Every year the Nantucket Wine Festival plays host to some of the most acclaimed leaders in the food and wine world. We pay tribute to these Luminaries for their commitment to tradition, passion for their trade, and continuous pursuit of perfection.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Brian is the Executive Chef at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA a 125-room historic hotel with one seasonal and three year round restaurants and Eat on North Restaurant at the newly opened boutique Hotel on North in Pittsfield, MA.
In addition to his position as Executive Chef he is Vice President of Culinary Development for Main Street Hospitality Group, a privately held hotel management company originally founded at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.Brian oversees all aspects of food and beverage operations at Main Street Hospitality a portfolio, that in addition to The Red Lion Inn and Hotel on North, includes The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, The Williams Inn, a 125-room hotel at Williams College in Williamstown, MA the Elm Street Market, a neighborhood café and grocery store in Stockbridge, MA, several off site cafés at cultural venues, and Main Street Hospitality Catering.
Brian is the founding chair of Berkshire Farm & Table, a board member and mentor for the Railroad Street Youth Project,a board member of the Norman Rockwell museum, and past board president and member of Berkshire Grown. He is actively involved in the Chef’s Collaborative, Boston Chefs and James Beard Foundation.
If you start cooking at 4, chances are you’re going to keep going. Jason Alley got his start whipping up Southern comfort food for his family in Pulaski, Virginia. And when Alley realized college wasn’t for him, he headed for a Quaker-owned orchard near Harrisonburg. Fate brought Alley to a group of dishwasher friends at Harrisonburg Country Club, where he quickly moved on to food prep and eventually lead cook.
With a move to Champaign, Illinois, Alley found both his wife and his first chef job at a bar and grill. Alley polished his skills at Atlanta’s 1848 House, Blue Ridge Grill, and ENO, before returning home to Europa Café and Tapas Bar in Richmond, Virginia, where he met future partner Chris Chandler. The duo opened the aptly named Southern-twangedComfort in 2002, following that up with small plates, sustainable-focused Pasture in 2013. Most recently, Alley teamed up with Chef Harrison Keevil, investing in sustainability with a small farm of his own.
Award-winning chef Stephen Barber is the executive chef of Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena. Building on his Southern roots, Barber brings his own ingredient-driven approach to Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch’s American farmhouse cooking, incorporating the organic produce, grass-fed beef and lamb, eggs, and olive oils from Long Meadow Ranch and other local artisanal producers.
Barber was most recently chef of Fish Story restaurant in Napa, which is owned by Chef Bradley Ogden's Lark Creek Restaurant Group. Previously, he was executive chef of MECCA in San Francisco where he received three stars from Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle and was named a 2004 “Rising Star Chef.” In 2007, Barber opened BarbersQ in Napa, which also received three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, was featured on the “Top 10 Best New Restaurants 2007” and “Top 100 Restaurants” lists by Mr. Bauer, and was named a Michelin Guide “Bib Gourmand.” Barber has cooked at the celebrated James Beard House twice.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Chef Barrera was first inspired to cook watching the early greats on television; greats such as Jeff Smith, Martin Yan, Julia Childs, Jack Tripper and the Swedish Chef. At the age of 10 he turned to the matriarchs in his family for his first culinary lessons. These women taught him the comforting properties of a meal. They showed him food should feed the mind and soul as well as satiate the appetite. These early influences led him to The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago to study classical French and Italian cuisine.
He spent 13 years in NYC honing his skills at some of NYC’s finest establishments. From slinging pizzas at Franny's in Brooklyn to winning Time Out New York’s “Best Burger in the City” award at Rare Bar & Grill to precise cooking and perfect plating techniques at the famed Capital in NYC – no restaurant was off limits in his pursuit of knowledge and experience. Chef Barrera brings all these experiences and influences to his menus at City Winery Chicago - a menu inspired by wine, influenced by global comfort foods and sourced locally.
Tom started working in kitchens at the tender age of 13, as a steward at the University of New Hampshire. After earning both a Bachelors and Masters degree in teaching from Johnson and Wales University, Tom joined the opening team of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, where he spent five years ultimately achieving the position of Executive Sous Chef. Since then he has helmed the stove as Executive Chef at Bambara and Temple Bar, both in Cambridge MA, as well as the Great Harbor Yacht Club in Nantucket, MA. In 2013 Tom Opened the Proprietors bar & table as Chef/Partner in Nantucket MA. The siren call of Boston brought him back to the city in Late 2015, where he accepted the position of Culinary Director for Yvonne’s and COJE management group, earning a 4 star review in Boston Magazine.
Fred Bisaillon’s first job on Nantucket was the position of Sauté Cook at the former Regatta restaurant at the White Elephant. For three years Bisaillon spent his summers on Nantucket at the Regatta while working seasonally in Martha’s Vineyard and Colorado. Bisaillon was part of the original team during the opening of the Brant Point Grill in 1997 under chefs Michel Nischan and Pat Trama.
Since his return to the island in 2009, Chef Fred, the Brant Point Grill, and the White Elephant have enjoyed accolades from N Magazine, Yesterdays Island, the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror, and USA Today.
Chef Fred’s newest venture is B-ACK Yard BBQ, featuring authentic barbecue with a Nantucket twist, which is set to open in mid-April in the former Cap’n Tobey’s building on Straight Wharf.
Born in a small seaside Sicilian town on August 12, 1967, with the full name of Antonello Jacopo Maximus Cuoco, shortened it himself to AJ Black. Growing up in the restaurant business in Rome with his family, AJ went to be refine his talents and skills at the Italian Culinary Institute. There he completed his training completing his internship at the famous Grand Hotel.
At the early age of 19, strong gifted passion brought him to open his very first restaurant in the Laterno District on the Via San Giovanni and he called it Cafe Roma. His inspiration comes from his early childhood in Sicily where he loved fishing and cooking with his family everyday for all their neighbors and friends. This was an event, an act of love, a chance to create with masters of cuisine while transforming the freshest ingredients from their gardens, mountains, and sea. His mission in his style of cooking is always to draw from his traditional foundation to create his own individual style that has been hailed as "Simpatico-Chic", "Classic-Chic" and one food critic named him the “Einstein of Food”. Chef AJ's elegant style in cuisine is always evolving, his passion for every intimate dish he creates is immeasurable.
AJ Black is featured in Relais & Chateaux’s 85 Inspirational Chefs and Chef’s at Home. He is currently working on his own cookbook.
Chef David Blessing joined Longwood in 2010, bringing with him unmatched experience, passion, and a unique perspective on private event dining. His cooking style focuses on pristine, seasonal ingredients that highlight the local bounty of New England. His preparation of restaurant style cuisine paired with his personal and creative twist sets Longwood apart from any other event company.
Be it a dinner for 500 or party of 5, Chef David puts same attention and love into every menu he creates. During the summer months, Chef David enjoys getting back to the restaurant setting, where he creates beautiful and incredibly flavorful (and healthy) dishes at Coastal, a private summer restaurant at Wychmere Beach Club on Cape Cod, just a short boat ride from Nantucket.
Chef Robert Boslow attended Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, graduating with an Associates in Culinary Arts in 1988, and a BA in Foodservice Managment in 1990. He's worked at Orient Express Hotels in Vail, Colorado and in Eleuthera, Bahamas; Carefree Resorts in Arizona and California; and various Nantucket Island restaurants including The White Elephant, The West Creek Cafe, Dough Hook Artisan Breads, and Pazzo, Lola, and Lola Burger.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Rusty Bowers is the owner/ operator of Pine Street Market, an artisan butcher shop, in Avondale Estates, GA.
Rusty, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America draws inspirations from traditional Italian butchers and salumi makers. Pine Street Market strives to use locally sourced, humanely grown and pasture raised meats that are free from growth hormones, preventative antibiotics, and steroids.
Long before “farm to table” dining was a trend, Brennan had a deep appreciation for evoking the purest flavors from fresh, local ingredients. After graduating the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1982, Brennan landed in Boston as Chef de Cuisine of Aujourd’hui in the Four Seasons Hotel. This led to a 12 year career with the luxury hotel group, during which he served as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara, as well as the Toronto flagship where he ran the hotel’s three restaurants, Truffles, Studio Café, and The Lounge, as well as private dining experiences, banquets and in-room service.
When Post 390 opened in 2009, Brennan joined the opening team as Executive Chef. Here, Brennan puts a contemporary twist on the traditional tavern experience by offering refined yet approachable seasonal dishes that reflect his passion for quality products and providing guests with memorable experiences. Currently, Eric is working for the Himmel Hospitality Group, which includes Grill 23 & Bar, Post 390, & Harvest Restaurants.
As the Owner and Executive Chef of Old Major, Justin brings close to two decade of culinary experience to his latest eatery. He focuses on heritage-raised meats, sustainable seafood and ingredients sourced from local farms. Born and raised to an Iowan farming family, Justin’s childhood was spend gardening, hunting and fishing. These activities along with his agricultural roots begin to describe his passion for food and its’ preparation.
Justin attended Scottsdale’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and obtained an internship in 2001 with renowned Chef Michael DeMaria at Michael’s at the Citadel. Michael hired and extensively trained Justin for the next several years, which helped ignite his true passion for food and cooking. In 2001, Justin moved to Denver and helped open Zengo with Chef-owner Richard Sandoval. Two years later he joined award-winning Chef Frank Bonano as his Sous Chef at Luca D’Italia and filled in at Mizuna when help was needed. Justin worked with Frank until 2007 before he joined forces with Alex Seidel, Owner and Executive Chef of Fruition. In 2008, Justin helped open Fruition all while he was in the process of opening up his own business, Masterpiece Delicatessen, which opened its second location in late 2013.
Chef Edwin Claflin brings experience from New York, New Orleans and his native Nantucket to the helm of Òran Mór. He has spent the last decade working with some of the nation's finest chefs, including John Besh (Restaurant August), Daniel Boulud (Daniel, Feast and Fetes Catering) and Wylie Dufresne (wd50). He holds degrees from The Culinary Institute of America in both Culinary and Baking & Pastry Arts.
Stephen Coe has joined Mirbeau Inn & Spa at The Pinehills as Executive Chef. The Massachusetts native takes the helm of the elegant Henri-Marie restaurant and Wine Bar & Bistro. Coe brings to Mirbeau more than 20 years of culinary experience.
Most recently, he was executive chef at Bokx 109 American Prime at Hotel Indigo, an upscale steak house in Newton, Mass. He has also led the kitchens at Alba Restaurant in Quincy and Patrizia’s Trattoria in Plymouth. He spent three seasons as Pastry Chef at Topper’s at the Wauwinet in Nantucket. Coe’s culinary experience also includes The Martini House in Napa, Calif., The Chef’s Table in Pembroke, Mass., and The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
MET Restaurant Group Culinary Director David Daniels rose from humble beginnings as a dishwasher at age 13, gaining valuable restaurant experience at a young age. Daniels is now an accomplished chef with over 20 years of experience in the hotel restaurant business and recently started his own culinary consulting company.
In 2006, Daniels became Executive Chef of modern fine dining restaurant TOPPER’S at The Wauwinet in Nantucket. As chef he completely revolutionized the experience at TOPPER’S by restructuring the menu to include unique combinations with an emphasis on seafood. Afterward Daniels moved back to Boston to become the executive chef of the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen at Fairmont Copley Plaza and ARAGOSTA at The Fairmont Battery Wharf where he managed a $7 million food & beverage operation and executed each restaurant’s business model.
Growing up in Williamstown, Massachusetts, chef Matt Drummond fell in love with the culinary arts at an early age. Throughout middle and high school, he immersed himself in the kitchen culture at restaurants ranging from a Greek-Italian pizzeria to a French-style B&B and a classic American bistro. From the ages of 13 to 17, he worked his way from dishwasher to food prep to busser to line cook and finally Junior Sous Chef before taking his passion for cooking to the hallowed kitchens of Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island.
Not content with simply hitting the books, Drummond started working in catering and restaurant service at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. From high-volume to fine dining, Drummond also spent two summers in Williamstown as the first American-born chef allowed in the kitchen of German Master Chef Swen Boehm at Yasmin’s Restaurant in The Orchards Hotel. Upon graduating with degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, Drummond decided to follow his childhood dream of living in Boston. He moved to the city in 2008 to become the Sous Chef and eventually Chef de Cuisine at The Colonnade Hotel.
In the summer of 2013, Drummond joined the talented team at the Grafton Group as Executive Chef of Temple Bar, where he gave the menu at the beloved Porter Square institution his own classic-New-England-meets-contemporary-Europe twist. In the spring of 2015 Drummond headed to Southie to head up the kitchen at Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar.
Mary has worked under the tutelage of culinary talents including Traci Des Jardins (Jardiniere), Laurent Manrique (Campton Place), and Daniel Patterson (Elizabeth Daniel) in San Francisco, and Paul Kahn (Blackbird) in Chicago. In 2005, Mary returned to her native New Hampshire to open The Dunaway in Portsmouth where she was honored by Food & Wine magazine as a “Best New Chef” in 2006 – the first chef from New Hampshire to ever win this distinction. Dumont is the chef/owner of the forthcoming restaurant Cultivar, set to open in 2016.
Chef Tiffani Faison began as a line cook for celebrity chef Todd English. She soon was given the opportunity to travel and cook side-by-side with Chef Todd English, and was then hand-selected by Chef Daniel Boulud to open his first West Coast venture, the Wynn Hotel.
In 2006 Tiffani was cast on the first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and placed as the runner-up. After the frenzy of “Top Chef”, Tiffani went to work for Gabriel Frasca and Amanda Lydon on Nantucket to get back to the roots of cooking. She was then tapped by former mentor Todd English to become the Executive Chef of a 400-room boutique hotel and restaurant in post-Katrina New Orleans. Following New Orleans, Tiffani was asked to work privately for two known actors, earning her praise and recognition from Hollywood’s A-List.
In 2010 Tiffani became Executive Chef at Rocca Kitchen & Bar in Boston, and then in fall 2011, she opened the much-anticipated Sweet Cheeks, a Southern-Style Barbecue restaurant in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. The restaurant is the first restaurant that Tiffani has had full creative vision for and draws inspiration from her love of barbecue and extensive travels in the South.
Brad Farmerie grew up in Pittsburgh in a food-loving family. His mother, an avid home cook, exposed him to a variety of cuisines, a staple being Middle Eastern cooking, and insisted on home baked bread and vegetables straight from the family garden.
Farmerie found himself in London, during England’s food revolution, studying among a respected group of chef-instructors at one of the most highly-regarded culinary schools in the world. Outside the classroom, the opportunities for further learning were unique: London presented the chance to work in Michelin-starred restaurants; plus its proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, made it relatively easy to sample some of the world’s most interesting cuisines.
He further rounded out his education and technique at acclaimed restaurants including Coast, Chez Nico and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Most influential to his own style was his experience working with famed New Zealand chef Peter Gordon at the Sugar Club in 1996, and he went on to assist Gordon and Anna Hansen in opening the criticallyacclaimed The Providores and Tapa Room in 2001.
In 2003, Farmerie moved back to the States to head up the kitchen of the first AvroKO-designed, owned and operated restaurant, PUBLIC, where his culinary magpie method takes cues from broad source material, looking to Asia, the Antipodes, and Europe for inspiration. The New York Times described this global approach as one that "swings for the fences with each and every dish,” and Michelin has awarded the restaurant a coveted star every year since 2009. In 2008, AvroKO Hospitality Group opened a gin den, Madam Geneva, which quickly became one of New York City’s most compelling drinking destinations.
In Fall of 2011, Farmerie focused his lens on traditional American grill fare to open Saxon + Parole, showcasing domestic meat and seafood, as well as seasonal and sustainable produce, marked with Farmerie’s signature global twist in flavors and cooking methods. Just short of two years later, Saxon + Parole was awarded “Best Restaurant Bar in the World” at the Tales of the Cocktail. In March of 2012 they continued their growth with The Daily, a bar in the space adjacent to PUBLIC that offers a rotating menu of small plates and cocktails which changes daily.
Originally from southern England, Neil spent 14 years cooking at many of the top restaurants in London. This was followed with two years in France at 3 Michelin starred restaurants in Burgundy and in Paris.
Next Ferguson was appointed Executive Chef of Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel and moved to New York in 2006 to oversee the opening there. This was followed by his roles at Allen and Delancey where he earned a Michelin star, was awarded Best New Restaurant by Time Out New York and named Rising Star Chef 2008 by Starchefs.com.
Gabriel Frasca, a veteran of haunts such as Hamersley's Bistro, Danube, Radius and Spire, and Lydon, formerly of Truc, Upstairs on the Square, and Ten Tables, has taken over Nantucket's own Straight Wharf Restaurant. The menu at Straight Wharf focuses on seasonal, sustainable ingredients, with an emphasis on New England seafood, island-grown produce and herbs from the restaurant's own waterfront garden.
Michael Getter is chef/owner of Dune. At the age of 24 he became executive chef of the acclaimed 21 Federal on Nantucket. He then moved into the chef/owner position of Nantucket's famed American Seasons Restaurant. His work has been published in Bon Appetite, Gourmet Magazine, New York Times, and the Boston Globe.
