Mestizo, Author, TV Personality, Chopped, Motochefs, New York City
Aarón Sánchez is the co-star of Food Network’s hit series, Chopped, as well as the star of FOX Utilisima’s #1 rated series Aarón Loves NY and their new travel-food series MOTOCHEFS. Aarón is the chef/owner of Mestizo, located in Leawood, Kansas. He is also the culinary visionary behind Tacombi Taqueria in New York City and Crossroads at House of Blues nationwide. The son of celebrated Mexican cooking authority Zarela Martinez, Aarón’s passion, commitment and skills have placed him among the country’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.
Sánchez’s cooking “transforms the familiar” (New York Magazine) with his take on Latin favorites. Celebrated by critics and contemporaries alike, Sánchez recently appeared at the White House as a celebrity guest chef and received the “National Award” at the Flavors of Passion Awards, honoring the nation’s best Latin chefs. The bilingual Sánchez was tapped as the spokesperson for Bud Light’s “Amigos y Carne Asada” national grilling campaign for 2012 and 2013.
Sánchez has starred on multiple Food Network shows including: Chopped, Chefs vs. City, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Dear Food Network Thanksgiving Special. In 2011, Sánchez appeared on the debut season of The Best Thing I Ever Made, where Food Network stars share their culinary secrets.
In addition to being a restaurateur, television personality, consultant and spokesperson, Sánchez is an author and entrepreneur. His first book, La Comida del Barrio, was published in May 2003. His second book, Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours, was released in October 2011. Sánchez also designed the first-ever signature chef shoe line for MOZO Shoes.
Sánchez’s creativity extends far beyond the kitchen. He is an admirer of the arts – so much in fact that he has tattooed nearly his entire body with portraits and vivid artwork. Sánchez, an avid music lover, enjoys cooking to the sounds of Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Sade, and The Cure and his wife, singer/songwriter IFÉ. Sánchez lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
Born in Nashville, TN, Arnold spent a majority of his childhood traveling between his parents’ homeland of South East Asia and touring the world as a competitive and professional Ice Skater. After attending the Institute of Culinary Education and a short stint in New York City, Arnold returned to Nashville to begin his culinary pursuits. Being raised in the restaurant industry, proprietorship is not unfamiliar.
Currently, Arnold is the Executive Chef and Owner of four popular restaurants in Music City, USA. His establishments have been recognized locally on numerous occasions as “the best of” and continues to grow his brand on the national level as reflected in publications such as GQ Magazine , Epicurious, and Eater.com and as a contestant on the popular Emmy award winning television program Top Chef. In addition to Arnold’s contribution to the food scene, he is also a savvy event planner and skilled mixologist. Outside of the kitchen, Arnold is very active in the community, supporting charities and the growth of Nashville’s independent dining scene. His family supports orphanages in Burma and Thailand where he too plays an active part by assuring proper nutrition.
In addition to Arnold’s entrepreneurial goals, he hopes to start a non-profit foundation in the near future. Arnold also has a side kick, his alter ego (also known as) Suzy Wong. Suzy Wong is a marketing charachter of female persona which often times is seen out at social events or in the media as a philanthropic domesic diva.
As chef of one of Nashville’s most storied restaurants, Barclay Stratton helms the second floor kitchen of Merchants Restaurant, delivering refined cuisine with a Southern touch. His Texas roots, innate creativity and knowledge of various cuisines make him a great asset to the Strategic Hospitality team, and further position Merchants as a top restaurant in Music City.
Stratton began his culinary career while attending school at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. While pursuing his degree, he worked as a line cook at Veritas Wine and Bistro, immersing himself in basic cooking techniques and ingredients at the fine dining restaurant. Two years later, the young chef packed up his knives and moved to Italy to accept a sous chef position at Ristorante Degli Archi in San Quirico d’Orcia, Toscana. It was here that Stratton developed techniques in traditional Italian-style cuisine including pasta-making and the ideation and execution of the restaurant’s daily specials.
Stratton returned stateside later that year and enrolled in an intensive six-month culinary program focused on French technique at New York’s French Culinary Institute. After a stint at Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village, Stratton left for Austin, Texas to work alongside husband and wife chef team, Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, at Lenoir Restaurant. Duplechan and Maher taught him the importance of giving back to the community, and also gave him the creative freedom to develop specials and menu items on a weekly basis.
At Merchants, Stratton’s unique culinary style combines inspirations from his global travels and his current environs, resulting in dishes that are modern and quintessentially Southern.
Peg Leg Porker
With deep-seated roots in the West Tennessee BBQ culture, I developed an appreciation for BBQ at a young age. Having parents who grew up in Memphis, it was inevitable. To say that my family had a passion for it is an understatement. My Grandfather, Dr. Carey Bringle Sr., grew up in Covington, TN where you will still find “Bringle” road . He delivered the children of many of the BBQ families in West TN. My Grandmother, Eva Gene, or “E.G.” as we called her would send me articles when I was in college about BBQ restaurants and the Memphis In May cook-off. When I was growing up, E.G. would take me to her favorite BBQ places in Memphis or on the way down to our cabin at Pickwick Lake. At a very young age, my uncle Bruce taught me how to smoke a turkey that I would put against any you’ll find anywhere. I always knew I would cook BBQ.
My Mothers side of the family was also passionate about BBQ. My Grandmother, Gangi and Grandfather, Jack were excellent cooks and jack taught me all about using hickory and the great flavor that it imparted to the food he made. Jack also cooked the best Burger over hickory that you have ever had. For all practical purposes it was more of a smoked burger than a grilled one.
At age 17 my life changed. I was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma an aggressive bone cancer. I went through 8 months of intensive Chemo Therapy and lost my right leg. After winning a hard-fought battle with the overwhelming support of my friends and family, I emerged with a more positive outlook on life, realizing that every day brought a new adventure, opportunity for new experiences, and—most importantly—a chance to eat more great food. It is this zest for life, positive attitude and sense of humor that I share with you in my signature “Peg Leg Porker” brand of sauces and rubs.
I try to give back to the community and those in need by participating in numerous charitable causes. I co-founded Professionals Organized to Start Helping (P.O.S.H.), a Nashville charity dedicated to helping feed the hungry, and sit on the Board of Directors for United Cerebral Palsy of Nashville . In 2002, I was named one of Nashville’s Top 40 under 40 by the Tennessean Newspaper.
I have been honored to cook for many special events at the request of my good friends the Lobels. These events have included Croton Under the Stars , Esquire Magazine “Best Of” party and Food & Wine Magazine’s “Classic at Aspen”.
Chef, 1808 Grille & Hutton Hotel
An intrinsic passion for quality and community provides the foundation for Executive Chef Charles Phillips’ work. His diverse seasonal menus for Nashville’s 1808 Grille center on fresh, sustainable ingredients, including locally grown produce, and exemplify the joy of shared experience—from field to market to kitchen to table.
A Forbes Four-Star restaurant, 1808 Grille offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as personalized menus in two private dining rooms. The Grille’s extensive fine wine selection has been recognized annually by Wine Spectator and the bar, which offers its own menu, is highly ranked by Nashville Lifestyles for the best cocktails in the city. Chef Charles also oversees the banquet and in-room dining offerings for Hutton Hotel, the Four-Star, Four-Diamond property in which the restaurant is located.
A talented and innovative professional, Charles Phillips draws inspiration and culinary direction from his experiences in culturally-rich cities including Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. International travels, including delectable escapades in England, France and Spain, also influence his work. His commitment to balanced meals of fresh foods prepared in exciting, original ways has earned him the distinguished designation of Health Chef for the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
Chef Charles has had the privilege of cooking for international dignitaries and celebrities, as well as the honor cooking at the historic James Beard House in Manhattan in 2012.
For the last 15 years, Chef Charles has held various senior chef roles throughout the country at popular urban restaurants, as well as at private clubs. Most recently, he served as Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director for the Westin Chicago North Shore, a AAA Four-Diamond and Mobil Four-Star-rated Starwood Hotels & Resorts property. Chef Charles holds an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.
Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, wine, spirits, travel and personal interest writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived his entire life except for four years in California where he studied liberal arts at Stanford University and learned how to manipulate chopsticks. He is a regular writer for the Nashville Scene and their “Bites” food blog. He is also the Southern correspondent for FoodRepublic.com, a national website dedicated to “Drinking, Eating, and Living the Way a Man Should.”
He has also contributed to the Nashville City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles, Her Nashville, Relish, Julep, Local Palate, The Bourbon Review, 2001 Edgehill, the SFA’s Gravy newsletter and as a kitchen gadget reviewer at www.geardiary.com. His travelguide and cookbook, The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat before You Die and The Recipes That Made Them Famous was released in 2012 by Thomas Nelson Publishing, and he is currently working on a sequel, The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig for 2014.
Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief, Food & Wine
Dana Cowin is the editor in chief of Food & Wine, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. At Food & Wine since 1995, she oversees the award-winning print magazine and its website, as well as digital e-reader editions, mobile applications, and branded books.
Under Dana’s leadership, Food & Wine has attracted an audience of more than 10 million print readers who have a passionate, adventurous approach to cooking, wine, entertaining, restaurants, and travel. She’s also increased traffic to foodandwine.com by more than 500% over the past five years.
In 2012, Dana was inducted into the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, one of the industry’s highest honors. She is also a member of Media Industry Newsletter’s Editorial and Design Hall of Fame and was named one of the 50 most powerful people in food for 2013 by the Daily Meal website. She serves on the board of City Harvest, a New York hunger-relief organization.
Executive Chef, Etch Restaurant
Deb Paquette is well known in Nashville where she’s lived and worked for the last thirty years. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, she became the first woman in Tennessee to qualify as a certified executive chef. She’s been a trailblazer for chefs in the area, a mentor, and consultant to some of Nashville’s best talent. She’s won countless awards and accolades and was the chef/owner of Zola – named in Gourmet Magazine as one of the Top Sixty Restaurants in the United States – where diners flocked to her big, bold flavors for thirteen years.
In 2010, she and her husband, Ernie, closed Zola and headed for the ocean. After stops in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Cape Cod, the Bahamas, and Mexico, the two returned to Nashville. That’s when the owners of Amerigo restaurants made Deb an offer she couldn’t refuse and ETCH was born.
Etch was designed to be everything Deb has ever wanted in a restaurant, allowing her to be at her creative best. She says that being just a little bit older and wiser gives her the advantage of perspective, and having the equipment she’s always wanted gives her the opportunity to explore all the changes going on in the food industry.
She has no regrets about coming back to Nashville. “This town has supported and appreciated me, and I want to give back,” she says. She loves being downtown in the heart of the city where she can reach locals and destination-hunters alike. “This is what I do, and I will always do this. I just want to make good food that everyone can enjoy.”
2013 Flavors of Nashville DJ
DJ Mel will be spinning during The Flavors of Nashville at Public Square Park.
They say everything is bigger in Texas – just check the supersized crates of DJ Mel. His renowned party-rocking sets are as musically broad as they are technically skilled, and this deep selection and unique touch behind the decks has made Mel a true “DJ’s DJ” and an Austin institution for almost two decades. Catch him in the flesh, packing crowds in at his long-running parties Swoll and Rock The Casbah, hosting the longest-running Hip Hop weekly in Texas, and making crowds of thousands throw their hands in the air at the Lollapalooza festival. Hear him melting your stereo down with genre-flipping remixes and critically-acclaimed mix CDs (including his 2004 Scion “Free Your Mix” finalist). Just don’t sleep on one of the strongest selectors in the game!
Chef, 610 Magnolia
Chef Edward Lee’s culinary story could only happen in America. One part Southern soul, one part Asian spice, and one part New York attitude, Lee is a Korean-American who grew up in Brooklyn, trained in NYC kitchens, and has spent the better part of a decade honing his vision at 610 Magnolia restaurant in Louisville, KY.
Lee’s adventure to Southern-cuisine eminence began in 2001 on a road trip to Louisville during the Kentucky Derby. He discovered a local gem of a restaurant called 610 Magnolia and spent the evenings cooking in the kitchen. Eddie Garber, the chef/owner at the time, was so impressed by his passion and work ethic that he offered Lee the opportunity to buy out his restaurant. Lee accepted the offer within the year, moving his life from NYC to Louisville, and into the dialogue of the blossoming New Southern food scene that would take shape around a handful of young and forward thinking chefs.
Lee’s culinary style draws inspiration from his Asian heritage, his New York training, and his embrace of the American South, coupled with the best ingredients from local farms. Lee’s innovative cuisine has earned him three finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He has been featured in Esquire, Bon Appétit, GQ, Gourmet among many other publications; won on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” was a favorite on “Top Chef: Texas, Season 9”; and has appeared on Cooking Channel’s “Foodography,” CBS “Early Show” and NBC “The Today Show.”
Lee’s career extends to writing credits as well, with articles published in Gastronomica, Organic Gardening, Local Palette and other journals, in addition to authoring a cookbook, Smoke & Pickles (Artisan Books, May 2013) chronicling his unconventional journey from the kitchens of Brooklyn to becoming a lauded Southern chef.
In addition to 610 Magnolia, Lee operates a special events dining room called The Wine Studio, which features cooking classes, wine tastings and special themed dinners like the popular Wild Game Dinner and the Southern Degustation Menu.
When he is not in his kitchen, Lee spends the rest of his time on his numerous collaborations. His signature blend with Jefferson’s Reserve called Chef’s Collaboration Blend is a luxury small batch bourbon he developed with Master Blender Trey Zoeller. He also consults on product development for both Red Boat Fish Sauce and Bourbon Barrel Foods.
MilkWood is Chef Lee’s newest venture. Located in the basement of the locally revered Actor’s Theater building in downtown Louisville, this new restaurant is Chef Lee’s interpretation of Southern Bar Food with an Asian Pantry. The menu features small plates and smoked meats, all personalized and creative versions of familiar classics.
Lee approaches his professional and culinary life with candor, humor, and—most importantly—the same spirit of adventure that was the original impetus for his success.
Co-chefs, The Catbird Seat
Erik Anderson was born to be a chef. His father worked as the Sous Chef at the famous Drake in Chicago, and his parents owned their own restaurant for many years. While much of his initial experience comes from experimenting at home, his professional gigs have given him an expansive knowledge base to accompany his innate skills.
Early in his career, Anderson joined the highly esteemed staff at French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., to learn from famous Chef Thomas Keller. French Laundry has received three Michelin Stars every year since 2006 and was voted Favorite Restaurant in the U.S. by Food and Wine Restaurant experts poll.
Anderson then moved to Minneapolis and grew his skills in the kitchen at Coastal Seafoods before he became the Sous Chef under Doug Flicker at Auriga. He also served as the Sous Chef at Mission American Kitchen and Porter and Frye at the Hotel Ivy, which he helped to open. Most recently, Anderson served as the Chef de Cuisine at Sea Change Restaurant and Bar and left to work in the kitchen for eight weeks at prestigious Noma restaurant, located in Copenhagen and voted the Best Restaurant in the World by S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants listed in Restaurant magazine.
Anderson has been a continual rising star in the culinary world. He was nominated for a James Beard Award and recently received a nod from Food and Wine magazine as a nominee for People’s Best New Chef. As Co-Chef at The Catbird Seat in Nashville, Anderson will have the opportunity to showcase his tremendous skill and creativity, along with his larger than life personality.
Josh Habiger got his first gig in the food industry at the ripe old age of 15 in his home state of Minnesota, and it started him down his path to the culinary world. His creativity and tenacity have since landed him in some of the best kitchens in the world, and The Catbird Seat is sure to follow suit.
While traveling Europe, Habiger spent some time staging at The Fat Duck in London. One year later the restaurant received three Michelin Stars. Josh went on to work at James Beard award-winning Craft restaurant in New York as the chef de partie, a position he also held at Grant Achatz’s renowned Alinea. On three separate occasions he spent summers as a deck hand on a salmon fishing boat in Alaska.
