ACF National Convention: Orlando


Gale Gand
Chef Gale Gand is a nationally acclaimed pastry chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, television personality, teacher, entrepreneur, and mother. Chef Gand has been recognized as Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year by The James Beard Foundation and by Bon Appetite magazine, as well as receiving a Beard award for best service for Tru. She has been inducted into the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame and was a 2017 recipient of the Women Driving Excellence award.

For 8 years, Gale hosted the Food Network series “Sweet Dreams,” the first nationally televised all-dessert show anywhere. Gale has made appearances on “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Oprah,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” “Baking With Julia” (Child), ”Good Morning America,” “The Rachael Ray Show” and “The Today Show.” She competed on “Iron Chef America” and has been featured as a celebrity judge on “Food Network Challenge,” “Last Cake Standing,” "Top Chef" and “Top Chef Just Desserts.”

Gale is the founding pastry chef and partner of the beloved Chicago restaurant Tru, opened with long-time culinary partner Chef Rick Tramonto and restaurateur Rich Melman in 1999. Tru quickly became a sensation among Chicago’s fine dining community and has earned ecstatic praise from reviewers, receiving accolades from the James Beard Foundation; the Michelin (2 stars), Mobil and AAA guides; Relais Gourmand; Wine Spectator magazine; and was named Chicago’s Best Restaurant by Chicago Magazine. Prior to opening Tru, Gand and Tramonto earned increasing acclaim at their Chicago area restaurants Trio and Brasserie T, and at Stapleford Park, an historic country house hotel near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, where in 1991 Tramonto and Gand became the first American chefs to earn a Michelin Red M. She also did a 2 year pop-up in 2014 called Spritzburger in Chicago with The Hearty Boys, also of Food Network fame.

Gale is a prolific cookbook author with eight titles to her credit, including her most recent “Gale Gand’s Lunch!,” released in April 2014. Earlier titles (written with Rick Tramonto) include: American Brasserie (1997); Butter Sugar Flour Eggs (1999); and Tru: A Cookbook from the Legendary Chicago Restaurant (2004). On her own Gand authored Just a Bite (2001); Short and Sweet (2004); Chocolate and Vanilla (2006) and Gale Gand’s Brunch (2009), in it’s fifth printing.

Gale also produces her own artisan root beer, “Gale’s Root Beer,” which is available nationally.
Edward Lee
Chef Edward Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, MilkWood and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY and the culinary director for Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland and Penn Quarter, DC. He is also the Executive Chef of Salt Restaurant in Antigua.

He has received multiple finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards BestChef: Southeast. He appears frequently in print and television. He has been nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS. Most recently, he has hosted and co-produced a feature documentary called Fermented.
Lee is the author of Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen (Artisan Books, May 2013) and of Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine (Artisan Books, April 2018).

His signature blend with Jefferson’s Reserve called Chef’s Collaboration Blend is a luxury small batch bourbon he developed with Trey Zoeller.
Chef Lee also runs the non-profit The LEE Initiative which promotes equality and diversity within the restaurant community.
For more information about Chef Edward Lee, please visit:
Twitter: @chefedwardlee
Instagram: @chefedwardlee
Facebook: Chef Edward Lee
Ivan Orkin
Ivan’s journey began with a dishwashing job at a sushi bar when he was 15. He discovered a culture and cuisine that would shape the rest of his life. Upon graduation high school, Ivan decided to major
in Japanese language and literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After graduating, Ivan immediately moved to Japan to teach English and he quickly cemented his love of everything
He returned to the US in 1990 and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, and began his culinary training.
Upon graduation from the CIA, and stints at Mesa Grill, Lutece, and Restaurant Associates, Ivan returned to Tokyo to live in the country that he fell in love with. He had still never given thought to
combining his love for cooking and Japan, but that was soon to change. Ivan was anxious to start a food-related business in Japan but was unsure of which direction to take.
He thought about opening a cooking school, a sandwich shop, even a pizzeria. It was his wife’s suggestion that he open a ramen shop.
This move seemed destined for failure in a country where ramen enjoys a cult-like status. Incredibly, Ivan not only succeeded, but became one of the top ramen shops in Tokyo, an unheard of
accomplishment for a foreigner. In 2010 a second shop, Ivan Ramen Plus, was opened. In 2012, Ivan returned to NY with the hopes of opening a business back home, while continuing to operate his
two shops in Tokyo. In the meantime his cookbook “Ivan Ramen” was published. His first venture in the US, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, opened at the Gotham West Market on 600 11th
Avenue in November of 2013 to huge crowds and critical acclaim.
Soon after, his US flagship, Ivan Ramen opened at 25 Clinton Street on New York’s Lower East side.
Both restaurants continue to enjoy critical acclaim and have been mentioned in countless magazines,
Eduardo Garcia
An avid outdoorsman with an unmatched zest for life, chef Eduardo Garcia is a testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
A classically trained chef who found his passion for cooking at an early age, Eduardo cut his teeth in the industry at just 15 years old; husting over hot pans, flipping burgers and throwing pizzas. After working in the fast paced kitchens of Seattle and attending culinary school, Eduardo took his love for cooking to the high seas; working as a private chef on luxury yachts and more importantly, on the hunt for exceptional food experiences that can only be found by traveling the world.
It was during this pivotal time that Eduardo started inviting others to join him in the kitchen to collaborate and discover the joy of creating memorable food and experiences therein. The watershed moment gave birth to Eduardo’s personal mantra; a meal is more than just what we eat, but an integral part of what builds culture and brings people together.
Inspired by these experiences, Eduardo returned to Montana and founded Montana Mex; creating delicious, clean label, “happy food”, driven by his culinary journey and designed to help people eat well and stay smiling.
Eduardo’s path, however, took a drastic turn in 2011 while elk-hunting in the Montana backcountry. Having come across a bear carcass, Eduardo received a catastrophic electrical shock from a 2400-volt power line hidden beneath the animal, knocking him unconscious and changing his life forever. Severely burned and badly injured, Eduardo walked three miles to the nearest road and found himself in a true fight for his life. Months of intensive care, the amputation of half of his left arm, removal of several ribs and even a cancer diagnosis could not keep Eduardo down. Nowadays, Eduardo can be found living his best life outdoors; hunting, fishing, cooking, and delivering motivational speeches around the country as a shining example of what can be accomplished with a refuse-to-quit attitude and uncompromised determination.
Duff Goldman
Duff Goldman is a chef, artist, entrepreneur and TV personality. Duff’s first major foray into television was on the hit Food Network show Ace of Cakes, which took place in his famed Baltimore bakery, Charm City Cakes. The show ran for ten seasons, achieving the rare feat of airing over 100 episodes. Duff is currently starring in several new shows on Food Network, including Cake Masters and the Baking Championship series.
Duff recently completed his second book, Duff Bakes, a follow up to the New York Times bestseller, Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes.
Duff opened his first business, Charm City Cakes, in Baltimore, Maryland in 2002. Building on the success of that venture, he opened Charm City Cakes West in Los Angeles in 2012. Inspired by his passion for facilitating creativity in others, Duff soon thereafter founded and developed Duff’s Cakemix, a DIY cake and cupcake decorating studio, also located in Los Angeles.
Through partnerships with Tylina Foods (Gartner Studios), Blue Bunny, JAKKS Pacific, Godiva and others, Duff launched a successful line of branded products, including cake mix, ice cream, and baking and decorating supplies. Duff-branded products can be found in Walmart, Target, Michaels and most major grocery chains nationwide.
Duff can be seen making appearances at food festivals, celebrations, and other major events around the country, including New York City Wine & Food Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBE), Feast Portland, the International Home + Housewares Show, and Life is Beautiful, among many others.
Rico Torres
Rico Torres is chef and co-owner at Mixtli, which is the natural evolution serving his higher purpose- to embrace his heritage and to create. Torres and Galicia have recently been awarded 2017's Food and Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs" presented to only 12 chefs in the country, for their unique concept with Mixtli. Torres has also been featured in Texas Monthly, USA Today, Travel Channel, and more.

Torrws was bron in El Paso, Texas, in 1978. Early on, he was immersed in heritage of Zacatecas and greater Mexico, both in travel and through daily life. Even as a child Torres knew immediately that the kitchen held his heart.

In October 2003, Torres started a small catering service called Rico Caters. The company quickly became known for its innovative cuisine and exceptional customer service. Torres also staged and cooked in different kitchens around the country through the years.
In 2013, Torres opened Mixtli with Chef Diego Galicia and has continued to dedicate himself to his craft. Each time a new menu concept is developed for Mixtli, Torres researches for countless hours at The University of Texas at San Antonio's library, where he has a special partnership and is able to review historic Mexican cookbooks and recipes for inspiration.

Torres currently resides in San Antonio.
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Diego Galicia
Mixtli opened in 2013 to rave reviews. Diego Galicia and his chef
partner and co-owner, Rico Torres, have been regularly recognized and
praised by critics as leaders in the culinary community in San Antonio.
Mixtli is the natural evolution to serve their next higher purpose—to reembrace their heritage and to create. In April 2017 the pair was
recognized as Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs,” and they
have also been featured in Texas Monthly, USA Today, Travel Channel,
and more. Born in Toluca, Mexico, in 1984, Galicia moved to San Antonio in 2002. He studied psychology at The University of Texas at San Antonio for a few years before switching to culinary and graduating from The Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio (CIA).
While a student at the CIA, Galicia worked with the best of the city,
including Chef John Besh’s restaurant Lüke, and on weekday mornings
at Patty Lou's at the Olmos Pharmacy. Following his time at the CIA,
Galicia had the opportunity to work in his native Mexico at Azul
Condesa, which is owned by renowned Chef Ricardo Muñoz. Galicia
diversified his culinary experience by working at Michelin-starred
restaurants Atelier Crenn in San Francisco and Moto in Chicago.
Galicia always had the dream of opening his own restaurant. While
cultivating his dreams, he worked at Texas fast food chain Taco Cabana
in order to save funds to open Mixtli. Galicia was instrumental in reinvigorating the restaurant chain’s menu with creativity during his time there.
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Peter Rod
Peter A. Rod is a 35-year veteran of the food and drinks business in Canada. Peter currently is is Program Coordinator and Professor in the Wine Programs Faculty at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College (CFWI).
His extensive career has awarded him many levels of achievement including a certified sommelier since 1991 and WSET Diploma holder since 1998, a Certified Wine Educator with SEW in the USA, a certified Assessor for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and is completing his Masters of Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
The past 30 years Peter has worked for several prestigious restaurants and hotels that include Relais & Chateaux properties in Ontario and top restaurants in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. He had an extensive twelve year career for Mission Hill Family Estate, the largest and most prestigious winery in British Columbia as well as brand ambassador and sales and marketing consultant for 13th Street Winery in Niagara. Peter also ran the Ontario office of an international wine sales agency, Tannin Fine Wines, for five years.
Peter has created the online Canadian Wine course for CFWI as well as focusing on Old and New World Sensory classes for our Viticulture and Wine Business students as well as Food and Wine Dynamics for the Culinary programs.
Here he represented top wineries from Canada, California, Italy, Greece, France, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Germany, and Spain. Peter was named fellow of the Ontario Hostelry Institute in 2011 and was awarded top sommelier in western Canada in 1997 and in Ontario in 2006.
Richard Farina
Chef Richard “Richie” Farina started his career as a pizza maker, honing his skills by catering alongside a family friend for two years. His desire to perfect his craft led Chef Farina to enroll in a Bachelor in Culinary Arts at the Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. With Chef Farina’s help, the school won the National College Ice Carving Championship, 3 years in a row. After working in several top restaurants in Boston, Chef Farina sought a new home and a bigger challenge. He found them in Chicago, landing a job with Moto Restaurant in April 2008. In two short years, Chef Farina had worked every station at the molecular gastronomy institution, including front of house roles. In 2009, Chef Farina had his first foray into television, as one of four characters on a nationally syndicated television show for Discovery Network’s Future Food, featuring the whimsical creations of Moto Restaurant. Chef Farina’s work has reached hundreds of national television and print outlets including Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen, Bizarre Foods, and many more. In 2012, Moto Restaurant earned a Michelin star, and in 2014, Chef Farina took the helm as Executive Chef. His recipes can still be found in Moto: The Cookbook. Today, Chef Farina still enjoys success on television. When he’s off set, Chef Farina continues to live his passion for cooking as an Event Chef with JUST, Inc., in Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio’s kitchen, or collaborating on exciting projects, including those with Future Food Studio.
Dennis Chan
Dennis Chan grew up in Jacksonville, where his family has owned twelve restaurants in the past seven decades. After attending the University of Florida and the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Dennis found himself working with Ming Tsai, from PBS’ “Simply Ming.” It was the perfect platform for him to apply the classic cooking techniques that he learned in school to the traditional Chinese restaurant format that he grew up with in Florida.Chef Chan opened Blue Bamboo in his hometown of Jacksonville in 2005. In addition to operating Blue Bamboo, Dennis is an adjunct professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and regularly teaches cooking classes at Blue Bamboo, A Chefs Cooking Studio, Publix Aprons, and Whole Foods. Chan’s first cookbook, Hip Asian Comfort Food, was published in 2009.Dennis lives in Jacksonville, Florida and says, “After working around the country, I am so happy to have found my way back home to Jacksonville.”A supporter of many local charitable organizations, Dennis believes that there is a place in everyone’s heart and schedule for worthwhile organizations.
Robert Seltzer
Expertise: Food Service Operations Management, Culinary Arts, Catering and Event Sales & Management, Food Service Distribution, Food Service Supply Chain Management, Food Service Design, Hospitality Marketing, Italian food, wines and coffees. Chef Seltzer joined the Rosen College of Hospitality Management in June of 2016. His responsibilities include the management of the food labs and Rosen campus catering events. Chef Seltzer also teaches the FSS2221 Food Preparation course. His interests include any topic pertaining to food or beverage, sustainability and fighting poverty. Chef Seltzer has over 30 years of experience managing food service operations including: restaurants, convention centers, stadiums and racetracks; food service distribution and importing; culinary education. Chef Seltzer received his M.Ed. from American Intercontinental University and his B.A. in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University.
Nina Curtis
Nina CurtisDirector and Executive Chef Adventist Health, Roseville Café and Culinary Arts---Nina Curtis is the Director and Executive Chef for the Adventist Health, Roseville Campus Café and Culinary Arts department. At the helm of this dynamic culinary center, Chef Curtis is recognized as a leader and trailblazer in the plant-based culinary movement. As the former Executive Chef at The Ranch at Live Oak, Malibu, the acclaimed seven-day fitness and wellness boot camp and the Chief Nutrition Officer for the Ranch Daily, a meal subscription service, in Southern California, Chef Curtis keeps her finger on the pulse of the wellness and plant-based lifestyle trends. Chef Curtis has been an avid proponent of a plant-based lifestyle for the past twenty years. Chef Curtis' food and beverage background include working with the Marriot Group, Hilton Hotels, Baxters, Manhattan Beach, the El Caballo, Oakland, Pure Food and Wine in New York and the Springs Restaurant and Wine Bar, Los Angeles. Chef Curtis presents lectures and demonstrations on wellness, nutrition and whole foods cooking all around the world. She has developed wellness training programs, set up kitchen operations and has worked closely in conjunction with culinary master gardeners to develop seasonal and gorgeous garden-to-table recipes that are essential to having a delicious plant-forward culinary experience.An MBA graduate of Pepperdine University, Chef Curtis was also trained at Living Light Culinary Institute, Trinity School of Natural Health, the Natural Gourmet Culinary Institute and she holds a Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies, Cornell.
Frances Gonzalez
Frances Gonzalez, a long-time vegan and wine lover, can still remember the day the day she told her Puerto Rican family she was never eating meat again. But her journey to becoming vegan didn't happen overnight - it's been a lifelong evolution.
During a wine tasting tour in France, her guide mentioned the words "egg whites" and her ears perked up. It was then that she learned many animal products are frequently involved in the winemaking process, making the end product unsuitable for vegans.
When Frances discovered there were vegan wine club options in Europe but none in the USA, the idea for Vegan Wines was born!
Having been routinely frustrated by trying to order vegan wines in restaurants and locate animal-friendly bottles in wine shops, she now seeks to spread awareness and make buying vegan wines easier. Today she travels to wineries to ensure their winemaking methods are completely free from animal products before asking them to partner with Vegan Wines.
Fran Costigan
Fran Costigan, culinary instructor, cookbook author, pastry chef, consultant, and the director of Vegan Pastry at Rouxbe cooking school, is internationally renowned as the authority on vegan desserts. Professionally trained, Fran was a chef in both traditional and vegan pastry kitchens before moving into teaching over 25 years ago. Her unapologetically luscious confections lack nothing — except dairy, eggs, white sugar, and cholesterol. Fran’s vegan desserts are appropriate for everyone who loves dessert, whether or not dietary restrictions are an issue. She developed and leads the 90-day Essential Vegan Desserts Course at Rouxbe, the world’s leading online cooling school, where she mentors international students of all skill levels, from beginners to professionals
Fran’s cookbook, Vegan Chocolate Dessert: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, is available in German, French and Italian editions, and follows the classic, More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts.
A native New Yorker, Fran moved to Philadelphia, PA recently, and is enthusiastically visiting Philly’s many renowned plant-forward restaurants. A sought after speaker, you can find Fran sharing her passion across North America and Europe, at schools, conferences, festivals, and corporations such as Google, at resorts, spas and on cruise ships too.
A professional member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Les Dames d’Escoffier, and the Association of Food Journalists, Fran is a proud to serve on the advisory boards of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Foods, Main Street Vegan Academy, and the Vegan Trade Council.
Jamie Simpson
Chef Jamie Simpson is the Executive Chef Liaison at The Culinary Vegetable Institute. He hails from a small town in Summerville, S.C. and is en route to becoming a young highly sought after chef. He began his culinary career in a serendipitous fashion after leaving the music industry and his job at a recording studio. His journey continued to one of Charleston’s most acclaimed restaurants, The Charleston Grill, which gave him opportunities to explore other globally recognized kitchens and work with countless talents.

