2018 Talent

Hugh AchesonHugh Acheson

HUGH ACHESON is a chef and food writer who lives in Athens, GA. He is the co-owner / partner of the Athens, Georgia, restaurants 5&10 and The National, the Atlanta restaurants Empire State South, and Achie's, as well as coffee shop Spiller Park Coffee. 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, and his third, THE BROAD FORK, was released in the spring of 2015. His fourth cookbook, THE CHEF & THE SLOW COOKER, was released in the fall of 2017. Food & Wine Magazine named him Best New Chef way back in 2002 and 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 & Instagram @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

Rick BaylessRick Bayless

Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, with his authentic Mexican cuisine, or from his highly rated Public Television Series, Mexico-One Plate at a Time. He has received a great number of James Beard Award nominations in many categories, and has won eight awards, including: Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Who's Who of American Food and Drink, Best Podcast, plus two for his cookbooks and restaurants. Rick's side-by-side award-winning restaurants in Chicago include: Cervaceria, Cruz Blanca, Frontera Grill, Leña Brava, Topolobampo and Xoco.

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. Perhaps most recognizable as a recurring judge on Bravo's Top Chef and the winner of Top Chef All-Stars, Blais grew up on Long Island working as a "poissonier" at McDonald's. It was here where he first dabbled in deconstruction in cuisine, serving filet-o-fish sandwiches sans top bun. Blais went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America and train at The French Laundry, Daniel, Chez Panisse, and el Bulli.

Blais currently 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. In San Diego, where he currently resides, Blais is a partner at the popular Juniper & Ivy and Crack Shack restaurants, which will be expanding to 4 locations in the coming months.

Blais is a James Beard Award-nominated author of Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate, and his second cookbook, So Good, was released in May 2017 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). In addition, Blais recently launched a podcast entitled "Starving for Attention" which provides an entertaining, behind-the-scenes look into the food industry, and has featured guests including Wylie Dufrense, Michael Voltaggio, Andrew Zimmern, Gail Simmons, Lou Diamond Phillips, and more.

He resides in San Diego with his wife Jazmin and their two daughters Riley and Embry. When not behind the stove, Blais may be found training for his next marathon, recording an upcoming podcast, or cheering on his favorite English Premiere League soccer team.

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.

Andy ChabotAndy Chabot

Andy has always had an interest in how things taste. After working his way through local restaurants, Andy headed straight for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to round out his education in the culinary arts and restaurant management. After a stint at Little Nell, Andy found his true interest in the front of house. He graduated from the CIA in 2002, moved to Walland, Tenn., and began his career with Blackberry Farm in 2002. He soon became involved in the young wine program. In less than 6 years, Blackberry's wine cellar grew from 17,000 bottles to 166,000. With Andy Chabot's talent on the floor, the wine program has become synonymous with the success of Blackberry Farm. In 2007 Andy took on the role of Director of Dining and Beverages running all aspect of the service and beverage departments at Blackberry Farm. In 2014 The Barn at Blackberry Farm, under the direction of Andy, received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program. Andy's media features include Imbibe Magazine, Wine Spectator Magazine, Food and Wine Magazine, The TODAY Show and more.

Andy has proceeded past the advanced level of the Court of Master Sommeliers Exam and was the recipient of the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship. Today, Andy is responsible for all aspects of managing Blackberry Farm's Grand Award winning wine program as well as all aspects of the Food and Beverage programs.

Justin ChappleJustin Chapple

Justin Chapple is the Culinary Director of FOOD & WINE. He is the host of their weekly morning show, Mad Genius LIVE, as well as their video series Mad Genius Tips, for which he was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. Justin is the author of Mad Genius Tips (Oxmoore House, November 2016). He is currently working on his second book, Just Cook It! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 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.

Paul ChevalierPaul Chevalier

Educated in winemaking and viticulture at the University of Reims and the University of Bordeaux, Paul went on to acquire his practical knowledge of wine working for Château Margaux and later with Louis Latour in Burgundy.

He was then hired by the LVMH group as youngest member of the winemaking team at Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin in Reims as well as technical advisor for Cape Mentelle in Australia and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. He later worked in Bordeaux for Barton & Guestier/Chateau & Estates until joining the House of Calvet as Winemaker & Export Director for North & South America.

Today, Paul works Sacha Lichine and Patrick Léon (former winemaker for Château Mouton-Rothschild, Opus One, and Viña Almaviva) in the development of the 4 unique rosés from the Château D'Esclans estate. The Château D'Esclans «Garrus» rosé is the most exclusive rosé in the world.

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, seasonal 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.” Additionally, she is a two-time semi-finalist in the “Outstanding Chef”category and was named Chef of the Year by Eater.com in 2017. 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 and named one of the top cookbooks of the fall by the New York Times.