Habiger assisted in opening and managing Porter & Frye, a Minneapolis-based restaurant that made a splash in the Midwest. Habiger’s interest in front of house operations and beverage programs took him out of the kitchen and to Nashville, Tenn., to plan, train, and open The Patterson House with Alchemy Consulting and Strategic Hospitality.
The Catbird Seat is an opportunity to display Habiger’s culinary expertise and passion for his creations. As Co-Chef at The Catbird Seat, he is sure to gain even more attention as a rising star in the who’s who of the food world.
Chef, Author, Television Personality
Emmy Award-winning personality Giada De Laurentiis has become a household name. With an impressive background of culinary training and a unique, personable charm, she is a globally revered celebrity chef who continues to prove her skill and accessibility not only with her expanding presence beyond Food Network but also with the great success of her cookbooks, brand alliances, newly launched food products and recurring role on Today.
Born in Rome, Giada grew up in a large Italian family where the culture of food was a staple in and of itself. As the granddaughter of film producer Dino De Laurentiis, Giada consistently found herself in the family’s kitchen and spent a great deal of time at her grandfather’s restaurant, DDL Foodshow. After graduating from the University of California in Los Angeles with a degree in anthropology, Giada’s passion for cooking remained. She eventually made the decision to commence a culinary career and began her professional training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, specializing in both cuisine and pastry. She subsequently returned to Los Angeles, where her training included positions at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Fine Dining Room and Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills. She later founded GDL Foods, a catering company in Los Angeles.
Giada’s career started on Food Network in 2002 when she was discovered by a network executive upon reading an article about her and the De Laurentiis family in Food & Wine magazine. Since then, Giada has earned an Emmy for Outstanding Lifestyle Host and has become one of Food Network’s most recognizable faces. Her Emmy Award- winning, daytime cooking show, Everyday Italian, featured quick, healthy and satisfying Italian dishes. Her primetime show, Giada’s Weekend Getaways, debuted in January 2007 and followed Giada to popular destinations in and around the U. S. as she explored the cities’ most notable restaurants and activities. Giada can also be seen on Food Network in specials, such as Giada in Paradise: Capri, Santorini, Monaco, and Thailand as well as judge and mentor alongside fellow chefs Bobby Flay and Alton Brown on the highly popular series, Food Network Star. Giada at Home, her current hit tv series, premiered in 2008 and shows Giada in her kitchen where she plans and prepares meals and parties for family and friends.
The foray into cookbooks was an obvious decision, allowing Giada’s loyal viewership to reference, prepare and share their favorite recipes. De Laurentiis’ first book, “Everyday Italian,” showcases many of the delicious recipes from her cooking show of the same name. Her second book entitled, “Giada’s Family Dinners,” quickly became a New York Times best-seller as did her third cookbook, “Everyday Pasta,” which was released in April 2007. An eagerly-awaited fourth book, “Giada’s Kitchen,” hit bookshelves on September 30, 2008 and did not disappoint. In the first week of release, “Giada’s Kitchen” landed at #2 on the New York Times best-seller list and has maintained a top 10 ranking ever since. De Laurentiis’ fifth book, “Giada at Home” debuted on March 30th, 2010 and landed in the #1 position on the New York Times best-seller list.
Her most recent book “Weeknights with Giada,” was released in March 2012 and followed the trend of all her cook books before it by landing on the New York Times best-seller list as well. Her upcoming book “Giada’s Feel Good Food” is due to hit shelves in November, but is available on Amazon for pre- order. All of Giada’s cookbooks have been published by Random House/ Clarkson Potter. Another exciting venture Giada has sailed into is a series adventure books for young readers which explore some of Giada’s favorite cities around the globe as well as some of her favorite, youth-friendly, recipes. The series is set to release in September and is titled “Giada De Laurentiis’s Recipe for Adventure” and is published by Grosset & Dunlap, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. Giada is also a correspondent on NBC’s Today, where she highlights current trends in travel, cuisine and lifestyle.
Giada’s overall success and notoriety yielded her a role as spokesperson for Barilla, the world’s largest producer and manufacturer of pasta. Giada took her relationship with Barilla one step further, entrusting the Italian arm of the brand, known as Academia Barilla, to license and produce four products under her name. The products, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Tuscan Herb Mix, and Sea Salt with Fresh Lemon Zest, debuted in January 2008 for a limited run and was sold at Crate and Barrel stores as well as specialty gourmet shops across the country.
In January 2010, De Laurentiis partnered with Target to launch her own exclusive products for their chain of stores nationwide. The Giada De Laurentiis for Target collection offers guests the craftsmanship, quality and affordable
prices they expect from Target. The assortment ranges from pasta sauces and flavored coffee to kitchen essentials, such as stainless steel cookware, ceramic bake-ware and nylon tools, all designed with the at-home cook in mind. The collection captures Giada’s signature style with a fresh, modern twist on the tools, gadgets and food needed to make easy and affordable meals every day.
Giada is also thrilled to be the spokesmodel for Clairol’s Natural Instincts campaign. Giada currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Todd and daughter, Jade.
Owner, Giovanni Ristorante
Giovanni Francescotti was born in Trento Italy Oct 12th 1950. He was raised in London where his father was in the restaurant business. Giovanni later moved back to Italy in 1973 and attended The Wine and Food Institute of Trento. He then opened a family restaurant with his sisters which he later sold to them andemigrated to New York in January 1981.
Giovanni joined Castellano’s on West 55th street in 1982. Castellanos was at the time the hot Italian restaurant in Manhattan, with the chef Ettore Alzetta of Harry’s bar in Venice and three of his assistants from Venice plus the Maitre’d Gastone De Cal who had worked as head bartender at the Danieli hotel in Venice for 30 years. Giovanni became a partner there in 1986.
In 1987 he opened Maruzzella on 77th street and 1st avenue and in 1999 opened Maruzzella due in Scarsdale New York with the help of Chef Giovanni Pinato. He sold his share in Castellano’s in 1990. In 1994 he opened Giovanni’s on 55th. street between 5th. and 6th. Avenues in Manhattan again with the help of Chef Giovanni Pinato. In November 2008 he moved to Nashville and opened Giovanni Ristorante.
Chef, Lockeland Table
Hal M. Holden-Bache is the executive chef and owner of Lockeland Table opening in August, 2012 in Nashville, TN. However, his love of cooking began years before this most recent restaurant venture. As with many chefs, Hal’s culinary education began at a young age cooking alongside his mother, preparing the family meals. His passion for knowledge of all things culinary led him to pursue a Culinary Arts degree at Shepherd University, in his hometown of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. After graduating, Hal was accepted into the coveted Culinary Apprenticeship Program at the world-class Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, a perennial AAA Five-Diamond award winner. During his studies at The Greenbrier, Hal was recognized as a rising star and was given the opportunity to intern under world-class chefs including Hartmut Handke CMC, Peter Timmons CMC, Tom Colicchio and Butcher, Larry Griffin.
After graduating with top honors, Hal traveled to Nashville, TN for a visit. Being struck by the friendly and inviting culture of Music City he decided to stay, and has spent the last 12 years exhibiting and delighting guests with his culinary talents. As his first venture in Nashville, Hal worked as the executive chef at the famed Nick and Rudy’s Steakhouse for five years. He then spent a brief time on the team of Executive Chef Tyler Brown at Capitol Grille at The Hermitage Hotel, before moving on to be the executive chef of Eastland Café, an East Nashville favorite. After five years at Eastland, Hal decided to venture out and open his highly anticipated new restaurant Lockeland Table.
Executive Chef, Tavern
Jay Flatley was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, where he began cooking at a young age with his mother and sister. Like many chefs, Jay started his restaurant career washing dishes in a neighborhood restaurant. He moved to Dallas, TX and began cooking for Outback Steakhouse, where he learned all areas of the restaurant. After Outback, Jay began cooking in a privately-owned restaurant, where he decided to further his career and attend culinary school. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America, and shortly after, returned to New Orleans to be a Sous Chef at the Crescent City Brewhouse. While there, he worked for three years, before and after Hurricane Katrina, until going to the Gulf Coast where he was Chef De Cuisine for the upscale dining restaurant, Fire.