Chef Jamie is passionate about exploring different cultures, the connection between art and food, and the relationship between unconscious process and creativity. Producing beautifully dressed and garnished dishes that marry complex flavors with technical expertise, he uses luxurious ingredients as well as odd cuts and guts. His creative approach of taking raw product and turning it into something unique and inspiring piques the interests of others. Simpson’s reputation for the use of unusual ingredient combinations, tastes and textures has led him to direct one of the most prestigious kitchens in the country.

At The Culinary Vegetable Institute, he designs dishes around what is available on the farm that day, and his commitment to micro seasonal cooking opens the door for him to be more creative while respecting the plants. His dishes look astonishing, always play tricks on the senses and are constantly evolving.
George O'Palenick
College/School: Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts Campus: Providence. Chef George O'Palenick joined the faculty of Johnson & Wales in 1980, where he teaches Classical French Cuisine, specializing in Classical Italian Cuisine as well as Garde Manger. He is a past recipient of the College's prestigious Les Amis de Escoffier Award in 1992. He was also adviser to the Chippers Ice Carving Club for many years, members of which have won the National Student Collegiate Ice Carving Championship six out of eight years of competition. In recognition of his efforts, he received the College's Outstanding Service Award for over 5 years. O'Palenick also coached the Student Olympic Team, which traveled to Germany in October 2004, and that same year he was named 2004 Educator of the Year by the American Culinary Federation. The ACF also inducted him into the American Academy of Chefs and he was named ACF National Chef of the Year in 1995. In addition, he coached the Student Team at the 2004 ACF National Convention where they were awarded the coveted National Championship Award.Prior to joining JWU, O'Palenick was owner and executive chef at G.A. O'Palenick Catering in Western NY. He owned and operated Art in Ice, Inc. which supplied ice sculptures to functions & corporate events. After retiring from the Ice Business in 2007, O’Palenick was inducted to the NICA Hall of Fame in honor of his vision and pioneering the popularity of ice sculptures in the Rhode Island area. In May of 2014 after 34years, Chef O’Palenick recently retired and was awarded Professor Emeritus of Johnson & Wales University for his commitment and educational contributions over his career. Currently, Chef O’Palenick was elected Northeast Regional Vice President of the American Culinary Federation and just recently retired as an active member of the ACF Board of Directors. In July of 2018, Chef O’Palenick will be inducted into the American Academy of Chef’s Hall of Fame. Special Educational Achievements and Awards from the Culinary Institute of America A.S., Business Administration, Jamestown Community College B.S., Food Service Management, Johnson & Wales University M.S., Hospitality Management, Johnson & Wales UniversityJohnson & Wales University Achievements Curriculum Development for Garde Manger and Classical French CuisineCurriculum Development 4 year Culinary Degree Curriculum Development Classical French CuisineCreated Skills Videos for Johnson & Wales University.
Michael Beriau
Executive Chef Michael J. Beriau has 40 years as an Executive Chef and 10 years experience prior in all aspects of the culinary industry. He graduated in the top of his class and was voted the “Student Most Likely to Succeed” from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. Chef Beriau has been at the helm of some of the finest hotels, resorts, private country clubs, and private city clubs throughout New England.
Michael’s areas of expertise include menu design and recipe generation. He is an expert in buffet presentation and layout as well as modern restaurant plate presentation. He prides himself on staying current with today’s trends in flavor profiles and nutrition in Regional and Global Fusion Cooking without forgetting his roots in Classical French Cuisine. Previous to retiring, Michael lead the brigade at White Cliffs Country Club from 2004-January 2016. Prior to White Cliffs Country Club, Beriau worked as the Corporate Executive Chef at Dole and Bailey, Inc. where he gained vast insight into the American Cattle Industry from seed stock, to feed lots and on to the consumer. He sat on the Task Force Board for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Lowline Cattle Segment. He is a Certified Angus Beef Specialist and served as the original research chef for the very lucrative National Cattlemen’s “Muscle Profiling Project”. Chef Beriau continues to be a Keynote Speaker for many food related organizations,
and performs culinary demonstrations and lectures throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Chef Beriau is a Certified ACF Competition Judge, respected for his enlightening, positive and educational critiques.

Chef has earned many accolades throughout his distinguished career, some of which are:
*A.C.F. Massachusetts Culinary Assoc. Chef of the Year 1979
*A.C.F Competition Most Artistic Piece of the Show 1987
* IKA HOGA 1988 International Ausstellung Culinary Olympics, Frankfurt,
* Gold Medal Category B
* Gold Medal Team Competition
* Gold Medal of Honor – Austrian Chefs Society, Innsbruck Austria
* ACF National President Jack Braun, President Medallion 1990
* ACF Pioneer Valley Chefs Association Chef of the Year 1991
* Inducted into the American Academy of Chefs 1991
*ACF Pioneer Valley Chef of the Year-1999
*ACF National President Noel Cullen, President Medallion 2000
* IKA HOGA 2000 International Knockhurst Ausstellung Culinary Olympics
Michael Sohocki
Michael Sohocki, chef-owner of Restaurant Gwendolyn and co-owner of Kimura and IlForno, developed his commitment to sustainability and authenticity over a lifetime of experiences that stretches from the Texas Gulf Coast to Japan. A native of Robstown, Texas, his creative endeavors began as a visual artist and led to working as a waiter, then finding a position at Marcel’s, a small restaurant in the resort town of Port Aransas. There, he learned the discipline of the culinary craft, from washing dishes and scrubbing the kitchen sink to butchering fish, making salads and baking thousands of loaves of bread.

His apprenticeship complete, he left Texas for the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and then cooking in San Francisco. He and his then-wife then took their infant daughter to live in her mother’s home country of Japan. Michael, like many gaijin, taught English. Unlike other foreigners, though, he opened a cooking school within the language program in Osaka. There, he found his beloved Glestain knife, which he customized and continues to wear holstered at his hip at the restaurant.

With the intention of eventually opening his own restaurant, when Sohocki returned from Japan, he began working at The Cove, a casual American restaurant committed to local, organic and sustainable products. While he served as chef there, he gained his own appreciation and passion for the finest seasonal ingredients and experienced the explosion of interest in the restaurant after it was featured on the Food Network.

Michael moved to Le Rêve, a 12-table contemporary French restaurant that Gourmet magazine called one of the 10 best in America. At Le Rêve, he honed his skills under the famously demanding standards of Andrew Weissman, a fellow CIA grad who trained in France. He moved with Weissman to Il Sogno, which received local and national accolades soon after it opened.

In 2010, Michael took over the former Le Rêve location and named it after his grandmother Gwendolyn, a pig farmer in Oklahoma who grew up during the Great Depression and whose resourcefulness continues to inspire him. Star Chefs named Michael a Rising Star Sustainability Chef in 2012 and the following year, the James Beard Foundation selected him as a semifinalist for Best Chef-Southwest. In 2013, he and his partner Jenn Wade opened Kimura, an izakaya and ramen shop, which presents a Japanese experience previously unknown in San Antonio.
Helmut Holzer
Vice President and Corporate Executive R&D. Previsouly President and CEO of Culinary Masters Corporation.
A native of Austria, Helmut holds the title of Kuchen Meister (European Master Chef) and Koditor Meister (European Master Pastry Chef). He is one of the 69 Certified Master Chefs in the U.S.
Chef Helmut has dedicated the last 46 years to the culinary profession and has won a host of awards and commendations along the way. They include prestigious Culinary Olympics awards and numerous World Cup titles in culinary artisrty, ice sculpting, and outstanding pastry presentations.
Most recently Helmut became the President of the American Order of Master Chefs "AMCO". Helmut has guided the culinary program to his exacting standard for many company's the last 46 years. Outside buliding the speciality programs for Dole & Bailey, Appetizer as well as our grain, dried fruits, nuts, and bean selections are personally sourced by Helmut. He has added exotic marinades and unique spice rubs to our extensive flavor inventory. There have been new additions to our food service and further prepared iteam selections that come from Chef's state of the art kitchen, the Center for Culinary Arts. He has also been involved in furthering the ongoing curriculum of the Institute du Fromage, the leading cheese education program in America.

Helmut offers and invaluable talent for furthering the education of sales representatives and our valuable customers. He is always available for training, research, and developing new and interesting products and applications that will be on the cutting edge of the culinary scene in America and beyond.
Assisting clients in a number of R&D Projects from breakfast items, snacks, sandwich solutions, pureed meal solutions, marination systems, and much more all the way to desserts items. The list of companies is long, but a few include: Starbucks Asia, United Airlines, Gate Gourmet, Swans, Cheesecake Factory, LSG Dierbergs, Wegmans, Hainan Airlines, and Kroger.
Jason Hall
I thought I would be a famous drummer when I grew up. My brother Jeff and I were in local bands together for many years through high school. When it came time to go to college and find a job, I put the band on the back burner and started looking at culinary schools.

When Jeff and I were growing up it was common to prepare some of the basic items needed for dinner. On the weekends both our parents cooked, and my mother always baked breads and sweets. Jeff and I often helped with preparing dinner so these were skills I was already comfortable and familiar with. The day I cut my long hair in exchange for a position in a professional kitchen, I still half believed I was going to be a rockstar one day.

My culinary journey began when I received my degree from The Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, Pittsburgh, in 1995. Since then, I’ve worked in multiple country clubs and, with some of the best chefs in the industry, I participated in countless competitions to hone my skills. In 2012 I took the CMC exam at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Passing and becoming the 67th Certified Master Chef in the history of the exam was and always will be the biggest moment in my life and career.

The next year, I was selected to be a member of the exclusive ACF Culinary Team USA 2016, to represent the United States in international cooking competitions across the globe. In 2014, Team USA won third place overall at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg with double gold medals while obtaining the highest score out of all nations in the cold food category. In 2016 we once again reigned supreme by winning gold medals in every category and going on to place 1st in the world in the Culinary Art Category Cold Food.

