Located on the island of Nantucket, this boutique experience of world class wines and award winning food will forever change you. Over the past 21 years, the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival has become one of the most celebrated wine and food events in the country.
MUST BE 21 OR OLDER TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO ALL NWF EVENTS. VALID ID REQUIRED FOR ENTRY
12:00pm - 2:00pm
To Be Confirmed
Women leaders in the world of food and wine unite for an extraordinary luncheon featuring talented women chefs, women vintners and women sommeliers. This afternoon event includes an array of fabulous females and a special glass of Vueve Clicqout, La Grande Dame to toast the inspiring Madame Clicquot - the "Grande Dame of Champagne" who paved a path of success for Women in Wine and revolutionized the industry.This year's celebration will include Chefs Karen Akunowicz, Mary Dumont, Tiffani Faison and honoring Lydia Shire, Vintners Valentina Abbona, Susana Balbo, Gaelle Goosens, Suzanne Pride Bryan and Rebekah Wineburg and Sommeliers Marika Vida and Victoria James, Brooke Sabel and Lauren Daddona.
Karen Akunowicz, Executive Chef/Partner, Myers+Chang
Chef Karen Akunowicz is a 2015, 2016 James Beard Nominee for Best Chef Northeast. She competed on Season 13 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef-California, and she is the Executive Chef/Partner at Myers+Chang in Boston, MA.
She co-authored the Myers+Chang at Home Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin 2017) and was called one of the “ 21 Badass Women Changing the Food Word” by Marie Claire Magazine.
A New Jersey native, Karen graduated from UMass Amherst and moved to Boston. For years, she studied the art of hospitality as she bartended and managed restaurants. Drawn to the heat, pressure and hustle of the kitchen she enrolled at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.
She worked for Chef Michael Schlow and Christopher Myers at Via Matta in Boston’s Back Bay and helped to open the eclectic Beehive restaurant.
Throwing herself though a cracked window of opportunity, she packed her knives and moved to Modena, Italy. She found a red bicycle, inspiration and renewed passion for preparing even the simplest of food. Armed with a fool’s artillery of very little Italian, and no place to live, she staged at a small osteria, made pasta with little old ladies, and finally became the Chef at L’Avion blu Enoteca.
On return to the States, Karen had the opportunity to work for Chef Ana Sortun as her Sous Chef at Oleana restaurant in Cambridge. Karen embraced the farm to table mentality and studied Sortun's creative spice-driven cuisine.
A twist of fate landed her at UTEC Lowell, where created the Fresh Roots Culinary Program. She worked with Lowell’s most disengaged youth to teach them culinary skills and help them find employment. She was able to combine her passion for cooking and her desire to create community while teaching young people valuable job skills in a difficult economy.
As Executive Chef at Myers and Chang, Karen strives to create powerful, addictive, crave-able dishes that keep Myers+Chang at the top of everyone's go to list. She is married to her sweetheart LJ, who is an awesome vegetarian.
Mary Dumont, Chef/Owner , Cultivar
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.
Tiffani Faison, Chef and Owner, Sweet Cheeks Q / Tiger Mama
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.
Lydia Shire, Chef and Owner, Scampo
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.
Valentina Abbona , Proprietor , Marchesi di Barolo
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.
Susana Balbo, Winemaker / Owner, Susana Balbo Wines
Mother, first female winemaker in Argentina, entrepreneur, successful businesswoman and Congresswoman.
After graduating cum laude with a degree in Enology in 1981, Susana Balbo became the first female winemaker in Argentina’s history, and her first vintage of high quality Torrontés made it clear that Argentina had a white wine to call its own. In addition to working as an international consultant, Balbo has played an outsized role in driving her country’s wine industry forward, having been elected president of Wines of Argentina not once but three times. It was during this time that Argentinian wine exports made history, growing in double digits and gaining recognition on the world’s wine map. In this role, she became an influential leader in this new wine-producing Argentina after decades of a wine market reliant on only domestic consumption.
Today, Susana Balbo is the owner and chief winemaker of Susana Balbo Wines in Mendoza. Moreover, she is a National Congresswoman and in 2017 was elected by the President of Argentina to be part of the W20. With a 30-year career in the wine industry, Susana Balbo is certainly the most well-known female Argentinian winemaker, within the country and abroad. In 2012 she was the only Argentinian named among the ‘50 Most Powerful Women in the Wine World’ by the British magazine Drinks Business. In 2015, she was awarded ‘Woman of the Year 2015’ by Drinks Business Magazine
Gaëlle Goossens, Winemaker, Veuve Clicquot
Gaëlle Goossens was born in Reims in 1985. She grew-up in the countryside of Champagne and loved spending time in the vineyard with her grandmother from whom she learned wine-growing basics and tricks. From her parents both doctors, she picked up the love of travelling, flying across the world with them for medical missions. From Africa to Asia, Gaëlle is particularly delighted in travelling.