After two years on the beach, Jay moved to Nashville, TN and began cooking at Lime, where he became Sous Chef. Finally, in 2013, Jay became Executive Chef at Tavern in Midtown, M Street’s cool-casual, gastro-pub concept. As Chef of a local “foodie favorite,” Jay has been able to explore his creative mind by creating fun, inspired, and mouth-watering dishes.
Founder, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni Britton Bauer has honed her ice cream-making skills for nearly two decades and is the author of The New York Times best selling Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. In its 8th printing, the cookbook dubbed the “homemade-ice cream-making Bible” by The Wall Street Journal earned Jeni a James Beard Award, America’s most coveted honor for those writing about food and the culinary arts.
Jeni opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002 in Columbus, Ohio’s North Market, and in late 2013 will be operating 15 shops from Chicago to Atlanta. Pints and ice cream sandwiches are also available at more than 900 American groceries, as well as through Jeni’s home-shipping business. Jeni and her team are responsible for the entire customer experience, from creating the ice cream flavors and descriptions of them, to packaging art and design, store environments, and service. Jeni’s ice creams have been praised by Time (“America’s best”), Cooking Light (“deadly delicious”), and Saveur (“revolutionary”), while Food & Wine stated, “No one makes ice cream like Jeni Britton Bauer.”
Jeni discovered her passion for dessert in Columbus while working at La Chatelaine and studying art at The Ohio State University. In the French bakery’s kitchen, Jeni was taken by the staff’s dedication to the art and craft of making pastries from scratch, as much as she was the attention paid to all technical details. As Jeni began to make desserts and ice creams in her own home kitchen, she realized that eating ice cream is a layered sensory experience, much like viewing a painting or reading a poem. In 1996, Jeni quit her studies in fine arts and art history at OSU to open Scream Ice Cream in Columbus’ historic North Market. Today, Jeni refers to Scream as her “practice business.” During four years of experimenting with ingredients and talking with customers, she learned from countless mistakes that would lay the foundation for her next business: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
Today, Jeni and her hands-on crew make every batch of ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt in their kitchens in Columbus. To build everything from the ground up, they use cream from Ohio cows, Ohio honey, whole fruits, vegetables, and herbs from nearby farms, as well as carefully sourced ingredients from around the world, including rare, fair-trade vanilla (Uganda’s Ndali Estate) and bean-to-bar chocolate (Missouri’s Askinosie Chocolate). Signature Flavors Salty Caramel, Queen City Cayenne, and Whiskey & Pecans anchor a menu that also includes limited-edition, quarterly flavor collections inspired by the seasons, pop culture, culinary history, and world trends—flavors such as Absinthe + Meringues, Yazoo Sue With Rosemary Bar Nuts, and Lime Cardamom Frozen Yogurt.
When Jeni isn’t developing new flavors, or art directing new campaigns, she devotes time to Local Matters (the fresh-food-for-all non-profit she co-founded in Columbus), serves on the boards of the Wexner Center for the Arts and Columbus College of Art & Design, and gets into trouble with her husband and two children at their home in Columbus.
Raised at the table of a meat-and-three, Jennifer Justus had her Southern food education on plates of fried chicken and turnip greens. But she received her formal training at Boston University where she created her own food writing curriculum with courses in both Journalism and Gastronomy, a cultural study of food founded by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.
Jennifer is author of The Food Lovers’ Guide to Nashville (Globe Pequot Press, November 2012), and she worked as food culture reporter at The Tennessean for the past six years. Her work has been included in editions 5 and 6 of Cornbread Nation: the Best of Southern Food Writing, Alimentum literary food journal, Nashville Lifestyles magazine, Imbibe, Southern Living, The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, among others.
Prior to journalism, Jennifer worked in qualitative research studying the emotional connections we make with food. She spent hours in the kitchens of home cooks looking for the reasons behind the comfort in a pot of chili, and she conducted deprivation studies with teenagers across the country to understand the craving for a slice of pepperoni pie. It¹s through this work that Jennifer gained experience tapping into food¹s deeper roles in our lives as art, travel, sociology, agriculture and health, but also as a simple everyday act that brings us together at the table.
Besh Restaurant Group, Author, TV Personality, John Besh's Family Table, New Orleans, LA
John Besh is a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one mouth-watering dish at a time.
Besh grew up in southern Louisiana and has set the benchmark for fine dining in New Orleans – a town whose identity is bound to its food. His nine acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, Lüke San Antonio, La Provence, American Sector, Soda Shop, Domenica and Borgne) celebrate the bounty and traditions of the region.
From the outset of his career, Besh’s talent and drive have earned him continuous kudos: Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America,” and he won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006. In 2009, he was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. His flagship restaurant, August, is a Gayot Top 40 Restaurant and a Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Restaurant, in addition to being a 2012 and 2013 James Beard Nominee for Outstanding National Restaurant (eligible only to restaurants open for ten years or more). John Besh has appeared on top television programs on The Food Network and the acclaimed Sundance Channel “Iconoclast” series alongside his longtime friend, jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.
Local publications keeping close tabs on the dining scene, like The Times-Picayune and New Orleans City Business, have applauded all of his restaurants as they’ve won the hearts and palates of discriminating diners.
Besh’s devotion to local ingredients and local cuisine also extends to his entrepreneurial projects, including the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering and the publication of his two cookbooks, My New Orleans in October 2009 and My Family Table in November 2011 (Andrews McMeel Publishing). Both books were recognized by John’s peers and the culinary industry by being awarded the prestigious IACP Award in the American category (2010, My New Orleans) and the Children, Youth and Family category (2012, My Family Table). His third cookbook is set to be published in fall 2013. He is the host of two national public television cooking shows, based on his award-winning cookbooks: “Chef John Besh’s New Orleans,” and the new “Chef John Besh’s Family Table,” which will debut in April 2013.
A former U.S. Marine, Besh is proud to have partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International, for which he creates high quality ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world; the initiative promotes the Gulf Coast’s food culture as it elevates the Louisiana economy. In recognition of such far-reaching contributions, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.
Besh’s non-profit organization, the John Besh Foundation, works to protect and preserve the culinary heritage and foodways of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area. In 2011, as part of the Foundation, the Chefs Move! scholarship was established to send a minority recipient to the International Culinary Center in New York City. The scholar pledges to return to New Orleans and work in the restaurant industry for five years, promoting and supporting diversity in the kitchen. The Foundation also started a microloan program, in partnership with the Tulane School of Business, to financially assist and advise farmers and artisanal producers within 200 miles of New Orleans to grow their business.
John Currence was born and raised in New Orleans to a family that loved to cook and spend time in the kitchen. His parents’ travels during his childhood, combined with the family’s several years in Europe, brought the dishes of the world to their dinner table, while time spent hunting and fishing in South Louisiana began the education in the foods of his home.
Currence’s first restaurant job was washing dishes at Bill Neal’s Crook’s Corner. He worked his way up through the Crook’s kitchen, and after three years, returned to New Orleans to open Gautreau’s as sous chef. After several years, Currence moved on to the Brennan family of restaurants to help open Bacco before settling in Oxford, MS, and opening City Grocery in 1992. In the time since, the City Grocery Restaurant Group has seen a number of openings, including Nacho Mama’s, Kalo’s, Ajax Diner, City Grocery Catering Company, Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast and Snackbar.
Recipient of 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South, Currence was honored as Restaurateur Of The Year and Chef Of The Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association in 1998. In 2006, he received the Southern Foodways Alliance Guardian of Tradition Award and won the 2008 Great American Seafood Cookoff in New Orleans and the 2009 Charleston Food and Wine Festival’s Iron Chef Challenge.
Currence competed on Bravo’s season three of Top Chef Masters in spring 2011, and is currently working on the Adventures of The Big Bad Chef video series, trips through the lesser known food spots of the Deep South. His first cookbook: Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some, will be released on October 1, 2013. Currence resides in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife Bess and baby girl, Mamie.