Will Gilson’s farm-to-table cooking is rooted in his work at The Herb Lyceum at Gilson’s, the restaurant on his family’s farm in Groton, MA. Gilson was 17 when he began cooking there, and the experience served as inspiration for his current restaurant, Puritan & Company–a refined yet rustic neighborhood eatery in Cambridge’s Inman Square featuring farmers’ market fare. Gilson began making a name for himself in the Boston area in 2007, when he opened the Garden at the Cellar in Cambridge. He left in 2011 to launch a series of successful restaurant ventures, including Eat at Adrian’s, Cape Cod.
Brandt Gould, co-owner and chef, brings more than twenty-five years of restaurant experience in both culinary and management roles to ATLAS. Brandt was the founder, designer and operator of Cambridge Street Victuals, an urban-themed bar and grill on Nantucket. Over the years he has had the benefit of knowing and working with celebrated chefs from Boston, New York and California. An artist at heart, Brandt's experience outside of restaurants has been as a sculptor and painter. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst School of Fine Arts.
E.J. Harvey has been a chef on Nantucket for over 25 years. He is an alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America (class of '75) and has had continental and traditional training. In 1992, E.J. and his wife Robin opened the SeaGrille. Over the past 15 years, the SeaGrille has earned a reputation as one of the island's finest restaurants, consistently offering outstanding cuisine and warm hospitality.
Executive Chef at Bartlett’s Farm, Neil Patrick Hudson has excelled as a local farm to table chef, nurturing a chef’s need for fresh and local ingredients and applying his techniques to the organic culinary direction of Bartlett’s farm.
Chef Hudson has made his mark on the Nantucket culinary world over the past decade, earning top accolades from the Zagat Survey, Nantucket Today, In Style Magazine, N Magazine, and Cape Cod Life.
After growing up in Northern California, Carolyn headed east to attend Wellesley College where she graduated with a degree in Economics and Studio Art. From there it was a leap into her true passion of food, cooking and restaurants.She has cooked at many top restaurants in the Boston area. Carolyn rocked the wood grills cooking Stan Frankenthaler’s Asian-inspired cuisine at Salamander in Cambridge. She then spent time in the kitchen at Icarus, Chris Douglass’ New American restaurant in the South End. There was even a stint as sauté cook at the famed Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine known for its on premise herb and vegetable garden.
Before opening 80 Thoreau in the spring of 2011 Carolyn held the position of Chef-de-Cuisine at Rialto Restaurant in Harvard Square. Carolyn worked her way up through the ranks at Rialto over the course of a seven year tenure under Jody Adams. Working closely with Chef Adams on the 2007 re-concepting of the restaurant was a highlight of her time there, and gave Carolyn a deeper appreciation and understanding of regional Italian cuisine.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Robin earned his degree in Culinary Arts at Southern New Hampshire University. After earning his degree he moved to Colorado and began working at Copper Mountain Resort. After working at Pesce Fresco for about 2 ski seasons he moved on to Café Alpine in Breckenridge. After a few more years in ski country Robin decided it was time to head back East. He had the opportunity to work with Jamie Mammano of Mistral for 3 years. Mistral is a blend of both French and Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Mammano is one of the most acclaimed Chefs in Boston. It was at Mistral where Robin learned the true art of French Cooking.
Afterward, Robin spent over five years at Stella as Executive Chef working under Chef/Owner Evan Deluty. Robin worked closely with Deluty until he felt he was ready to take on a project of his own. It was September of 2009 when Robin signed a lease for Restaurant Oro in Scituate, Massachusetts. Oro is a 65 seat restaurant located in the Scituate Harbor. Chef Robin serves Seasonal New England Cuisine 6 nights a week. He sources the majority of his product from all local vendors. His concept is to serve whatever is in season and available locally.
In the early spring of 2013 Robin and Jill began their hunt for their next project. Oro had been open three successful years and they were itching for a new challenge. After a busy night at Oro they walked over to the Inn at Scituate Harbor. The cozy space located just down the street from Oro was a hidden gem in the harbor. The space was full of potential! The King’s reached out to the owners of the Inn about simply taking over the kitchen and ended up taking over the whole space. In February of 2014 Tesoro Latin Kitchen opened its doors. Tesoro may be just a short walk down the street from Oro but it has its own identity. The patio offers a perfect view of Scituate harbor and the dining room is casual and comfortable with a working fireplace and cozy couches. Tesoro features authentic Latin cuisine and craft tequila based cocktails Wednesday through Sunday evenings.
Tyler Kinnett currently helms the kitchen at Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts as Executive Chef. At 19, he moved to Vermont, working part-time at various restaurants while attending the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier.
Upon graduating from culinary school in 2009, Kinnett began his career in Boston under the tutelage of Gordon Hamersley, where he served as garde manger intern at the city’s famed Hamersley’s Bistro. Following that, he worked at Fenway Park for the 2010 season as a cook in the EMC Club. Next, under Chef Geoff Gardner at Sel de la Terre, Kinnett learned to never stop pursuing greatness through high standards and hard work, as well as the skillset of running a kitchen and restaurant. In spring 2012, he returned to Fenway Park to help run the catering department for the season, where he was able to work with a number of talented Boston chefs.
Kinnett joined the team at Harvest in 2012 as a sous chef, where he was able to showcase his producedriven cooking and fresh, regional ingredients to develop vibrant flavors in a seasonally rotating menu, and he quickly moved up the ranks. Throughout his time at Harvest, Kinnett took a short sabbatical to work at Paul Kahan’s Publican (Chicago) and also spent time in the kitchen of Thomas Keller’s Michelinstarred Per Se (New York City). In May 2015, Kinnett was appointed to the position of Executive Chef at Harvest, taking the reins of the New England culinary institution as it prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Many who dine at Chef All Kovalencik’s restaurant, The Company of the Cauldron, contend Chef All and his team have perfected the recipe for classic, elegant fare and maintaining a high standard of food, service, and quality. The restaurant has always been committed to local purveyors, ensuring the freshest ingredients, and often herbs and foods are grown or gathered by hand before being transformed to plate.
As chef-owner of The Company of the Cauldron, guided with the help of his wife, the pair have been able to create one of the not-to-be-missed experiences of refined dining on Nantucket.
Geoff’s approach as a chef is heavily influenced by his close relationships with farmers and community-minded spirit. A third generation backyard farmer, Geoff began cultivating a garden in his own sandbox as a child, then as a student at the Culinary Institute of America - establishing its first organic garden - and currently at Mill Street, as Chef caring for his multiple plots of herbs and vegetables in the nearby Greenwich Community Gardens.
Moving back to Connecticut allowed Geoff to pursue the second half of his culinary career – building his own community and establishing his own restaurant. As Executive Chef of LeFarm and The Whelk in Westport, he began laying the groundwork to open his own restaurant in Connecticut. Geoff met Bill King, owner of Back 40 Farm Group at the perfect time; Bill was searching for a great chef and Geoff was looking for a partner. Their shared values of seasonality and community quickly led to the vision that became Mill Street.
SRV Chef/Partner Michael Lombardi is one of Boston’s most talented rising star chefs whose background is compelling enough to play out on the big screen. Michael was just named one of Zagat’s “30 Under 30” for 2015.
Michael was born on Long Island and then shortly after moved to CT with his big, Italian family where Sunday suppers still consisted of enormous antipasto plates with meats, cheeses, pickled eggplants and mushrooms followed by pasta and gravy and homemade pizza. Christmas Eve was a celebration of the Feast of Seven Fishes and his grandparents grew a garden of vegetables to pickle and can. Though food was around him and he took interest in it, there was not a driving force for him to work in a restaurant. Why work in a restaurant when you have the real thing at home? This was just a way life to him; routines and traditions that he enjoyed. As a result, he went to Boston University for business because his passion was to own his own business one day. While at BU, Michael got a front-of-the-house position in a casual Italian restaurant in Fenway where he found himself spending more time in the kitchen asking questions. This is where he realized how much he enjoyed being around food- it felt comfortable and right, and it reminded him of home. Once he graduated, he followed his food passion to the Culinary Institute of America where he took his classes very seriously and soaked up everything he could learn about techniques while there. He pursued an opportunity for an externship in Italy at a restaurant called Zeppelin in Umbria that was owned by Lorenzo Polegri who is known for taking in American culinary students and teaching them the authentic Italian way of cooking as well as how to farm and butcher animals for the restaurant. Lorenzo let all the chefs live in a house by the restaurant on the farm where the chefs would be integrated into every aspect of the restaurant. They would learn how to break down animals in broken Italian, make sausages, make sauces, pickle vegetables, make olive oil and cure meats. Zeppelin is where Michael met his SRV Partner, Kevin O’Donnell.
Upon returning to New York, Michael staged at del Posto and then accepted a position there in 2009 as a Garde Manger. He worked every station in the kitchen except fish, which is the station where his future wife oversaw. They started dating and are now married. Michael learned refinement in the del Posto kitchen and he learned how to make humble yet flavorful food balanced with respect and humility and presenting it in a clean and elevated way. The restaurant was re-reviewed while he was there and it got a coveted 4 stars from the New York Times. Michael and his SRV partner, Kevin, were contact by a Parisian who said he was opening a bistro in Paris in three weeks and asked them to be the opening chefs. Both Americans, who didn’t know a lick French and had never been to the country before, went on their next journey together to open a new restaurant with only three weeks to prepare, in the Gastronomy capitol of the world. The bistro, called L’Office, was a huge success and these young American chefs were able to win the hearts and the stomachs of the Parisians who frequented their restaurant. It became so popular that they had to stop answering the phone because they couldn’t take anymore reservations. The staff they hired all had to speak a little English so that they could communicate with the kitchen. The bistro got 3 out of 4 stars in the daily papers in Paris and Bon Appetit, Vogue and Elle all raved about it. The duo had to leave Paris and come back to America due to work permits and Kevin went to RI while Michael went to work at Gwynnet Street in Brooklyn which was named one of Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants”.
Michael joined Kevin at the Salty Pig in Boston in 2013 to be part of the team. The duo worked with the Salty Pig owners to find a new location for their Venetian restaurant concept, SRV. The restaurant, slated to open in November 2015, is short for the Serene Republic of Venice and will feature a wine bar with standing room for guests to enjoy cicchetti and a dining room where guests can order perfect composed dishes such as risotto made to order, hand milled pastas, and polenta with braised meats. Michael lives in Boston with his wife whom is also a chef in the area.
Chef/Owner Liam Mackey opened The Nautilus with Stephen Bowler and Clinton Terry in May of 2014 to much island fanfare. The menu is focused around unique and vibrant small plate offerings as well as large multi-person “feast” selections. It is very much a New England restaurant with a coastal/seafood base, paired with inspiration rooted in Asian flavors and ingredients of the haute street food variety. His innovative menu reflects his skills and style in the sleek new restaurant with an extensive wine and cocktail program. Boston Magazine named it "Best Bar on Nantucket" Liam has earned rave reviews both on and off the island and will continue to do so with The Nautilus being one of the island's year-round restaurants.
Liam has over ten years of experience on Nantucket, having previously worked at The Pearl, Boarding House and Corazon del Mar including five years as Chef de Cuisine at the Pearl from 2009 to 2014. He also worked in Boston under Chef Ken Oringer at three of his establishments before making Nantucket his official home.
Beauty queen, award-winning baker and grill master are all extensions to her title, making Linkie Marais more than your average chef. With a love for exploring, cooking and the outdoors, her ‘will to grill’ stems all the way back to her unique blend of South African and Southern roots. Born in Evander, a town in northeastern South Africa, Linkie was raised in the kitchen, helping her mother prepare meals on a daily basis. With a lack of abundant fresh ingredients, she inherited her mother’s creativity, utilizing whatever they had available to create fresh and original meals. Immigrating to the U.S. in 1999, Linkie and her family settled in Tupelo, Mississippi where she began her culinary career piping cakes for a local catering company.
Upon obtaining a degree in Culinary Arts and a minor in Food Arts from Mississippi University for Women, Linkie's career took off as she held various pastry and executive chef positions in Oxford, Mississippi before making the move to Massachusetts’ acclaimed Montilio’s Bakery. After discovering her love for grilling during a Big Green Egg® competition, Linkie’s passion for grilling began to take her career in a new and exciting direction. It’s clear that her meat-filled and resourceful South African culinary upbringing has had a tremendous impact on her cooking flair, as Linkie is considered the best among the few females who have mastered the art of grilling.
Since opening his first restaurant, Craigie Street Bistrot, in 2002, Chef Tony Maws has risen to international acclaim for his innovative and creative work in the kitchen, dedication to showcasing locally grown produce and locally caught seafood on the menu, as well as the high expectations he sets for himself and his staff. Maws continually earns recognition as one of the country’s best chefs, including a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northeast 2011; “Boston’s Best Chef” 2010, 2008, 2006, and 2003 by Boston magazine; and Food & Wine magazine’s 2005 “Best New Chefs.” Today he operates two of greater Boston’s culinary gems: Craigie on Main in Cambridge and The Kirkland Tap & Trotter in Somerville.
Craigie on Main, which he opened when he outgrew Craigie Street Bistrot in 2008, gives Maws the opportunity to create a menu that epitomizes these passions. Working on the line, writing a menu that changes daily, directing the wine program, and still making time for afternoon visits from his wife, Karolyn, and his son, Charlie, Maws ensures Craigie on Main is a family-run business at which guests feel welcome, as if they were at the chef’s own home. He opened The Kirkland Tap & Trotter in fall 2013 to further this idea, offering a heartier, more casual menu in a neighborhood pub setting.
A native of Rochester, New York and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Brian Mercury, moved to Boston in 2004 to work at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge. There, Mercury trained under Executive Chef Peter Davis and Executive Pastry Chef Dan Angelopolus, who he credits with helping him learn the art of creating contemporary, refined desserts with the freshest, local ingredients available.
Since 2011, Mercury has served as the Executive Pastry Chef of Himmel Hospitality Group’s iconic Harvest restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, Mercury has always been familiar with Harvest’s contemporary New England cuisine and feels it aligns perfectly with his culinary philosophy. In 2013, Mercury was named “The People’s Best New Pastry Chef – East” by Food & Wine and received a “Best Dessert” award for his confections by Improper Bostonian. In 2014, he was named “Best Pastry Chef” by Boston Magazine.
In November of 1997 Anthony took a position at the Park Avenue Cafe in Manhattan, New York, and quickly made Sous Chef. During that time, Anthony worked with Executive Chef David Burke and Chef de Cuisine Neil Murphy.
In April of 2003, Anthony made his way to the island of Nantucket and since then has worked in the kitchens of Oran Mor, The Westmoor Club, and now as the Executive Chef at Le Languedoc Bistro.
As one of Boston’s most notable chefs and restaurateurs, chef Ken Oringer’s career began under Chef David Burke at River Café in New York City before moving to New England to work as the Pastry Chef at Al Forno in Rhode Island and Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Le Marquis de Lafayette in Boston.
In 2002, Oringer opened Uni in the lounge of Clio; a sashimi bar offering the freshest seafood. In 2005, Oringer opened Toro in Boston’s South End, a Barcelona-inspired tapas restaurant influenced from his travels throughout Spain. In April 2008, Oringer stepped into Kitchen Stadium on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America where he faced Iron Chef Cat Cora in a coffee battle, ultimately winning by four points. In November 2009 Oringer, with partner Chef Jamie Bissonnette opened the highly anticipated Coppa, an Italian-style enoteca. In 2010, Oringer garnered the Star Chefs Rising Stars Mentor Award for his dedication to teaching and inspiring the next generation of chefs. In 2011, he opened Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine, which was met with critical acclaim. In the fall of 2013, he opened Toro in New York City’s South Chelsea neighborhood and it was met with critical acclaim.
Raised in Central Pennsylvania, Scott began his culinary career in 1996 in the nearby Hummingbird Room at the impressionable age of nineteen. Here, Scott fostered a passion for fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients, by utilizing the restaurant’s own organic garden as well as other regional products. Moving to Philadelphia’s Le Bec Fin, allowed Scott to further his culinary pursuits and broaden his fine dinning horizons. After, deciding to test the hypothesis “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere,” Scott moved to New York City to take his first Sous Chef position at The Cub Room, and by the age of twenty five Scott was running the busy kitchen as a newly minted Executive Chef. This was also the time he chose to embark on his first culinary exploration of Europe, upon his return Chef Osif took a Sous Chef position at Galley Beach on Nantucket Island.
In 2005, Scott’s hard work and passion for fresh, local and sustainable provisions culminated in Chef W. Scott Osif being named the Executive Chef at Galley Beach from 2005-2012, Chef Osif was hands on as Executive Chef through the multi-million dollar renovation at Galley Beach. In 2013, Chef Osif explored culinary opportunities off island , and opened as Executive Chef , Fairstead Kithcen in Brookline, Ma, where the Boston Globe gave him 3 out of 4 stars. In 2014 Chef Osif helped consult with industry friends at Glasserie, Café Cluny both in New York City. Chef Osif rejoins Galley Beach refreshed and inspired bringing back Galley Beach classics while instituting the Osif flair for independent dishes and well tested flavors.