Having finished high school and an undergraduate degree in sciences, Gaëlle left for Australia where she spent two years studying Foreign Politics at the University of Queensland. Thus she acquired strong skills on international relations and considered them for later on.
Still close to the wine universe and notably devoted to Champagne, she came back to France, decided to get back to her roots and underwent a postgraduate in Biochemistry and Oenology. She graduated from the National Diploma of Oenology in 2012.
After several experiences in wine grower families and Houses of Champagne, she was offered the job of Deputy head of production by a prestigious House of Champagne. She spent five years there taking care of the wine making process both in stainless steel and wood styles and managed a team of wine technicians all year long. With her expertise, she decided to step forward and use this experience in development and communication.
She joined Veuve Clicquot and the Development, Innovation and Communication of Oenology team led by Pierre Casenave mid-2016. Gaëlle is responsible for several projects from technical improvements in wine-making to communication events, she can handle multi-purpose issues.
During the harvest, she is in charge of the Veuve Clicquot pressing centre in the Côte des Blancs and of the Chardonnay vinification.
Suzanne Pride Bryan, Vintner & Co-owner, Pride Mountain Vineyards
Suzanne Pride Bryan is vintner and co-owner of Pride Mountain Vineyards, celebrating 27 vintages. The family-owned winery is located atop the Mayacamas Mountains seperating Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley
Rebekah Wineburg, Winemaker, Quintessa
With experience in the wine-growing regions of California, Oregon, Italy, and New Zealand, Rebekah contributes a worldly perspective to the cultivation and production of luxury wines in Napa. Rebekah’s passion for winemaking began when at the age of 16 she visited Napa Valley vineyards with her parents, and an Australian friend of her father who was a chemist and a winemaker. At each of the vineyards he explained winemaking and wine tasting to Rebekah. The discussions from that visit left such a lasting impression that she went on to pursue a dual degree in chemistry and biology at Macalester College with the dream of becoming a winemaker. Committing wholeheartedly to her dream, she enrolled in the winemaking program at the University of California, Davis, where she earned her master’s degree in viticulture and enology. After completing her MS with a thesis on the effects of winemaking techniques on the phenolic composition of Cabernet Sauvignon, she abandoned the lab and went headfirst into a series of harvests in Italy, Oregon, and New Zealand before settling down in Napa Valley where she has worked and continued to learn wine making at exceptional producers, such as Staglin Family, Rudd Estate and Buccella Wines before joining the Quintessa team in 2015. She is a professional member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture and past President of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group.
After all these years, Rebekah still cannot believe her good fortune – to have become acquainted in her teens with the beautiful Napa Valley and with winemaking, which led to such a fulfilling career. For Rebekah, the joy of winemaking is the opportunity to be a part of something so much more, as wines have a life and spirit of their own.
Marika Vida-Arnold , Wine Director , The Ritz Carlton-Central Park
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.
Lauren Daddona, Wine Director, Les Sablons
Lauren Daddona is the Wine Director at Les Sablons, a newly-opened restaurant in Cambridge, MA. She holds her Advanced certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers and was the Wine Director at L'Espalier in Boston for five years before joining the Les Sablons team. Lauren's wine career began with 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.
Lauren was a national finalist in the 2016 TopISomm competition, as well as a regional finalist in the 2015 and 2014 competitions. She is a Director Emeritus of the Boston Sommelier Society and was named a StarChefs Rising Star in 2015. She has been cited in a range of publications, including Food & Wine, SOMM Journal, and Robb Report, as well as our very own Nantucket Magazine.
Victoria James, Beverage Director of Gracious Hospitality Management, Gracious Hospitality Management
Victoria James has worked in restaurants since she was thirteen. She fell in love with wine and when she was twenty-one became certified as a sommelier. She has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City including Marea and Aureole. She is now the Beverage Director of Gracious Hospitality Management, including Michelin-starred, Cote. Victoria’s name has appeared on many no¬table lists: Forbes "30 Under 30," Zagat’s “30 Under 30,” Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40,” Wine & Spirits’ “Best New Sommelier,” and The Back Label declared her “New York’s Youngest Sommelier.” She is also the author of DRINK PINK, A Celebration of Rosé (May 2nd, 2017, HarperCollins) and a contributor to Cosmopolitan, Munchies and The Daily Meal. In her free time, she makes Amaro from foraged plants.
Brooke Sabel, Wine Director, Ninety Acres
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.