Chefs, Animal & Son of a Gun
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are Los Angeles-based chef-entrepreneurs who blend innovative and seasonal cooking with ambitious dining experiences. They opened Animal restaurant in June 2008 to widespread acclaim. Since then the duo has been awarded some of the most prominent national accolades including Food & Wine Best New Chefs, three James Beard nominations, Rising Star Chefs by Star Chefs, Wine List of the Year by GQ Magazine, and one of the Most Important Restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. Their second restaurant, Son of a Gun, opened in February 2011 and was named one of Bon Apetit’s Top 10 New Restaurants for 2012 and Details magazine’s hottest restaurant in the world. They also operate a full service catering company, and their cookbook Two Dudes One Pan was voted one of NPR’s “10 Best Cookbooks of 2008.” They have been covered in numerous publications, including, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, The New Yorker, Travel + Leisure, Garden and Gun, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine magazine, and have appeared on The Morning Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, Iron Chef America, judges on Top Chef, The Layover with Anthony Bourdain, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and NPR’s Good Eats. Just prior to opening Animal the duo starred in their own reality show called Two Dudes Catering on the Food Network. They met while attending culinary school at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, where they worked for a number if prominent chefs before making their way out west. Most recently they partnered with Ludo Lefebvre to launch his first brick and mortar restaurant Trois Mec.
Chef, Barbuto; Author
Jonathan is a native Californian. Raised in Berkeley, he was nurtured in the food arts from an early age. His father was raised in the Bronx & his mother in Bedford-Stuyvesant. They loved to cook. They went to great lengths to educate their sons in all things culinary. His grandparents owned a farm in Sonoma & they raised sheep, cattle, and chickens. Jonathan studied enology & political science at UC Berkeley. His other great passion was music; he played trombone professionally in the infamous band ‘links’, jazz groups & other venues.
While selling Ferraris in Berkeley the owner offered to introduce Jonathan to the“Tante Marie” cooking school In San Francisco. With Mary Risley he studied the gamut of French cuisine. This led to his enrollment in the La Varenne School in Paris. Here he received the Grand Diplome and mastered the fundamentals of classic French Food: Patisserie, Garde Manger, and the other tenants of French food. Then Jonathan worked in a Relais et Chateaux one star restaurant near the Voges Mountains in France where he worked all stations, especially concentrating on pastry and garde manger.
He returned to the United States to work at Domaine Chandon in Napa Valley. Jonathan started in the Pastry department with German pastry chef Gunther Heiland. Here he learned sugar work, chocolate fundamentals and expanded his pastry repertoire. Then he moved up to be the sous Chef with Philippe Jeanty and consulting chefs Paul Bocuse & Roger Vergé. Jonathan then worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. He found great inspiration & culinary excellence as well as lasting friendships with Mark Miller, Deborah Madison, and Judy Rogers.
In 1979 Jonathan become the Executive Chef at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica. There he developed his version of Californian cuisine. His sous chefs included Mark Peel, Gordon Naccarato, Nancy Silverton, Roy Yamaguchi, Kazuto Matsusaka & many others. After five years he felt ready to try it on his own.
Jonathan moved to New York with partner Melvyn Master where they opened the celebrated Jams on East 79th Street. Florence Fabricant referred to the opening of Jams as a “culinary comet”. Jams featured bold cuisine, great wines, designer uniforms, Christofle silver & the best of New York’s contemporary artists. Jams was followed by Bud’s, Jams London & Hulot’s, a New York French Bistro. He opened Table 29 in Napa Valley in 1992.
Jonathan was featured in Life Magazine & awarded the honor as one the most influential young Americans from Esquire magazine. He has appeared on the “Today Show “,“Good Morning America” and “Charlie Rose”. He finds time to work closely with the Meals on Wheels events, March of Dimes & American Cancer Society. He was asked to be on the illustrious American Airlines Conclave. His restaurants have spawned many great cooks including Bobby Flay. In 2001 he returned to the full time NY restaurant world with his Washington Park. He devotes his current efforts to his family and ‘Barbuto’ a seasonal Italian restaurant in the West Village.
Executive Chef, Blackberry Farm
Joseph Lenn, executive chef of the Barn, leads his team in providing the Foothills Cuisine for which Blackberry Farm has come to be known. A Tennessee native, Lenn is garnering national attention for his talents in the kitchen. In 2013, Lenn was awarded the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast and was a nominee for the award in 2012. Also in 2012, he was included in the running as one of Food & Wine’s The People’s Choice Best New Chef: Southeast. In 2011, he was honored to receive the title of Grand Chef by the Relais & Chateaux organization, as well as a nod by Food & Wine as one of the top upcoming New Chefs.
Lenn’s team prepares beautifully served multicourse menus, inspired by seasonal, farm-fresh products and produce grown just a few feet away from the Barn in the gardens. A carefully relocated bank barn from the 1800s, the Barn is a visually grand setting in which to relish the earthy delicacies of Blackberry Farm’s bakery, butchery, creamery, and 8,000-square-foot wine cellar.
Inspired by his mother and grandmother from a young age, Lenn sought a career in the culinary world. His training started in the butcher shop at a local independent grocery store of his hometown. Quality ingredients were of the utmost importance there, and Lenn learned that the best food comes from the best product. This thought led him to culinary school at Johnson and Wales in Charleston, SC, where he was able to hone his skills in the kitchen.
During his time in culinary school, Lenn completed an internship at Blackberry Farm and then returned to Charleston to work at the Peninsula Grill with Chef Bob Carter while he finished school. Three years later, Lenn assisted Chef Sean Brock in opening the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, where he worked for two years honing his creative talent. During this time, his deep love for east Tennessee brought him back to Blackberry Farm again and again, assisting in cooking schools and special events. “I have always loved the Southeast, and growing up in this region inspires a lot of things that I do,” he says. “At Blackberry Farm, I cook regionally inspired dishes, but more than that, I love the process that I am a part of here. From joining our master gardeners and picking what is sprouting to having fresh ingredients delivered right to the kitchen door, I can’t help but love what I do. Each season brings a new culinary adventure.”
Lenn joined the Blackberry Farm team in 2005 as sous chef, and in 2007 reopened the Main House Restaurant as chef de cuisine before becoming executive chef of the Barn.
Executive Chef, SILO
Larry Carlile developed his passion for cooking at a young age, refining his skills in restaurants such as Radius10, Virago, and LIME. Working his way up in the culinary world, he is now the proud Executive Chef at Silo, an elevated southern restaurant in Nashville, TN.
He remembers early morning breakfasts with his mother, and uses techniques he picked up from watching her in his cooking.
A dedicated chef, Larry creates beautiful plates that will take you back to sitting in your mother’s kitchen.
Margot spent many Saturday mornings as a little girl in the kitchen with her mother frying doughnuts, baking bread and making candy. Cooking was fun and it tasted good, so it was restaurant work she turned to for a part time job while studying creative writing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Margot excelled in the work and was quickly promoted.
Back in Nashville after graduation, she found herself drawn to the kitchen at Faison’s. Owner Jody Faison encouraged Margot to be creative and introduced her to the work of chefs like Alice Waters. After a year of experience, Margot decided to pursue a career in the culinary arts and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. During the two year program, Margot set her sights on NYC and moved there the day after graduation. She held positions in many different restaurants to gain knowledge and experience. In 1992 she became the chef at Danal, a tiny European café in the east village. Margot was exposed to the more rustic dishes of France and Italy. Her developing style attracted a following and garnered reviews in the NY Times and NY Magazine.
After ten years in NY, Margot returned home to Nashville in 1996 and worked as chef de cuisine and then executive chef at F. Scott’s. During her five years there, Margot made a name for herself in Nashville as the restaurant received rave reviews and many accolades.
Margot dreamed of a restaurant of her own, though, and left F. Scott’s in February of 2001. She partnered with Jay Frein to open Margot Café and Bar in June of 2001. Since opening, the restaurant has continued to buzz thanks to incredible neighborhood support and critical praise. Margot Café & Bar has been featured prominently in local publications such as The City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles & The Tennessean and has received numerous Nashville Scene “Best of Nashville” awards including winning “Best Restaurant” five years in a row. National press for the restaurant includes National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Southern Living, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal & The New York Times. McCormack & Frein opened their second restaurant, Marche Artisan Foods, in 2006 to similar acclaim.