I am currently the Vice President of Research and Culinary Development at Southbend where we are developing a new type of unique and involved customer support that second to none. I am President Elect at AMCO and I developed and host a webinar called "The CMC Pre-Plan" where I can assist CMC candidates in their path to taking the exam.
Richard Hoffman
Chef Hoffman serves as Corporate Executive Chef for Health Care Services Group, and has been in the culinary industry for over 25 years. A graduate of the Southeast Institute of Culinary Arts and the Greenbrier Apprenticeship program, Hoffman has worked in many sectors of the Culinary industry such as hotels and resorts, country clubs, culinary schools and restaurants. He has achieved the professional levels of The American Academy of Chefs, Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary administrator, Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional and Approved Culinary Evaluator. Currently he is Bailli for the Chaine des Rotisseurs – Baltimore Bailliage and serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the ACF.
Elle Simone Scott
Elle Simone Scott is a culinary maverick. Always drawn to creative food culture, Elle has been dazzling the culinary world since 2003, quickly becoming a highly sought after freelance Food Stylist and Culinary Producer. Elle has collaborated and contributed her unique styling abilities to Food Network, Food Network Magazine, The Cooking Channel, The Katie Couric Show, CBS Corporation, ABC’s The Chew and Bravo's Chef Roble and Co.  Her specialties don’t stop with styling and production. As the creator of SheChef Inc., a professional networking organization for women chefs of color and allies; Elle shares her passion by mentoring, teaching resource building, business consultation/ development and most importantly, Food Social Justice. Elle continues to inspire others and break glass ceilings, as she is currently the resident Food Stylist & On-Air Talent on America's Test Kitchen on PBS and the first African-American woman to do so.
Leah Sarris
Chef Leah Sarris has worked in diverse areas of the foodservice and related industries from restaurants, to instructing culinary arts at a prestigious university, foodservice consulting, farming and community outreach to improve school nutrition. Currently, she is the Program Director for the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. This means she has built and developed the first interdisciplinary program between culinary science, nutrition and a medical school, teaching future doctors and those currently in the medical field how to cook and prescribe healthier foods and lifestyles to their patients. This program is the first of its kind and over 30 other medical schools around the nation have licensed the curriculum.

Leah’s passion lies in teaching everyone from medical students, to community members taking free cooking classes at the center, to professional chefs how to make delicious food that just happens to be good for you. She strives to teach people that nutritious food should be tasty, easy to make and affordable, while arming them with the knowledge and skills to bring that vision into their kitchens.
Amy Sins
A bland press kit bio cannot prepare you for the contagious joy, southern charm, and barefoot shenanigans of Chef Amy Sins. She’s a mischievous host and fanatical food explorer in constant motion. Chasing down rogue chickens, spinning stories about Louisiana food traditions to eager diners, fishing for supper, traveling to far-off places, dreaming up dishes with Cajun and Creole flair – all part of Amy’s unpredictable, almost unbelievable day-to-day adventures bouncing around South Louisiana (and the globe).

Born and raised in nearby Gonzales, Louisiana (the Jambalaya Capital of the World and home of the best damn brown jambalaya around), Amy didn’t follow the typical path of a New Orleans chef. No years in culinary chool or humble kitchen stints at marquee restaurants. She was wired or cooking and entertaining as a kid, watching her parents’ elaborate southern dinner parties unfold. After the event we will not name happened, Amy did some deep-down soul-searching that ended in walking away from a 20-year career in sales and bootstrapping her way into building Langlois from scratch in 2012 — first as an interactive dining/open kitchen restaurant in the Marigny, and as the traveling culinary entertainment group it is today. Langlois is a tribute to her roots, combining Amy’s pure love of dinner party style
entertaining and Louisiana culture with authentic New Orleans culinary experiences.

Chef Amy lives with her husband and a rotating cast of cats and chickens in the French Quarter, which provides a never-ending source of inspiration and absurdity. When she’s not entertaining (and feeding) hungry audiences, you’ll find Amy pouncing into new adventures, working on her next cookbook, traveling, or getting dirty at Crossroads Farm. Amy also hosts “New Orleans by Mouth,” a weekly radio program on WRBH 88.3 FM.
Stephanie Charns
As a Pastry Chef, Stephanie Charns has worked in a variety of kitchens and classrooms in the Southeast. Having created desserts for diplomats and dignitaries while she was the Pastry Chef in the Virginia Governor’s Mansion, she now works as a Pastry Chef Arlington, Virginia. Chef Charns enjoys incorporating savory elements into desserts while still respecting each ingredient.
Craig Youdale
C​raig hails from Ottawa, Ontario where he began his culinary journey. Upon completing his culinary school at Canadore College, in North Bay Ontario, his career path included The Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel and Claire De Lune Restaurant in Ottawa, then on to Executive Chef at the French Bistro, Tete a Tete, in Ottawa’s trendy West End.A move to Calgary brought Executive status at one of Calgary’s top restaurants at the time, Entre Nous. As a leading influence in the Calgary’s food scene, Craig was recruited by a top culinary school in Canada, The Culinary Institute of Canada, where he ended up working for over 14 years as professor, program coordinator and wine consultant. One of Craig’s crowning achievements has been his role as Team Manager for Culinary Youth Team Canada at three Olympics in 2004, 2008 and 2016. His leading of Canada’s national team has led to Olympic Gold medals all three Olympics as well as World Grand Prix Championship in Glasgow, Scotland in 2007​.

​Craig has now moved on to Niagara College where he resides as Dean of The Canadian Food and Wine Institute. This global leading institution in fermentation sciences and culinary innovation is leading Canada in training aspiring chefs, brewers, winemakers and food developers. Craig recently was awarded a Gold Medal as Educator of the Year for 2017 from the prestigious Ontario Hostelry Institute as well as the Spirit of Niagara Award in Hospitality for his contribution to the region.
David Voelz
Chef Voelz began his culinary career at the age of 16 and ran his first kitchen at the age of 20. Gaining experience in many facets of food service, eventually becoming an owner in a restaurant, Chef Voelz took time to hone his craft by attending culinary school, graduating at age 30. Since then, through a series of jobs in hotels, country clubs, private business clubs, contract food services, and now at a CCRC, Chef is putting all these experiences into play to bring both familiar and new dining experiences to residents at Galloway Ridge at Fearrington in the heart of North Carolina. Through many years of trial and error, learning, and pushing the boundaries, Chef Voelz is a leader in retirement dining and also in the local culinary community. Chef is currently the chapter president for the ACF Raleigh-Durham Area Chef's Association and can be found supporting ACF practical exams as a Certified Evaluator in the southeast.
Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford is the Executive Chef of Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill, GA. Currently, Chef Ford is Team Captain of the ACF Culinary Olympic Team 2020, and has competed in numerous other competitions including the Bocuse d’Or Team USA 2017.
Born in Michigan, he began his culinary training in a local vocational-technical training and development program at Fordson High School & Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, MI. Soon after he joined the Ritz Carlton Dearborn in their Restaurant and Banquet operations. Gerald earned his bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), in Hyde Park, NY.
Chef Ford’s career has taken him all over the globe including turns at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City, Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Jasper Whites Summer Shack, and the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Other opportunities led to Chateau Robert in Montgaillard France, Commanders Palace in New Orleans LA and the Moulin de Mougins, in Mougins FR.
Sharon Olson
Sharon Olson has been immersed in marketing for the food industry for more than 35 years. She was Vice President at two leading foodservice agencies prior to forming Olson Communications in 1988 and the Culinary Visions in 2002 that surveys opinion leaders and consumers on emerging trends in the food industry. She has served as Executive Director of Y-Pulse ( since 2004. Y-Pulse focuses on young consumer eating habits and trends away from home. Ms. Olson often speaks on trends in the food industry, most recently presenting new original research at the National Restaurant Association Show, Culinary Institute of America, National Association of College and University Food Services National Conference, Refrigerated Foods Association, The Flavor Experience and Ideation Fresh Foodservice Forum. She is a frequent contributor to leading trade and business publications on the foodservice industry and consumer trends. She also regularly attends international trade shows to report on foodservice trends. She is past president of the Chicago chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and currently serves on board of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, an organization devoted to education and philanthropy that fosters the development of women leaders in the foodservice and hospitality industry. She is a recipient of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Sparkplug Award and two awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) that recognize outstanding service on a national level. She was also awarded a Child Nutrition Showcase award by the School Nutrition Association for ground breaking original research on Vending Trends in School Foodservice. She holds an MBA with distinction from Keller Graduate School of Management and has served on the advisory board for the Hotel and Restaurant Program at Ashland University.
Christopher Tanner, CEC
Chef Christopher Tanner, CEC, AAC, is the Director at the Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School. Prior to joining CCI, Chef Tanner led the culinary research and development teams for Campbell Soup Company. His team drove authenticity, innovation, and strategy to develop delicious new products for Pace, Prego, Swanson, Plum, Pepperidge Farm, Chunky, Slow Kettle, and created the new and unique brands of Prego Farmer’s Market and Campbell’s Well Yes. As a Culinary Director, Educator, and Executive Chef of restaurants and resorts throughout the U.S., he brings over 25 years of solid foundation in the culinary arts. He is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Chefs (AAC); the ACF’s honor society. He is an ACF approved judge, past NE Region chairperson for ACF competitions, and holds over 45 culinary competition medals between the ACF and the Société Culinaire Philatropique.

He has held various board positions with local ACF chapters and has been awarded Chef of the Year, Chef Educator of the Year, and the Chef Professionalism Award from these chapters. Nationally he has been awarded the ACF Presidential medallion for his contributions to the industry and to the growth of culinarians and chefs. Chef Tanner holds an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Schenectady County Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration from the State University of New York at Delhi, and a Master’s Degree in Gastronomy from Boston University.
Kendall Dix
Kendall Dix is a line cook based in New Orleans. He is also the fishery associate for Healthy Gulf, a group committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf Region.
Caralyn House
Chef House has a degree in Finance and Banking from Appalachian State University. She also studied at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, earning an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. Chef House won a scholarship to study Pastry Arts taught by the White House pastry chef, Roland Mesnier. She has worked in restaurants in the Washington, DC, area as well as Raleigh, NC.

Chef House has a degree in Finance and Banking from Appalachian State University. She also studied at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, earning an Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts. House won a scholarship to study Pastry Arts taught by the White House pastry chef, Roland Mesnier. She has worked in restaurants in the Washington, DC, area as well as Raleigh, NC.
Chef House has been teaching a variety of classes at Wake Tech since 1991. She now focuses on the baking and pastry classes, and heads up the Baking and Pastry Arts degree program. She is a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), and was awarded the 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award by the North Carolina Community College System.
Russell Scott
Russell is the Culinary Director for The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, where he oversees the food production facilities at both Carlton Woods locations.
Prior to his position at Carlton Woods he was Director of Clubhouse Operations at The Everglades in Palm Beach, Florida where he was responsible for the overall food and beverage service at the Club. Russell was Dean of Education for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone, responsible for the quality and effectiveness of all education programs at the college’s campus in St. Helena, California. The position included overseeing the faculty and staff while directing the development and delivery of the curriculum and support of students enrolled in the college’s degree and certificate programs at Greystone.
Additional professional experience includes executive chef at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Windermere, Florida, the Hotel Nikko in Los Angeles and the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, California. He has held various chef positions at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles; The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, FL; The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and the Carambola Beach Resort in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Russell is also a partner at Gore-Scott Hospitality, a professional food service consultant group.
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) honored Russell Scott as the USA’s Chef of the Year™ for 2008. Representing the United States in the Global Chefs Challenge the following year, he placed second among chefs from throughout the Americas. The ACF presented him with the organization’s Chef Professionalism Award in 2011.
Chef Scott was a member of Culinary Team USA, winner of two gold medals and the world championship in hot food at the International Culinary Olympics in Germany in 2004. As captain of CIA Culinary Team 2000, he earned three gold medals at the Hotelympia competition in London and five silver medals at the Culinary Olympics. Chef Scott was also captain of the California Culinary Olympic Team which won four gold, four silver, and two bronze medals at the 1996 Culinary Olympics. He was a gold medal winner at the 1998 Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg as a member of the United States Culinary Team.
A Certified Master Chef (CMC) and Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), Chef Scott is an active member of the ACF and Club Managers of America.
Jeffrey Schlissel
I'm Chef Jeffrey Schlissel or Cheffrey as most of my friends call me. I have been in the culinary field for over 30 years. What started as a simple thing to do with my mother turned into a lifelong career. I have an extensive knowledge cooking all types of cuisines, but I find that I truly enjoy creating dishes that combine Pan Asian Floribbean flair, or as I like to call it Floribbeanasian. I like to use locally sourced and sustainable products in my dishes. Most recently I have been experimenting with modern cuisine, smoking and created, among other dishes, the most delicious vegan bone marrow. Growing up in South Florida opened me to a Latin pantry and introduced my palate to a wider range of taste experiences. Bold, fiery flavors meshed with sweet refreshing tropical complexities come to yield a Zen-like experience for your taste buds. My restaurant experience includes corporate and independent restaurants as well as hotels and country clubs. I have been a presenter at the National Convention for five years.I am now the Chef and kingpin of the Bacon Cartel in West Palm Beach Florida. I work with local farmers to feed their animals better to give me a better usable product and make a less of an impact on our natural resources. I’ve seen too much wasted food and have tried to get to the point where maximizing profits and limiting waste became as easy as cracking an egg!
Jonathan Deutsch
Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., is Professor in the Center for Food and Hospitality Management and Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University. He was the James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow, leading a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction for chefs and culinary educators and was named a Food Waste Warrior by Foodtank. Before moving to Drexel, Deutsch built the culinary arts program at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York (CUNY) and the Ph.D. concentration in food studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and School of Public Health. At Drexel, he oversees the Drexel Food Lab, a culinary innovation and food product research and development lab focused on solving real world food system problems in the areas of sustainability, health promotion, and inclusive dining. He is the author or editor of eight books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson) and numerous articles in journals of food studies, public health and hospitality education. He earned his Ph.D. in Food Studies and Food Management from New York University (2004), his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America (AOS, Culinary Arts, 1997), and is an alumnus of Drexel University (BS, Hospitality Management, 1999). A classically trained chef, Deutsch worked in a variety of settings including product development, small luxury inns and restaurants. When not in the kitchen, he can be found behind his tuba.
Farmer Lee Jones
Farmer Lee Jones always wears his trademark overalls and red bowtie as a symbol of his commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. Ever since the early days of The Chef’s Garden’s creation over thirty years ago, he has remained tirelessly committed to not only ensuring that the family’s three hundred acre farm remains one of the most innovative and pioneering in the world, but to fostering a nuanced conversation with the chefs in our industry who look to the farm to grow vegetables that are as aesthetically pleasing on the plate as they are flavorful to the palate.