SRV Co-Executive Chef/Partner Kevin O’Donnell is one of Boston’s most talented rising star chefs whose background is compelling enough to play out on the big screen. Kevin grew up in North Kingston, RI near Newport into a half Irish, half Italian household. His grandparents also had a garden and he was always the last one at the table savoring every flavor that was put in front of him. When his mom went back to school, he learned how to cook and be creative in the kitchen and his siblings and dad loved everything he made for them. The more creative he got, the more they praised him. He worked in a quick service Italian restaurant when he was 16 and found himself in the kitchen learning how to make pizzas. He loved working in restaurants and while there, the chef who owned the pizzeria encouraged him to go to Johnson & Wales. He went to Johnson & Wales and while there, staged at a restaurant called Zeppelin in Umbria that was owned by Lorenzo Polegri who is known for taking in American culinary students and teaching them the authentic Italian way of cooking as well as how to farm and butcher animals for the restaurant. Lorenzo let all the chefs live in a house by the restaurant on the farm where the chefs would be integrated into every aspect of the restaurant. They would learn how to break down animals in broken Italian, make sausages, make sauces, pickle vegetables, make olive oil and cure meats. After his externship ended, he came back to RI where he became Chef de Cuisine at Trattoria del Corso and learned how to make homemade pasta and embraced the simplicity of Italian cooking. While there, the owner of Zeppelin called and asked him to come back and be a sous chef for him which he gladly accepted. The timing worked for him to finally cross paths with a talented CIA extern named Michael Lombardi who is now his business partner and Co-Executive Chef at SRV. They hit it off right away and their similarities and passion for cooking helped spark a friendship and mutual respect for one another.
A Sicilian chef named Carlo took the time to teach Kevin and Michael the traditional, formal methods of cooking Italian food and would not let them deviate from them. Kevin stayed there for two years and Michael was there for six months. Kevin then left Italy to return to the states where he worked at Castle Hill Inn in Newport upon returning to the states but always kept in touch with Michael. When del Posto was short-handed, Kevin went to stage there and the tables were turned as Michael was now Kevin’s boss. Kevin was hired on to work the pasta station and he slept on Michael’s floor in his NYC apartment until the two got a place together. The restaurant was re-reviewed while they were there and it got a coveted 4 stars from the New York Times. After leaving Del Posto, Kevin was contact by a Parisian whom he met at the Beard House who said he was opening a bistro in Paris in three weeks and asked him to be the Executive Chef. Kevin said yes with the stipulation that Michael comes with him. The bistro, called L’Office, was a huge success and these young American chefs were able to win the hearts and the stomachs of the Parisians who frequented their restaurant. It became so popular that they had to stop answering the phone because they couldn’t take anymore reservations. The staff they hired all had to speak a little English so that they could communicate with the kitchen. The duo wowed the French guests with some beautiful alliterations of French and Italian cuisine mixed in with some very basic American foods. They got 3 out of 4 stars in the daily papers in Paris and Bon Appetit, Vogue and Elle all named L’Office “Best Bistro in Paris”. The duo had to leave Paris and come back to America due to work permits. Kevin then met with the CODA Group owners Michael Moxley and Jim Cochener in late 2012 and told him that he would like to work with them, but his goal is to open a restaurant in Boston with his buddy, Michael Lombardi. They hired Kevin to run the Salty Pig and then Michael joined him in 2013 to be part of the team. Kevin’s brother, Brian O’Donnell, runs the charcuterie program while Kevin and Michael run the kitchen. The duo have been working with Michael and Jim to find the perfect space to open their dream restaurant which is called SRV and is a tip to Venetian small plates called cicchetti, homemade pasta, Italian Seafood and a serious wine program. The restaurant, slated to open in November 2015, is short for the Serene Republic of Venice and will feature a wine bar with standing room for guests to enjoy cicchetti and a dining room where guests can order perfect composed dishes such as risotto made to order, hand milled pastas, and polenta with braised meats. Kevin was recently married and he and his wife live in Boston.
Chef Thomas William Pearson is Executive Chef at the Brant Point Grill, located within the iconic White Elephant hotel on Nantucket, Massachusetts.
With more than 10 years of culinary experience, Pearson has also held chef positions at The Fearrington House Restaurant, a Relais & Châteux property in North Carolina, as well as the Pipe and Glass Inn and The Star Inn, both Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK.
Pearson relocated to Nantucket from the UK after falling in love with the island’s natural beauty – the vast open spaces, hidden forests, salt marshes, barrier beaches and dirt trails.
After working at The Langham, Boston for five years, Ryan Pike was named executive pastry chef in September 2013. As executive pastry chef, Ryan oversees the pastry program at the luxury downtown hotel, including the acclaimed Chocolate Bar. He is also responsible for the dessert menus at BOND restaurant | lounge, The Reserve, in room dining and all hotel function spaces. Chef Ryan began working in kitchens as a line cook at the age of 14. While attending South Eastern Regional Vocational Technology School, he developed a fondness for cooking and art. After graduating, he attended Newbury College, where he combined his two passions, focusing on baking and pastry.
While in college, Chef Ryan began part-time work at Whites Bakery in Brockton, Massachusetts and upon graduation in 2003 he accepted a position as full-time production baker. Honing his skills for four years, Chef Ryan accepted a position as assistant pastry chef at Boston’s popular Top of the Hub restaurant, where he worked under pastry chef Tommy Choi.
Looking to advance his career, Chef Ryan set his sights on the hotel industry and when a position as a cook’s assistant at The Langham, Boston opened, he jumped at the opportunity. In 2011, after gaining close to three years of experience at the hotel Chef Ryan was named assistant pastry chef.
Chef Keith Pooler believes that hard work and dedication pays off. As a result of more than 20 years of his hard work and dedication to the culinary field, Chef Pooler was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening his own restaurants- the award-winning Bergamot in Somerville and BISq in Cambridge.
In 2002, Pooler returned to Boston, taking on the role of Executive Sous Chef at Harvest, in Cambridge. When planning for their next endeavor, Excelsior, Managing General Partner Ken Himmel called upon Pooler to work alongside Lydia Shire in the kitchen of Boston's most anticipated restaurants. He then returned to the kitchen at Harvest where he was the Executive Chef from 2004-2007. In 2007, with plans to open his own place percolating, Pooler left Harvest, taking a position at Lydia Shire's venture in the newly opened Liberty Hotel, Scampo.
In 2010, Pooler opened Bergamot in Somerville, where he serves an ingredient-driven, progressive American menu in a warm neighborhood setting. Bergamot has won a number of awards and accolades through the years. In late 2014, Chef Pooler is opened his second restaurant, BISq, in Cambridge. BISq is short for “Bergamot Inman Square” and will feature shared plates, an innovative chacuterie program and a compelling beer and wine menu. Chef Pooler lives in Somerville with two cats named Lulu and Maximus and spends his time outside of the kitchen playing squash, biking and snorkeling.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Having a vast background in the French culinary world trained by his grandfather and father, Brett Portier has far succeed his potential making quite the name for himself at such a young age. In 2011 at the age of 33, he purchased The Smokehouse of New York from his father. There he manufactures smoked fish for high end restaurants, hotels, caterers, airlines, and 75% of the country clubs in the tri-state. They are know for having the best smoked salmon in the country, catering to the stars, and celebrity chefs around the world.
In the fall of 2015 Brett opened another business called Got Thyme in New Rochelle, NY. His concept there is using locally sourced, organic, all natural ingredients prepared fresh and daily. Everything he cooks is from upscale gourmet foods, to specialty salads, pressed juices, “create your own salad”, and smoothies for the health consciousness cliental. He even goes as far to have gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian dishes, and paleo options.
Related Wine Festival Events:
The Boarding House, & The Pearl proprietors Angela Raynor and her husband, executive-chef Seth Carter Raynor, have cultivated an impressive national following and collection of awards including New England Travel & Life Best Seafood Restaurant in New England, Conde Nast Traveler Best of the World Awards, Boston Magazine Best Restaurant General Excellence, and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence over 15 times. This Nantucket couple and their team showcase the harvest from local farms and fishermen paired with craft beers, small production wines and unique cocktails.
Chef Douglas Rodrigues got his first taste of the restaurant industry at 14 years old when he was driven to find a job that would underwrite his penchant for skateboards. He spent one year flipping burgers at Bergson’s, a local diner chain, but yearned to recreate the kind of cooking he saw Julia Child do while watching television with his mother. He made the jump to fine dining, working in the kitchens of some of the South Shore’s most prestigious restaurants.After years at Tosca in Hingham and Saporito’s Florence Club Café in Hull, Rodrigues cold-calledClio in 2006, set up a stage and was offered the position of garde manger after one night. In a major departure from the rustic-style cooking with which he’d become familiar, Rodrigues was thrust into Clio’s disciplined world where each ingredient is treated with a different, globally-influenced technique.Over the years, he learned how French, Asian, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian techniques and ingredients come together in modern, painstakingly-concepted and crafted dishes. Rodrigues continued his education in fine dining under Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin, when he joined the opening team of Sensing in Boston for six months in 2009.Rodrigues rejoined the staff at Clio stepping into the role of Sous Chef, working alongside Chef de Cuisine Andres Grundy. He challenged himself with the task of creating original dishes for the Clio menu, and, less than a year later, was promoted to Chef de Cuisine.A South Shore native, Rodrigues returned to his roots to help revamp the Winsor House in Duxbury before joining the team at The Tip Tap Room in the fall of 2013. In 2015 he headed over to the Back Bay to take the helm at Liquid Art House.Outside of the kitchen, Rodrigues frequently returns to his hometown of Scituate, a small fishing village on the South Shore, where he fishes for bass, pickerel and flounder, and spends time on his grandfather’s farm.
Growing up in a predominately Italian household, Executive Chef Lou Rossi learned at an early age to appreciate food as a centerpiece of daily life. Lou began his culinary career at eight years old ¬ standing on milk crates, peeling carrots and onions at his parent's restaurant. Coming from two generations of restaurateurs, Lou had no doubts about his future when he applied to the New England Culinary Institute.
During his schooling, Lou worked as a culinary intern at Castle Hill. After graduating with his degree in Culinary Arts, Lou moved to Manhattan to work at Thomas Keller's 3 Michelin Star restaurant, Per Se. Although it was an incredible and humbling experience, Lou missed his time in Newport and he eventually returned to Castle Hill in 2009 to work with Chef Hart where he plays an integral part of the property's culinary ethos, and can usually be found in Castle Hill's own gardens, gathering items for that evening's meal.
Executive Chef Bruce Sacino is the most recent addition to the management team at The Westmoor Club, and comes to Nantucket after several years as the director of culinary operations at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Previously, Chef Sacino served the administrations of three governors as the executive chef and food and beverage manager of the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, S.C. He is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University; a one-time ACF Chapter “Chef of the Year”; and a Hospitality Assoc. of South Carolina’s “Chef of the Year.” Chef Bruce comes to Nantucket with his wife, Joanne, and he looks forward to an exciting season ahead.
Executive Chef Mark Sapienza has been with The Langham, Boston since 1998. When Mark was hired, the appointment of the Massachusetts native marked the first time in the hotel's history that an American chef was selected to guide The Langham, Boston’s award-winning culinary endeavors. Chef Mark oversees Café Fleuri, BOND restaurant|lounge, The Reserve lobby lounge, Saturday Chocolate Bar, Sunday City Brunch, banquets, and in-room dining. With a passion for using the freshest, highest-quality ingredients, Chef Mark’s dishes marry seasonal New England ingredients and modern cooking techniques.
Chef Mark began his culinary career while attending Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he worked as a chef at a small Italian trattoria, applying practical experience to his education. He graduated with honors in 1984 with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors degree in Food Service Management.
As Executive Chef of The Langham, Boston, Chef Sapienza hones his skills and wealth of knowledge directing three dining venues and numerous banquet events. His culinary creations, primarily made with in-season New England ingredients, span a number of cuisines such as New American, Italian and French. In BOND Restaurant | Lounge Chef Sapienza’s menu pairs with a chic, metropolitan atmosphere while the menu in the recently opened Reserve features fare that pairs with champagne, wine and good conversation. Café Fleuri features The Langham’s famous Saturday Chocolate Bar and Sunday City Brunch.
Three-time Beard nominee Adam Sappington moved to Portland to attend the Western Culinary Institute and soon landed at Wildwood Restaurant, where he worked his way up from pantry cook to Executive Chef over the course of 11 years. A self-taught expert in whole animal butchery, Adam is now lauded as one of the pre-eminent butchering chefs in America. He works hard to preserve his beloved craft by teaching classes on sustainable cooking and whole animal butchery at the Portland Meat Collective, Culinary Institute of America and the French Culinary Institute. He opened The Country Cat with his wife Jackie in 2007.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Chef Michael Scelfo has been drawn to the kitchen for as long as he can remember. In 2009, Scelfo took the helm at Temple Bar in Cambridge, where his savvy use of whimsical, seasonal ingredients landed him critical praise. He then served as the first executive chef of Russell House Tavern, a restaurant that was named the 2012 Best Restaurant – Harvard Square by Boston Magazine and The Improper Bostonian. At Alden & Harlow, the Harvard Square restaurant he owns, Scelfo pays homage to his roots by making each ingredient shine, and ultimately, cooking from his heart.
Chef Josh has been cooking professionally for 6 years. After attending The University of Colorado for Business Administration, started working for Chef Henri Chaperont at Le Petite Maison in Colorado Springs, where he instantly fell in love with the commercial kitchen and the idea of lovingly prepared and meticulously plated fine dining cuisine. This prompted Josh to attend culinary school at Pikes Peak Culinary College in order to hone the skills he had learned working in a classical French kitchen.
After Culinary School, Josh moved to the Blue Star Restaurant under Chefs Andrew Sherril and William Merwin and Pastry Chef Alicia Prescott. Here, his love for fine cuisine and attentiveness to minutiae blossomed, as well as his passion for sourcing food from local purveyors during their peak harvest season. This passion prompted Josh towards employment at The Winnetu Hotel and Resort on Martha’s Vineyard, as Sous Chef under Chef Matthew Passalacqua until he made the leap to Executive Chef of The Nantucket Hotel.
Chef Lydia Shire was born in 1948 in Brookline, Massachusetts. She married and had three children with her former husband Tom Shire. She started waiting tables at the famous Pall Mall jazz club, but cooking and baking were her passion. In 1971, Lydia baked a butter cream cake and took it on an interview at Maison Robert, the great French restaurant in Boston, and got a job as “kitchen grunt”. But Lydia wanted a spot on the hot line with the boys, so she took a leave of absence, hocked her wedding ring, and went to London to register at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
When she returned to Boston and Maison Robert, she worked her way up to head chef, and from 1975, worked in the kitchens of Harvest, Copley Plaza Cafe and Parker House. In 1982 to 1985, Chef Lydia moved over to the Seasons at the Bostonian Hotel to work under Great ChefJasper White, as executive sous chef, and eventually became the Executive Chef. In 1986 she moved out to Los Angeles to become the first female chef of the Four Seasons Beverly Hills hotel. That’s where Great Chefs Television first caught up with her to tape a Chicken Thigh entrée for their Great Chefs of the West series.
In 1987, she returned to Boston to open her famous restaurant “BIBA”. After September 11, 2001, Biba closed only to reopen the next year as Excelsior Restaurant, and whose owners hired Chef Lydia Shire as their Executive Chef. She left in 2005 to open and run Scampo’s, one of Boston’s fine Italian restaurants, and in 2013, Restaurant News bestowed another award upon her, by inducting her into their Fine Dining Hall of Fame.
Related Wine Festival Events:
When Chef Justin Shoults made the decision to depart Nantucket’s famous Oran Mor Bistro for Newburyport, the restaurant for which he was being hired did not exist. His instincts were to trade the sure bet of a popular coastal restaurant at which he was well-established, for the adventure of being in on the ground floor for Caswell Restaurant Group’s highly anticipated follow-up restaurant, BRINE. Happily for all concerned, he has never looked back.
As BRINE’s Executive Chef, the affable and innovative Chef Shoults challenges his kitchen team by example to best themselves daily with creatively presented fish delicacies, sophisticated chowders, sumptuous dessert finales and hearty meats crowned with beautiful local harvests and brined components. His goal: to make you hungry at first glance. His colorful Instagram posts chronicle his immaculate attention to presentation and well-considered flavor pairings: a Pork Loin and Braised Shank Duo with Celeriac, Cabbage and Apple should be a New England calling card.