Margot’s philosophy on food and cooking is rooted in the cultures of southern France and Italy. She enjoys the sturdy flavors of peasant cookery where cuisine is pure, uncomplicated, seasonally based & ingredient driven. Her cooking style is personal and features food that you can be comfortable with. Margot is not looking to reinvent food but to reintroduce it in a personal & uncomplicated way.
When not working, Margot enjoys travelling, cycling, gardening and spending time with her partner, their son and their dogs in their home in the East Nashville neighborhood of Inglewood.
Executive Chef, The Southern
Executive Chef Matt Farley began his culinary journey in rural upstate New York at the age of 17. He moved to New York City in 1995, where he worked his way up in the kitchens of some of the Big Apple’s most lauded restaurants. After studying at the French Culinary Institute, Farley landed the executive chef position at The Noho Star where he remained for 7 years. Farley’s eclectic career then led him to run a USDA plant, where he oversaw product development for retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Farley moved his family to Nashville in the Fall of 2009, and after two and half years of working at the Loveless Cafe and the Farmhouse at Fontanel, he brought his varied experience and true love of food to The Southern. “To me, the most important thing is having honest food that brings out the flavors of good, simple ingredients.”
Chef/Owner of Lola, Lolita, Roast and B Spot
Chef Michael Symon cooks with soul. Growing up in a Greek and Sicilian family, the Cleveland native creates boldly flavored, deeply satisfying dishes at his four restaurants in America’s heartland: Lola, Lolita, Roast and B Spot. He also shares his exuberant, approachable cooking style and infectious laugh with viewers as an Iron Chef on the Food Network.
Since being named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine in 1998, Michael and his restaurants have been awarded numerous honors: in 2010, he was the first chef ever to host the annual Farm Aid benefit concert; Bon Appetit magazine included B Spot on their list of “Top 10 Best New Burger Joints;” B Spot’s Fat Doug burger won the People’s Choice award at the SoBe Wine & Food Festival. In 2009, Michael earned The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes and the Detroit Free Press named Roast “Restaurant of the Year,” and in 2000 Gourmet magazine chose Lola as one of “America’s Best Restaurants.”
Michael’s most recent television show, Symon’s Suppers, premiered on Cooking Channel in January 2012, and in September 2011, he joined the cast of The Chew on ABC as one of the show’s six hosts. Throughout 2010, Michael appeared on four Food Network/Cooking Channel shows, hosting Food Feuds and Cook Like an Iron Chef, judging season three of The Next Iron Chef and competing on Iron Chef America. Michael won season one of The Next Iron Chef in 2008, earning him a permanent spot on the roster of esteemed Iron Chefs. He made his debut on the network in 1998 with appearances on Sara’s Secrets with Sara Moulton, Ready, Set, Cook and Food Nation with Bobby Flay, before being tapped to host over 100 episodes of The Melting Pot.
While Michael shines on television, he is a genuine hometown guy who made his name cooking in his Midwestern restaurants, all of which became critically acclaimed. Lola opened in 1997 and is now the cornerstone of Cleveland’s dining scene. Lolita, a Mediterranean-style bistro in the historic Tremont neighborhood, opened in 2005. Roast brought Michael’s meat-centric cooking to Detroit’s Westin Book Cadillac in 2008, and two Cleveland locations of B Spot opened in 2009 and one so far in 2011, showcasing his passion for burgers, bratwurst and beer.
Michael published his first cookbook, “Michael Symon’s Live to Cook – Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen,” in 2009, sharing home cook-friendly recipes that draw on the flavors of his heritage. Michael’s second cookbook, “Carnivore,” dedicated to meat lovers, was published in October 2012.
When he’s not working, Michael is riding his motorcycle through Cleveland, cooking at home, playing golf, thinking about his next tattoo, gardening in the backyard and spending time with his wife, Liz, and their bullmastiff, Ruby, and Old English bulldog, Ozzy.
Chef, Author, & Co-owner, Mozza Restaurant Group
With partners Mario Batali & Joe Bastianich, Nancy Silverton is the co-owner of Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, Newport Beach and Singapore, as well as Mozza2Go and Chi Spacca in Los Angeles. Silverton also founded the world-renowned La Brea Bakery and Campanile Restaurant, an institution that Angelenos cherished for decades.
Throughout her celebrated career, Silverton has worked with some of the nation’s most notable chefs including Jimmy Brinkley at Michael’s Restaurant and Wolfgang Puck at Spago. Additionally, she has served as a mentor to numerous others who have gone on to become award-winning chefs and restaurant owners themselves.
In 1990, Silverton was named one of Food and Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs”. Also that year, she was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” and “Who’s Who of Cooking” by the James Beard Foundation. For the second year in a row, the Foundation has nominated her for the “Outstanding Chef” award. Her cookbooks, Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery and Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery, were nominated for awards from Julia Child and the James Beard Foundation, respectively, and her 8th cookbook, “The Mozza Cookbook”, was released in October 2011.
Silverton is busy creating and innovating outside of the kitchen as well. She has served as a member of the Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) Culinary Council since 2003, and is also heavily involved in the Meals-On-Wheels programs in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.
Nancy Silverton has an amazing capacity for embracing the beauty of wonderful food, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for the rest of her ingredient inspired life. Each loaf, every pizza and single inspiring mozzarella dish is an entire world of its own waiting to be discovered…Silverton will never stop exploring.
Creator & Chef, Mangia Nashville
Nick Pellegrino, creator of the pop-up restaurant phenomenon, Mangia Nashville, brings a level of culinary richness and excitement that is new to Nashville’s dining landscape. Mangia Nashville’s unique concept quickly garnered the Nashville Scene’s 2011 Writer’s Choice Award for “Best Weekly Food Event” and soon after, Pellegrino was dubbed the “Godfather of Pop Ups” in Tennessee. He has been a regular guest on WSMV Nashville’s “More At Midday,” as well as the “What’s 4 Dinner” segment during the morning news broadcast. Pellegrino is currently expanding the Mangia Nashville brand with a retail food line, location events, and a television project.
A long time music veteran with a degree in classical guitar, Pellegrino had the idea for Mangia Nashville at a New Year’s Eve party. The inspiration came from his New York City childhood and a desire to relive the boisterous Italian family dinners he grew up with. “My greatest memories as a kid were of my entire family crowded around the table sharing an incredible meal, while telling stories, singing and joking with each other. My grandmother’s tiny apartment was instantly transformed into the best Italian restaurant on earth.” Pellegrino’s love of food and entertaining was born at that table, which he has now recreated to share with others.
Mangia, Italian for “eat,” is a fixed price, multi-course dining extravaganza that takes place at the Cool Café in Franklin, Tennessee. The chameleon-like eatery transforms itself into a reservation only, white tablecloth, family style feast every Friday and Saturday evening. All the bread, gnocchi, sausage, ricotta, dressings, sauces and desserts are made in house, with the fresh mozzarella completed an hour before it is served. Pellegrino, the emcee of fun, sings, dances and interacts with guests throughout the three-hour food odyssey.
Pellegrino honed his kitchen skills as co-owner of a successful catering company in his hometown of Staten Island with his close friend, a Culinary Institute of America graduate. He continued to cook professionally to subsidize his early years as a songwriter in Nashville and worked for several upscale caterers including TomKats Catering. As a caterer, he learned to build interesting menus and plan intimate to large-scale events, all while cultivating a one-on- one relationship with his customers.
Italian food icon, Lidia Bastianich, teamed up with Pellegrino for a 2012 fundraising event held at Mangia Nashville. Bastianich praised Pellegrino saying, “I am having a fantastic time. It’s like being with family, it really is. Nick, I think you have an extraordinary concept here. You’re the chef, producer, dancer… You’re multitalented at multitasking. Everything that I love is right here – music, dancing, good food, family and friends.”
Nick Pellegrino is passionate about changing the way people look at the whole dining experience. “I want Mangia Nashville to be a joyful place where you leave your problems at the door and just celebrate life. You may be seated with strangers when you arrive, but you’re family when you leave…. It’s the ultimate social network.”