Farmer Lee Jones also works alongside his dad and brother on the farm, inspiring The Chef’s Garden team to perpetually discover innovative ways to become more sustainable while at the same time, producing the highest quality ingredients possible. He was honored to receive the James Beard Foundation’s award for Who’s Who in Food & Beverage, making him one of the first farmers to receive it. He serves on the boards for Chef Magazine, Chef Concept and Modern Farmer.He appeared in an episode of the Food Network’s “Food Network Star” as well as “Restaurant: Impossible” along with First Lady Michelle Obama. He is proud to have been named one of The Daily Meal’s “60 Coolest People in Food” in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and recently enjoyed spending time on the farm with television personality Andrew Zimmern for his Bizarre Foods program.

The one thing he can’t do is reveal what his favorite vegetable is because that would be like having to name your favorite child.
Eric Fleishman
Eric Fleishman (aka Eric the Trainer) began his fitness career as a 98lb. weakling living in rural Maine. This initiated a lifelong passion with martial arts that would eventually lead him to Hollywood, California. Eric spent five years working as a personal trainer (certified through ACE and TSI) in Manhattan, and it was here that he began to develop a gender specific workout regiment, as he pinpointed the science of change through three major components: diet, exercise, and sleep. For the past several years, Eric has been a committed supporter of the health and wellness initiatives of ACF and transforming the bodies of our chefs. In 2018, he was awarded the ACF "Spirit of Aloha" award at the National Convention in Orlando for his ongoing work to improve the lives of ACF chefs.
Lisa Dorfman
Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND, CEO/Director of Culinary Sports Nutrition & Performance, Food Fitness International, Inc. Bio Known as The Running Nutritionist®, Lisa is leader to industry, academia, the public & press for more than three decades Lisa has built a global Integrative Sports Nutrition & Performance Practice, consulting to Olympian, Professional, Collegiate & Junior athletes, Lisa was the US Sailing Olympic and Paralympics Team Nutritionist for the ‘08 Beijing Olympics & Nutrition Expert for Zumba® Plate program. A consultant to Sony Entertainment Latin America, Lisa is known as the Celebrity Nutritionist working with some of Hollywood’s Award winning actors/actresses. The ‘17 DIFM National Excellence in Practice Award Recipient, Lisa is an Integrative Nutritionist, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Board Certified Professional Counselor, certified USAT&F & USA Triathlon Coach, Certified Reiki Practitioner, Certified Horticulturist & Fellow of The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. She teaches Culinary Nutrition, adult & kids cooking classes & online sports nutrition courses @ A culinary consultant and educator, Lisa has worked with Ritz Carlton and Sandals Resorts, International Spas, Clubs & dozens of restaurants; taught culinary nutrition at Johnson & Wales University & Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) & serves as Chairperson of the MCI Advisory Board. In 2014, Lisa & Miami organic restaurateurs launched Miami’s first Farm to Table Performance Nutrition Delivery Service. In 2014, she co-founded the award winning global mobile app called cTHRUNutrition. In fall ’17 she was selected as a Finalist for her Race for the Cure Arepa recipe for Harina PAN US in Miami, Florida. She is an active member of Slow Food Miami serving on its Snail of Approval Awards committee since ‘15. Author of 8 books, Lisa was a National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND), selected as a Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year and has appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN & has been featured in numerous publications including: USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Food & Wine, Vegetarian Times, Men’s Fitness, Outside & Runners World magazines. She serves as Country Representatives Director for the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (IANND) representing more than 70 countries & 1000+
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Adam Kaye
Adam Kaye’s journey to The Spare Food Co. began when he interrupted anascent career at an environmental law think tank to attend the French Culinary Institute as a recipient of a James Beard scholarship, and went on to cook in and lead some of the most influential kitchens in DC and NY. For the past eighteen years Adam has worked side-by-side with Dan Barber at Blue Hill as Chef, Culinary Director, and educator. Adam co-created the successful wastED pop-up restaurant concepts in New York and London, which garnered international acclaim, and has inspired him to launch The Spare Food Co. Adam is a leading light at the forefront of culinary innovation in the burgeoning Food Waste movement.
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David Topain
Chef Topian started cooking professionally when he was 16 years old and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1988 with a degree in classical French cuisine. After school, he worked in various French restaurants in upstate New York, where he became highly interested in baking and pastry. In 1994, Chef Topian relocated to Boston where he apprenticed under the Former Ritz Paris Pastry chef, Chef Bruno Biagianti and advanced to Assistant Pastry Chef at Ritz Boston. For a decade after the Ritz, Topian was the Director of Research and Development for a national wholesale pastry company where he oversaw all phases of product development. He established product portfolios for Trader Joe's, Wholefoods, Starbucks, Kroger amongst other global brands. Most recently, he was the Executive Pastry Chef for Legal Seafoods Restaurants where he developed a pastry and beverage program for all 35 locations. Now in cannabis, Chef Topian has taken the same approach that he’s always had to pastry: Use the finest ingredients to craft delectable confections for everyone to enjoy.
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Thomas Recinella
Chef Recinella’s career in food service has spanned over thirty, five years. He has worked through the ranks of the kitchen from dishwasher, and line cook, to chef, which is something he is, very, proud of. He has owned and operated his own restaurant designed and opened new state of the art facilities, run operations ranging from small private clubs to large scale catering and food production to private personal chef services. Chef Tom is versatile in front and back operations. He has extensive experience in higher education where he spends the vast majority of his time these days. He currently serves as the Dean of Culinary for the Culinary Institute of Michigan a Division of Baker College.
Chef Recinella has been involved with the ACF Student Team process since its earliest days having coached, and managed student culinary teams to consistent success in two different states and two different regions of the ACF. He is an avid culinary competitor having won numerous ACF Medals and special judge’s recognition awards. His competition experience has brought him abroad as well competing and coaching in Germany at the International Culinary Olympics, Luxembourg at the World Cup, and Italy at the Italian National Championship. Chef Recinella served as an Advisor to the United States Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT) for the 2010 World Cup in Luxemburg and was a member on the New York Culinary Olympic Team from 2004 through 2006, winning the individual title of National Champion of the Cold Kitchen at the Italian National Championship in Marina di Massa Italia. He is an ACF Certified Culinary Judge and Ice Judge. He believes strongly in culinary competition as a way to develop skill and knowledge under pressure. Some of his closest friends are people he has met in the ACF Competition arena over the years.
Chef Tom has received many awards throughout his career, including the American Culinary Federation National Educator of the Year, the Sharing Culinary Traditions Award from the American Academy of Chefs, two Presidential Medallions, two Chapter Chef of the Year Awards and the State University of New York’s Chancellors Award for Excellence in teaching. He is most proud though, to have, been, inducted into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.
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Dana Johnson
Pastry Chef and Owner of Sugar Cubed Pastry Lab in Bradenton, FL, Blue Grove Baking Company in Kissimmee, FL, and Executive Pastry Chef for the Pier 22 group, overseeing production for the Bradenton Area Convention Center, Manatee Performing Arts Theater, two fine dining restaurants and ballrooms totaling more than 1500 seats, and culinary director for Bealls department store corporate dining headquarters.
Marco Pierre White
Dubbed the godfather of modern cooking, the first rock-star chef and original ‘enfant terrible’ Marco Pierre White is a renowned chef, restauranteur and TV personality.

He has led the UK restaurant scene for over 30 years and is regarded by many to have single-handedly dragged it to being at the forefront of modern gastronomy.

He helped kick-start the careers of many famous chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Jason Atherton, all of whom trained under him and his acclaimed book, White Heat, is regarded as having influenced the careers of several Michelin starred and celebrity chefs, being described by one critic as "possibly the most influential recipe book of the last 20 years".

Marco's imminent success began when, at the age of 17, he went to London to train in classical French cooking with Albert and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche. He later went on to work with Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffman, both renowned for their French cooking techniques.

Marco opened his own restaurant, Harveys, in 1987 where he got his first Michelin star that year and his second the following year. He finally won his third Michelin star in 1995 at The Restaurant Marco Pierre White in the Hyde Park hotel London, becoming the first British chef and youngest chef worldwide, at the age of 33, to win three stars.

By 1999 Marco had achieved everything a chef would endeavour to become and so he finally hung up his apron on 23rd December, retiring from the kitchen.

Following his retirement, Marco took time out to spend it with his family and enjoy his hobbies, fishing and shooting. Having become an icon and an inspirational chef, in 2007 Marco jumped back in to the public eye with major TV roles in Hell's Kitchen, The Great British Menu (2008) and Australian Master Chef (2011).

A major shareholder in Black and White Hospitality, he is now dedicated to rolling-out his restaurant concepts to share his love and passion for food.

Focusing on delivering good, quality food at affordable prices his brands include Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Marco’s New York Italian, Mr White’s English Chophouse, Wheeler’s of St James’s Oyster Bar & Grill, Bardolino Pizzeria Bellini & Espresso Bar and Marconi Coffee and Juice Bar.

With the 50th UK-based venue just around the corner, Marco has just opened the first of an exciting new brand called Koffmann & Mr White’s, which is an English and French Brasserie created with his former mentor Pierre Koffmann
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Olivier Andreini
Born in Switzerland, Chef Olivier Andreini completed his culinary apprenticeship at the Hotel Montreux-Palace in Montreux, Switzerland, where he won the Prix d’Excellence awarded by La Société Industrielle et Commerciale de Montreux.

After completing his apprenticeship, Chef Andreini continued to hone his skills in restaurants around Switzerland including L’auberge de L’Onde and L’Auberge du Raisin. After Switzerland, Chef Andreini moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where his experience came to include owning two restaurants - Le Petit Genève and La Vaudoise - and becoming the Executive Chef Instructor at the Dubrulle French Culinary School. Chef Andreini made his next move to the Hudson Valley (NY) where he maintained the position of Professor in Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America for 10 years before becoming the Executive Chef at the Merion Cricket Club, an exclusive private club in Haverford, Penn. for five years and at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina for about four years.

Currently, Chef Olivier Andreini is the Executive Chef at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club in Montgomery, Texas where he utilizes his expertise to create incomparable dishes and run an immaculate kitchen.

A certified judge for the ACF, Chef Andreini has had recipes, techniques, photos and contributing materials published in numerous books for the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Andreini’s crowning achievement came in 2005 when he became one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs in the United States.
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Jody Eddy
I graduated from The University of Minnesota with an English degree, as well as, The Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. After, I cooked at Jean Georges and Tabla in New York and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray, England.

I served as the Executive Editor of Art Culinaire Magazine for three years.
I am the author of the cookbooks The Hygge Life: Embracing the Nordic Art of Coziness Through Recipes, Entertaining, Decorating, Simple Rituals, and Family Traditions for Ten Speed, Cuba: Recipes and Stories From the Cuban Kitchen for Ten Speed, the IACP Judge's Choice Awarded North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland for Ten Speed, the James Beard nominated cookbook Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants for Running Press, and Recipes and Stories from Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way for Gill Books.

I am co-founder of The Hygge Workshop, a pop-up workshop focused on the art of getting cozy, and of Fourth Floor Partners, a company dedicated to written and video storytelling for companies in the food and beverage industry.
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Kristy Carlucci
Growing up in Upstate New York, when Kristy was collecting cookbooks and watching cooking shows as a child, it was a glimpse into what grew into her passion. Growing up, she would experiment in her grandmother’s kitchen, even pretending she had her own baking show. Making people feel welcome and comfortable moved her into a career as a nurse, all the while baking for her co-workers and family every chance she got. With the support of her friends and family, she decided to make the change to turn doing what she loved into her career. Kristy gained a strong set of fundamentals while studying Baking and Pastry Arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and even stayed on to complete the Manager in Training program. During her time there, she cemented a strong foundation of technique while learning to be detail-oriented. With over a decade of professional experience, she brings a style of classic French technique with Americana comfort, while focusing on seasonality and sustainability. During her career, she has developed and strengthened her skills under the tutelage of some culinary greats. Upon gaining an internship with the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant Group, she was able to understand what working in a fine dining restaurant entailed. During her time in school, Kristy worked at the campus bakery under Chef Francisco Migoya, CMB, who made an enormous and lasting impact on her food philosophy. From there, she has honed her skills in many aspects of baking and pastry, namely at The Greenbrier, working under Chefs Thierry Delourneaux and Richard Rosendale, CMC. Currently, she is the Pastry Chef of The Osprey Tavern, as well as a chef consultant for Seito Sushi and Reyes Mezcaleria, all in Orlando, FL. Working and living in Orlando, she has enjoyed such accolades as one of the “Best Desserts in Orlando”, several mentions and articles in local publications, featured in Pastry & Baking North America, cooked for The James Beard House, worked on an original dessert for Honey Nut Cheerios, and been a VIP Chef for Beard in Baldwin Food & Wine Festival. She is also an adjunct professor of Baking & Pastry Studies at Valencia College, where she has much joy in being able to share her knowledge with the next wave of pastry cooks and bakers. When not in the kitchen, Kristy enjoys spending time with her husband and son, traveling, reading, and cheering on Orlando City Soccer Club.
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Kathryn Fenner
Kathryn Fenner, Principal, has over 20 years of experience in the Food Industry, including experience in Foodservice, Vend, Convenience and Drug Channels.
Kathryn recently rejoined the Technomic team. She was previously employed as an Associate in the practice from 1998-2003, where she conducted numerous proprietary and multi-client studies across all away from home channels, including market sizing, market trend evaluation and competitive assessments/benchmarking.
Kathryn spent the last 13 years on the manufacturer side of the industry, working for Kellogg’s Specialty Channels in a variety of roles including Portfolio/Brand Marketing, Customer Marketing and Innovation. Most recently she served as the Director of the Frozen Business Unit at Kellogg’s Specialty Channels, where she directed all aspects of the Eggo, Morningstar Farms, and Gardenburger brands within foodservice and convenience, including Strategic Planning, Pricing, Portfolio Management and Rationalization, and Promotional and Innovation planning and execution. Early in her career Kathryn also gained knowledge and experience in foodservice sales at Kraft North American Foodservice.
Kathryn has been a presenter at several industry events and conferences, including the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Forecast and Outlook and Foodservice Fundamentals events, Winsight’s Outlook Leadership Conference, and Technomic’s Foodservice and Consumer Insights Planning Programs.
Kathryn holds a Masters of Business Administration from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, with a concentration in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin- Madison for Communications with a concentration in Rhetoric and Public Address.
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Jennifer Hill Booker
Chef’s cooking style is a modern reinvention of Southern cuisine that incorporates the traditional use of seasonal ingredients,
important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with French culinary techniques she learned from her training at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Paris.
Her first cookbook, Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent. (Pelican Publishing, 2014) includes original recipes that will help you create healthy, delicious meals for your family. Using Southern upbringing and French training as the basis for culinary exploration in her second cookbook, Dinner Déjà Vu: Southern Tonight, French Tomorrow, (Pelican Publishing, March 2017), uses one list of fresh ingredients to create two meals, one Southern and one French. Combined grocery lists provide time-saving tools for recipes from cocktails to desserts and everything in between.