Tyson ColeTyson Cole

Tyson Cole co-founded Uchi in 2003 as the restaurant’s Executive Chef. Before Uchi, he was a passionate student of the Japanese sushi tradition, training for more than 10 years in a variety of roles from dishwasher to head sushi chef in Tokyo, New York, and Austin, under two different sushi masters. Formative years were spent at Musashino, one of Austin’s top sushi restaurants, where he completed an intensive traditional apprenticeship under owner Takehiko Fuse. He later trained at Bond Street, one of the busiest sushi restaurants in New York City. After Uchi opened in 2003, Tyson was recognized as one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2005. In 2010, he opened Uchiko and in 2011, he celebrated the release of the Uchi Cookbook. Later that year, Tyson also received a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest.

Rocco DiSpiritoRocco DiSpirito

Rocco DiSpirito is a healthy lifestyle crusader, James Beard award-winning chef, and highly acclaimed author of thirteen books, including five New York Times bestsellers. His new cookbook, Rocco's Healthy + Delicious, debuted October 17, 2017, and features more than 200 mostly plant-based recipes for everyday life. He is recognized for his inspiring weight loss journey and has dedicated his life to proving that healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive.

Driven to help people eat nutritious real food, he founded The Pound a Day Diet meal delivery service where he cooks for and coaches clients to achieve their best health. DiSpirito prepares fresh, delicious meals made right in his New York City kitchen and delivers to clients all over the country. Using only the best, local, natural and organic ingredients, he creates one-of-a-kind menus and personalized programs designed to help customers reach their weight loss and total health goals.

In 2016, DiSpirito made healthy choices more accessible than ever when he launched a plant-based, all-natural product line, Rocco's Healthy + Delicious. What began with Rocco's Organic Protein Powder Plus has since grown into a collection of better-for-you snacks and meals including chocolate bars, trail mix, Rocco's hazelnut spread, organic high-protein shakes, shake powder and more.

In September 2017, he was hailed the champion of the hit series Guy's Grocery Games: Superstars on Food Network where he won $40,000 for charity, playing on behalf of HealthCorps. As a national TV personality, DiSpirito currently stars and executive produces Now Eat This! with Rocco DiSpirito, airing on Z Living. He guided life-changing transformations as the Healthy Food Coach on ABC's Extreme Weight Loss, hosted the cooking competition show Restaurant Divided on Food Network and starred in Rocco's Dinner Party on Bravo. In 2012, he founded his production house, Savory Place Media. Its first project, Now Eat This! Italy, for AOL Originals became an instant Top 10 series garnering millions of views.

DiSpirito sits at the head of the table as a pioneer of the healthy and delicious movement. When he embraced healthy cooking over a decade ago, he also committed to empowering young people to make better food choices. To that end, he serves as an Ambassador for HealthCorps where he regularly visits schools across the country, performs cooking demonstrations and encourages thousands of youth to build healthier habits. In 2017, Dr. Mehmet Oz, HealthCorps Chairman, presented DiSpirito with the organization's highest honor, the Golden Heart Award.

Advocating on behalf of food security and obesity issues has been one of the most rewarding experiences of DiSpirito's life. As an Entertainment Council member for Feeding America, DiSpirito frequently serves guests at food banks throughout New York City. He actively volunteers with Wellness in the Schools (WITS) and gave the commencement address at the John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy. He is hailed as an inspiring health expert and is often called upon to speak at events, such as the Partnership for a Healthier America summit in Washington, D.C.

DiSpirito's love of food began at a young age, learning from Mama who could make magnificent dishes using only a handful of real foods. His passion for cooking led him to study at the Culinary Institute of America and Boston University. By the time he turned 20 years old, he was working in the kitchens of legendary chefs around the globe. He was named Food & Wine magazine's “Best New Chef,” People magazine's “Sexiest Chef” and was the first chef to appear on Gourmet magazine's cover as “America's Most Exciting Young Chef.” His 3-Star restaurant Union Pacific was a New York City culinary landmark for many years.

He lives in New York City and enjoys bicycling and participating in triathlons.

Renee EricksonRenee Erickson

Renee Erickson is a James Beard awarding winning chef, author, and co-owner of multiple properties in Seattle, Washington: The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Win, Barnacle, Bar Melusine, Bateau, Rana e Rospo, and several General Porpoise Doughnuts and Coffee locations. As a Seattle native (well, Woodinville to be exact), Renee's restaurants highlight the bounty of the Pacific Northwest with a European sensibility. Bon Appetit Magazine has compared her to M.F.K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, and Julia Child.

Dedicated to creating an environment that not only nourishes the body, but feeds the soul, her restaurant design work with business partners, Chad Dale and Jeremy Price, have received national press and attention.