Chef, Martin's Bar-B-Que
Pat Martin began cooking barbecue over 20 years ago while in college. Seven years ago Pat turned his passion into a profession and has quickly garnered recognition as one of the top Pit-Masters in the country. Pat is bigger than life, a true character to say the least but its his skill with live fire cooking that has vaulted him to such a big stage in short period of time. Pat incorporates West Tennessee’s legendary whole-hog barbecue style as the cornerstone of his famed restaurant Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint just outside of Nashville, TN.
Chief Winemaker, Penfolds
Peter joined the then Penfolds Wines Pty Ltd in 1989. He started his tenure making sparkling wine, then reds, and served as Penfolds Red Wine Oenologist before being appointed Penfolds Chief Winemaker in 2002, making him only the fourth winemaker to be responsible for Penfolds’ flagship wine, Grange.
Fresh out of university, Peter, a natural educator, initially taught maths and science, prior to attending Roseworthy College, where he graduated as Dux of the Bachelor of Applied Science (Oenology). Peter has travelled and tasted extensively, literally visiting every continent (and most countries !) in an effort to introduce people to Australian wine. Peter globally hosts master classes, tastings and various wine events, regularly appearing on radio, television & webcasts.
Most recently, in October 2005 Peter Gago was named by the U.S. Wine Enthusiast magazine as Winemaker of the Year. This was followed in 2007 by more local recognition, when awarded ‘Winemaker of the Year’ by the Barons of Barossa (a group which comprises some of the greatest names in Australian wine). In 2008 Peter became the inaugural ‘Big Red Winemaker of the Year’, in Campbell Mattinson’s Big Red Wine Book. In 2012 Peter received his global peer’s Winemaker’s Winemaker Award in Düsseldorf – conveyed by the Institute of Masters of Wine & London’s Drinks Business Magazine.
Peter strives to simultaneously maintain the Penfolds wine style and explore new territories. “Many Penfolds wines – both red and white – are made to be true to a particular style each year, others are true to their unique single-vineyard source, and others to the closely aligned vineyards of a smaller viticultural region” says Peter. “I also play a role in the development of new wine styles – an exciting part of the job.” Like most winemakers, Peter’s tastes are wide-ranging. “It’s important not to fall into the trap of drinking only your own wines,” he says. “You have to keep up with what your competitors are doing and with what’s happening in other wine-producing countries. You must have benchmarks against which to measure your own achievements – besides, I love trying new (and old!) wines!”
Chef and Owner, Rolf and Daughters
Native southerner chef Philip Krajeck has created a restaurant that embraces his passion for local and seasonal food while honoring Nashville’s history and culture. The result is a neighborhood restaurant housed in a historic landmark showcasing the talent, ingredients and culinary tradition of the region.
Drawn to the food culture he observed while growing up in Brussels, Krajeck’s interest in cooking professionally was sparked after side jobs in restaurants and cooking for himself while completing his undergraduate degree. Krajeck decided to pursue a career in the restaurant industry and received his formal training in Switzerland at César Ritz Colleges. After graduating, Krajeck returned to the United States where he continued his education staging at some of the country’s top restaurants including Blue Hill Stone Barns, Gramercy Tavern, Marea and Chanterelle.
One of Krajeck’s most influential professional experiences was his time working as chef de partie at James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Joël Antunes’ Joël Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Still one of Krajeck’s most important culinary role models, Chef Antunes helped solidify Krajecks’s fundamental culinary techniques as well as teaching him more specific skill sets such as butchery and pasta making. After working under the direction of Chef Antunes, Krajeck moved further south to be closer to his wife and started working at Fish Out of Water in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida where he eventually became the chef de cuisine. Between 2005 and 2011, he achieved and maintained a four-diamond AAA rating at Fish Out of Water and was nominated four times as semi-finalist for Best Chef: South by the James Beard Foundation. As a result of the restaurant’s emphasis on immediately accessible fresh ingredients, Krajeck developed his unique culinary perspective and gained a profound interest in local and seasonal food. After more than five years at Fish Out of Water, Krajeck has embarked on a new culinary adventure opening his own restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, a city, which he had fallen in love with after observing the emerging cultural scene.
Inspired by the city’s effervescent spirit, Krajeck decided to open Rolf and Daughters. Named in homage to his two daughters and Rolf, which is his middle name, the restaurant’s menu draws on Northern Italian and Mediterranean influences with southern undertones and highlights local and seasonal ingredients from nearby farms. It was important to Krajeck to employ local and independent businesses throughout the construction and creation of the restaurant. From handmade furniture built from native Southern hardwood by local furniture designer Matt Alexander from Holler Designs to vintage signs created by Nashville craftsmen Luke Stockdale from Sideshow Sign Co., the restaurant serves as a living testimony to the talent and beauty of Nashville and demonstrates Krajeck’s exceptional culinary outlook and ability.
Growing up in Tennessee and north Georgia, Chef Robert Grace was steeped in rich, southern cooking with farm fresh ingredients. He has been working in kitchens since the age of 16, ultimately following his passion for food to Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island to earn a degree in Culinary Arts. Robert continued to hone his skills working in the thriving Providence food scene before coming to Nashville in 2007. In Nashville he served as Sous-chef and Chef de Cuisine under a James Beard Award winning chef before coming to M Street and Kayne Prime.
During Robert’s tenure at Kayne Prime, the chef and the restaurant have become multi-award winners. Some of the recent accolades include Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S. 2013 from Gayot, the Nashville Scene’s Iron Fork Audience Award, Best Steak, Best of the Best and Best Restaurants from Nashville Lifestyles. Continuing to innovate with Kayne Prime’s artful, farm-to-table creations, Chef Grace can often be found at the Nashville Farmer’s Market sourcing fresh, seasonal produce.
Chef/Owner, The Silly Goose
As the Chef and Owner of The Silly Goose in Nashville, Tennessee, Roderick Bailey loves food. But, that hasn’t always been the case. As a child, he was an extremely picky eater – until he experienced New Orleans. When he was seven years old, Roderick’s parents took him to New Orleans, giving him the opportunity to eat at some of the city’s classic culinary institutions: K’ Pauls, Commander’s Palace, Galatoires & Antoine’s. After a few mouthfuls, his relationship with culinary experiences changed forever; Roderick became passionate about food, and he hasn’t looked back since.
At the age of 19, Roderick worked under the direction of Chef Jean Claude Prevot, and in that kitchen, he learned many culinary essentials, ranging from how to hold a knife to classic French technique to prudent resourcefulness. However, the greatest lesson Roderick learned from Jean Claude is one that still marks his culinary ventures today: there are no rules in cooking. He realized that as long as technique is followed, there is no creative limit. Jean Claude’s nonconformist attitude, resourcefulness and unorthodox approach to food deeply impacted Roderick and still continue to guide him as a burgeoning chef and restaurant owner.
Roderick went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY from 1997-1999, with a year at Magnolia’s in Charleston, SC in between. After culinary school, Roderick’s obvious talent helped him obtain his first sous chef job at PJ’s Sea Grille in Boca Grande, Florida at the age of 23, and then went on work as the sous chef at OBA in Portland, Oregon and the Grove Grill in Memphis, Tennessee. His experience led him to the opportunity of working as a personal chef for a wealthy Memphis-based family, cooking for them both in the South and in their second home in Vail, Colorado. This unique venture allowed Roderick to formulate his own culinary style – achieved through an unlimited access to high quality ingredients with an inexhaustible budget, and complete creative freedom.
After a lengthy amount of time in the culinary world, Roderick opened the Silly Goose in 2009. It had a shotgun kitchen, equipped only with a pair of George Foreman grills, an ice cream maker, a juicer, and a toaster oven. With minimal equipment and only 16 seats, Roderick was not deterred. This was a chance to further develop his style – and with the lack of appliances, innovation was essential. Instead of concentrating on what he was missing, he focused heavily on being resourceful. Roderick chose to extract the menu’s now-trademark bold flavors through the use of herbs, hard spices, and purees. And he relied on fresh, high-quality ingredients, using local purveyors whenever possible, to achieve dishes unbound to a particular culinary region or style, yet characterized by high culinary appreciation. Each dish at Silly Goose embraces a balance of flavor, texture and aesthetics in unique, yet palatably satisfying ways. The distinct menu was born out of necessity – and embraced wholeheartedly by a community hungry for something different.