She is a Georgia Grown Executive Chef for the GA Department of Agriculture, the Culinary Explorer for the Georgia Department of Tourism and Travel, is the founder of Southern Divas of the New South TM Dinner Series. Chef Jennifer is an active member of the prestigious Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, a member of SlowFood-Atlanta and of Atlanta’s No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. Chef Jennifer currently sits on the James Beard Foundation Food Waste Advisory Council.

Weaving her love of traditional Southern cuisine with her belief in incorporating healthy, seasonal foods and her classic French training, Chef Jennifer created a unique style of cooking that she terms Modern Southern Healthy Cuisine with a French Accent. Chef Jennifer shares this brand of cooking through her cooking segment ‘Chef Jenn to the Rescue,’ on CBS46’s Atlanta Plugged In, many television appearances, with original recipes in such publications as Waste Not Cookbook, Southern Living Magazine, Garden & Gun and Essence Magazine as well as her Food Network debut as a finalist on Cutthroat Kitchen. Her website, provides information about healthy eating, culinary trends, travel, and recipes that reflect her culinary point of view of Modern Southern Healthy Cuisine with a French Accent.
Rocky Dunnam
Chef Rocky joined the NINETEEN49 team in the winter of 2012 and has since been creating simple but innovative cuisines that consist of classic, delicious dishes.

His culinary journey began at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Scottsdale where he received his degree. From there, he began an externship (and became Chef de Partie) with Chef Beau MacMillan at Elements, his restaurant at Sanctuary Resort and Spa. Chef Rocky is a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and National Member of the American Culinary Federation, a Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) from the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals and ServSafe certified by the National Restaurant Association.

Awards and recognition have followed Chef Rocky everywhere he has been, a testament to his exceptional culinary skills and abundant talent. He recently won the Restaurant Roundup Battle of the Area Chefs 2015 and received the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council Prime Service Award 2015. He was featured in and wrote for publications FoodService Director and Nutrition and Foodservice EDGE, and frequently speaks with the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP) across the nation.

In the summer of 2015, Chef Rocky even competed on an episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” proudly representing the NINETEEN49 Catering team.

Chef Rocky’s signature dish is an expression of his point of view as a Chef: an aged ribeye, cooked medium rare, basted with butter, topped with a sprig of rosemary and served with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. It’s simple, clean and enhanced with Southern charm, a reflection of Chef Rocky’s character.

As a self-proclaimed “typical Southern boy,” Chef Rocky enjoys the outdoors and working out six days a week. He’s actively involved in youth ministry, acting as a mentor to about 50 junior high and high school students every week. He’s happily married to his wife, Nicole, and has four dogs, Rausia (English Bulldog), Scuttle (Queen Beagle), Nala (rescued Belgium Malinoise mix), and Belle (rescued Dachshund mix).
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Scott Paul
Scott Paul is a Chef, Cheese Lover, Fly Fisherman and most importantly husband of 23years, as well as a self-proclaimed Whisky and Scotch aficionado.

He started his culinary career 37 years ago baking bagels in Philadelphia, his love of food led him to Culinary School at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI. Scott has held every position in the kitchen from dish washer to Executive Chef. In his career he has spent the majority of his time working in large hotels including Walt Disney’s Polynesian hotel, Ritz Carlton, Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Hilton Hotels. Scott left the kitchen to pursue the next phase of his career in foodservice and has been Corporate Chef and Regional Sales Manager with BelGioioso Cheese for the past eleven years.

Scott has always believed in paying it forward and loves spending time with culinary students and chefs. He spends some of his time each year speaking to students at Johnson and Wales and other culinary schools around the country to help guide their career paths. Scott often can be seen participating at major food events around the country like the National Restaurant show and Walt Disney World’s Food and Wine Festival as a guest Chef. While participating in the Food and Wine Festival he has given many culinary demonstrations for their guests and is proud to have won the WDW Food & Wine Festival “Burger Bash” for best hamburger.

Scott is also very proud of the contribution and partnership that BelGioioso Cheese has with the ACF and AAC over the past years.

At the end of the day he loves to spend time with his family, friends and his dog. He will always be considered a real Foodie by friends and colleagues and a fan of a good meal and great glass of Scotch!
Steve Stapleton
Chef Stapleton is a previous Chapter President and Vice President of the ACF Chapter in South Texas and has been an involved member of the ACF since 1997. As the former Executive Sous Chef of San Antonio Country Club and then a consultant helping restaurants grow their menu and profitability, he has always had cheese at the forefront of his menu designs. From the private country club sector, he went on to work in the brokerage business where he acted as a Regional Chef Director. He is currently the National Accounts Director of Belgioioso, Inc. where he collaborates with national account chains to help bring higher quality cheeses to the center of the plate.
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Jacquy Pfeiffer
Chef Pfeiffer’s exceptional career began with an apprenticeship in Alsace at the famous Jean Clauss
Pâtisserie. Following his apprenticeship in Strasbourg, Pfeiffer went on to establish himself as a leading
figure in the art of pastry working with some world-renowned families and establishments. Some of these
include: the Royal Family in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the Sultan of Brunei; the Hyatt Regency, Hong Kong; a prestigious pastry shop in Palo Alto, California; and both the Fairmont and Sheraton hotels in Chicago, Illinois. These experiences led Chef Pfeiffer to teach and consult for some of the most prominent properties and companies worldwide, such as the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas, and the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

In 1995, Jacquy Pfeiffer along with Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., founded The French Pastry School which is considered one of the leading pastry and baking institutions in the world. He is the author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook, The Art of French Pastry, and has received numerous awards including the French Legion of Honour Award, the highest honor awarded in France and the equivalent of knighthood.
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Chris Lilly
Chris Lilly emerged on the scene in 1992 when he began working for the world famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur, Alabama, founded in 1925. Lilly is now Pitmaster and 4th generation partner.

He is head chef of the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team, the winner of 17 World BBQ Championships in meat categories, and holds a record 5 MIM Grand Championships. He won the American Royal International Invitational and captured the International Jamaican Barbeque Championship. In 2012, he won the title of “King of the Smokers” at a national barbecue Invitational.

Lilly is a 2016 inductee into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. He was an instructor for Pork Summit at Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. In 2016, he was hired by the Melbourne & Sydney Australian Barbecue Festival to help promote their events overseas. Lilly has appeared twice at the James Beard Foundation. He is a Celebrated Chef of the National Pork Board and serves as a spokesperson for Kingsford Charcoal. His private catering jobs include work for companies like Nissan, NASCAR, and Microsoft. Lilly is a proud Ambassador for Smithfield and Yeti.

In 2009, Lilly authored a compilation of recipes, stories, and advice: BIG BOB GIBSON’S BBQ BOOK, Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint. In 2014, Lilly’s second book titled: FIRE & SMOKE, A Pitmaster’s Secrets was released.
Dina Altieri
Altieri was born in New York City and has worked in the foodservice industry for nearly a quarter century. She graduated as salutatorian from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1991, with an associate degree in occupational studies.
Building her career following graduation, Altieri cooked from coast to coast for multiple restaurants, catering operations and special events, including those of the famed James Beard House in New York and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood. She worked as sous chef at Fino in Torrance, Calif., and as executive sous chef at Descanso in Hermosa Beach, Calif., before becoming executive chef at More Than A Mouthful, Inc., in Los Angeles.
Altieri entered the education side of the hospitality industry in 1997, when she began working as a chef-instructor and department chair at California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. From there, she went on to serve as associate dean and chef-instructor at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. While living and working in Vermont, in 2007 she graduated summa cum laude with a liberal-arts bachelor’s degree from Johnson State College. In 2013, she received an M.S. in Higher Education - College Teaching and Learning from Walden University, graduating with summa cum laude distinction.
Altieri earned the U.S. foodservice industry's highest honor for chefs who teach—the ACF National Chef Educator of the Year Award—in 2011 following rigorous evaluation of her oratory, culinary and cooking-demonstration skills. As determined by the award’s criteria, Altieri exemplifies the greatest proficiency among all foodservice educators in helping students define and develop their careers by using their skills and abilities to provide a strong foundation for their future success. She has successfully coached Kendall student teams to win the ACF Central Regional Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl six years in a row since 2010, and led the 2010 and 2011 Kendall teams to national victories. Indeed, Altieri will accompany the 2015 regional finalist team representing Kendall College to the ACF’s National Convention in Orlando in July to reclaim the national title. Altieri, who resides with her family in Mt. Prospect, Ill., northwest of Chicago, is profiled in two widely acclaimed books by chef, advocate and author Ann Cooper: “A Woman’s Place Is in the Kitchen”: The Evolution of Women Chefs (Wiley, 1997) and In Mother’s Kitchen:
Bryan Wareham
I have been working in the food industry since I was 7 years old, making menus and lunch for my mother. The smile on her face was what made me realize that I was meant for this field of work. For 10 years I strived to make sure everyone I served or worked with "​in the house" had that happiness.

For the next 10 years I have done my personal best to convey that message to the students that I teach. Every year a new group of students come into my classroom and I get excited (not only because I know what I can teach them, but rather what they will help me learn). Everyday is a learning experience for us both and I am thankful.
Hari Pulapaka
Hari Pulapaka is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of the highly acclaimed Cress Restaurant in DeLand FL. Hari is also a full-time tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Stetson University. Hari lives a full life driven by two full-time professions. As a chef, Hari received a classical culinary degree in 2005 from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, has trained at Canoe in Toronto and opened Cress in 2008 with his wife Dr. Jenneffer Pulapaka, who is a podiatric surgeon with her own private practice The DeLand Foot and Leg Center. Jenneffer is also co-owner of Cress and is its Wine Director and General Manager. Since 2012, Cress has been rated the #1 restaurant in the Greater Orlando area by ZAGAT and one of America’s Top Restaurants. Hari is a four-time (2015, 2014, 2013, 2011) semifinalist for The James Beard Award for Best Chef South and a two-time (2013, 2012) nominee for Food & Wine Magazine’s The People’s Best New Chef. Hari attended the first official James Beard Foundation Boot Camp in Louisville for Policy and Action as one of only 15 chefs nationwide and is an active board member of CAN (The Chef Action Network) which is a division of the James Beard Foundation Impact Programs. Hari has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City on multiple occasions. Hari & Jenneffer serve on the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force. The couple actively supports a wide variety of philanthropic endeavours all across Central Florida and help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for a variety of food and health related causes. Since the inception and more so now, Hari is passionate about finding ways to improve the regional food system of Central Florida in particular, and the nation, as a whole. Hari is one of the founding members of goFLA (Greater Orlando Food Leaders Alliance), a growing network of chefs, farmers, food writers, and artisans who are dedicated to promoting Central Florida as a dining destination and showcasing the tremendous food bounty of our region. Cress Restaurant has hosted multiple “Lesser Fish” Dinners and continues to champion sustainability issues in Central Florida including maintaining an active Food Waste Program. Cress Restaurant is a restaurant partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, one of only a handful in the State of Florida. Hari is also a Certified Executive Chef of The American Culinary Federation and is ACF Certification
Keith Sarasin
Keith’s love for business developed at a young age when he would cook for his mother using old cook books that were given to him by his grandmother. He began his culinary career at the age of 15 working at a local sub shop washing dishes and making subs. As the years went on he worked with a variety of restaurants working his way up from Sous Chef to Executive Chef. Keith worked as a private chef before founding The Farmers Dinner; a farm to table event planning company in 2012. The Farmers Dinner concept came about from Keith’s time working with local farms in the New England area. He wanted a way to support local farms while sharing the stories he learned from his time with various farmers. Since 2012, The Farmers Dinner has hosted over 76 farm to table events across New England and fed more than 18,000 customers raising over $115,000 for local farms.

In addition to his time in the kitchen, Keith is the author of two books, “The Perfect Turkey” and co-author of the 2019 release, “The Farmers Dinner – A Story in Every Bite.”
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Jeff Bacon
Jeff Bacon is a Certified Executive Chef and cook book author from Winston-Salem, NC. He is also a Certified Culinary Administrator, and member of the American Academy of Chefs. He has worked in the food service industry for 36 years.

In his current position at Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC, Chef Jeff oversees the Providence family of programs. Since founding this effort in 2006, Bacon has fostered Providence into the tip of the spear in Second Harvest Food Bank’s efforts to combat the root causes of poverty and hunger. Anchored by it school, Providence Culinary Training, students work in the Providence Community Meals department to provide meals to hungry children, seniors and other individuals who struggle to provide nourishment for themselves and their families. After learning a wide array of culinary and life skills, these students go on to employment in the greater culinary community in the Triad of North Carolina (PCT boasts a 85% one year job retention rate). Select graduates can apply to enroll in the Hospitality Residency Program at one of Providence’s social enterprise businesses: Providence Catering, Providence Restaurant or Providence Kitchen (which houses a Barista Training Program). Lasting 24 months, this residency allows graduates of Providence Culinary Training to earn above market rate wages while developing more advanced skills and receiving mentoring and access to wrap around services though Providence’s department of Client Advocacy. 100% of those completing the Residency obtain wages above the NC self-sufficiency rate.

Providence is an American Culinary Federation Quality Program, and belongs to the training offerings of both Forsyth Technical Community College and Goodwill of NWNC. Providence was selected as the 2013 Sustainable not for Profit of the Year. Chef Jeff is a two time recipient of the American Culinary Federation Presidents Medallion (one of only 6 people since 1929 to receive this honor more than once) was given the UNC-G Public Service Award in 2018, was awarded Triad Local First’s “Vibrancy Award” in 2015, and was selected for the Winston Salem Foundation Award in 2017, the highest award for non-profit service in the city.