At Oak + Rowan, Chef Justin will bring the heart and soul of Caswell Restaurant Group to Boston diners through small plates and heartier options that showcase land and sea in a new light—composed seafood and heartier large options like prime steak, and array of crudos, and an elevated domestic and international caviar program served by sample or by the ounce in classic and untraditional sets
Corporate Executive Chef Robert Sisca is one of New England’s true culinary talents. Sisca’s Rhode Island roots run deep as he is not only a resident of the Ocean State; he also graduated from Johnson & Wales University and previously worked at the acclaimed Gracie’s in Providence. At The ProvidenceG, a new multifaceted experience located in one of the city’s most iconic historic buildings, Chef Sisca creates an inimitable guest experience by elevating culinary operations and entrepreneurial aspects of the unique restaurant venues: Garde de la Mer, GPub and Rooftop at the ProvidenceG.
Chef Sisca has a profound appreciation and passion for combining ingredient-driven cuisine with the refined and classic techniques that he has honed at some of the country’s most exclusive culinary destinations. Chef Sisca worked at the historic One if by Land, Two if by Sea in New York City prior to becoming Sous Chef at the renowned Le Bernardin. During his tenure, Le Bernardin earned the coveted Michelin Three Star award and four stars from the New York Times. Prior to joining ProvidenceG, Robert was Executive Chef & Partner of MARC’s highly successful Bistro du Midi in Boston where he earned local and national praise for his epicurean excellence.
Each venue at ProvidenceG utilizes the New England bounty and caters to the seasonal flavors culinary expression that is sought by guests both near and far. Chef Robert Sisca lives in Cranston, Rhode Island with his wife Bree and their two twin sons Hunter and Jameson. Chef Robert is also an avid hunter, carrying on the tradition that he started with his father when he was a young boy. When he is not in the kitchen at ProvidenceG, Chef Robert also enjoys golfing and rooting for his favorite native New York sports teams.
As Executive Chef of A Voce Madison, Davide Venturini infuses his modern Italian cuisine with a rustic twist he attributes to growing up on the Italian countryside.
As a child he shared the responsibility of cooking for his family with his parents, using ingredients from their garden and making fresh gnocchi every Sunday with his Nonna. His childhood summers were spent in Abruzzo where his passion for food was further instilled at local food festivals. Venturini became a Chef after a diverse career working for Italian design houses Missoni, and interior design company Brummel. Venturini began his culinary career at London’s Michelin-starred Assaggi in 2008 as Commis Chef, where he soon recognised that cooking was his true passion. He was soon promoted to Demi Chef de Partie, when he cooked for notable guests including Bill Gates and Madonna. With Michelin-starred experience under his belt, Venturini went on to managing several restaurants at the London-based hospitality group Mitchell and Butlers. In 2011, Venturini joined MARC restaurants’ private members’ club Morton’s in London as a Chef de Partie and was later promoted to Sous Chef, before serving as MARC Chairman Marlon Abela’s personal chef. Venturini found his way back into Italian cuisine, after moving to New York to work at both A Voce Columbus and Madison.
Antonio Vidal, Chef and Co-Owner of Ranch 616, began cooking at a young age. In time, Antonio’s love of cooking eclipsed his love of football. At sixteen, Antonio began his career as a cook at Po’ Folks, an American family restaurant chain. Following high school graduation, he worked as a chef in San Antonio, Texas at the Holiday Inn Riverwalk, followed by the Hyatt Regency, Sheraton Posada, and the American Orient Express—a train that went from D.C. to San Francisco. Antonio also did consulting work for the Gage Hotel in West Texas, the 8.0 in Fort Worth, Texas and the Flying Fish group in Dallas, Texas. Antonio eventually moved to Austin, Texas to open Central Market and then moved to Fort Worth, Texas to become executive chef at Michaels, a restaurant specializing incontemporary ranch cuisine. In 1998, Antonio became co-owner with Kevin Williamson and chef at Ranch 616 in Austin, Texas.
Ranch 616 offers innovative cuisine that encompasses flavors from the Gulf of Mexico to the border towns of Texas. Along with prime cuts of Texas beef and chicken, the restaurant serves whole fish and other fresh seafood daily. Antonio’s culinary influences include the chefs he has worked with, such as Chef Julia Child, Chef Susan Spicer, and Chef Paul Prudhomme. He has traveled all over the country to food and wine festivals cooking for and representing organizations such as the National Pork Board and the Texas Department of Agriculture. Antonio has also visited El Salvador and Guatemala representing the U.S. Meat Export Federation on numerous trips and is a Texas Beef Council Chef. When Antonio is not in the kitchen, he enjoys playing sports and cooking for his friends and family. He lives in Austin, Texas.
Brooke Vosika, Former Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Boston, was the most tenured chef spending a record 32 years with The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Chef Vosika started his career at their property in Washington D.C. He then went on to Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, and then New York all before Boston. Vosika oversaw the Boston hotel’s food and beverage outlets including the bustling Bristol Lounge, heralded as “Boston’s living room,” as well as banquet functions and In-Room Dining. Collectively, these outlets were serving well over half a million guests annually. Vosika’s career has brought him around the world and delivered awards from the Improper Bostonian Magazine and Boston Magazine, in addition to the prestigious Bocuse d’Or and James Beard Foundation. He is now a consulting chef in the greater Boston area, and an avid art and wine collector.
In 1998 Kevin Williamson opened Ranch 616, a South Texas-style icehouse reminiscent of his many years hunting and fishing in South Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. It was at these ice houses where Williamson was served his finest meals, inspiring him to create a spot similar for local Austinites. At Ranch 616, Williamson combines the flavors of the Gulf Coast with the spices of the border towns of Texas.
Ranch 616 and Chef Williamson have won numerous awards, from his sugar cure rub to his legendary fried oysters voted Southern Living Magazine’s “Best in the South” for three consecutive years.
Kyle Zachary is the executive chef of TOPPER'S.
A graduate of the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, Zachary honed his skills in restaurants including Alinea in Chicago, Wheatleigh in Lenox, the Winnetu Inn on Martha's Vineyard, and TOPPER’s as sous chef in 2005. Most recently Kyle was the sous chef at the Intercontinental in Dusseldorf, Germany. Zachary returned to take the reign at TOPPER’S in 2010.
Zachary’s seasonally inspired cuisine at TOPPER's has recently won critical acclaim from Forbes Travel Guide, Zagat, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Saveur Magazine.
Erin Zircher is the executive chef and a partner at Cru, a premier waterfront oyster bar located on the visually stunning setting of Nantucket Harbor. Erin’s cuisine is simple and innovative, influenced by her classical French training and Mediterranean sensibilities, presenting a fresh interpretation of New England seafood classics.
Eric Asimov is the chief wine critic of The New York Times and the author of “How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto.” His weekly column appears in the Dining section of The Times, and he contributes to the Diner’s Journal blog on The Times’s web site.
Before he started writing full-time about wine in 2004, Asimov wrote primarily about restaurants and food. He is a co-author of five editions of "The New York Times Guide to Restaurants", and published four editions of “$25 and Under: A Guide to the Best Inexpensive Restaurants in New York.’’
Related Wine Festival Events:
Remi Cohen is the Vice President and General Manager of Lede Family Wines, encompassing Cliff Lede Vineyards in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley and FEL Wines in the Anderson Valley. In her role, Cohen directs the Cliff Lede Vineyards winemaking process from vineyard to bottle and is responsible for top quality, small-lot winemaking that is expressive of appellation and terroir.
Upon receiving a degree in molecular and cellular biology from U.C. Berkeley, Cohen realized that she preferred plant science and enrolled in the Viticulture and Enology program at U.C. Davis, where she received her Master’s Degree. Cohen subsequently completed her M.B.A. at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Cohen is an advocate of sustainable farming practices and is on the board of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association. She was former President of the Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group, and is on the scientific review board of the American Vineyard Foundation. Cohen is also a California licensed Pest Control Adviser and a Court of Master Sommelier Certified Sommelier. Cohen resides in Napa. When she’s not in the vineyard, she enjoys traveling to various wine regions throughout the world, listening to live music, and studying world music and dance.
Robert and his wife Jayne own the Dane Gallery on Nantucket. Robert has been blowing glass for over 35 years, and his work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums. Robert has been part of the Nantucket Wine Festival since its inception, and has collaborated with founder Denis Toner on the design of Robert's wine decanters.
Stephen Gerike, Director of Food Service Marketing at the National Pork Board, oversees pork marketing and promotion activities for targeted foodservice distribution, commercial restaurant chains and non-commercial foodservice accounts. In addition to foodservice public relations efforts and channel advertising, he also manages the Pork Summit and Pork Crawl events hosted each year.
Gerike developed the Pork Culinary Innovation Workshop Program and is responsible for pork quality and culinary education for the American Culinary Federation, the Research Chef's Association, the International Corporate Chefs Association and targeted chain restaurant accounts.
Gerike previously held the position of national food service marketing manager with the National Pork Board and held the same position with the National Pork Producers Council, before joining the National Pork Board in 2001. He previously held the position of senior manager, Sysco Brand Marketing for Sysco Corporation in Houston. He also has sales and marketing experience with Compass Marketing and Sysco Foodservices of Baltimore. In addition he has culinary experience as the executive chef at the historic Mohonk Mountain House, chef de cuisine at the Annapolis Hotel and The Treaty of Paris Restaurant within The Maryland Inn, part of the Historic Inns of Annapolis. He gained his culinary training through a formal apprenticeship in the Philadelphia area.
John Greeley was born on the Isle of Jersey (home of the Jersey cow breed) and came to America when very young. He was educated at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and says that his career choice of professional radio announcer ended when he first tasted real, hand-made cheese. John changed course and obtained degrees in cheese grading from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and in cheese making from Washington State University at Pullman. For ten years, he operated the Cheese Division of John Dewar Meat Company,and in 1990 became the founder and president of an import company.
During this time, John created programs for retailers, solicited products from cheese makers, tutored and spoke to wine and gourmet food groups about New England and American specialty cheeses. Gourmet Foods International purchased John's company in 2007. John now serves Vice President of Northeast Sales for Gourmet Foods International. John continues to champion American Specialty cheese and participates in many educational events to share his vast knowledge of this industry.
Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal own and manage the Formaggio Kitchen family of stores, located in Cambridge, Boston and New York. Taking over ownership of the shop in 1992, Ihsan Gurdal has presided over the shop’s development into one of the leading retailers of gourmet foods in the country. He has worked extensively with celebrated cheese makers and affineurs throughout the United States and Europe, including Neal’s Yard Dairy of London, Pascal Jacquin of France’s Loire Valley, and Paris’ Fromagerie Barthélémy. His travels around the world have yielded an unparalleled selection of rare and unique cheeses and fine foods.
In 2006, Ihsan was inducted into the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers by Roland Barthélémy and was given the honor of the title of Chevalier by the French Government in 2008 for his tireless dedication to the promotion of artisan foods from France. Other similarly recognized include Thomas Keller, Alice Waters and Julia Child, who was a long time customer of Formaggio Kitchen.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Born in England, Hallam showed early artistic talent when he won a scholarship to London University's Central College of Art. After a formal art education under British master painters Leslie Cole, Patrick Heron, and Hans Tinsdale, he completed his military service in the prestigious Gurkha brigade in Hong Kong and Malaya. Hallam's talent was further acknowledged when he was selected for inclusion in Britain's Royal Society of Artists in Watercolour. We are honored each year - to have Kerry Hallam create our Nantucket Wine Festival image - used for our annual poster and all festival graphics.
David is the director of special events at the prestigious wine purveyor, Acker Merrall & Condit Company as well as the senior wine buyer. David is also the director of the Wine Workshop, America's leading series of fine and rare wine tastings and dinners and hosts at least fifty wine events a year for corporate and private clients. David has developed tasting events for many great winemakers including: Christian Moueix, Jean-Guillaume Prats, Paul Pontallier, Olivier Krug, Michel Chapoutier, Jacques Lardière, Veronique Drouhin, Erwan Faiveley, Olivier Humbrecht and Jean-Louis Chave.
Chris Hughes is the food editor for Boston magazine. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe and The Week.
Related Wine Festival Events:
John Kapon is CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit. Through his visionary leadership and ceaseless energy, Mr. Kapon spearheaded the Company’s transformation from a single New York City storefront to the largest fine and rare wine auction house in the world.
Since joining the Company in 1994, Mr. Kapon has elevated Acker Merrall & Condit to the forefront of the auction world. Recognizing a growing thirst for fine and rare wine overseas, Mr. Kapon pioneered the market for wine auctions in Hong Kong, now the world’s leading fine wine center. Today, Acker Merrall sits atop the global wine market.
Julianna’s love and passion for cheese began over 20 years ago. She has owned a cheese and wine shop, managed a café, was a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and now is the Director of Cheese and Dairy Operations for Dole & Bailey, Inc. Her first hand experience in sourcing products from the European larder, game meats, charcuterie, and cheese has allowed her to become intimately knowledgeable with the descriptions of hundreds of cheeses and thousands of gourmet specialty foods from all over the World.
Philippe Newlin runs Duclot La Vinicole USA, a top Bordeaux wine-importing house owned by the Moueix family of Petrus fame. He is a long-time wine educator with wine-course teaching responsibilities at Columbia Business School, Yale’s School of Management, The Wharton School, and HBS. Philippe started in the wine trade as the Tasting Director of Wine & Spirits Magazine before moving into wine importing. He holds the Diploma degree of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust of London, the highest professional accreditation of this trade-oriented body. This is Philippe’s fourth year conducting tastings and seminars on island with the NWF.
A native of Rhode Island, Dan got his start managing wine programs at local Providence restaurants. Dan eventually moved north to Boston where he became a sommelier overseeing some of the deepest wine lists in the city, including Grill 23 & Bar and Excelsior. An opportunity to build a wine program from scratch moved Dan’s career to Northern California where he was the opening Wine Director for Cavallo Point in Sausalito. It was not long after that he began making wine and created his own label.
Dan ultimately moved on to manage wineries for some of Napa Valley’s most well-respected producers. Today you can find Dan at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga, one of the oldest grape-growing estates in the Napa Valley. In his spare time Dan moonlights as the owner and winemaker for his own label, Gail.
Mâitre d' hotel and Fromager Louis Risoli instills the philosophy of “chasing perfection” into the front of the house by way of his diligent and meticulous orchestration of L’Espalier’s three dining rooms. In doing so, Risoli ensures a dining experience that far surpasses guests’ expectations night after night. He has also defined the role of Grand Fromager across the east coast, having been one of the first in the nation to add this distinctive culinary expertise to a restaurant setting.
Risoli's arrival to L'Espalier even predates the restaurant's thirty-year plus owner, Chef Frank McClelland. He is the restaurant's most reliable historian, to include first hand stories of famous guests. As Mâitre d’ hotel for the past three decades, he has been integral in creating and maintaining the standard of excellence that has become synonymous with L’Espalier. Over the thirty years they have worked together, Risoli and Chef McClelland have developed a symbiotic relationship that is unparalleled. Risoli’s ability to anticipate the needs of the dining rooms and communicate with the kitchen is incomparable, some might even say psychic.
In addition to maintaining harmony throughout the dining rooms and with the kitchen, Risoli’s intense passion for cheese has been the driving force behind the Grand Fromage, at L’Espalier since 1988, and the Cheese Tuesday program, which he and Chef McClelland initiated in 2002. He is nationally known, a perennial guest and speaker at national cheese conferences and a veritable encyclopedia about worldwide cheese varietals and culinary cheese trends.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Perry Rossi has been opening for such giants as Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Count Basie and Cab Calloway since childhood. At age 5, the seed of Sonny Rossi and his Orchestra of New York City, Perry performed multiple instruments on television, theatre and nightclubs around the country and by the age of 10, Perry was the leader and Pianist of his own band billed as the “youngest jazz trio in the world,” and was featured often on national television.
Honing his vocal talents he showcased eight-piece dance band, ‘The Perry Rossi Orchestra’. Now "Perry Rossi en Fuego”, A Unique International Musical Experience focuses on eclectic, fiery Latin, Eastern European and contemporary grooves with a Salsa flavor. Now a Boston native, Perry is ‘dedicated to exceptional live music’.
Ieva Aldins fell in love with wine while working in some of San Francisco's most impassioned restaurants such as Delfina, Jardiniere and Boulevard. Since her first staff trip to Napa she was hooked. In 2009 Nantucket called her back to its shores. She first became a sommelier at American Seasons and thrived working with their award winning, domestic wine list. She is a certified sommelier, a member of the Boston Sommelier Society and is currently the sommelier at Straight Wharf Restaurant. Her service style is approachable, elegant and knowledgable with a knack for figuring out people's palates. She believes a good bottle of wine is full of stories, landscapes and poetry that are meant to be pondered, but mostly enjoyed and taste best when shared.
John Blazon is the former wine director for Walt Disney World. During his tenure, John was responsible for the development of wine concepts and standards, including product selection, service and training for 55 restaurants, 20 lounges, 18 resorts, 3 theme parks and Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.
Following a 13 year career at Disney, John joined the Jackson Family Enterprises to work within their premium wine division, The Spire Collection. As VP of Sales, John works with a talented team of sommeliers selling luxury wines from the esteemed portfolio to AAA accounts throughout the country.