Renee Erickson's food, casual style, and appreciation of simple beauty is an inspiration to her staff and guests in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In 2014 she published her first cookbook “A Boat, a Whale and a Walrus” to critical acclaim, finding itself on top reading lists while winning a 2015 PNBA book award - the first for a cookbook.

Renee graduated from the University of Washington with a BFA and currently serves on the board at UW's School of Art + Art History + Design. She lives in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood with her husband Dan, dog Arlo, and cat Brooklyn.
- James Beard Award for 2016 Best Chef Northwest: The Whale Wins, Renee Erickson
- Bon Appetit Hot 10's Best New Restaurants: The Walrus and the Carpenter
- EATER38, 38 Best Essential Restaurants in America Winter 2018: Bateau
- Seattle Met, The 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle 2018: Renee Erickson
- Build Our America, 2017 Community Builder Award: Renee Erickson from Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal

Jose EnriqueJose Enrique

Chef Jose Enrique, born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, graduated in 1998 from the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Jose Enrique worked in New York, Florida and Louisiana before he returned to his homeland. In 2007, he opened his first restaurant Jose Enrique, which was established at La Placita de Santurce and It’s personalized menu is prepared daily, incorporating natural and organic products, focusing on fresh Puerto Rican produce, which allows the climate and ingredients to direct Chef menu choices.

One year after opening, CondeNast Traveler magazine included Jose Enrique in it's list of 105 best new restaurants. Soon after, the Travel and Leisure magazine ranked San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico, among the first in food selection, beverages and restaurants. These awards were just a few inspiring reasons for Jose Enrique to proudly continue mastering his culinary creations in his island. He hasn't strayed since.

Jose Enrique was chosen as a Semifinalist for the 2013 and 2014 James Beard Foundation award in the category of "Best Chef South", marking the first time in history a Puerto Rican chef has participated in this award.

In 2013 Jose Enrique was featured in the 25th Anniversary edition of the Food & Wines Best New Chefs. His award carried him as one of the ten "Best New Chefs" across the U.S. It was the first time in history where a Puerto Rican had received this honor.

In 2015, 2016 and 2017 Jose Enrique went through the James Beard Foundation semifinals and made it to the finals also making this the first time ever that a Puerto Rican gets this recognition.

Joe FlammJoe Flamm

Joe Flamm is Executive Chef of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia. Working alongside Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano, Chef Joe showcases his Midwestern and Italian heritages through Spiaggia’s tasting, bar and a la carte menus. The menus rotate seasonally and regionally and are inspired by Chef Tony and Joe’s travels throughout Italy.

Growing up in a large Italian family on Chicago’s south side, Chef Joe fell in love with cooking at an early age while spending time in the kitchen with his Grandma Mary making homemade pasta, ravioli and pizza. It was this passion that led him to the Le Cordon Bleu of Culinary Arts, where he received his associate degree.

Prior to joining the Spiaggia team, Chef Joe worked alongside some of Chicago’s most prestigious chefs, including Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat, Art Smith at Table Fifty-Two, and Bill Kim at bellyQ and Urbanbelly. Chef Joe has also staged in some of Italy’s best kitchens including Glass Hostaria in Rome and Del Pescatore in Mantova, and cooked for presidents, celebrities the James Beard Foundation and more.

In his spare time, Chef Joe enjoys spending time with his wife and trying new restaurants. He is involved with Pilot Light, a Chicago charity which helps children make healthier choices by connecting the lessons they learn in the classrooms to the foods they eat on their lunch trays and beyond.

Tyler FlorenceTyler Florence

Tyler has built an impressive multi-million business with two restaurants, multiple award-winning olive oil and wine labels, cutlery and cookware, a gourmet food line, and a cooking app, Yumavore, available through Apple iTunes — that's all in the past ten years. In 2008 Tyler opened Tyler Florence Fresh restaurant, located at San Francisco International airport and in 2010, he opened Wayfare Tavern, in San Francisco's Financial District. In 2011, Tyler was awarded “Restaurateur of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and his restaurants have been consistently awarded three star reviews from San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic, Michael Bauer. In 2014 and again in 2015, Tyler was honored to be named a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist in their Best Chef (West Coast) category. He also has his own line of award-winning wines sourced from world-class California vineyards. Tyler Florence Wines have received over 29 awards and ratings, including a 92-point rating for his first TF Zin. His newest label Blending Sessions, launched in early 2016.