Jeff believes in his totality that he is fulfilling Gods calling upon his life after a redemptive transformation of his own. He has assisted other programs in their efforts to start or grow from Colorado to Massachusetts to Florida. In his effort to globally assist others to lift individu
Otto Borsich
Raised from humble roots in the Heartland, after nearly dying on the delivery table, discover his continued struggle as he conquered a childhood disability. Through Otto’s boyish eyes, observe Grandma B, an old world artisan from Budapest orchestrate her skills as a strudel maestro. Relive his youth when he innocently created a one of a kind shirt so outlandish and controversial he disrupted his entire 4th grade class, resulting in a public spanking. Flashback to his teenage years and the vexatious relationship he had with a domineering mother. Travel with Chef Otto beneath the depths of the Pacific Ocean cooking on the nuclear submarine USS Patrick Henry. Serving the sailors who served our country, thereby plotting the course for his true calling.

In his no-knives barred approach to life and cooking, Borsich carves out his own Otto-biography. This memoir told in his idiosyncratic style, captivates with extraordinary expression and universal appeal. Peppered with rock & roll, redemption, and recipes, his story is irreverent, intoxicating, and inspiring. Humorous and healing, A Chef is Born will make you laugh, cry, think, and like a great meal, leave you wanting more. Candid, witty, colorful, and at times cutting, indeed, a compelling story. You will savor the flavor of the recipes and prose. This is a literary smorgasbord. An exquisite presentation offering something for everyone. A rarity for any book of any genre. Definitely a must read.
Anita Cheng
Anita Cheng is the coach and manager of the Hong Kong Culinary National Team, a culinary consultant for new start-up restaurants or those that required remodeling, a seasoned professional chef that have the privilege of working with both Western and Chinese chef. She is specialized in creation of innovative Western and Chinese cross-over menu that redefined the Taste of Hong Kong at the international culinary challenge platforms. She is regarded by the industry as a professional chef. She started as a passionate home cook who frequently entertained guests with comfort home cooking.

By trade, she was a brand marketing professional working with international fortune 500 brands and has won the Asian PR award with the rebranding of Hong Kong. it was during this project, she started her journey with chefs. She has been working with the culinary profession since Yr 2000 and has dedicated her time and effort to build and coach the Hong Kong Culinary National Team started in 2011. Anita has been leading and training the team since then, the team has grown from less than 20 members to 65 professional and young chefs including Western and Chinese Cuisine. The Team has made giant steps on the international culinary platform, been to 39 culinary challenges in 23 different cities, winning over 50 gold medals and 17 class or overall championship.

She represents the Association & the chef profession on local, regional, international Worldchefs and culinary industry level as a speaker on food trends, leads industry issues discussion, inspirational menu creation and demonstration. Crossing over the Western and Chinese Cuisine, she is in a unique position to assist chefs on “both sides” to learn from each other, creating the uniquely Hong Kong flavor!
Greg Beachey
30 year veteran of the foodservice industry.
Driven and Passionate about food and education

My overarching philosophy is customer satisfaction through thorough staff training. Using all my experience and knowledge to teach and train staff, operators, students and educators, my goal is to raise the excellence of the restaurant industry and the future workforce.
My journey has included all aspect of the foodservice world, from a large camp setting, to a very large retirement community, convention centers, small and large restaurants and education. I can now draw on that experience and the vast network of professionals I have worked with to raise the bar at most any foodservice or hospitality education property.
A passion of mine over the years has been youth culinary competitions. I have managed and overseen the national championships for SkillsUSA for the past 10 years, and the ProStart program for 5 years. This experience has allowed me to connect not only with the top young culinarians in the country, but also with the top educators in both secondary and post-secondary programs, as well as the leading chefs and culinary professionals nationwide I call on each year to judge and evaluate these contests.
I have also been very active in educational organizations, speaking at numerous national conferences over the years.
I look forward to continuing my journey and utilizing my experience, talent and connections to the next chapter of my career.
Bev Shaffer
A Little Bit About Me…
I am passionate about all things food: eating it, writing about it, developing recipes with it, traveling to explore its origins. I’ve been a chef and cooking school director, traveling instructor and international researcher and trainer.

I’ve developed more than 18,000 recipes on a wide variety of subjects (especially if those subjects are sweet things) and have cooked and presented at the James Beard House twice.

Born in New Jersey with an attitude to match, I have a wicked sense of humor and have – as a hobby – done stand up comedy.

I was at Woodstock (the original, not the 50th anniversary) and saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium.

I’ve authored six cookbooks and had food columns in newspapers and magazines, and have played with food on major networks and public television as well as radio. Even had an award winning cable television cooking series!

Some time, when it’s raining and you’re wondering what to do, feel free to read my full bio. I’m humbled and appreciative that I’ve been able to accomplish so much.

At this moment in time, I’m a culinary consultant and caregiver for my husband who has Alzheimer’s—believing that Love Is Healthier Than Kale!

It’s my life. Plan B.
George Bezanson
After years of traveling to perfect his culinary trade, Chef George spent the early years of his profession in Manchester, NH opening up two local venues, The Bridge Cafe and Mint Bistro. He then worked at the Pressed Cafe in Nashua, NH.

Now living on the Seacoast, he was most recently part of the Row 34 team in Portsmouth before joining us at Earth’s Harvest. Chef George is inspired by the farm to table vision that is becoming more prevalent in the culinary community and he wants to bring the quality of fine dining to everyday food.

Excited about the core values of Earth’s Harvest, he said, “Not only is [Earth’s Harvest] representing a better lifestyle, but this, real food from local farmers is the future in food.”
Gabriel Rosado
Experienced Certified Executive Chef, CEC through The American Culinary Federation (ACF) with a demonstrated history of working in the senior living / healthcare industry, private restaurants, hotels and private golf clubs. Skilled in Menu Engineering, Catering, Food & Beverage, Food Cost Analysis, and Culinary Administration. Looking to elevate the perception, standards and expectations of foodservice in a healthcare setting. Strong Culinary Professional with an Associates Degree focused in applied Science of Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu Chicage formally known as The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC).
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Elizabeth Wessman
Elizabeth Wessman, born and raised in Tampa, Fl graduated from Florida State University is an ACF Certified Chef De Cuisine and owner of Bottom Stung Beekeepers LLC. Upon graduating from Florida State University, she realized her passion was in food and attended Le Cordon Bleu, Orlando. Elizabeth worked at prestigious resorts such as the Sagamore in Lake George, NY and Amelia Island Plantation in Fernandina Beach, FL. Afterward, she became a teacher at her alma mater Le Cordon Bleu, Orlando. She taught a variety of classes but specialized in what came most natural to her, the butchery class, Foundations III. Having a competitive side, she competed three times and medaled on the five-person professional competitions and coached two student teams who medaled as well.
All the years she spent in the hospitality industry fed her love for the life of farming. She took a chance and jumped into beekeeping with the help of her husband, Jimmy. They both fell in love with the art of beekeeping and decided one day they’d do business out of it. Back in the fall of 2016, Le Cordon Bleu announced they were closing all site schools in the United States. Let’s say that’s all Elizabeth and Jimmy needed to hear and Bottom Stung Beekeepers was born.
Elizabeth and Jimmy provide raw, local honey harvested from their many apiary locations in the state of Florida as well as management services for exclusive hotels such as the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton at Grand Lakes Orlando.
Chef Elizabeth, the beekeeper, loves to spend most of her time in the apiary, but on her free time, she enjoys her husband, cats, and her best friend Louis an Australian Shepard. As much as she enjoys talking of food and wine, she is more than willing to share her knowledge on her newfound passion of the important honey bee.
Shawn Loving
Chef Shawn Loving, CMC, is a 1991 graduate of the Schoolcraft College Culinary Arts Program and has served as Culinary Arts Department Chair and full time faculty since 2008. Chef Loving oversees six full time and ten adjunct faculty members, makes staffing decisions, and revises curriculum. In October 2017 Chef Shawn successfully passed the rigorous 8 day ACF Certified Master Chef exam. He is one of 68 Master chefs in the US.

Chef Loving began his career in Michigan restaurants including Salvatore Scallopini, Hotel Pontchartrain/Radisson, Franklin Hills Country Club, and Les Auteurs/Madison’s before becoming a chef for Walt Disney Company at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Chef Loving traveled to EuroDisney in Marne de la Valle, France, as part of a task force to develop procedures for resorts. He was also the Corporate Executive Chef at Race Rock International in Orlando. From 2001–2008, he was the proprietor and chef at the popular Loving Spoonful restaurant in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Chef Loving served as personal chef for members of the Detroit Pistons and as the in-flight caterer for the team, and from this created Global cuisine LLC, his chef placement working service. On Chef’s recommendation, many chefs have been placed as personal chefs to NBA and NFL athletes, who continue to thrive under his guidance and direction.

In 2008, he was selected as Executive Chef for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Basketball Teams for the Beijing Games, and Executive Chef for the USAB Men’s Team in Istanbul for the 2010 and 2015 FIBA World Championships, the 2014 summer World Championships in Madrid, and the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Chef Loving still serves as the Executive Chef for USA Basketball currently.

Chef Loving has won numerous awards and medals from the American Culinary Federation, including Gold Medals in the two-man Hot Food Mystery Basket competition at the Midwest Culinary Jamboree in Cincinnati, the Salisbury, Maryland, Culinary Competition (November 2011), and the Dorsey Culinary School in Pontiac, Michigan (February 2012). As a member of the Michigan Culinary Olympic Team, he won a Bronze Medal at the October 2012 Culinary Olympics, and in 2015, Chef Loving earned two Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal in mystery basket cooking.
Julia Spondike
Julia Spondike, 19, is a very busy person. In between attending classes at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and doing homework, she works part-time for the school’s strategic marketing department, and in the kitchen at The Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, a group home for at-risk children ages 18 months to 18 years.

Spondike has loved cooking since she was little. However, she got more serious about it after her sophomore year in high school at home (she was homeschooled for nine years) in Lorain, Ohio. After much discussion with her family and former students, she decided to enroll in a local trade school for a more concentrated culinary education. Since then, she’s never looked back, earning medals in 12 local and national competitions, including a national champion gold at SkillsUSA in 2017. When that led to a full-ride scholarship to the CIA, she didn’t hesitate to take it.
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Jacob Wright
Jacob Wright is the 8th generation of farmer to reside on his family farm in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia. A graduate of the Corcoran College of Art and Design Wright explored careers ranging from architecture and boat building to auctioneering before coming home to run the family farm. Merry Go Round Farm raises Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs in white oak pastures as well as several varieties of heirloom flowers and vegetables. As a member of three different school boards, Wright is a champion for career and technical education and has been the driving force behind his school district’s recent return to making food from scratch and eliminating processed foods.
Ryan Manning
The roots of MX Taco began many years ago in the kitchens of Mexico when Chef Ryan Manning’s passion for the culture and cuisine of Mexico eventually took him south of the border where he worked alongside some great chefs and discovering some of the most unique dishes from towns, cities and states across the culturally rich country.
Upon returning to the United States via Washington D.C. he began to build upon the idea of sharing this rich culture with the American palate, exposing people to the unique taste of the different regions of the historically rich Mexican nation. He began to cater via The Ritz-Carlton to this specialized cuisine including being called upon by the Mexican Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C. to cook at The Mexican Cultural Institute for special events.
Ultimately though Chef Manning wanted to return to the city that had become his home, Orlando, where he built a solid foundation of his culinary career in the heart of some of the largest hotel companies including Disney and The Ritz-Carlton in Orlando.
MX Taco opened in early 2019, influenced by pre-Hispanic Mayan culture, gastronomically exciting Pueblan and Oaxacan flavors.
William Racin
The best pastry chef in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation (ACF), is William Racin, CEPC, Pastry Chef at The Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh, PA. Racin received the 2018 ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award after winning a competition at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, held in New Orleans, July 15-19.

The ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award, sponsored this year by Plugrá European Style Butter and CÉMOI Chocolate, was established in 2004 and recognizes a pastry chef who displays a passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field and has helped educate others by sharing skills and knowledge. Four finalists competed at the national convention after first being nominated by colleagues and then winning their respective regional competitions.
Jeremy Fogg
Before Eagle Scout Jeremy Fogg tries to Beat Bobby Flay on the popular Food Network series, let’s look back on a similarly tough cooking competition.

I’m referring, of course, to the Dutch Oven Cobbler Cookoff at summer camp.

At the time, Fogg was an adult leader in Troop 787 of Winter Springs, Fla. He had plenty of kitchen experience, but this was years before he was hand-picked by Emergil Lagasse to be pastry chef at his restaurant in New Orleans.

The competition pitted Fogg against some of the best Scouting chefs in Florida.

And guess what? His peach sour cream cobbler took the crown.

Jeremy Fogg cooking at a Scout event.
Rising quickly
Fogg was a Cub Scout in Pack 787 and then a Boy Scout in Troop 787. He earned Eagle in 2005.

After that, he attended Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and fell in love with baking. He graduated in 2008 and made pastries for the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., and later the Hilton Orlando. Emeril hired Fogg in February 2014 and promoted him to pastry chef five months later.

In 2015, the American Culinary Federation named Fogg Louisiana’s Best Pastry Chef in part because of his Banana Coffee Mousse Cake. Yum.

I caught up with Fogg to talk Scouting and his career. He says the BSA taught him leadership and planning skills that help him in the kitchen.