Brahm Callahan, 31, serves as Beverage Director of Himmel Hospitality Group and its three restaurants - Grill 23 & Bar, Post 390 and Harvest restaurant. Brahm is a Master Sommelier, one of only 147 professionals in North America who hold the title Master Sommelier – the highest distinction available in the beverage service industry.
Raised in Western Massachusetts, Brahm had an early introduction to the wine world at the age of 17 when he learned the business side of the industry at The Shelburne Falls Wine Merchant, in (Shelburne Falls, MA) under the direction of mentor Paul-Thiery de la Blotier. A short year later, Brahm was put in charge of running wine tastings, managing the cellar and working on dinners with winemakers and local restaurants.
While attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Brahm continued to work at the Wine Merchant, in addition to working part time as a Wine Steward in many of the top restaurants of Western Massachusetts. After moving to Boston to attend graduate school at Boston College to receive his Master’s Degree in Classics and Ancient History, Brahm embraced Boston’s wine community and began working as a sommelier while finishing his graduate work. Through his time at top Boston restaurants, including Excelsior and Rialto, Brahm developed an interest for small producers who make terroir-driven wines.
In 2009, Brahm joined Himmel Hospitality Group as part of the opening team of Post 390, an urban tavern in Boston featuring seasonally-inspired menus. There, Brahm created a beverage program that included an expansive list of approachable and accessible wines, 40+ selection craft beer and competitive cocktail program.
In 2010, Brahm joined the team at Grill 23 & Bar as Wine Director, where he developed an award-winning list of over 1,700 selections, focusing specifically on new cult producers as well as maintaining a balanced list that offers selections for both wine connoisseurs and novices alike.
In August 2015, Himmel Hospitality Group appointed Brahm as Beverage Director. In his role, Brahm is responsible for the developing a training program for all Sommelier and Bar Managers to ensure excellence for guests’ experience and employee growth at all three restaurants.
Brahm lives in Beacon Hill with his wife, Sally.
Rebecca Chapa, is a Certified Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier and holds the Diploma Wine and Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London. Chapa served as Beverage Manager for Eat Drink SF (formally SF Chefs) for many years and has taught wine classes for consumers with her own company, Wine by the Class since 2001. Chapa launched Tannin Management in 1999 in San Francisco. Now in its 15th year of business Tannin Management spans both coasts with headquarters in San Francisco and Nantucket Island. Clients include Nantucket Wine Festival, Nantucket Book Festival, Bureau National Interprofessionel de l’Armagnac, and Wines of Alsace.
André Compeyre is a native from Toulouse, France. André began his career almost thirty years ago in France and joined the Santambroeus team late 2013 to prepare the new Loew's Regency opening .
Mr. Compeyre built his experience working in Michelin Star Restaurants such as; "Le Gavroche" in London, "Les Jardins de l'Opera" in Toulouse, and "Le Chateau Eza" near Monaco.
Over the last twenty years, André has gained national recognition, as a Sommelier creating the wine program at Restaurant Thomas Henkelmann, The Homestead Inn in Greenwich, Connecticut, then as Chef Sommelier for Alain Ducasse at the Essex House from the opening in June 2000 thru 2006. He ran the wine program for the Brasserie Les Halles for four years before he come back to the "Fine dining scene" with David Bouley in Tribeca and Adour at the St Regis New York. Andre spent the last few years in a more cajole setting, having fun at the Bistrot Benoit, completing over nine years of loyal service with Alain Ducasse Entreprise.
Master Sommelier Brian Cronin began his wine career in Raleigh, North Carolina. After studying biology in college, Brian realized that he wanted to make wine. However, it was his exposure in restaurants to wines from all over the world and his growing passion for wine that made him want to learn everything that he possibly could. Brian then went to work as sommelier in some of the top restaurants in the country.
He has been the wine director for Charlie Trotter's, Gary Danko, and Aqua. Brian is a very active member of the Court of Master Sommeliers and has also been an elected member of their Board of Directors. Brian's diverse career in the wine industry has helped him build his philosophy of fresh, funny and informative education that he now uses as National Education Manager for Palm Bay International.
Recently named “Boston’s Best Sommelier” by Improper Bostonian, Nick is the Wine Director of the Forbes 5-star Boston Harbor Hotel and its notable fine dining establishment Meritage. He holds an Advanced Certification through the Court of Mast Sommeliers and through his passion for wine education contributes as a board member of the Boston Sommelier Society.
At Meritage, Nick is known for his inventive multi-course pairings. He is a contributor to various media including Steven Tanzer’s Winophilia website, and participation in the Boston Wine Festival.
Lauren Daddona is the Wine Director at L'Espalier in Boston and holds her Advanced certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers. She joined the L'Espalier sommelier team in 2012 after spending six years at Lower Falls Wine Company, a fine wine shop in Newton, MA. Prior to finding wine, Lauren studied Romance Languages and Art History at Bowdoin College, concentrations that led to her studies in France, as well as work at Christie's auction house in New York. Her travels since have sent her to vineyards throughout Europe and the US with additional time spent in South America and Asia.
As one of just six Advanced Sommeliers in New England, Lauren is at the forefront of wine education in Boston. She is a Director Emeritus of the Boston Sommelier Society and was a regional finalist in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 TopSomm competitions. She was named a StarChefs Rising Star in 2015 and has been cited in a range of publications, including Food & Wine, SOMM Journal, and Robb Report, as well as our very own Nantucket Magazine.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Tali Dalhaba’s career in the hospitality industry began at age 15 in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she began amassing decades of experience working for internationally renowned clubs, restaurants and hotels. After completing Israel’s mandatory military service, rising to management in nearly every professional setting she encountered, and mastering the ability to draw hundreds of people to the city’s best clubs and restaurants, she moved to New York City in 2011. Two months later, she began studying to become a Master Sommelier and officially became a candidate after passing Part 1 on her first attempt. Tali intends to sit Part 2 of the exam in May 2016.
Tali currently works as Sommelier for Jean-Georges, a restaurant offering New French style cuisine, while overlooking Central Park.
As a child growing up in Vermont, TJ Douglas would often add one very important accessory to his t-shirts before running out the door to school – a clip-on tie. While other kids were working to save money for a spring break trip, TJ was saving every dollar for a dream that was just beginning to form.
Upon his arrival in Boston,he assisted in the opening of wine bar Rustic Kitchen in Faneuil Hall, TJ worked his way up at Armani Café until he became General Manager. Along the way, no wine list was safe from TJ’s scrutiny and fine-tuning.
Trips to Italy, France, South Africa, Napa and Sonoma ignited TJ’s passion for wine. Slowly, his dreams turned from owning a restaurant to owning a wine store, where he could share his love for wine with other people. After four years as a top wine salesman for Ruby Wines, the time was right for TJ to realize his dreams. The Urban Grape is the culmination of this journey.
TJ leads The Urban Grape’s wine buying team, as well as being the lead wine educator for the company. In addition to flocking to TJ because of his passion for wine, The Urban Grape’s clients appreciate TJ’s ability to make the confusing world of wine so accessible and easy to understand. He frequently teaches classes on wine at The Urban Grape, as well as at the Boston Center for Adult Education, The Boston Wine Expo, and coming in 2015, via an on-line Urban Grape classroom. TJ also runs Urban Cellars - a personalized consultation service that helps clients fill their wine cellars with everything from approachable every day wine, to birth year vintages, to cases that can age and appreciate in value for decades to come.
As the Wine Director for MARC US, Olivier Flosse oversees A Voce’s award-winning wine cellar. He brings both passion and expertise to the restaurants’ beloved and highly regarded wine program. Olivier educates A Voce’s team about the wine selections, enabling his team to guide guests toward a choice that will pair beautifully for memorable meal. Olivier most enjoys his time spent in A Voce’s dining room, interacting with guests to learn more about their palates in order to enrich their wine experience.
Born and raised in Marseille, Olivier started his training at a young age, earning the coveted DUAD, Diploma-Universitaire d’Aptitude a la Degustation, Bordeaux, the most prestigious wine diploma in Europe. Olivier’s first position upon arriving in New York in 1999 was assistant to the talented Jean-Luc Le Du at Daniel Restaurant. Prior to joining MARC, Olivier was the wine director and sommelier at Cafe Boulud in New York City.
Wine classes through the American Sommelier Association led to Gannon’s first sommelier job at Rothmann’s Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. In 2011 he left Rothmann’s and now splits time between Nashville and New York, as well as traveling extensively throughout New England working for the Spire Collection of fine wines representing Jackson Family Estates. He writes a wine column for the Nashville paper -The Tennessean and holds the Advanced Certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers. On occasion he is the special event sommelier for private Italian gun club, Tiro a Segno.
Austin Heidt is a Assistant Sommelier and Back Waiter at Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. Having been in the industry since he was 13 years old he brings a lot of experience and passion to the table including the Everest Restaurant and Tenzing Wine and Spirits in Chicago. In the educational realm, Austin attended the University of Denver School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, followed by receiving his Masters degree from the Cornell Hotel School and finally completing the ACAP program at the Culinary Institute of America. He holds a Advanced Sommelier certificate with the Court of Master Sommeliers and sat for the Master Sommelier exam the first time this year.
A new breed of sommelier, Jamie Jamison is Food and Beverage Director of The Commerce Club Altanta, a Club Corp property. Approachable, affable, creative he ready to take patrons of The Commerce Club, Atlanta on a heady adventure. Jamison’s well-traveled, evolved and educated palate for sniffing out the best of the best from vineyards across the globe—including emerging wineries and unheralded bottles from marquee producers—complements sublime dishes from the verdant imagination of Executive Chef Tim Kotula, a diminutive powerhouse of culinary magic.Jamison arrived at the Commerce Club in May 2015 from the James Beard award winning American Restaurant in Kansas City Missouri. He was general manager and wine director of the prestigious Midwest fine dining oasis. During his tenure The American added one more James Beard Award winning chef to bring the total to three; named by The Robb Report and WineSpectator, in addition to Kansas City Magazines, “Best Restaurant.”He arrived to the plains from an idyllic ocean side setting, La Jolla’s George’s at the Cove. He was assistant general manager and wine director at the fine-dining restaurants multi-outlet wine program. Prior to his California experience, Jamison spent two years in the Rockies at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen where he was director of restaurant operations and hotel sommelier for a massive restaurant program, including a 500 label WineSpector-lauded list. In 1997, Jamison launched a three-year stint as director of beverage at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. It was there that Jamison’s talent and passion for beer, wine and spirits caught the attention of wine professionals, connoisseurs and newcomers.
Brent Jones found his love for wine at age 19 while working at The Waterfront in Cincinnati, OH. In 2001 his professional wine career took shape in Aspen, CO while working with Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher at the award-winning restaurant Syzygy. Other restaurants on his résumé include Galley Beach in Nantucket, restaurant Latour in New Jersey, Fifth Floor in San Francisco, Alinea in Chicago, Frasca in Boulder, and both the Caribou Club and Hotel Jerome of Aspen. One of his favorite moments of his wine career occurred while working the 2012 harvest with Domaine Comte Senard in Burgundy.
Appointed Beverage Director Guillem Kerambrun has worked with Alain Ducasse Entreprise since 2003. Making the move to New York, was a tremendous opportunity for Kerambrun to enter new territory and grow the beverage program for Alain Ducasse Restaurants Stateside. Under Kerambrun’s direction, Benoit will continue to offer a dynamic and approachable wine program that is complementary to Executive Chef Philippe Bertineau’s seasonal cooking. The focus will continue to be on French wine; however, guests can also expect a greater selection of American wines including those from French winemakers in the U.S and find Guillem’s style of wine service both convivial and personal. Kerambrun lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two kids. Over the past decade, Kerambrun has been responsible for conceptualizing and managing wine programs for all 27 of Alain Ducasse’s restaurants – spanning nine countries – including Le Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Alain Ducasse’s contemporary restaurant Rivea at the Bulgari Hotel in London, and Alain Ducasse’s cooking (and wine) school for amateurs in Paris. He began his career within ADE as chef sommelier at Aux Lyonnais in Paris. Six months later he opened Benoit in Paris as deputy wine director alongside Alain Ducasse’s Executive Wine Director Gérard Margeon.
Todd Lipman has served as Head Sommelier at Boston’s Bistro du Midi for the past four years. During that time, he was twice named ‘Boston’s Best Sommelier’ in 2011 (Improper Bostonian) and 2014 (Boston Magazine) and his wine program has been dubbed “…one of the City’s most formidable” (Bon Appetite Magazine). Todd is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and is currently an Advanced Certified Candidate. He has worked with the likes of Ken Oringer, Jamie Bissonnette, Marissa Iocco, Frank DePasquale, Babak & Azita Bina, and Daniel Bruce at K.O. Prime, South End Galleria, Bricco, Bin 26 Enoteca and the 5-star/4-diamond Boston Harbor Hotel respectively, as well as for the Aquataine Group at the former Armani Café. Todd is originally from Fairfax, Virginia, but has lived in Boston for nearly 20 years.
Sur Lucero MS, has dedicated his life to food and wine. Lucero was raised in the Napa Valley and spent over two decades in Restaurant Hospitality. In the early years of his career, he developed his palate on the dining room floor of The French Laundry. It is here where he spent over one third of his restaurant career, immersed in the culture, and inspired to attend culinary school. After cooking professionally for a couple years and being certified in Culinary Arts by the Napa Valley Cooking School, he returned to The French Laundry, this time to begin his career in wine.
Lucero is also thankful for the years he spent in Michelin stared restaurant’s that include The Little Nell in Aspen, Meadowood Resort in Napa, Daniel Boulud in Las Vegas and Terra in Napa, among others. Wine and Spirits named him the Best New Sommelier in the United States in 2011. In 2012, Lucero was honored by the Court of Master Sommelier’s as a recipient of the Remi Krug Cup. This distinction means that Lucero was the highest scoring person, who passed all three sections of the exam, on his first attempt. Since the establishment of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 1969, this honor has only been earned fourteen times in history.
Lucero still lives in the Napa Valley and now enjoys working in the field of education with Jackson Family Fine Wines. In addition to his ambassadorship of the portfolio’s 51 world class brands, he covers the nation doing what he loves, speaking, teaching and advancing the awareness of Food and Wine culture.
In his spare time, he enjoys growing, cooking, sharing food from his garden, cycling, hiking, kayaking and anything else that makes him hungry and thirsty, for food and wine!
Related Wine Festival Events:
Born and raised in New England, Michael had long envisioned a career as a lawyer, but it was while he was a student at Harvard University that his future aspirations became less conventional. During summers he worked for an upscale catering company, which often found him prepping in the kitchen, bartending or waiting tables. It was the energy and satisfaction in executing elaborate events with finesse and skill that led Michael to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America.
While at the CIA, Michael earned his degree in Culinary Arts and spent many formative hours in some of Boston’s best kitchens, learning from Boston culinary legends Gordon Hamersley, Frank McClelland and Geoff Gardner. However, sensing that professional cooking was not his long-term career path, Michael set off for Australia to pursue a Master’s degree in Gastronomy at the University of Adelaide.
It was between classroom sessions, touring some of Australia’s great vineyards, tasting rooms and restaurants that Michael realized that the world of wine was luring him closer. Upon returning to Boston, Michael returned to restaurant life in the front of the house as a sommelier, working in the award winning wine programs at Sel de la Terre, L’Espalier, BOKX109 and Café Escadrille. He spent time working for Vineyard Road, a boutique wine distributor in Massachusetts, and was most recently employed at two international wine suppliers, most notably as Education Manager and Prestige Portfolio Manager with Treasury Wine Estates and as an Educator and Regional Sales Manager with Jackson Family Wines.
Michael finished Third at both the 2010 and 2011 Top|Somm Championships, and won the Best Young Sommelier Competition in 2010. As the representative for the United States at the International Best Young Sommelier Finals in Santander, Spain in October 2010, he placed second in the world. Additionally, Michael founded the Boston Sommelier Society in 2009 and currently serves as Chairman Emeritus.
Throughout his journeys, Michael kept himself immersed in continuing his education, and in 2015, Michael’s experience and studies paid off, as he became one of only 230 people in the world to achieve the title of Master Sommelier. He is currently the Principal/Owner of Sommelier On-Demand Hospitality Services, LLC and currently resides in Groton, MA with his wife, Carolyn, and son, William.
Katie is a child of the vines. Hailing from Napa, California she has always been surrounded by the magical culture that is wine. Ironically, she didn’t learn just how much she loved vino until she began working on Nantucket at Ventuno Restaurant with a mostly Italian wine selection. The adventurous yet classical side to wines of Italy then piqued her interest for the traditional wines of France and all of the old world. She is an avid student of wine, always looking to learn more and educate those interested in learning.
Over her years at Ventuno she has worked her way up from server to sommelier because of her enduring passion for the palate and talents in the service industry. Katie is a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as a student of the French Wine Society. She is happiest assisting others in the enjoyment of life through well selected wine and cocktails. She is also an avid gardener and enthusiastic mixologist when wearing one of her various other hats in this world.