Aaron FranklinAaron Franklin

Aaron Franklin is the host of BBQ with Franklin and owner and chief firestarter at Austin’s Franklin Barbecue, widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the U.S. He received the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2015. Franklin’s interest in BBQ started with the backyard cookouts that he and wife, Stacy, would throw. When they opened up a small barbecue trailer on the side of an Austin, Texas, interstate in 2009, they had no idea what they’d gotten themselves into. Today, Franklin Barbecue has grown into the most popular, critically lauded and obsessed-over barbecue joint in the country (if not the world) — and Franklin is the winner of every major barbecue award there is, including Texas Monthly’s coveted Best Barbecue Joint in Texas award and Bon Appétit’s Best Barbecue Joint in America. Six days a week, crowds stand in line for hours for a taste of his mouth-watering brisket.

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.

Paul GriecoPaul Grieco

Paul Grieco is the General & Manager of Terroir in New York City.

Terroir first opened in 2008 in the East Village and subsequently, four more outposts were added, including the High Line. Over the years, Paul has received two James Beard Awards: the first at Gramercy Tavern for “Wine Service” and then a second one in 2012 for “Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional.” In addition to all of his wine and grape advocacy, he is best known for creating the Summer of Riesling, a full scale love affair of the world of Riesling, expressed in technicolor…at present, only his mother is willing to go on record as proclaiming that she has been converted to the glories of this most storied varietal.

Alex GuarnaschelliAlex Guarnaschelli

Coming Soon.

Will GuidaraWill Guidara

A native of Sleepy Hollow, NY, Will has been immersed in the restaurant industry since the age of 13. A graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, Will began his dining room training at Spago Beverly Hills and attended culinary school in the North of Spain. He then went on to various roles throughout Union Square Hospitality Group, including at Tabla, Café 2, and the restaurants at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2006, Will became the General Manager of Eleven Madison Park, where he spearheaded the transformation of the restaurant from a French brasserie to a fine dining destination. Under Will's leadership, the restaurant has garnered four stars from the New York Times, five stars from the Forbes Travel Guide, three Michelin Stars, and the #1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List. In 2011, Will and Chef Daniel Humm purchased Eleven Madison Park from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group and in 2012 they went on to open the food and beverage spaces at the NoMad Hotel. At NoMad, they have received numerous accolades including three stars from the New York Times and one Michelin star. In 2017, Will and Chef Daniel opened Made Nice, a fast casual restaurant, and in 2018, they opened the first West Coast outpost of NoMad in downtown Los Angeles. A frequent guest lecturer throughout the country, Will is also the co-author of Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook, I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes, The NoMad Cookbook, and Eleven Madison Park: The Next Chapter.

Stephen HalpinStephen Halpin

Stephen Halpin is a Manager of Trade Education & Mixology at The Patrón Spirits Company. Stephen joined Patrón after having served the last 5 years behind the bar at several top craft cocktail establishments in Dallas, Texas, most recently at Dallas’ Parliament bar. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Stephen has shaken and stirred drinks for more than 15 years globally— from Ireland to New Zealand to the Dominican Republic.

Gabrielle HamiltonGabrielle Hamilton

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of PRUNE, which she opened in New York City's East Village in October 1999. PRUNE has been recognized in all major press, both nationally and internationally, and is regularly cited in the top 100 lists of all major food magazines. Gabrielle has made numerous television appearances including segments with Martha Stewart, Mark Bittman, and Mike Colameco and was the victor in her Iron Chef America battle against Bobby Flay on The Food Network in 2008. Most notably, she won an Emmy for her role in Season 4 of the award-winning PBS series Mind of a Chef. Gabrielle has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food & Wine, Afar, Travel and Leisure, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, and House Beautiful. Her work has been anthologized in Best Food Writing 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013. Gabrielle was nominated for Best Chef NYC in 2009 and 2010 by the James Beard Foundation and in 2011 won the category. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, which has been published in six languages and won the James Beard Foundation's award for Writing and Literature in 2012. She won her third James Beard award in 2015 for her piece “Into the Vines” published in Afar. Most recently, she wrote the cookbook, Prune, featuring 250 recipes from her East Village restaurant. She is a monthly columnist for The New York Times Magazine and is currently at work on her next book, a memoir, to be completed in 2017.

Daniel ImdiekeDaniel Imdieke

Daniel Imdieke, Master Cicerone® and manager of beer education at MillerCoors

As one of 16 Master Cicerones® in the world and the manager of beer education for MillerCoors, Daniel Imdieke designs and executes beer education programs for internal sales and marketing teams as well as retailers and consumers in order to elevate all aspects of the beer experience. In his work at MillerCoors, he has developed beer and food pairing programming and staff training for some of the largest and most well-known beer retailers in the country. Imdieke began his beer journey in the early life of Yard House Restaurants, directing the development of bar training and new restaurant openings at the national level for nine years. Prior to joining MillerCoors, he was manager of beer operations for Old Chicago Restaurant and Taproom, where he oversaw beer purchasing and promotions. Imdieke has a Bachelor of Arts in literature and legal studies from Claremont McKenna College and has furthered his education at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. Imdieke is one of three Master Cicerones® at MillerCoors.