One thing Fogg wouldn’t discuss: details about his appearance on Beat Bobby Flay. For that, I’ll have to tune in just like everyone else.
Amy Guterba
Amy Guterba is a pastry chef who's worked for the Jeff Ruby restaurants and the Boca group here in Cincinnati. But she's also worked for high-profile chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Todd English. She was executive pastry chef at Olives and at Prime in the Bellagio in Las Vegas for nine years.
Darin Nine
Chef Nine graduated from the Dedman School of Hospitality at The Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Administration (BSHA) and earned his MBA from Webster University in St. Louis. He began his Food Service Industry career at the age of 13 while growing up in Eustis, FL. Chef Nine has owned and operated restaurants, managed food and beverage operations at private clubs and resorts and continues to work with others in a consulting capacity. He is Director of Culinary Education at the Academy of Culinary Arts@Belleview High School in the Heart of Central Florida outside of Ocala, FL. He works at the regional, state and national level with SkillsUSA and is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors with Florida SkillsUSA. He is a nationally award winning educator who believes education coupled with experience is the most powerful tool to engage a student and maximize performance. Chef Nine is a National Restaurant Association Foodservice Management Professional (FMP), an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and Certified Culinary Educator (CCE). He is also a National Restaurant Association Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM) and a member of the World Association of Culinary Societies (WACS). Chef Nine lives in the Ocala National Forest with his wife Diana, their two rescue dogs - Scooter and Whitley and a found cat – LBK
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Denise Baxter
Successful teaching career with Stafford County Public Schools at Mountain View High School teaching Culinary Arts I, II and Culinary Specialization from 2005 to 2015. The program started with an empty classroom and commercial kitchen and evolved into a program that holds an American Culinary Federation Certified Secondary Program Certification, certifies students as ACF Certified Junior Culinarians, ServSafe Food Manager certification and CareerSafe OSHA certification. Students completing the program have continued on to study at The Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales University, Le Cordon Bleu, L'Academie de Cuisine, and J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
John Piazza
Experienced Executive Chef with a demonstrated history of working in the recreational facilities and services industry. Skilled in Catering, Food & Beverage, Microsoft Excel, Hospitality Management, and Customer Service. Strong operations professional graduated from The Culinary Institute of America.
Brian O'Malley
Brian is one of the most uplifting and motivating people I have ever met. He inspires me to look at ways to change, evolve and grow my own career in ways to approach the love he displays for his own career, peers and students. I've never seen anyone that can educate a person on something in a way that shares his enthusiasm and could never be seen as being done in a demeaning way.
Carlton Brooks
My career started in the restaurant business at the young age of eight, washing dishes at my father’s Drugstore Soda Fountain and Dinette.

Soon after I went to work for Max Lerner, at Max’s Bakery and Pastry Shop. While there Mr. Lerner apprenticed me, teaching many of the aspects of the baking and pastry industry in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

I then went to work for CORAL Management services as head of their baking operation. We provided baked goods from a commissary style environment to over 80 hospitals, nursing homes and ambulatory care facilities.

After graduating from the Culinary Arts program at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, I soon went to work teaching baking and pastry classes for a high school Culinary Arts Vocational program for the Mesa Public School system. Soon afterwards my program split off to become a Career and Technical program at the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT). During my 30 plus years I have been teaching at the school, it afforded me the ability to take an active part with my areas ACF chapter, and my local community.

I am a graduate of the Mesa Leadership Training & Development program. I served on two city boards, was a loaned executive for the Mesa United Way, and served as President, Secretary and board member of my Temple for over 15 years.

During my tenure as an educator we were able to host, a Chef of the Year dinner, many local chapter meetings, and fund raisers, thus involving my co-teachers and students with the local ACF chapter. Part of my teaching duties has involved being a co-coordinator for our schools ACFEF Certified Secondary program, training students for ACF, C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Programs), SkillsUSA and FCCLA competitions. All which have produced many winners. My program was awarded the Arizona CTE Program of the Year in 2004, and I was a top 10 finalist for Arizona Teacher of the year in 2006.

I have been an active member of my local ACF chapter, for many years. First the Resort and Country Club Chefs Association, which was later merged into the Chefs Association of Arizona. I first became certified in 2002 as a CEPC, then as a CCE. I have also been an ACE for the last four years. I am now serving my second, two year term as the chapter President. In the past I have held the position of Apprenticeship Coordinator, Educational Chair, Secretary, and Vice President. I have been nominated three times for Chef of the Year, and was selected in 2004. In
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Stacy Carroll
Stacy Carroll serves as the Director of Impact & Womxn’s Programs for The James Beard Foundation where they oversee a full suite of programs designed to increase the number of womxn leaders and owners across the culinary and hospitality fields. This includes the Foundation’s "Owning It" and "Womxn's Entrepreneurial Leadership" initiatives. Both programs are designed to introduce womxn in culinary-related fields to best practices related to visioning, business planning, fundraising and pitching their business. Stacy also co-leads the Foundation’s efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive industry.
Before Stacy joined the James Beard Foundation, they built a reputation as a sought after event designer and caterer having worked with Puff n’ Stuff (Orlando, Fl), Design Cuisine (Washington, D.C.), and B.R. Guest Hospitality (NYC). Stacy is a graduate of Wagner College, and resides in New York City with their wife Natalie and Yorkshire Terrier, Little.
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Heidi Cramb
The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), a professional organization for chefs and cooks, was founded in 1929 in New York City. ACF is now the largest professional chefs’ organization in North America. We are made up of more than 15,000 members belonging to more than 150 chapters in four regions across the U.S.

Bringing with her 19 years of business experience, Ms. Cramb was formerly director of marketing and membership for the National Military Family Association in Alexandria, Va. During her tenure as director, she was credited with establishing a membership department for a national advocacy group, increasing membership by more than 20% in her first year, exceeding budget projections, streamlining processes, and enhancing member communications to support the association’s business goals. Ms. Cramb’s prior association experience also includes serving as the political action committee manager for the National Automobile Dealers Association in McLean, Va.

In November 2006, Ms. Cramb was named interim managing director of the ACF from her previous position as membership director, which she held since April 2005. While membership director, Ms. Cramb successfully restructured the membership department, developed and implemented effective strategic-marketing plans to increase membership and revenue while decreasing expenditures, and directed the integration of a new database across all ACF functions.

Ms. Cramb’s responsibilities as executive director of operations are to serve as chief operating officer of the ACF and its two subsidiaries–American Culinary Federation Foundation and the Chef & Child Foundation. She will oversee all facets of the organization from finance, education, certification and accreditation, to membership development, event management, communications and IT.
Allysun Selick
Allysun is an excellent manager who has a strong grasp of all aspects of the hospitality industry. She is highly inteligent, works well with others and is driven to secure results. It was truly a pleasure having Allysun as an AGM. She was easy to direct and always achieved the results I asked for, regardless of the task.
Tracy Lorenz
CEO & President of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and strong believer in Passion. Preparation. Purpose.
Stafford DeCambra
After graduating with from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1978, DeCambra, CEC®, CCE®, CCA®, WCMC, AAC® worked in several foodservice capacities in Hawaii, his home state, from the Cruise Line Industry to the continental United States and recently retired serving as a Global Culinary Consultant. In 2005 DeCambra was inducted into the Epicurean World Master Chefs Society and in 2013 he received his Master Chef Certification from the World Association of Chef’s & Cook’s Society, an honor he says is a dream come true. He is the past National Chairman of the American Academy of Chefs® and currently serves the Ambassador, the honor society of the American Culinary Federation. Chef DeCambra also serves on Culinary Team USA as the 2016 ACF National Youth Team Manager. His most recent position he served as the Corporate Executive Chef for Poach Creek Indians where Chef DeCambra oversaw all Culinary Operations for 3 different properties to include Creek Casino-Tallapoosa, Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore and the newly built Wind Creek Casino
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Mark Wright
I began my career in the restaurant business as a dishwasher. After graduating from the culinary and baking program at Erie Community College, I began my cooking career in various restaurants and clubs before beginning my tenure as executive chef at Transit Valley Country Club in East Amherst, New York. During my 28 years at the club, I was able to assume an active role with my ACF chapter, hosting Chef of the Year dinners, meetings and involving the entire culinary staff with the ACF. I currently have the pleasure of teaching in the Hospitality Management Department at Erie Community College North Campus from which I graduated in 1974. Along with my duties as an assistant professor, I serve as the department chair, overseeing the Culinary and Pastry and Hotel and Restaurant Management curriculum.

I have been an active member of the ACF and my local chapter, the ACF of Greater Buffalo, for over 35 years. I currently serve the chapter as an advisor and as certification chairman. I have also served as chapter president and treasurer and have been selected as Chef of the Year twice, in 1987 and 2001. I have served as national treasurer, overseeing the building of the federation’s new multi-million dollar headquarters in St. Augustine, Florida, balancing the budget for four years, and working to improve our relationship with our financial advisors. I served as northeast regional vice president, successfully overseeing our regional conferences and regional AAC dinners. I continue to serve the ACF as the current American Academy of Chefs Chair, and 2019 in coming ACF National Secretary.
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Kimberly Brock Brown
Chef Kimberly Brock Brown has over 30 years of experience within the culinary arena.

Chef Kimberly was born Chicago and raised in Maywood, IL. As a Chef’s Apprentice Graduate in 1984, Chef Kimberly’s culinary journey has taken her to work in kitchens in Dallas, TX; Hilton Head Island, SC; Atlanta, GA; Asheville, NC; and Charleston, SC. Also being the featured Pastry Chef in February 1998 at the James Beard House in New York City. In 2001, Chef Kimberly started a wholesale specialty foods distributing company.

In 2009, Chef Kimberly wanted to get back to basic with her culinary expertise and started Culinary Concepts, LLC for catering, demonstrations and other services.

Through the American Culinary Federation, Chef Kimberly has earned the following certifications: CEPC- Certified Executive Pastry Chef; CCA-Certified Culinary Administrator. Chef Kimberly is also a member of the AAC: American Academy of Chefs, the Honor Society of the ACF. With more than 900 Fellows, Chef Kimberly was the 1st African-American Female Chef inducted in its 30+ year history, and is the only African-American Female Certified Executive Pastry Chef in South Carolina.

As 1 of only 9 Approved Culinary Examiner’s in Charleston, Chef Kimberly is empowered with the ability to educate, train, grade and proctor to students, cooks and chefs as they strive to learn their craft and become proficient chefs through written and practical cooking exams. Gaining world-wide judging experience of culinary students Nassau, Serbia, Johannesburg, and Alayna, Turkey has only reinforced her love of culinary arts.

Chef Kimberly was a Founding Member of the ACF-National Pastry and Baking Guild, a Dale Carnegie graduate, Greater Charleston Chef of the Year:1999, Greater Charleston Member of the Year: 2008, Winner of a Bronze Medal-;1990 and a Silver Medal- 1991; in The Gulf of Mexico Seafood Challenge. As a part of Team South Carolina in 2002, ’03, & ’04, Chef Kimberly was awarded the Bronze Medal at the Culinary Super-Challenge in Orlando, FL. ACF's Cutting Edge Award in 2014 and the Service Award from the AAC in 2016.

In 2017, Chef Kimberly became the first African-American woman to sit on the board of the prestigious American Culinary Federation (ACF), which represents over 17,000 chefs.
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Nikkia Rhodes
Nikkia Rhodes grew up in Louisville and was always interested in food. Her mother, who worked at Volunteers of America, would take Rhodes to work with her where she would sometimes get to work alongside her mother. She began working with Chef Edward Lee at MilkWood and then started working at 610 Magnolia in 2015.
Rhodes has always been passionate about teaching and in 2017 began working at Turnip the Beet, where she is a Chef Instructor for children ages 2-17. When she’s not working or at school, Rhodes tries to learn as much about cooking as she can and find inspiration by watching cooking shows and videos, and a lot of reading.
Joseph Leonardi
Chef Joseph Leonardi, CMC, is an internationally recognized and award-winning chef who has built his career on education, leadership and Integrity. He currently serves as Director of Culinary Operations for The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., one of the most prestigious clubs in the United States. The Country Club has hosted multiple USGA events as well as the 1999 Ryder Cup, and it will be the host site of the 2022 U.S. Open.

Chef Leonardi is also President of LEONARDI, Culinary Management Concepts, a consulting company that provides services such as recipe development, training and inventory control for food-and- beverage operations.

Prior to joining The Country Club, Chef Leonardi was the Executive Chef of the Somerset Club in Boston. He joined that club’s staff after eight years on the faculty of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. Previously he had been a research and development chef for Rich’s Sea Pak, St. Simon’s Island, Ga.

Chef Leonardi has an associate, bachelors and masters degrees from Johnson & Wales.

An avid culinary competitor, Chef Leonardi was manager of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Culinary Team USA 2016 and served as captain in 2012 of the ACF Culinary Team USA. Both of these teams competed at the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition (commonly known as the “culinary Olympics”) in Erfurt, Germany. Chef Leonardi was also a member of the 2008 American Culinary Federation Culinary Regional Team USA that earned a gold medal in the cold- food salon and was ranked No. 1 in the world out of 62 regional teams at the IKA.

Chef Leonardi is a member of ACF Rhode Island Chapter and in 2009 was named the National Chef of the Year at the ACF National Convention in Orlando, Fla. He is one of only 67 Certified Master Chefs, as recognized by the ACF, in the United States.
Vincenzo D'Antonio
Food & Wine connoisseur and aficionado, Vincenzo gathered his expertise while working in the food and beverage sector in Italy. He is well-traveled throughout nearly every provincial capital and all of their unique little hamlets. He is welcomed as a guest and host of regional food and wine events where he shares his vast repository of wine and food info. He is an encyclopedia of all the acronyms – DOP, IGP, DOCG.

He now writes for and he won a print journalist award from the region of Puglia (Salento Negroamaro). He has internal GPS in Italy and can easily sniff out the most charming places, wonderful wines and the most gorgeous views no matter the village, town or city.
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Robert C. Hale
Robert Hale started his role as Foodservice Mgr with Texas Beef Council (TBC) in 2015. Prior to joining TBC, he was the director of marketing with the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA). During Robert’s time at TBC and TRA, he has built relationships with restaurants and foodservice professionals to share his knowledge with all beef loving chefs. In his role, Robert has daily hands-on interactions with the Texas foodservice community and chefs where he promotes and educates about beef. Getting to work with some of the most talented chefs in the world and high school culinary students is a highlight of Robert’s work.
Preparing food, especially beef, is Robert’s passion. So much so, that he will be an American Culinary Federation Certified Culinarian August of 2019. While his favorite cut of beef is a bone-in New York strip steak, his favorite dishes to prepare are a 72-hour sous vide beef tongue or Korean-style beef pot roast.
Robert has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the State University of New York at Cortland. He is pleased to get up every day and use his skills and interests to work for the cattle producers of Texas. He is also particularly passionate about the future of the foodservice and hospitality industry. His involvement with the Texas Chefs Association as Director of the Austin Chapter, The American Culinary Federation, and Epicurean World Master Chefs Society allows him to train our future chefs and food service professionals in a way that brings beef to the center of the plate.
When Robert isn’t advocating for beef he enjoys road cycling and cheering on his favorite NBA team The Golden State Warriors. He comes from an athletic background. He was a quarterback on the Marshall University football team when they won a Division 1AA National Championship. He then went on to the State University of Cortland where he led the team to the Division III Playoffs in 1996 and 1997. In 2015, he was inducted into the Batavia High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his play at quarterback in football and forward in ice hockey. He and his wife Dawn have two daughters Ainsley and Ezri. They all enjoy being active, playing sports and watching sports at their home in Leander, Texas
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Barton Seaver
Barton Seaver is one of the world’s leading sustainable seafood experts and educators. Before leaving the restaurant industry to pursue his interests in sustainable food systems, he was an award-winning chef leading top seafood restaurants in Washington, DC. After traveling the world with the National Geographic Society, he translated his experiences into his leadership in the area of sustainable seafood innovations. As a member of the United States Culinary Ambassador Corp, Barton facilitates international conversations on sustainability and the role of food in resource management and public health. As the Director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health, Barton led initiatives to inform consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, resilient ecosystems, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities. He also served as a Senior Advisor in Sustainable Seafood Innovations at the University of New England and as a Sustainability Fellow at the New England Aquarium.