A native of Rhode Island, Dan got his start managing wine programs at local Providence restaurants. Dan eventually moved north to Boston where he became a sommelier overseeing some of the deepest wine lists in the city, including Grill 23 & Bar and Excelsior. An opportunity to build a wine program from scratch moved Dan’s career to Northern California where he was the opening Wine Director for Cavallo Point in Sausalito. It was not long after that he began making wine and created his own label. Dan ultimately moved on to manage wineries for some of Napa Valley’s most well-respected producers. Today you can find Dan at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga, one of the oldest grape-growing estates in the Napa Valley. In his spare time Dan moonlights as the owner and winemaker for his own label, Gail.
Kristin got her start in hospitality working at Saison in San Francisco. She then went on to open and manage Sweet Woodruff for the Sons and Daughters’ group before taking a brief hiatus from restaurants to pursue medical school. After working at Spoke Wine Bar in Somerville, MA, she could not ignore the call back to the vine. Kristin bounces back and forth between Palm Springs, CA where she is company sommelier for f10 creative and Nantucket, MA where she is a part of the team at Straight Wharf Resturant.
Showcasing a talent developed over years of devoted work and study, Theresa Paopao brings a vivacious yet relaxed energy to the operations and wine program at Brookline, MA’s Ribelle. Paopao elevates service standards to what she dubs “ergonomic service,” allowing staff to function comfortably in an effort to extend that comfort to the guests. “The service is friendly and informed, but not over the top, “she says. Paopao thrives on the energy at the pass, as food is ushered from the kitchen to the server, an essential transition—“it’s the heart of the restaurant.”Additionally, Paopao’s wine list sheds pretention and embraces its place as a complement to Co-Chefs Tim Maslow and Brandon Baltzley’s imaginative and globally inspired cuisine. “Knowing the kitchen’s style and what’s in the food allows me to find wines that flatter each dish. It’s like making a mix tape for your crush: You have to pick the right songs for the person like you have to pick the right wines for each dish.” Paopao also requests the trust of her diners, and on her menu, she describes wines solely by taste, not by label, to remove any preconceptions and let the wine speak for itself.Born and raised as the oldest of eight, Paopao moved from Hawaii to the East Coast to pursue a graduate degree from the Yale School of Drama, drawing on her passion for the arts with a technical theater design degree. After spending two years in the prestigious program, however, Paopao found that her career aspirations lay elsewhere. A move to Boston spurred her to pick up a position as a server, beginning her restaurant industry career. As she gained an interest in wine and beverage programs—teaching herself and seeking lessons from those around her—as well as management, the connection between orchestrating stage operations and helming a dining service became opportunistically evident. After a stint at Sweet Life Café in Martha’s Vineyard, Paopao returned to Boston with a freshly honed wine palate and joined The Federalist as a cocktail server. She later left to pursue a management role at Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro.
Paopao’s next rung on the ladder was found in 2004 at Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge. For almost seven years, Paopao polished up the service and beverage programs, earning a Boston Rising Stars Award from StarChefs.com, as well as receiving her BarSmarts Advance Certification and becoming a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009. Paopao’s reputation in Boston soon spread to the Big Apple, and the sommelier found herself scouted by David Chang’s Momofuku to take on the role of wine director. Paopao spent more than two years at Momofuku Ssäm Bar before taking on a four-concept Momofuku outpost in Toronto. Paopao not only developed four distinct beverage programs, but involved herself in international importing, inventory management, and staff education. She also concurrently worked with New York City’s Astor Wine Center, teaching a recurring class on wine fundamentals.Eight months later, with the Toronto operation up and running, Paopao was drawn back to the States with an opportunity to open Toro NYC alongside chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer as beverage consultant for multiple East Coast venues. Gearing up for the launch in Boston as wine andbeverage director for Coppa and Toro Boston, Paopao’s connection to the city deepened. When she was approached by fellow Momofuku alum Tim Maslow to run the operations and beverage program for Ribelle and Strip T’s, she couldn’t resist returning to Boston’s charm.
With all eyes on Ribelle’s August 2013 opening, the city’s diners and critics were impressed; Ribelle earned a four-star review from the Boston Globe and recognition by Boston Magazine as Best Wine Program in Boston 2015.
Before being the Wine Director for the Pearl & Boarding House, Devin first started falling in love with wine while working at Toppers for 5 years. He became friends with the somm's there, including Craig Hanna the Cellar Master, and was able to taste many of the incredible wines that are on the list. Devin's tipping point was Nicolas Joly's 'Clos de la Coulee de Serrant', which still leaves him more obsessed with Chenin Blanc than any other wine. He was lucky to be there and learned invaluable knowledge regarding all the different aspects of not only tasting and evaluating wines, but also how to go about it in his own way, which had a tremendous effect on his ability to help build a list and also how to present them to people with a personal touch.
This past summer, The Pearl & The Boarding House earned the Best of Award of Excellence for the first time in the 25 year history of the restaurants, which is a great accomplishment not only for Devin and also for the team, but for everyone else that has been involved in the list during the history of the restaurants.
Besides being in love with Chenin Blanc, Devin also have a very strong affinity for Portuguese wines and anything off the beaten track, the funkier the better.
Dominick Purnomo, Wine Director & Co Owner of Yono’s & dp An American Brasserie, grew up in his family’s restaurant working alongside his parents at an early age before going on to State University of New York at Morrisville to pursue a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. Upon finishing Morrisville in 2000, Purnomo came back to Albany to work in the family business and took over the day to day operations. It was then that he discovered a true passion for wine. After having dined in some of the worlds finest restaurants such as Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Aureole in Las Vegas, and Lespinasse in New York, Purnomo wanted to bring a world class wine program to Albany, more specifically to Yono’s.
In 2005 Purnomo was elected to his first of two, two year terms as the President of the Greater Capital District of the New York State Restaurant Association, the youngest President in the history of the state organization. Dominick was a national finalist for the Best Young Sommelier Competition, has been nominated for a James Beard Award for his wine program on 3 occassions. His wine list has been praised by Wine Spectator since 2004 and has recently been named one of the 300 greatest wine lists in the world, receiving the 3 star award from The World of Fine Wine. Under his direction, Yono’s was named one of the Top 100 restaurants in America by OpenTable.
He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, is a member of the Society of Fellows at the Culinary Institute of America, the American Sommelier Association, the Chevalier du Tastevin, a founding board member of the Albany Food & Wine Festival, the founder of the Sommelier Society of Albany. Dominick and his wife Carolyn, a Licensed Realtor, reside in Loudonville, New York with their daughters Gemma & Halle.
Matt began his career in Boston where he achieved national recognition as wine director at one of Boston’s most beloved restaurants—UpStairs on the Square.
Reiser has twice presented wine at the James Beard Foundation, interned in Burgundy with Clive Coates, MW and was a panelist for the NYU American Association of Wine Economists. He has also served as a judge for wine competitions and has been citied in numerous publications.
Rob Renteria has been a sommelier in the Bay Area restaurant industry for 20 years. He first worked with the wine list at Rubicon before contributing to the lists at Bacar and EOS, all in San Francisco. Upon moving to Napa Valley, he was the Wine Director at Martini House in St. Helena; at Redd in Yountvile, in which Wine Enthusiast Magazine ranked his list as one of the Top 100 in America. In 2009, he founded Analog Wine Company, a negociant wine label Napa Valley. In 2012, he returned to San Francisco. He is currently the sommelier at La Folie. He has also been a regular tasting panelist for the San Francisco Chronicle and Wine and Spirits Magazine. Follow his rants about wine and culture on Twitter @angrysomm.
28-year-old sommelier Kelly Robinson grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She moved to Boston to pursue a degree in painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. While studying she worked as a barista, and upon graduation found herself seamlessly transitioning into a front-of-house position at Craigie on Main. 4 years, a stint behind the Craigie bar, and years of study through the Court of Master Sommeliers led to her position at the front of Craigie's distinct, Old-World focused wine program. She is currently pursuing the CMS Advanced Sommelier certificate.
Matt Ryan began his career in wine as a food-runner for a fine-dining restaurant in Boston. From there, he made the transition to server at fast-paced restaurants, refining his knowledge of the world of wines. Matt became a Certified Sommelier in 2011 while working in a large retail store, where he was a manager in the wine department until 2013. He credits the exposure to such a wide variety of wines as an exceptional learning tool. Matt worked as the General Manager for Beaver Brook Bottles in Waltham, MA, focusing on small-production fine wine and a wide selection of craft beer and is now working for Harborside Wine Compnay based out of Boston.
Brooke Sabel has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Hospitality & Tourism Management. She also has certificates in Wine & Food Pairing from Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia.
While working in New York City for one of the premier retail wine merchants, Morrell & Company as a Wine Consultant, her engaging personality & down-to-earth approach to wine earned the respect of some New York top oenophiles. She further developed her knowledge while working under Master of Wine, Christopher Cree at 56 Degree Wine in Bernardsville, NJ. Brooke then went on to hold the position of Lead Sommelier at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. While at Borgata, Brooke assisted with the planning, organizing & executing of events such as Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour and Borgata’s numerous elite food & wine events. She has helped to develop wine lists for such culinary masters as Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, and Michael Mina. Her talents and reputation brought her back to central New Jersey to develop the wine program at Natirar and its award-winning restaurant Ninety Acres, where she has held the position of Wine Director since opening. Her focus on sustainable, organic, biodynamic, small-production wines has garnered high accolades amongst her peers and the press.
Brooke has been featured on Martha Stewart Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, New Jersey Monthly, Inside Jersey, New Jersey Weddings, The Knot, Park Place Magazine, Above Magazine, Princeton Magazine, James Beard Foundation, New Jersey Wine & Food Festival, Terroirist.com, SOMM Journal and participated in 2011 Star Chefs Somm Slam.
Brooke holds titles of Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Sommelier Society of America. She also holds the title of Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators. A member of several trade organizations such as Sommelier Society of America and the Guild of Sommeliers; Ms. Sabel is also a tasting panelist for several industry publications. She is currently studying for Advanced Sommelier exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers and is enrolled in the Diploma Program from the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust.
Jarad Slipp, MS is the Estate Director at RdV Vineyards in Delaplane, VA. Prior to joining the RdV team in 2013 he was the Restaurant Director at several notable Washington DC and NYC restaurants, including CityZen, Fiamma, Nectar, and Tahoga. Jarad earned his Master Sommelier Diploma in May 2014 making him one of 227 individuals worldwide to have passed the rigorous exam. A former graduate of the Culinary Institute of America as well as ICIF in Italy he's a decent cook too. When not working, he can typically be found endeavoring in activities to shorten his life like cave diving, heli-skiing and skydiving. His favorite beer is Miller Lite, yes it's not the best, but it is his favorite, please don't judge.
Related Wine Festival Events:
An unlikely confluence of an interest in ornithology and an innate desire to connect with people led Colin to discover his passion for wine. Those seemingly unrelated areas of his life converged at Cornell University, where Colin realized that studying and connecting people through wine simultaneously satisfied both his thirst for making lasting connections and his drive to explore the natural world.
One of Colins first forays into the world of wine was made early on with fellow Seattle local and now mentor and friend, Greg Harrington, MS. He pointed Colin in the direction of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He immediately began studying their curriculum and, in fact, passed the first two exams while a senior in college.
During the summers, Colin alternated between hospitality jobs and commercial fishing in the Bearing Sea. However, he had his first true wine-focused position as a vintern at Canlis Restaurant and then as food and beverage manager at a small retreat in Costa Rica. Upon graduation, Colin joined the team at Eleven Madison Park where he honed his skills as a wine professional before moving onto Ai Fiori where he has have helped guide the wine program for the past four years.
For the past decade, Marika Vida has been one of the most in-demand, highly respected wine professionals in the business. She has served as Wine Director of the Ritz-Carlton Central Park New York; Sommelier of the top-rated Laurent Tourondel Bistro BLT Market; Sommelier for the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton with ‘Top Chef’ Winner Kevin Sbraga. She also developed the opening wine program at 10Arts with Chef Eric Ripert and Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Carroll. Under the auspices of her new consulting firm Vida et Fils, she currently works as the Wine Director of the Ritz-Carlton Central Park. Her most recent project there is the critically acclaimed Phenomenal Femmes Program, which features female winemakers from around the globe, including a popular dinner series. Marika has served as Wine Director for the James Beard Foundation Book Broadcast and Journalism Awards. She is a member of the Full Circle Sommelier Network, working with Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein on projects for Wines of Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Monterey programs. Additionally Marika consults for the Architectural Digest and has served on Eric Asimov’s Tasting Panel for the New York Times.
Valentina Abbona, who represents Marchesi di Barolo’s 6th generation together with her brother Davide, was born on February 27th 1988. After attending high school in Alba, a small city near Barolo where she lives with her family, she moved in Milan where she studied economics and business in Bocconi University.
During her college years, she travelled abroad extensivley: after an exchange program in Manchester, UK and two internships (the first one in Hyderabad, India and the second one in New York) she lived in Shanghai, China for almost one year. Meanwhile while she was attending university, she always helped her parents running their family company and she often joined her mother Anna during her business trips all around the world.
She graduated in 2012 and is now working full time in the family winery taking care of hospitality at the winery and representing Marchesi di Barolo abroad.
Almost 25 years ago in a Jazz Club in Paris, Dimitri Augenblick had his first glass of wine...It was a love at first sight! As the business development manager, and member of the family owner, Dimitri is working with the team of Cos on making great wines. This is not only a part of his job but also his passion. Today Cos is one of the greatest wines of the Médoc which had often been known to surpass The Premier Crus.
Through all the wines of Michel Reybier's Estate such as Les Pagodes de Cos, Château Marbuzet, Goulée by Cos, Cos Blanc and more recently Hetszolo, a Tokaj from Hungary, Dimitri's purpose is to place them in all the best regions of the world.
Craig Becker, a Southern California native, is a founding member of Somerston Wine Company.
Becker oversees all of Somerston’s winemaking and vineyard operations. He has a tremendous thirst for knowledge about each element of winery and vineyard operations and is constantly developing new ideas for improvement. Becker’s management style encourages innovation and entrepreneurship by allowing employees to take ownership of, and improve, their positions, the vineyards, and the winery. He maintains strong relationships with vineyard workers, many of whom live on-site, having worked the property for decades before Becker knew it existed.
San Mateo native Tony Biagi is a fourth generation Californian, whose first experience with wine was watching his father make modest amounts of a private label wine from a family friend’s vineyard in Lodi, CA. After graduating from high school with an aptitude for science, Biagi enrolled at U.C. Davis without any preconceived plans to study winemaking.
Tony joined Hourglass in 2012, after developing a friendship and professional respect for proprietor Jeff Smith’s philosophy and collaborative style. At Hourglass, Biagi saw the new position as hands on opportunity to make estate-bottled wines from two of Napa’s most extraordinary parcels of land.
“Now, more than ever, in Napa Valley as well as California, estate properties that control every aspect of their fruit production are going to be most successful,” said Biagi. “What really intrigued me about making wine from the Hourglass and Blueline estate vineyards is that the possibilities are endless. It’s really a dream come true for me to be able to craft wines from such spectacular sites.”
When he’s not in the cellar, Tony enjoys cycling, gardening, and spending time with his daughter, Harper Alexis.
Born into a family of champagne growers, Carrier studied at Reims University. His experience includes a stint at Bordeaux’s Château LynchBages as technical director. He also worked at another Bordeaux property, Ormes de Pez, where he learned the making of a ‘grands vins’ from JeanMichel Cazes, one of Bordeaux’s best-known producers.
Curious to discover more about the so called ‘new world’ approach to wine making, he went to work in America at Newton Vineyard in Napa Valley, owned by French luxury group, LVMH. A meeting with Lochlann Quinn in May 2007 led to Carrier’s return to Bordeaux, in Pessac Leognan and to his taking on the management of Fieuzal later the same year. Carrier’s priority is to constantly improve the quality, elegance and finesse of Fieuzal’s wines, while at the same time maintaining the wine’s PessacLéognan essence.
Pierre studied Pharmacy for six years at the University of Bordeaux, majoring in chemistry. He completed his Doctorate Dissertation in Chemistry under the subject, “A chemical approach to the vilification in Bordeaux.” Pierre recognized his passion for Enology and obtained a diploma in the subject from the University of Montpellier. He was previously enrolled at the Bordeaux International Wine Institution in 2001 and graduated with an MBA in winemaking.
Pierre Joined Veuve Clicquot in 2008 as a winemaker in the wine communication team lead by Cyril Brun. He is proud to belong to the tasting panel led by chef de caves, Dominique Demarville, taking an active part in the creation of the finest quality blends for all of the House’s wines. He’s also involved in the harvest, especially in the Chardonnay winemaking in Vertus. Now Casenave plays a significant role in the communication efforts of Veuve Clicquot-tasting, promoting, and training all over the world in French, English, and Spanish.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Federico, the son of Bruno Ceretto, was born in 1977 and is the youngest in the family. After graduating from high school specializing in classical studies, he chose to pursue a university diploma in Business Administration. While studying, he found a passion for what was to be his lifelong profession, the management of his family’s winery. Federico also oversee their sales network in Italy, supporting agents on visits to customers and clients.