Ray IsleRay Isle

Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine and the Wine & Spirits Editor for both Travel + Leisure and Departures. For Food & Wine he writes the monthly “Wine Flight” and “Bottle Service” columns; he also contributes regular magazine and online features on wine, spirits, and wine travel to all three brands. 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, has twice won the IACP Award for Narrative Beverage Writing, and his work appears in The Best Food Writing 2017. 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. Most recently, Stephanie took home the title of Iron Chef after competing on Food Network's competition show "Iron Chef Gauntlet."

More information on Stephanie can be found at www.stephanieizard.com or follow her @StephAndTheGoat.

Traci Des JardinsTraci Des Jardins

A California native of a small central valley agricultural community, Traci Des Jardins has been a part of the San Francisco food community for 22 years and has opened many great San Francisco restaurants including Jardinière, Mijita, Public House, The Commissary and Arguello. Traci is the culinary advisor to Impossible Foods which launched the Impossible Burger in the summer of 2016. The Impossible Burger is a revolutionary plant based meat.

A dedicated philanthropist, Traci sat on the board of the local non-profit La Cocina for many years, and has been a longtime supporter of the farm to table movement and sustainability. Known as one of the top female chefs in the country, Des Jardins is a two-time James Beard award-winner and has earned a number of industry accolades throughout her career.

Jen Hidinger KendrickJennifer Hidinger-Kendrick

In her role as co-founder of Staplehouse Restaurant, Jennifer Hidinger-Kendrick orchestrates the development and execution of all aspects of the restaurant including the design, operational features and all business management. As co-founder and spokesperson for the Giving Kitchen (TGK), Hidinger-Kendrick advises on brand awareness and community involvement while providing a personal account in telling the story of Giving Kitchen on a local and national platform.

Ludo LefebvreLudo Lefebvre

Ludo Lefebvre is one of LA's most influential chefs and a global culinary authority. After training under renowned French chefs, Ludo moved to LA to pioneer the the pop-up restaurant phenomenon with LudoBites in 2010 before opening the critically-acclaimed Hollywood dining destination Trois Mec. In 2014, Ludo opened Petit Trois, his 「bar a la carte」 concept, with a second location to debut in Spring 2018 in Sherman Oaks, CA. Ludo also operates the brunch-only restaurant Trois Familia in Silver Lake, as well as his fried chicken-centric LudoBird. In addition to being nominated for two James Beard Awards in 2017 and for his work on PBS' Emmy-winning show, Mind of a Chef, Ludo is also the author of two cookbooks.

Hunter LewisHunter Lewis

Hunter E. Lewis is Editor in Chief of Time Inc.'s COOKING LIGHT and FOOD & WINE. In June 2017, Lewis assumed editorial leadership of FOOD & WINE in addition to COOKING LIGHT, where he has been Editor in Chief since August 2014. Lewis oversees all aspects of the brands' editorial content, as well as brand extensions, including social media; tablet editions; books; licensed products; live events; and mobile apps. Under his leadership, COOKING LIGHT has won four James Beard Foundation Media Awards, been nominated for an ASME award, undergone a redesign, and celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Previously, Hunter was the Executive Editor of SOUTHERN LIVING, a position he had held since September 2012. As Executive Editor, Lewis oversaw the brand's extensive food content in print and online, and managed the Test Kitchen staff that tests 5,000 recipes annually. He regularly collaborated with the Time Inc. book-publishing unit, Oxmoor House, on the development and execution of SOUTHERN LIVING cookbooks.

Lewis joined the SOUTHERN LIVING brand from Bon Appétit, where he was the Food Editor. While there, he developed, edited, and supervised recipe testing for the print, online, and tablet editions, wrote food features, and hosted online cooking videos.

Prior, Lewis was Kitchen Director at Saveur, where he developed, edited, and tested recipes for the print and web editions of the monthly epicurean magazine. He also produced and styled weekly photo shoots in the Saveur kitchen studio.

Additionally, Lewis researched for the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook and held various culinary positions at restaurants from New York City to Sonoma County. A graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lewis currently resides in Birmingham, AL with his family.

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.

Carlton McCoyCarlton McCoy

Carlton McCoy, Wine Director at The Little Nell, discovered his love for the food and beverage world when he took a culinary arts course in high school. A scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America called Carlton to his true passion—wine and service. Before joining The Nell in 2011, his career path led him to Thomas Keller's Per Se, Marcus Samuelsson's Aquavit, Tom Colicchio's Craft Steak and Eric Zeibold's CityZen. Carlton was drawn to The Nell by its sterling reputation and Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning program. In May of 2013, Carlton earned his Master Sommelier certification, becoming the tenth MS to work at The Little Nell.