In less than one year after opening, the Nashville Scene named Roderick’s 16-seat space “Best New Restaurant” and in two years, he expanded his 16 seats to 48, complete with a full dinner menu and a larger kitchen. In 2013, Food and Wine nominated Roderick as the “People’s Best New Chef Southeast.” Thanks to the tremendous support of his Silly Goose family and community, he won.
Creator of OTAKU SOUTH
I guess you would call me a country girl if you knew I was born and raised in Columbia, Tennessee. If you really want to get down to origin though, I’m half Sicilian and half Irish, which means I am genetically predicated to be loud and eat a lot. I think that describes me much better than country girl.
My greatest passion in life is food. I have never taken a trip or vacation that did not revolve around food and bad meal can ruin my day. Conversely, a great meal can right almost any wrong in my book.
So how did a white Sicilian cracker from Columbia, Tennessee end up cooking Ramen?
Because I had to. Because the city I live in deserves it, and because I love making people happy with food.
Before moving back to Tennessee – this time Nashville – in 2009, I spent 17 years in LA where I developed a deep love for Japanese food in all its forms. Sushi is only one very small aspect of the culture’s food, and frankly, not my favorite. Yakitori, robata, sukiyaki, and steaming bowls of noodle soup, all styles of country Japanese food that are cooked and served in IZAKAYAS, (a Japanese Gastropub) – that’s the good stuff.
The first time I set foot into an Izakaya I knew I liked it. Small, convivial, and loud with steam rising from the kitchen, plates and chopsticks clinking everywhere. Busy and warm and inviting, shoes lined up by the door, people dressed casually, laughing and passing plates around the table.
The signature plates of an Izakaya vary, and some will even specialize in one style of cooking; yakitori chicken or ramen shop…but they all have the same feeling, that anyone from anywhere with a few bucks for a good meal is welcome here.
Assorted pickles to begin and end your meal. Fried chicken nuggets with wasabi mayo partner to sautéed okra and eggplant with seasonal bitter greens splashed with a touch of vinegar. Sound familiar?
This is comfort food that feeds the soul, no matter where you are from.
So how is a Sicilian Irish Country girl gonna take this idea to the masses? One night at a time.
We begin with RAMEN. Possibly the ultimate comfort food. Go ahead, google it, and what you will find are fanatics of this magical bowl of broth and noodles. The Japanese call them OTAKU…the obsessed.
I am OTAKU.
Join me for a series of evenings highlighting the cuisine of Japanese Country Food, each evening unique in feel, menu and approach.
Chef, City House
Tandy Wilson opened City House in Nashville’s historic Germantown district in December 2007 in space that had formerly housed the working space for artist and sculptor Alan LeQuire.
City House’s menu offers dishes that feature quality, local ingredients cooked with great care and purpose. City House also allows Wilson to hone his emerging expertise at cured meats, which hold a prominent place on the menu, revolving between his various salamis and, more recently, hand-cured hams.
Seating 124, and featuring a chef’s bar where diners can watch as Wilson and his team prepare the meal, City House has emerged as one of the bright stars in Nashville’s local restaurant scene.
Wilson opened City House after spending two years as sous chef for Margot McCormack at Margot Café and Bar, also in Nashville. Working with local resources and a menu that changed daily, Wilson sharpened his skills and perfected his vision of his own restaurant.
It was his mother and grandmothers who instilled in him this enthusiasm and love of food early on, and it was during his first restaurant job at The Orangery while attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville that he discovered his talent. After quickly moving up from his position as a dishwasher to a role in the kitchen, Wilson realized he wanted to make a career out of cooking. In 2000, after graduating with a degree in hotel restaurant administration, he left Tennessee for Arizona, where he attended the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.
After a year of culinary training, the institute’s career center placed Wilson at the
world-famous Tra Vigne restaurant in St. Helena, Calif., in October of 2001. Tra Vigne’s executive sous chef at the time, Nate Appleman, was also the creative force behind SPQR and A16, two of the most popular destinations in the San Francisco restaurant scene.
The opportunity to work under the direction of such an influential chef inevitably shaped Wilson’s future in the restaurant industry. Following his time in California, Wilson decided to travel to Italy to explore the cuisine and learn more about regional Italian cooking. Returning from Italy in 2005, Wilson came home to his roots.
Wilson’s passion for food extends beyond cooking for his customers. He has been a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance for the past two years and is frequently involved with local and regional culinary activities.
Chef & Owner of Loveshack, The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse and White Elephant Saloon
Texas chef Tim Love is known as much for his freewheeling personality as his signature urban western cuisine. Chef and owner of newly opened Queenie’s Steakhouse, Woodshed Smokehouse, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love Shack, a founding partner of the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, and official chef of Austin City Limits, his inspired and innovative dishes have earned critical and popular acclaim. His charm and southern hospitality are always on display, whether it’s at his restaurants, on TV, or at culinary events and cultural festivals around the world such as the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.
Country Music Artist, Author, Actress
One of the highest-selling female artists in Country music history , a New York Times Bestselling cookbook author, and now a Food Network star, Trisha Yearwood has a habit of surpassing expectations.
Since her 1991 debut, Yearwood has recorded twelve albums and achieved a hit-list of nine #1 hits and twenty Top Ten hits under her belt, including “She’s in Love With the Boy,” “Walkaway Joe,” and “How Do I Live.”
In an unexpected twist, Trisha turned her favorite hobby into a family project with a cookbook series that combines anecdotes and recipes from the Yearwood clan. In 2008, she released “Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” and in 2010 “Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood,” both of which debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. The success of the books gave life to a new Food Network show, “Trisha’s Southern Cooking” which debuted in April 2012. The hit show was picked up for a second season airing in the Fall of 2012.
In addition to three Grammy Awards, the Grand Ole Opry member is a three-time Country Music Award winner and a two-time Academy of Country Music Award winner.
Quintessentially Southern and undeniably cool, Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival puts you at the heart of gastronomic revelry. For the first time in 2013, for two delectable days, the nation’s top chefs, and wine, spirit and beer purveyors joined the region’s epicurean heroes to entice senses with local farm and restaurant showcases and demonstrations, all to the soundtrack of great live music. See The 2013 Schedule.
The best of high and low cuisine is found at the Flavors of Nashville, featuring authentic Southern dishes and fabled Music City favorites from over 25 of region’s top restaurants. Washed down with sips from over 40 distinguished wine, beer and spirits exhibitors.
Satisfy your curiosity with up close and personal access to experts at cooking demos and intimate panel discussions. Savor signature dishes by celebrated chefs from near and far at Harvest Night presented by CITI, a veritable farm-to-palate extravaganza.
In 2013, Petty Fest Nashville was an all-star review of the legendary music of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Celebrating all things Petty, the night was hosted by the Kings of Leon and the Cabin Down Below Band, along with many other very special guests.
The casual, laid-back atmosphere of downtown Nashville is ideal for foodies, wine and spirit enthusiasts of all persuasions. Kick back, sip, savor, and enjoy. Don’t miss a bite, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Looking to discover more about Nashville? Visit visitmusiccity.com for more information on the best places to eat, shop, stay and explore.
Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival is the brainchild of Grammy award winning artists (and Nashville residents) Caleb and Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon, world renowned chef Jonathan Waxman, Austin-based C3 Presents — producer of Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and Lollapalooza — and Vector Management's Ken Levitan and Andy Mendelsohn.
Taking place in the historic venues and outdoor spaces of downtown Nashville, Music City Eats made its debut in 2013 with an authentic, fresh and inspiring experience that will have even the most discriminating gourmet coming back for more. The Festival will return in 2014, with an exact date, lineup of talent and ticket information coming soon.
From demos and panels to tastings and parties, see what happened during our inaugural year at The Official Schedule. Want to see what it all looked like? Visit our Official Photos to take a look. Got a question about the 2014 Festival? Contact Us.
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2014 Food, Wine, Spirit, Music, Talent Inquiries
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