He is the export manager for Ceretto and President of Relanghe, the new activity of the family that promotes Piemonte hazelnuts."Considering the fact that we four young Cerettos can count on the solid foundations laid by our parents, I’m expecting a dynamic, intense future" says Federico.
If he was not born into the Ceretto family, he would probably have done what he is doing now: working aboard in the hospitality industry to promote the culture of Piemonte. Federico is married and the father of a daughter, Alma Sofia, born in 2010 and a son, Tommaso, born in 2015.
Moving to Pritchard Hill when he was 10 years old, Cyril Chappellet has witnessed the transformation of the Napa Valley into one of the world’s great winegrowing regions. The eldest son of Molly and Donn Chappellet, Cyril grew up working in the vineyard and winery. At 18, Donn and Molly encouraged Cyril to make his own career choices and to explore life away from the family business.
Prior to being named chairman of the board, Cyril spent many years as the winery’s managing director. In this role, he was instrumental in guiding the day-to-day workings of the winery, overseeing sales and marketing efforts and working with his family to ensure the ongoing vitality of the business. During his tenure as managing director, Chappellet was recognized for making some of the finest wines in its storied history. Pritchard Hill catapulted to center stage as California’s premier location for mountain-grown Bordeaux varietals, most notably, Cabernet Sauvignon. Cyril was elected chairman of the winery’s family-run board of directors in 2012. Today, Cyril is actively involved in every aspect of the winery’s operations and works closely with his family to ensure the continued success of Chappellet.
Paul was educated in winemaking and viticulture at the University of Reims and the University of Bordeaux. He then went on to acquire his practical knowledge of wine at Château Margaux, making wine at the side of one of the great masters in œnology, Emile Peynaud, and later with Louis Latour in Burgundy.
After acquiring a wealth of experience working for some of the greatest names in the wine world, Paul is now the National Fine Wine Director at Shaw-Ross International Importers. He works with Sacha Lichine and Patrick Léon in the development of the 4 unique rosés from the Château D'Esclans estate.
Master Sommelier Brian Cronin began his wine career in Raleigh, North Carolina. After studying biology in college, Brian realized that he wanted to make wine. However, it was his exposure in restaurants to wines from all over the world and his growing passion for wine that made him want to learn everything that he possibly could. Brian then went to work as sommelier in some of the top restaurants in the country.
He has been the wine director for Charlie Trotter's, Gary Danko, and Aqua. Brian is a very active member of the Court of Master Sommeliers and has also been an elected member of their Board of Directors. Brian's diverse career in the wine industry has helped him build his philosophy of fresh, funny and informative education that he now uses as National Education Manager for Palm Bay International.
Daniel Daou’s prime motivation is passion, and his background as an engineer informs his every decision as a winemaker. Daniel goes to extraordinary lengths, such as employing methods only used in producing first-growth Bordeaux, to ensure that his wines are balanced with nonintrusive tannins to provide structure for the full bodied fruit while the wine matures, first in the barrel and later in the bottle. In the vineyard, he walks a fine line by letting the grapes struggle, yet never crossing over to the point where the vines would shut down.
Often, friends and fans of his wines describe Daniel as a man both charismatic and passionate, yet always ready to listen to others. He is seen as a committed member of the community whose drive and resources will take Paso Robles to a whole new level. For Daniel, putting his cherished family name on the bottle means everything. What’s inside the bottle must warrant that privilege, so every day he thinks about how to ensure the level of excellence he expects from his wines.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Joe Donelan, founder of Donelan Family Wines, began his journey of wine discovery in the 1980s, led by an inspired sommelier at Toppers Restaurant on Nantucket. With a vision for creating superior-quality, terroir-driven Syrah and Rhone-varietals, Joe established relationships with unique Sonoma County vineyards and brought together a production team to found Donelan Family Wines. With his family’s name stamped on each bottle and two sons involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, Donelan Family Wines is a true family venture for Joe.
Tom Eddy completed his oenology degree at UC Davis, Class of ’74, which is known as a group of winemakers often credited for the meteoric rise in the quality of wine in California. Before starting the family wine company in 1989, Tom had been winemaker for some of the largest and smallest wineries in California. A published author and recognized winery expert, Tom’s personal stamp of winemaking and winery construction has influenced much of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Domaine du Pégau was created in 1987 when Laurence was back from her first step of Oenology School and second step of Trading Wine and Spirits School in Paris. Laurence and her father, Paul Féraud, decided it was time to leave Paul’s parent’s winery to build one of their own, and to develop their brand Pégau. Together they were able to produce the same traditional Châteauneuf du Pape style of the Féraud family.
Flanagan wines started in 1999. Planting began in 2001 and included Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah. In 2011, Flanagan acquired the 29 acre 3 Starrs Vineyard in the heart of the Russian River Valley, producing ripe, balanced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Flanagan is becoming known for stunning Syrah and elegant, site-driven expressions of Bordeaux varietals.
Eric, Kit and their 3 daughters (Riley, Lola, and Ruby) make their home at the 3 Starrs Vineyard along with 3 dogs, 4 ducks, 6 Dwarf Nigerian goats, 2 geese, and 1 mule (also named Ruby).
Related Wine Festival Events:
Claude Giraud was born in 1952 in the historical heart of Champagne in France. Claude is the 12th generation of the Giraud-Hémart family, and was elevated to the pace of work of the vine and wine by his father Henri Giraud and his grandmother Madeleine Hémart. After short studies in Burgundy, Claude joined the family estate. In 10 years, with the help of his father, he completely reorganized the vineyard, and by 1982 took over management completely. His project was twofold: to create a high-class wine, and affirm instead the family estate to become known as a champagne house. Combining the most modern techniques and working in small oak barrels, pressing and winemaking cation are now completely redesigned. In 1990, Claude designed the first vintage of the wine Barrel Oak AY Grand Cru. In December, under his leadership, Champagne Henri Giraud became a Trader champagne and to this day, belongs to the Champagne Houses Union.
In 1992, Claude was appointed CEO of Champagne Henri Giraud. They offer 6 beautiful cellar vintages: 1993, 95., 96, 98, 99, and 2000. The Henri Giraud House, which had previously only provided wine for its private clients, then launched the 1990 vintage of the wine oak barrel in the international market. François Claude Giraud consolidated Hémart brands and Henri Giraud under the banner of Champagne Henri Giraud. Giraud designed the packaging for all Champagne Henri Giraud wines, including the Espirit de Giraud and CODE NOIR lines.
The national ambassador of Long Meadow Ranch’s portfolio of family-run businesses, Chris Hall creates and executes sales programs directed at achieving the family’s goals for serving the nation's top restaurants and retailers. Chris is also responsible for the wine program at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch which features wines selected by Chris to complement the restaurant’s American farmhouse cooking.
With an entrepreneurial drive and a natural strength in leadership, the San Francisco native has served in a variety of roles across the full range of the Hall family businesses, including production manager for LMR Rutherford Gardens (now part of Rutherford Estate), on-premise sales manager and, most recently, national sales manager.
A second-generation vintner dedicated to producing elegant, food-friendly artisan wines, Chris is a founder and past president of NG: The Next Generation in Wine, a young vintners trade association that counts among its members a vibrant group of family winery and vineyard owners in the Napa Valley who are second generation or later.
Gregory Hecht is cofounder of micro-négociant Hecht & Bannier. Coming to light in 2002, Hecht & Bannier is a boutique winery dedicated to wines from the most unique terroirs in South of France. Their goal is to be a reliable quality benchmark for the region with a collection of signature wines across the finest Mediterranean vineyards. Their wines allow wine lovers to explore the extraordinary quality and diversity of Provence, Roussillon and Languedoc.
Hecht & Bannier developed an extensive knowledge of the vineyards to select only the best grapes. Most of the time their wines come from vines located on the cooler foothills where it isn't rare to see hundred-year-old plants. Once the long and picky selection process has come to an end, they can get to the last tastings to create the final blends and decide on the elevage options.
Jasmine Hirsch was born and raised in Northern California. She and her sister Jessica were baptized in champagne by their wine-loving parents David and Rebecca Hirsch, and they spent their childhoods at Hirsch Vineyards. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, Jasmine spent five years living in Europe followed by two years in New York at JP Morgan Private Bank. She escaped from corporate life to take over sales and marketing at Hirsch Vineyards in 2008. She is involved in all aspects of the wine production.
Matt Hobbs is National Sales Manager and a partner in Paul Hobbs Wines, which is located in Sebastopol, California and produces the “Paul Hobbs” and “CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs” wines. One of Paul Hobbs’s ten siblings, Matt has worked with Paul for most of the last twelve years. For six of those years, he was general manager of the winery. He is currently responsible for managing the winery’s sales in the United States and the Caribbean.
From 2007-2009 Matt lived in Mendoza, Argentina where he worked as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Vines of Mendoza, a premier vineyard development and hospitality company. Upon returning to the U.S. and before rejoining Paul Hobbs Wines in 2011, Matt was General Manager of Epoch Estate Wines in Paso Robles, California which is a producer of ultra-premium Rhone-variety wines.
Christopher Howell has dedicated more than twenty years to Cain Vineyard & Winery. His commitment to Cain stems from a realization that one can only learn from one vintage to the next, and that depth of knowledge of a single vineyard takes years to acquire. His focus is on fine winegrowing—following the process from vineyard into the winery and finally into the glass. There are just two essential prerequisites for doing this—knowing wine and loving wine. In both of these, he remains a perpetual student.
Olivier Humbrecht, General Manager of Domaine ZindHumbrecht, is the second winemaker in the world to attain Master of Wine status. With degrees from the Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture de Purpan and Université d’Oenologie de Toulouse in Agriculture and Oenology, respectively, Olivier earned his Master of Wine certification in 1989. The same year, he took over winemaking from his father, continuing an unbroken lineage that extends back to the year 1620.
Since 2002, he has served as President of the Syndicat International des Vignerons en Culure Bio Dynamique/ Biodyvin (SIVCBD). He became President of the Alsace Grand Cru Association in 2011.
Fredrik Johansson is a transplanted Connecticut Yankee born to Swedish parents who moved to California 24 years ago to study engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. A change in his field of study to developmental economics and literature lead him to an initial career in law and investment management in Silicon Valley where he had the good fortune of working with several serious wine collectors who fueled his burgeoning passion for wine and ultimately altered the trajectory of his life.
Serendipity allowed him to meet consulting winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown with whom he apprenticed for four years to acquire the core of his winemaking knowledge and from whom he learned the singular importance of vineyards and terroir. He has worked at Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma, Two Hands Wines in Australia and Outpost Wines on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley where he oversaw several of Thomas' consulting projects, including Schrader Cellars and Maybach Family Vineyards.
Since 2007 he has been the winemaker at Staglin Family Vineyard where he has had the fortune of collaborating with two legends in the industry, Michel Rolland and David Abreu.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Randle Johnson, consulting winemaker, is directly involved with worldwide joint venture vineyards and brand development for The Hess Collection Winery and The Hess Collection New World Wines. As winemaker for Artezin wines from California and director of winemaking for Bodega Colomé in Argentina, Randle experiences two crushes every year, keeping him a very busy man. Randle started as winemaker for The Hess Collection in 1983, when Donald Hess set aside a portion of the grapes from the Hess Vineyards for his own premium wine label.
A native Californian, Randle attended the University of California at Davis, graduating with a M.S. in Viticulture in 1974. As a viticulturist for the original Souverain Winery in Rutherford, California, he gained first-hand knowledge of grape characteristics produced by the differing micro-climates found in the Napa Valley. Later, under the guidance of Souverain winemaker Phil Baxter, he learned the practical aspects of winemaking as assistant winemaker. In 1977, Randle became the vineyard manager and cellarmaster for Mayacamas Vineyards, located 2,500 feet up on Mount Veeder in the western hills of Napa Valley. This experience fostered an intense interest in the unique attributes of mountain grapes.
After two years as winemaker at Stags’ Leap Winery, Randle joined the emerging winery of Donald Hess to produce exceptional wines from the mountain grapes of Mt. Veeder. In 1996, that vision went global with the establishment of an import company, The Hess Collection New World Wines. Randle currently concentrates his efforts on Artezin Wines, Bodega Colomé in Argentina, and specialized winemaking projects at The Hess Collection Winery.
Dan Kosta, a native of Sonoma County, credits his father for his love of wine. At home, wine was served at nearly every dinner and at his dad's wine shop in Santa Rosa, he learned about labels, varietals and style. Following his passion for food, Dan spent more than 15 years in fine dining, working his way up through almost every position imaginable, and finally to Wine Director at John Ash Restaurant in Santa Rosa. Dan now spends much of his time attending charitable events on behalf of the winery. “I love how wine and food bring people together and feel very fortunate that we can play a role in helping many worthy causes.”
Bernard grew up in a small village on the southern edge of Burgundy, France, where he developed an early taste for Pinot Noir, instead of milk. After a classical education with much Latin, mathematics, some Shakespearean English and vast quantities of bad Pinot Noir, he graduated with master’s degrees in physics and electrical engineering from the French school system. Committed to more esoteric stuff and more bad wine, he went off to study plasma physics with a NASA fellowship at the University of Michigan, improving his skills in spoken English (no more Shakespeare), and surviving more bad jug wines.
After a successful career building computers, then computer companies, and with a taste for progressively better Pinot Noir, Bernard decided to close the loop and return to his roots. WillaKenzie Estate is his dream to make great Pinot Noir in an environment relatively unencumbered by bureaucracy, where tradition can be blended with innovation.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Sean Larkin is the owner/winemaker of Larkin Wines. Since the first vintage in 1999, Larkin has been on a roll. Crafting serious wines culled from a short list of Napa Valley vineyards, he has managed to quickly capture the eye of critics and connoisseurs alike for his lusty brand of brawny reds. Sean produces about 500 cases annually focusing on his much sought-after Cabernet Franc.
Born in Bordeaux and educated in America, Sacha Lichine began working at his family’s former property, Château Prieure Lichine, during his youth. Sacha’s first enterprise was organizing luxury wine tours in France which helped facilitate the establishment of Sacha Lichine Estate Selections for wines from the Rhone.
A pivotal moment for Sacha was his 2006 acquisition of Château D’Esclans in Provence. In keeping with his uncanny sense of innovation, Sacha felt that Rosé had strong developmental opportunities to become more serious from a production standpoint in addition to being served and consumed more broadly. Working with Patrick Léon, they created 4 unique rosés from the Château D'Esclans estate.
Winemaker Robert Mann took the helm of Newton Vineyard as estate director in July 2014. Born into a family with a strong appreciation of wine, Robert is the grandson of Jack Mann MBE – a legendary innovator and character in the Australian wine industry. Rob shares his grandfather’s love of cricket, passion for wild mushroom foraging, and belief that “cabernet sauvignon is the only variety that would be tolerated in heaven”. Robert gained wine industry experience as a young man working in the vineyards and as a cellar hand in the Swan Valley, Barossa Valley and Margaret River. He completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, majoring in oenology at the University of Adelaide and has crafted wines at various wineries around Australia, Italy and California.
From 2005 to 2014, Robert was senior winemaker and estate director of Cape Mentelle. During his tenure at Cape Mentelle he became widely recognized for his winemaking excellence especially with Cabernet Sauvignon and was twice awarded Producer of the Year as well as Winemaker of the Year by the prestigious West Australian Wine Guide. Newton Vineyard is recognized as an American pioneer of unfiltered wines acclaimed for their exceptional quality. Upon his move from Cape Mentelle to Newton, Robert commented, “I am very pleased to be continuing my exploration of the wonders of Cabernet Sauvignon. Moving from Australia’s most highly regarded Cabernet region of Margaret River to the USA’s most highly regarded Cabernet region Napa Valley presents an amazing opportunity.”
Robert is no stranger to Napa as he was the harvest chief winemaker with Newton Vineyard for the 2007 vintage. Robert adds, “with Newton’s principle vineyard at Spring Mountain combined with vineyards Mt Veeder, Yountville and Carneros, the opportunity to create truly distinctive and inspiring wines based on the historic pillars of Newton is both unique and exciting.”
Piero Mastroberardino was born in Avellino, Italy in 1966. After completing his studies in Economics in 1990, he dedicated himself to scientific research. He is a professor of business management and has published several articles and books on this topic.
Since 1990 Piero has been involved in his family business, Mastroberardino Wine Group, a family wine firm established in Irpinia in 1754. Mastroberardino is one of the oldest and most historic wineries in Italy, responsible for restoring many of the ancient Campanian grape varieties. In 1996 he became CEO of the company and since 2003 is the president and CEO.
In 1996 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Federvini, the Italian Association of wine producers and to the Board of Directors of the CEEV, an EU representative body for professionals in wine. In 1998 he was elected, by Decree of the Minister for Agriculture, member of the National Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the DOCG, DOC and IGT Wines, operating in the Ministry of Agriculture, then confirmed for a second mandate, until 2008.