Roy MilnerRoy Milner

With more than 20 years in and around the craft brewing industry, our Managing Partner began exploring his passion for great beer in Knoxville as a home brewer while attending the University of Tennessee. A native of Chattanooga, Roy has traveled extensively to gather the knowledge and expertise to make the best beer possible.

Prior to Blackberry Farm, Roy worked as a brewer with multiple breweries in the Southeast, and has held several Sales and Marketing positions with beer and beverage companies throughout the United States before coming back to Tennessee. Passionate about all things Southern, he is a lover of music, cooking, beverages, and travel, and is proud to call the mountains of East Tennessee home.

Mark OldmanMark Oldman

Recently named "one of the wine world's great showmen" by the New York Times, Mark Oldman is known for his singular ability to unravel wine's complexities with a potent blend of entertainment, style, and humor. He is author several acclaimed wine books, including his latest, the IACP-award winning How to Drink Like a Billionaire. 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.

Claudine PepinClaudine R Pépin

Many of you have watched Claudine co-hosting with her father, world-renowned chef, Jacques Pépin, preparing delicious meals and sharing cooking techniques, on "Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Cooking With Claudine" and "Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Encore With Claudine." All three of their public television shows have received the notable James Beard Award.

Her first book, Kid's Cook French, an IACP Cookbook Award Finalist, was published in the Spring of 2015, and is a collection of thirty favorite, simple, classic French recipes in both English and French, illustrated by her father Jacques and daughter Shorey. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Jacques Pépin Foundation and the Godmother of Oceania Cruises' "Sirena".

Claudine, her husband Rollie, a Faculty Member at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, along with their daughter Shorey, and two mischievous cats, live happily Rhode Island.

"Food doesn't have to be complicated. It needs to be wholesome, nutritious and preferably well seasoned. And, it's always best when shared with those you love."

Jacques PepinJacques Pépin

Jacques Pépin is an internationally renowned chef, author of 30 cookbooks, and host of 13 PBS-TV series. He is the recipient of countless awards, including the American Public Television's Lifetime Achievement Award and La Légion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian honor. An American Masters film chronicling his life, Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft, debuted on PBS in May, 2017. His most recent book, A Grandfather's Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey, features him cooking with his granddaughter.

Carmen QuagliataCarmen Quagliata

As the Executive Chef of Union Square Cafe and Daily Provisions, Carmen Quagliata explores and develops his passion for his native Italian cuisine in one of the country's most beloved restaurants. Carmen first joined the Union Square Cafe team as the Chef de Cuisine before being promoted to Executive Chef in September 2007. He remained at the helm as the restaurant transitioned from its home on 16th Street to its new location on 19th Street in 2016. Soon after relocating, Carmen and his team earned three stars from the New York Times.

John RaganJohn Ragan

John developed a passion for hospitality at a young age and spent his early career in acclaimed restaurants throughout Napa and San Francisco. In 2006, he moved to New York City to become Wine Director of Eleven Madison Park, at which time 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.

In 2011, John's role expanded when he began working across USHG's family of restaurants, ensuring exceptional wine programs as well as progressive beverage education for employees. John is a member of the prestigious Court of Master Sommelier.

Marcus SamuelssonMarcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide including Red Rooster Harlem, Streetbird Rotisserie, and Marcus B&P. Samuelsson was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times and has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards including Best Chef: New York City. He was tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration's first State dinner. Samuelsson was also crowned champion of television shows 「Top Chef Masters」 and 「Chopped All Stars」, and served as a mentor on ABC's 「The Taste」. A committed philanthropist, Samuelsson co-produces the annual food and culture festival Harlem EatUp!, which supports Harlem Park to Park and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Samuelsson is co-chair of the board of directors for Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). In May 2016, he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. He is the author of multiple books including The New York Times bestselling memoir Yes, Chef, the young adult version-- Make It Messy, Marcus Off Duty cookbook, and his newest book-- The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem. In addition, he is one of the founders of the website Food Republic. In June 2017, he opened Red Rooster Shoreditch in East London and most recently has opened Marcus B&P in Newark, New Jersey in November 2017. He is currently filming his new series with VOX/Eater and PBS entitles No Passport Required, which is scheduled to air summer 2018.

Sabato SagariaSabato Sagaria

In addition to being the fifth bald Master Sommelier, Sabato has helped run some of the leading wine programs and restaurants around the country including the Greenbrier Hotel, Inn at Little Washington, The Little Nell, and Union Square Hospitality Group where he most recently served as the companies Chief Restaurant Officer. In his current role as President of bartaco, he oversees the concept's overall vision and growth. When he is not eating tacos and tasting tequila (a.k.a. his day job) he can be found drinking really, really delicious wine.

