bred in Frederick, Maryland. By the young age of 20 and after having served as sous chef and executive chef at two regional hotel restaurants, Voltaggio made the decision to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Upon graduating, Voltaggio staged at Aureole, in New York City, where he met his mentor chef Charlie Palmer. Following a stint at Michelin three-star Pic restaurant in Valence, France, Voltaggio reunited with Palmer as executive chef at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, DC. After almost a decade with Palmer, Voltaggio took a leap of faith and returned to Frederick, Maryland to open VOLT in 2008.

Voltaggio is now the executive chef and owner of a portfolio of restaurants including VOLT, Lunchbox, Family Meal, RANGE, AGGIO, and the recently-opened Voltaggio Brothers Steak House at MGM National Harbor, his first restaurant venture with his brother, Michael. As a finalist on Top Chef Season 6 and Top Chef Masters Season 5, Voltaggio is the first chef to compete on both Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. The James Beard Foundation Award finalist co-authored the cookbook, VOLT.Ink, with his brother, Michael, and released his cookbook HOME in 2014. As a father and chef, Voltaggio is a passionate philanthropist and supports Share Our Strength in their fight against childhood hunger. He has raised over three quarters of a million dollars over the last five years to support innovative school breakfast programs, meals for achievement, and the national No Kid Hungry campaign. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their three children Thacher, Piper and Ever Maeve in his hometown of Frederick, MD.

Michael VoltaggioMichael Voltaggio

Michael Voltaggio is the owner and chef of the highly acclaimed restaurant ink. and the artisanal sandwich concept Sack Sandwiches in Los Angeles, as well as chef and partner – alongside his brother and chef Bryan Voltaggio – in the Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, located at MGM National Harbor. Beginning his career at 15, Voltaggio earned the prestigious Greenbrier apprenticeship at the age of 19, and went on to helm the kitchens at Dry Creek Kitchen and The Bazaar by José Andrés. Celebrated for having reinterpreted a new class of finer dining at ink. – which received the title of GQ's “Best New Restaurant in America” 2011 –Voltaggio has been recognized as one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs 2013, winner of Bravo's Top Chef, and hosted the Travel Channel series Breaking Borders. Follow Michael Voltaggio on Twitter and Instagram: @mvoltaggio.

Jonathan WaxmanJonathan Waxman

Jonathan Waxman is a native Californian whose family nurtured him in the food arts from an early age. He received the Grand Diplôme from La Varenne School in Paris and mentored with Alice Waters at Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse before graduating to Executive Chef of Michael’s in Santa Monica. In 1984 Jonathan made his mark in New York with the iconic Jams, which he followed up with a string of successes in New York, London and Napa Valley. Today, Jonathan is chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan's West Village and Jams in 1 Hotel Central Park. In 2014, he opened Nashville restaurants, Adele’s and Bajo Sexto, with partners Howard Greenstone and Ken Levitan and is a founding partner of Nashville’s Music City Food + Wine Festival. His Atlanta restaurant, Brezza Cucina, is located in Ponce City Market and Waxman’s, Jonathan’s most recent venture, opened in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square in March 2016. Jonathan Waxman is the 2016 James Beard Award winner for “Best Chef, New York City”. He was a judge on Bravo’s Recipe for Deception and has appeared on two seasons of Top Chef Masters. He is the author of cookbooks, A Great American Cook and Italian, My Way. Jonathan currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.

Laura WerlinLaura Werlin

Laura Werlin, cheese “edu-tainer,” is one of the country's foremost authorities on cheese. She is a James Beard award-winning author and is a sought-after speaker and teacher. She is also a frequent television and radio guest and has been the host of instructive yet fun cheese-related videos on Oprah.com and chow.com. She writes for national magazines including Food & Wine and is a regular instructor at The Cheese School of San Francisco.

When she isn't eating or teaching about cheese, she can be found jogging on the streets of San Francisco, where she lives, or hiking in the mountains, which she loves.

Josh WessonJosh Wesson

An award-winning sommelier and co-founder of the revolutionary retail wine concept, Best Cellars, Josh now advises many companies in their pursuit of delicious and affordable wines. In 2012, he debuted the innovative wine-and-spirits retailer, Best Bottles, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In 2016, Josh opened Suprema Provisions, a market, salumeria, wine bar and restaurant in the West Village.

Josh is a featured speaker at food & wine events across the country. He is is also a regular commentator on NPR's The Splendid Table. Most mornings, you can find him at Tarallucci e Vino on 83rd and Columbus, reading The New York Post while sipping a cortado. Best to give him a wide berth until he finishes Page Six.

Brooke WilliamsonBrooke Williamson

Los Angeles native Brooke Williamson has carved out an impressive resume – from being the youngest female chef to ever cook at the James Beard House to recently winning Bravo's “Top Chef” season 14 in Charleston. Co-Owner and Co-Chef, along with husband Nick Roberts, the duo has built a culinary empire in the South Bay of Los Angeles, with successful ventures including: Hudson House in Redondo Beach; The Tripel and Playa Provisions in Playa Del Rey; their newest Hawaiian concept Da Kikokiko and a culinary retail shop Tripli-Kit (re-opening later this year) in Playa Vista.

Andrew ZimmernAndrew Zimmern

A three-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher, Andrew Zimmern is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the creator, executive producer and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise on Travel Channel (including Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World, Bizarre Foods America and Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations) and Andrew Zimmern's Driven by Food, he has explored cultures in more than 150 countries, promoting impactful ways to think about, create and live with food.s