An internationally recognized speaker, Barton has delivered lectures, seminars, and demos to a multitude of audiences. He has written seven seafood-centric books, including For Cod and Country, Two If By Sea, American Seafood and the forthcoming The Joy of Seafood. Seaver has contributed to Coastal Living, The Coastal Table, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fine Cooking, Fortune, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Saveur, the Washington Post, among many others. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, NPR, 20/20 and the TED stage. Seaver hosted In Search of Food on the Ovation Network and Eat: The History of Food on National Geographic TV.

He is also the founder of Coastal Culinary Academy, a multi-platform initiative that seeks to increase seafood consumption through seafood-specific culinary education for all levels of cooks.

Barton resides in coastal Maine, a stone's throw away from a working waterfront, with his wife, son and their flock of heritage chickens.
Jimmy Wessman
efore Chef Jimmy Wessman discovered a love for beekeeping and came to run the bee colony at Grande Lakes Orlando’s Whisper Creek Farm, he worked for years as a certified executive chef at prestigious country clubs across the United States.

But working nights, weekends and holidays got old, and he spent the next decade training future generations of culinary minds as a chef-instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando until it closed in 2017.

“My wife always wanted to get into agriculture,” says Wessman, who met his wife Liz, also a chef-instructor and chef de cuisine, while teaching at the culinary school. “We originally considered cattle, but my mother-in-law reminded us that we knew nothing about cows other than how to make them taste good. From the moment we saw a bee hatch, we were hooked. We knew beekeeping was our future.”
Nora Poggi
Producer, Director, Impact Producer / distribution consultant
Nora is a French journalist and filmmaker. She directed and produced SHE STARTED IT, an award-winning feature documentary about women tech entrepreneurs. She has interviewed key players in Silicon Valley for four years for publications including & Usine Nouvelle and previously worked at French social network and award-winning production company Lucky Dragon Productions in San Francisco.
She is a TEDx speaker and has been featured in NYT's Women in The World, Inc Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Glamour, Huffington Post and others. She spearheaded the Impact and Distribution campaign for SHE STARTED IT, which included 400 screenings in over 35 countries. She currently works as a Producer, Impact Producer and distribution consultant. Past and current projects include HBO's THE TALE, the award-winning movie on women chefs A FINE LINE, and Tribeca Gucci Grant recipient A PLACE OF ABSENCE among others
Susanne Ebacher-Grier
Chef Susanne has over twenty plus years experience in the hospitality industry in a variety of roles, from
Executive Chef to Executive Pastry Chef to Adjunct Professor of Baking & Pastry Arts. Her extensive
formal education and work experiences have provided her with a breadth of knowledge that she
uses each day to teach culinary and baking & pastry arts at J. Everett Light Career Center and Ivy Tech Community College. Chef Susanne has been an active member of the ACF in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana for many years. Though she has received many accolades throughout her career, one of her proudest professional moments was being the first female chef to be elected as the President of the Indianapolis chapter of the Greater Indianapolis American Culinary Federation.
Paula Kendrick
Chef Paula Kendrick managed one of Tallahassee’s premier catering companies for ten years before opening Paula’s Cabana Café at Goodwood Museum and Gardens. Paula served as a strategic partner to Goodwood helping create brand visibility and name recognition for both the café and the Museum. From there, Paula partnered to open Black Fig, a gourmet food shop and catering company. She played a key role in the business start-up and helped to establish them as a “Best of Tallahassee” award winner in 2013 while also having the distinct honor of preparing dinner for the Governor of Florida. For the past six years, Chef Paula has worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness as a Chef traveling the state to host trainings with cafeteria staff, teach students the importance of Florida agriculture through tastings and events, and host workshops for educators on Garden to Classroom.
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Alysia Kanemoto
Alysia Kanemoto began dancing at age 3 when her mom put her in a dance sampler class at a local dance studio. Pilates was a natural career transition after all the years of dance experience. After training through the Physical Mind Institute, Alysia began working with Eric the Trainer. She would do Pilates with some of Eric’s clients as an add on to their training experience. Eric’s methods were complimentary to the training she had received and soon she started training her own clients in his method. Alysia could combine all the training knowledge – along with all the dance knowledge to provide her clients exactly what they were looking for, results! At this time she also had a weekly “workout Wednesday” on Movin 93.9fm. She got to provide health tips to the listeners and answer questions on how to lose weight and eat right.
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Jennifer Waxman
I have been a strategic business planner in the LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health & Sustainability) industry for over 16 years and entered the Eco-Sustainable industry as a marketing specialist for an innovative project focusing on a sustainable, commercial, hydroponic watering system. This led me to become a Global Marketing Manager for Antelco Corporation, an international manufacturer specializing in water conservation technology, while working with producers, growers and irrigation specialists. During this time, I was responsible for new product development for the hydroponics division for this OEM. This experience led to consulting opportunities for both controlled environment agriculture and retail consumer hydroponic growing systems. The utilizations of these systems incorporated the growing of ingredients and inputs derived for the manufacturing of natural foods and/or products that were considered ‘beyond organic’. Hence, I followed my passion into the world of hyper-local, organic, whole food produce, branded natural products, and services. This experience has been leveraged by an understanding of the entire process for developing natural products from the growing of whole food produce and botanical plant ingredients, to the sustainable processing and manufacturing of these finished products.

As a strategic consultant, my background in multiple business disciplines has allowed me to fulfill outsourced Executive Management duties for small or expanding companies. I have consistently led large market projects focused on sustainable whole food produce products, consumer products and wellness technologies such as skincare, personal care, fashion, high-tech sustainable technologies, and nutraceutical and functional food & beverage product suites.

Specialties: Strategic Business Planning, Sales, Marketing, New Business Development, Event Planning, Grant Writing and Corporate Development.
Andrea Orth
I started cooking from cookbooks when I was 8 years old. I attended Baltimore’s International Culinary College and obtained an AA in Restaurant Cooking and Hospitality. I have over 30 years of experience with cooking and hospitality, and while I no longer manage restaurants, I do consulte for product development and provide personal in home chef services.

I’m skilled at tailoring a menu that supports every diet and lifestyle while still appealing to a client’s palate. My clients are busy professionals who wish to still have nutritious, home-cooked meals they can enjoy with their their loved ones. Typically clients have me cook in their home, 2-4 meals in components that they can re-heat, mix and match for packed lunch or family dinners during the weekdays. I also provide small scale catering and baking for special events and parties.

I’m passionate about food and our food systems. I feel it’s an integral part of our community connectedness to grow, prepare and eat food togethe
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Tracy Smith
Tracy established Centerline Brackets with her husband, Chris Smith, in August 2012 in St. Augustine, Fla., with the vision and determination to become the global leader in countertop brackets and supports.

Born in Ohio and raised on Florida’s First Coast, Tracy in her early career devoted many years to the Department of Defense. Her time with the DoD, prior tenure in the banking industry and subsequent 14-plus years working for a national not-for-profit organization instilled in Tracy a profound respect for time-honored procedures, proven best practices and consummate service.

Centerline—a majority-woman-owned company —under Tracy’s leadership has grown into a significant concern with international renown. To acknowledge her achievements, the Jacksonville Business Journal recognized Tracy in 2018 as an “Ultimate CEO” whose company has had an outsized impact on Northeast Florida through sound economic stewardship and civic and charitable leadership.

In addition to enjoying time with her husband, Tracy’s life is made even richer thanks to Gracie and Chloe, both rescue dogs.
Einav Gefen
Einav Gefen’s career began 20 years ago when she worked as a pastry chef at Orna & Ella (Tel-Aviv, Israel). Gefen also worked as a sous-chef at Mul-Yam in Tel Aviv, proclaimed the No. 1 Restaurant by the French Restaurant Guide, Gault-Millau, and one of the world's 114th best restaurants by “Les Grandes Tables du Monde”. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, Gefen interned at New York's restaurant, Daniel, and was the executive chef at Danal in Manhattan’s East Village where she was featured in “Time Out Restaurant Guide 2001”.

In 2001, she founded and became the Director of the Culinary Arts program at the Jewish Community Center, Manhattan. During that time, Gefen appeared in five TV cooking segments on National TV and numerous newspaper articles. She also started working on her recipe book “Art & Cook” published in 2003 with great reviews.

From 2003-2008 Gefen was a professional Chef instructor at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education) in Manhattan where she trained aspiring chefs in all aspects of cooking and presentation.

At 2008 Gefen joined Unilever as the Corporate Head Chef for NA, where she leads a team of Chefs in charge of development of innovations, product rejuvenation, activation with consumers and deployment of global projects.

Einav became the Corporate Executive Chef of Unilever Food Solution in August 2016, leading the North America Chefs team under Customer development and part of the UFS NA leadership team as the culinary thought leader.

Einav is the face of the Knorr brand in North America & has a TED talk. Einav also competed on the acclaimed Food network competition show “Chopped”.
Tiffany Sawyer
Chef Tiffany Sawyer has a passion for quality, building a reputation as a leader in kitchen operations. With over 14 years of diverse experience and knowledge, she began her management career at Canyon Ranch health resort in Berkshire, MA, where she was exposed to the cooking philosophies of which the organization is famous. Chef Sawyer was recruited to re-open Le Cellier Steakhouse at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. There, she assisted in the redesign and development of the two restaurants, including reconstruction, menu development, recipes and training. She also created vegetarian selections to showcase flavor and nutrition in all Epcot restaurants. She was also instrumental in the organization, recruitment and execution of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival for three years. Chef Sawyer moved the opening team of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where she opened Boma Flavors of Africa. Finally, she redesigned and developed the 7-day menu for the Disney Cruise Line ship, The Magic. Chef Sawyer was the opening chef for In-room Dining at Gaylord Palms, where she was charged with creating a menu that far surpassed resorts in Florida.
Eloise Stiglitz
After completing her undergraduate work at Indiana University, Dr. Stiglitz received her Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology from Purdue University. Over the next 30 some years she explored her professional interests through various positions at universities, mental health centers, hospitals, and in private practice, on both the east and west coasts. After retiring as Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, first from California State University San Marcos and then from a women's liberal arts college in California, Mills College, she made a career shift from that of a higher education administrator back to her roots as a practicing psychotherapist and as a life coach. She is now working as a therapist at Jewish Family Services of Orlando, as well as privately, focusing on helping people from all walks of life, and all ages, determine what they want and how to overcome the obstacles to achieving those desires.

Her passion has always been working with women, transforming their identities and creating a sense of well-being out of what often feels like chaos.

Eloise moved to Central Florida from California almost three years ago, and is enjoying life in the Sunshine state. Besides her professional and volunteer work, taking photos and walking her dog around the lakes of Orlando, she has found great delight in writing about making the most out of the third stage of life.
Andre Rush
Andre Rush is a freelance White House chef who is adept at ice sculpting, cake decorating and building his muscles to a staggering 24-inch biceps. He’s been cooking for high-profile figures such as Obama since 1997.

Rush is a retired Army master sergeant who spent 24 years in the military. His stints include being a Senior Enlisted Aide and an adviser at the prestigious West Point Academy. In 1994, he became a cook and began honing his craft as a chef, master cake decorator, desert and ice sculptor.
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Lindsey Ofcacek
Lindsey Ofcacek is both a founder and director for The LEE Initiative, which launched in late 2017. Prior to starting The LEE Initiative, Ofcacek worked with Chef Edward Lee at 610 Magnolia as the general manager and wine director. Ofcacek has worked in almost every part of the food business, from farming and distribution to cooking and managing. Prior to joining the team at 610 Magnolia, Ofcacek helped open Decca, working as the front of house manager and then events manager. She has devoted years of tireless work in the local food community. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, listening to records, and hosting dinner parties inspired by Martha Stewart.
Michael Deihl
Chef Michael Deihl founded The Michael Deihl Group, LLC after realizing the tremendous need for high quality culinary professionalism in today’s Food & Beverage arena. He left his position as Executive Chef of the prestigious East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta after 13 years to pursue a wider prism of excellence in the area's food industry.

Chef Deihl has been featured on CBS “Better Mornings Atlanta,” Fox 5 “Good Day Atlanta,” published in The National Culinary Review, Current Diversions, Flavors Magazine, Georgia Restaurant Forum and has had numerous features written about him. Chef was voted by his peers as the ACF Chapter “Chef of the Year” in 1998 and 2006, “Humanitarian of the Year” in 2005 and was named the Georgia Restaurant Association 2007 GRACE Award Winner for Distinguished Community Service. Along with being presented the International Citizenship Award in 2006 by the World Chefs Scholarship Foundation, Chef was named 2010 “Atlanta Chef of the Year” by the United Culinary Chefs Association. In 2012, he was selected as one of four chefs by Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black for the inaugural Georgia Grown Executive Chef Program.

In 2009 Chef Deihl was awarded an Honorary Ambassadorship by the Aruban Minister of Tourism for his work promoting the Aruban culinary arts worldwide and working with young culinary students on the island preparing them for a better life as professional chefs. Michael was selected as one of only three chefs in the country in 2012 to visit the White House for his dedicated work with the Chefs Move to School program teaching at risk elementary students about healthy eating choices.

Chef Deihl is a Certified Executive Chef, a Certified Culinary Administrator and a member of the ACF Honor Society, and the American Academy of Chefs. He is also the co-founder of Operation Chefs Unite, and in conjunction with the USO, has fed over a million soldiers passing through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.