Jordan SalcitoJordan Salcito

Curious about wine since learning her grandfather made it in his basement and head over heels for it since her first harvest in Burgundy in 2006, Salcito has invested over a decade working her way through several facets of the wine and restaurant industries. She began her career in New York as hostess at wd~50 before becoming a prep cook at DANIEL, sommelier and manager at Eleven Madison Park, then eventually Wine & Beverage Director for David Chang's Momofuku restaurants. Salcito's wine programs at Momofuku have been named James Beard Foundation semi-finalists multiple times. She is a Master Sommelier Candidate, a Wine & Spirits 「Best New Sommelier」 and a Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40.

She has worked harvests each year at wineries across the globe, from Burgundy and Tuscany to Patagonia and California. Salcito is the founder Bellus Wines and RAMONA Italian Spritz. She lives in New York with her husband and son.

Leslie SbroccoLeslie Sbrocco

Known for her humorous and entertaining take on wine, Leslie speaks to thousands around the country in person and through national television appearances. She has penned two books with her first -- Wine for Women -- winning the Georges Duboeuf Best Wine Book of the year award. As host of PBS's show, Check Please! (now in its 13th season) she's also taken home three Emmy awards for her work and the coveted James Beard award. Leslie's expertise in eating, drinking and traveling is only matched by her thirst for doing what you love.

Michael SolomonovMichael Solomonov

Michael Solomonov is the executive chef and co-owner of Philadelphia’s pioneering Israeli restaurant, Zahav. He is the 2011 James Beard Award winner for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic”, a 2016 James Beard Award winner for “Best International Cookbook” and “Book of the Year” for his and business partner/co-author Steven Cook’s first cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, and the 2017 James Beard Award's “Outstanding Chef.” In addition to his duties at Zahav, Chef Solomonov co-owns Philadelphia's Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher, Goldie, NYC's Dizengoff, and the philanthropic Rooster Soup Company, which donates 100% of its profits to Broad Street Ministry Hospitality Collaborative that provides meals and essential services to individuals experiencing homelessness and hunger in Philadelphia. Also in 2017, Solomonov and the Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) created a partnership to champion Israel’s extraordinarily diverse and vibrant culinary landscape.

Chris SpakeChris Spake

Chris Spake is a 34 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 12 years with Patron Spirits Company, Chris has become professionally certified in Scotch, Cognac and Tequila, and holds a CSW degree in Wine.

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 honed his skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in London under the renowned Marco Pierre White. His first solo restaurant, Maude, opened in 2014 to rave reviews. Curtis opened his second restaurant, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant in 2016. He has appeared on a number of top-rated programs including Take Home Chef, Top Chef Masters, Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, and All-Star Academy. Curtis is currently Head Judge on Top Chef Junior. He is a New York Times bestselling author with six cookbooks.

Bobby StuckeyBobby Stuckey

With tenures at renowned restaurants such as The Little Nell in Aspen and The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, Bobby Stuckey has cultivated wine programs and 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 frascas they had visited in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Stuckey and business partner, Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, opened their first restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine, in August 2004 in Boulder, CO.

In 2004, Stuckey earned the MS Diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2013, Frasca won Outstanding Wine Service at the James Beard Awards.

Ming TsaiMing Tsai

Chef Ming Tsai is the James Beard Award-winning chef/owner of Blue Dragon in Boston, Massachusetts. An Emmy Award-winner, Ming hosts PBS-TV's Simply Ming, now in its fifteenth 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. For more visit www.ming.com.

Jason WagnerJason Wagner

Jason Wagner is the Wine Director of Union Square Cafe. Prior to joining Union Square Hospitality Group, Jason was the Partner, General Manager and Beverage Director of Fung Tu in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Under Jason's leadership, the restaurant received two stars from The New York Times and became a downtown wine destination. Before Fung Tu, Jason worked as the Wine Director at both Henri and The Gage in Chicago, where he simultaneously managed high-volume and fine-dining wine programs.

Jonathan WaxmanJonathan Waxman

Jonathan Waxman is a native Californian whose family taught him an appreciation for 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 his Nashville restaurant, Adele's, and is a founding partner of Nashville's Music City Food + Wine Festival. 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

Once a respected and award-winning sommelier who reveled in the extravagance of princely pours, Josh now sips from the cups of carpenters in his never-ending quest for deliciousness and drinkability.

Co-founder of Best Cellars (and Jet Blue's first wine captain), Josh also works with companies such as Red Farm, Starr Events and Alain Ducasse Formation & Conseil in their pursuit of great wine and food experiences.