He is currently the President of the Institute of Fine Italian Wines - Premium Brands. The Grandi Marchi group is made of the most important wine families operating in each prestigious wine region of Italy.
Juan Mercado grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and was introduced to wine while studying at St. Mary’s College. In 1999, just four years after graduating, he decided to move to Napa Valley to pursue his passion. In 2002, Juan founded Realm Cellars with the singular goal of producing hand-crafted wines of superior quality from the finest vineyards in Napa Valley. Together with Winemaker Benoit Touquette and Consulting Oenologist Michel Rolland, Realm is guided today by the same fundamental virtues from more than a decade ago. This is only the beginning of Realm's journey, and the best is yet to come.
A Chicago native, Greg Miller set aside his studies in biological sciences and ventured west to attend college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. He later went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California, Davis.
Throughout his studies at UC Davis, Greg gained practical experience at Quintessa as a viticultural intern and educator. Upon graduation in 2011, he was one of only two students to earn a winemaking fellowship in France from the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. In Burgundy, Greg worked alongside Véronique Drouhin and the team at Maison Joseph Drouhin, an experience he considers instrumental in his understanding of terroir and its expression through wine.
Carissa Mondavi plays a key role in the Communications and Hospitality at Continuum. She has worked in the vineyards, in the cellar, and as a Senior Wine Educator, and just prior to Continuum, in the Cultural Affairs Department at Robert Mondavi Winery.
Keen on liberating people's experience with wine, she is thrilled to be sharing her family story with others and contributing to the realization of her father's vision. In her free time Carissa enjoys music composition, yoga, hiking, cooking, and dreaming of travel yet to come.
After spending 11 years in Canada, Christian MOREAU came back to Chablis in 1972, with his wife Christine and their 3 children. Christian started working with his father, the 4th generation of the founder Jean-Joseph Moreau who started the wine business back in 1814. Since that time there has always been a family member involve in the wine trade.
Christian’s son Fabien, completed a Master's Degree in wine management and commercial administration at the University of Bordeaux, and is now in charge with his father in the vineyards and vinification of Domaine Christian MOREAU Père et Fils.
Joe completed the Michigan State winemaking program at an accelerated rate and received a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, after which he spent a year with a Michigan winery before pursuing his winemaking dreams in California. At Donelan Family Wines, you’ll find Joe with his hands in all aspect of the winemaking process, from analyzing wine samples in the lab to managing the racking and bottling of the cellar.
Founder, vintner and the creative force behind Nellcôte, Tyler Olbres appreciated fine French and American wines early on. Educated in Switzerland and the United States, Tyler and his family traveled all over the world embracing the cultures of places they visited and developed an appreciation for fine wine and cuisine.
Tyler and his wife Gennie first came to Napa Valley in 2001 and fell in love with the Wine Country Lifestyle, climate, and beautiful wines. After relocating with their young children to California in 2012, Tyler assembled a dream team to start his own winery. These partnerships include legendary grape grower W. Andrew Beckstoffer and Chappellet’s winemaker Phillip Titus, with the goal to produce the finest small production, hand-crafted wines from legendary Napa Valley vineyards. The inaugural release is an intense and dark Rosé that is close to Tyler’s heart, and his highly anticipated Cabernet Sauvignons will be released in the Fall of 2015 and Spring 2016.
Frédéric Panaïotis graduated from the Institute National Agronomique Paris-Grignon in Viticulture & Oenology, and earned the Diplome National d’Oenologue of the Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique in Montpellier in 1988.
Panaïotis joined Champagne Ruinart in 2007 as Chef de Caves. In this position, he has the responsibility of creating the blends, from the non vintages Blanc de Blancs and Rosé to the prestige cuvees of Ruinart, Dom Ruinart and Dom Ruinart Rosé. He also plays a significant role in the communication efforts of Champagne Ruinart, travelling extensively to international markets.
Co-founder of Domaine de la Côte, Rajat Parr is a two-time James Beard Award winner and internationally regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on wine. Rajat Parr grew up in Calcutta, India, before journeying to the United States where he chose to pursue the cellar instead of the kitchen. He honed his wine knowledge and tasting skills, while beginning a career that would see him become one the world’s most celebrated sommeliers.
Parr not only frequently traveled abroad to European wine regions; he also became close with several of California’s top winemakers. This ultimately translated into bottling his own wines, where Parr made the transition from sommelier to producer. During this period, he became closer to Santa Barbara County winemaker Sashi Moorman, as they found mutual interest in pushing the boundaries of California wine, every vintage seeing how much earlier they could harvest to achieve more balanced alcohols, racier acidity, and purer flavors. Most recently, in early 2014, Parr took over the historic and acclaimed Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon.
Beyond his wineries, today Parr remains partners with Michael Mina in his two RN74 restaurants. He also co-authored the James-Beard-Award winning book Secrets of the Sommeliers, and co-founded the trend-setting California non-profit wine group, In Pursuit of Balance. He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Jessica, though he can still be found frequently traveling the world speaking, educating, tasting, and obsessively learning.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Peay Vineyards was founded in 1996 with the goal of making estate wines with elegance, purity and finesse. To realize this vision, they decided it was critical for them to own and farm their own grapes in a climate much cooler than they had experienced in the New World. They bought a piece of land on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the extreme West Sonoma Coast - where folks said it was too cold to ripen wine grapes - and began planting in 1998.
Fortunately for the brothers, Vanessa Wong joined Peay Vineyards as winemaker before their first harvest in 2001. She started her career at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild in Bordeaux, Domaine Jean Gros in Vosne Romanee, and, prior to joining Peay, had been winemaker at Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma. This allowed Nick to turn his attention to farming the 51 acre organic vineyard and Andy to spreading the word of Peay Vineyards across the country. The response has been quite robust from restaurants and media (NYT, WSJ, Tanzer, SF Chronicle, et al.) as well as from consumers who buy wine directly from Peay Vineyard’s mailing list.
Since 1820 Perrin generations have successfully passed along the expertise of winemaker from father to son. First on the side of Macon in Burgundy, then in North Africa, and finally in the largest and most prestigious area of great wines in the world…Bordeaux. With this family experience, but also the one inherited from the history of the vineyard Carbonnieux and The Perrin family are working to produce great vintages year after year developing in the heart of the beautiful land in the appellation Pessac-Leognan. Today Eric, Christine and Philibert Perrin work together following the same family spirit to support their properties.
An advocate of California wine culture and community, Dan Petroski is a winemaker celebrated both by the underground wine crowd and old school drinkers alike for his modern yet classical approach to California's wine. He's the head winemaker at Napa's Larkmead, where he focuses on Bordeaux varietals, and the owner and winemaker at Massican, where he makes northern Italian inspired whites and Chardonnay.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Vintners Suzanne Pride Bryan and Stuart Bryan celebrate 25 years of intensely extracted mountain grown wines from Pride Mountain Vineyards. The Napa/Sonoma county line famously runs through the middle of this historic family estate where the first grapes were grown in 1869. Pride Mountain Vineyards has been named one of the world’s greatest wine estates by Robert Parker, Jr., joining just 156 other wineries from around the world for this distinction. The Wine Spectator has placed Pride’s wines on their Top 100 Wines of the World list six times and the wines have been served at the White House over 30 times for the last four Presidents.
Related Wine Festival Events:
DLynn Proctor has been a prominent figure in the wine industry for over 10 years. He came to Penfolds with extensive experience working with the best in the fine dining business, retail/web sales, fine and rare wine brokerage, and international education.
Drawn to Penfolds by the winery's ethos, DLynn is a passionate ambassador, instrumental to the Penfolds education programs, media relations and re-corking clinics across the United States and Canada. In addition, he travels extensively to speak publicly and represents this iconic brand to customers, consumers, journalists, and distributors in a variety of global forums. DLynn has been involved in a widespread sensory testing, winemaking and training with top winemakers in California, Washington, Texas, South Australia, Italy, and is an adjunct lecturer and wine show judge at some of the world's most famous universities and wine shows.
Jean Remy Rapeneau was born 1983 in Reims and grew up in the Champagne Region. He was always involved in the Family Winery in Champagne, working in the vineyards and at the facilities. After reviewing all aspects of the Champagne making business, he decided to pursue the study of international business. He began his studies in France and completed them in London at the Westminster University.
Throughout generations the brand has been very well established all over the domestic market and Europe, but he wanted to bring its international vision to the Family. After Graduation, he left France to the US to take care of the Northern American markets. Since 2008, the expansion has been significant due to the quality of the champagnes, which have been awarded among the top wines magazines, while also, bringing one of the best value Champagnes on the market.
Rui Ribeiro has always had a love for wine, but his interests became more serious when he received his degree in Agronomics at Vila Real University in the Douro. Once filled with knowledge Rui was ready to put his skills to work and started as a winemaker and harvest trainee in 2000.
With a passion for nature and viticulture Rui quickly fell in love with the Douro Valley. He was captivated by the impressive beauty of the terraces and the surrounding atmosphere of the Douro. This solidified his career goals to educate the world about the wines of the Douro Valley. Rui is the US Market Manager at Symington Family Estates. He is working under Rupert Symington’s leadership. He frequently visits to the US market supporting importers and distributors and developing actions for the consumer.
Anthony was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1962. He is married to Olive and has four teenage daughters. After schooling in Johannesburg and Cape Town, he completed a BSc in Biological Sciences at Wits University, followed by an MA in Geography at Oxford University. He then worked as a financial analyst in Corporate Finance for Morgan Stanley International in London for two years prior to completing an MBA at Wharton where he graduated.
In 1991, with the likelihood of positive political change in South Africa, Anthony returned to take over the family farm, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, which he subsequently purchased from the family in 1994. He focused this property on Pinot noir and Chardonnay alone and has devoted the last 20 years to building an international reputation for these two Estate grown wines as being among the most classically styled examples from the New World.
Born in 1960, Christian Seely was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College Cambridge where he took an M.A. in English in 1982. During the following months he accompanied his father, James Seely, wine merchant and writer, to Bordeaux, to work with him on his book “The Great Wines of Bordeaux”. Following this experience, Christian Seely created his own company, “Presents of Mind” specializing in wines and gastronomy.
After obtaining his MBA at INSEAD in 1987 Fontainebleau, he worked for Guinness Mahon Development Capital, for whom he managed the turn around of several companies in which they had investments. In October 1993 he was able to unite this work experience with his passion for wine when he was named Managing Director of Quinta do Noval, a new investment of the AXA Millésimes group in Portugal. In the year 2000, AXA invited Christian Seely to take up the position of Managing Director of AXA Millésimes.
Besides this prestigious Pauillac Grand Cru Classé, Christian Seely is responsible for looking after Châteaux Pibran in Pauillac, Petit-Village in Pomerol, Suduiraut in Sauternes, as well as Domaine de l’Arlot in Nuits-St-Georges, Disznókő in Hungary and Quinta do Noval in Portugal. He is also the President of the Compagnie Médocaine, the Bordeaux Négociant, which is wholly owned by AXA Millésimes. Apart from these AXA Millésimes companies, he is managing director and part owner of Quinta da Romaneira in the Douro, and co-founder and joint owner of Coates and Seely Ltd, producer of English Sparkling wine in Hampshire, England.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Born in 1950 in Gascony, Pierre Seillan is the vigneron for the Château Lassègue, Vérité, Anakota and Arcanum estates. His early education in winemaking was informed by multiple generations dating back to his great-great-grandfather, Jules Seillan, known for his work to combat phylloxera and the author of the first oenological map of Armagnac. At Domaine de Bellevue, the family’s estate in Gascony, Pierre's grandparents instilled in him a great respect for the soil, emphasizing the “message” of the terroir. It was there he fell in love with Bordeaux varieties, which the family used to make vins de pays. Pierre's career soon took him to Saumur-Champigny in the Loire Valley where he focused on the Cabernet Franc grape as vigneron of Château de Targé. He then spent two decades with Raoul and Jean Quancard as technical director and winemaker for seven châteaux in Bordeaux, honing his extraordinary blending techniques. Over the ensuing years the partnership flourished, and Pierre became an integral part of Jackson Family Wines. In 2001, Pierre crafted the inaugural vintage of Anakota from the Knights Valley in Sonoma County and a year later he began to work with Jackson’s Tuscan estate, Tenuta di Arceno, in San Gusme, which soon came include the Arcanum wines. In 2003, Jackson, Banke, along with Pierre and his wife Monique purchased the 17th-century Saint-Émilion estate, Château Lassègue in Bordeaux—an ideally situated property blessed by the sun with a multitude of soils and coastal breezes. Currently, the families produce three wines at Château Lassègue: the Estate’s flagship wine Lassègue, second label Les Cadrans de Lassègue, and Château Vignot.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Scott Shull founded Raptor Ridge Winery in 1995, a sought-after producer of Oregon wines including: Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Méthode Champenoise Rosé, Tempranillo and Grüner Veltliner. As winemaker, Scott handcrafts about 13,000 cases of artisan wine each year with the help of his wife Annie who manages Sales, Marketing and Distribution.
The Shull’s strive to produce wines of complexity, finesse and of place. Located in the Willamette Valley’s Chehalem Mountains, Raptor Ridge Estate is a 27-acre vineyard, planted to the above mentioned varieties. Additionally, about 12 other distinguished regional vineyards supply fine wine grapes to Raptor Ridge under long-term contracts. Scott and Annie are founding members of Oregon Pinot Camp and Annie was President of OPC in 2008, and has served on its board. Scott is President Emeritus of The Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Board, a Board Advisor of the ¡Salud! vineyard workers healthcare charity, and was a founding director of the Oregon Wine Board and the Oregon Winegrowers Association.
Alex Sokol Blosser, son of Sokol Blosser’s founders, Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, grew up working in the family vineyards and winery. Not much has changed. The strong pull of the family wine business kept pulling him back in from escapes to college in Texas, to a stint with the Air Force Reserves. The wine life had him and it just took a few years for him to realize that he really did love the business and wanted to make this his life’s work.
In typical family business fashion, Alex has played many roles at Sokol Blosser from cellar rat, to Vineyard Manager, to Vice President of Sales. All these prior positions groomed him for his current and last position with the winery; that of Winemaker. Alex is only the fourth winemaker to walk the catwalks in the winery since the first vintage in the Dundee Hills in 1977. He has worked with and under all the previous winemakers and brings forward those learnings and a winemaking desire to fashion Pinot Noir that inspires the world.
Related Wine Festival Events:
Jean Soubeyrand has been President of Olivier Leflaive since 2008. He was formerly a stock and currency trader but had always been a lover of wine. He began with Rhone, then Burgundy, and then visited vineyards all over the world.
Jean returned to France after much traveling and ready to start a new life. He studied at Beaune Viti and Wine school and worked with Olivier as if he were his second father.
Jean enjoys drinking Barolo Roberto Conterno, Chevalier-Montrachet Domaine Leflaive, Champagne Erick de Sousa, Ridge Montebello, La Romanée Château de Vosne.
Margo Van Staaveren graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Science. Shortly after graduation, she joined Chateau St. Jean as a Laboratory Technician in 1980. By 1989, she had worked her way to being named Assistant Winemaker and she was later named Associate Winemaker. Margo has celebrated more than 30 harvests at Chateau St. Jean. As winemaker, she makes the final decisions involving blend and style to produce consistently high quality wines in the super premium and luxury category.
Margo is a firm believer that great wines are grown—a conviction she shares with the Chateau founders who led the way for Chateau St. Jean to become a pioneer of vineyard-designated wines in the early 1970s. The Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County wines are appellation blends of a particular varietal. These wines give Margo the opportunity to blend together the distinct characteristics from each sub-appellation in an effort to make the best wine possible from that vintage.
Born in New York and raised in Texas, Christopher Tynan began his wine career working summers as a vineyard technician doing irrigation management for vineyards across Napa and Sonoma counties. Following a harvest at Cain Vineyard & Winery in 2004, he was given an opportunity to work the 2005 harvest with the legendary winemaking and viticulture team of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer at Blankiet Estate in Yountville.
In 2006, Christopher became the assistant winemaker at the prestigious Colgin Cellars on Pritchard Hill. At Colgin, Christopher worked closely with owner Ann Colgin, Winemaker Allison Tauziet and Vineyard Manager David Abreu for the next five years. It was here where he learned and embodied the standard for excellence in all aspects of winemaking and viticulture. In 2012, Christopher was introduced to Cliff Lede by David Abreu and joined the Cliff Lede Vineyards team shortly thereafter. His exacting philosophy of only employing low-yield vines from select sites and minimal intervention in the winery ensures that each bottle expresses the distinct nuances of each site, block and vintage.
In 1988, François Villard started his professional training at the agricultural college in Davaye (Burgundy). He planted his first vines in 1989. From there he set up his own business and harvest in Chayanay Village, building his winery in Saint Michel sur Rhône.
His first production was made up of 400 bottles of Condrieu. He now makes over 225,000 bottles a year.
His next project is an extension of the HIW Winery and wine production of Crozes.