In late 2012, he debuted the retail concept, Best Bottles, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In February of 2016, Josh opened Suprema Provisions, a market, salumeria, wine bar and restaurant in the West Village devoted to all things delectable.

Josh is a featured speaker at many wine & food events across the country, and has authored a number of highly praised books, including 「Red Wine with Fish」 and 「Wine & Food: A New Look at Flavor」 — both published by Simon & Schuster. He is also a regular commentator on NPR/Public Radio International's The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

He likes thin-crust pizza, negronis made with amaro, and long walks on any beach not on Staten Island. Most mornings, you can find Josh hanging out 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.

Kelli WhiteKelli White

Kelli A. White is the Senior Staff Writer for GuildSomm. Prior to that, her work as a sommelier, first at New York City's Veritas and then at PRESS in St. Helena, has been covered by many of the wine industry's top publications, including Food & Wine, Vinous, The Wine Advocate, The Wine Spectator, the San Francisco Chronicle, World of Fine Wine, and Forbes; in 2013 she was named one of Food & Wine's top sommeliers in the country. Her writing has appeared in World of Fine Wine, Robb Report, Sommelier Journal, Le Pan, and Vinous. At Vinous, Kelli was a key member of the maps team, and worked with famed Italian cartographer Alessando Masnaghetti to map many of the appellations of Napa Valley. In 2016, she was nominated for the highly prestigious Roederer Award for Best Emerging Wine Writer. Her book, Napa Valley, Then & Now, was released in November of 2015 and has received enormous critical acclaim, winning both the IACP award for Best New Wine, Beer, or Spirits Book as well as a Graphis design award. In 2011, she co-founded a small wine brand called Houndstooth and she also made a brief appearance in 2015's documentary Somm II: Into the Bottle. In October of 2016, Kelli led a wine tasting seminar at Fortune Magazine's Most Powerful Women's Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA. Most recently, she was nominated for Sommelier/Wine Director of the Year (2017) by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

David WondrichDave Wondrich

David Wondrich is widely hailed as one of the world's foremost authorities on the history of the cocktail and one of the founders of the modern craft cocktail movement. The Senior Drinks Columnist for the Daily Beast, Dr. Wondrich (he has a PhD in Comparative Literature) is the author of countless newspaper and magazine articles (including almost 17 years' worth written as Esquire's Drinks Correspondent) and five books, including the hugely influential Imbibe!, the first cocktail book to win a James Beard award (2007; an expanded and thoroughly revised edition was published in April, 2015), and Punch, which came out in late 2010 to broad acclaim and did much to spark the current boom in punch-making. At present, he is immersed in the Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, a multi-year project. As a consultant, he has been involved in the creation of a number of spirits that are found on the backbars of practically every craft cocktail bar on the planet, from Ransom Old Tom gin to the award-winning Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum. He is a founding partner in Beverage Alcohol Resource, America's leading advanced training program for bartenders and other mixologists, and a frequent guest lecturer at venues such as the Smithsonian Institute, the American Museum of Natural History and top bars on five continents and ships at sea. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Geoffrey ZakarianGeoffrey Zakarian

Throughout a career spanning 30 years, Geoffrey Zakarian has made his mark as a chef restaurateur known for his sophisticated taste and signature style. As owner of The Lambs Club and The National in the heart of midtown Manhattan, as well as The National in Greenwich, Connecticut, Zakarian combines his classical culinary training and his eye for design in these unique restaurants. He also oversees the food and beverage program at The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City. In June of 2016, Zakarian made his West Coast debut, opening Georgie and The Garden Bar at Montage Beverly Hills. In February 2017, Zakarian launched two new restaurants, Point Royal and Counter Point, within The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL.

Outside of his work as a chef, Zakarian is an accomplished award winning author and Emmy nominated television personality. In 2006, Clarkson Potter published his debut book, Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country, while his second cookbook, My Perfect Pantry, hit shelves in October 2014. In addition to his status as a longtime favorite judge on Food Network’s Chopped and as an Iron Chef, Zakarian is a co-host on Food Network’s daytime series, The Kitchen, which premiered in January 2014, as well as the host Food Network’s primetime hit, Cooks Vs. Cons. Zakarian also serves as Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council, an organization committed to fighting hunger in New York City. Most recently, Zakarian launched a line of kitchen products called Pro For Home, including a system of food storage containers and a sous vide circulator, currently available on HSN, Wayfair, Sur La Table and shop.geoffreyzakarian.com.

To have an up-close look into all of Geoffrey’s restaurants and his love of hospitality, visit www.geoffreyzakarian.com and follow Geoffrey Zakarian on Facebook, @gzchef on Twitter, and gzchef on Instagram.

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

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