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Thursday, March 22nd Roster
San Diego, CA
Driven by the desire to master her ingredient proficiency, Executive Pastry Chef Lori Sauer brings an ambitious sensibility to Blue Bridge Hospitality. Overseeing Liberty Public Market’s in-house bakery Crafted Baked Goods while developing seasonal dessert menus for swanky steakhouse Stake Chophouse & Bar, and neighborhood bistro Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge, modern coastal Italian cuisine at Maretalia, Lori brings over a decade of pastry experience to the plate, having served in several of San Diego’s most reputable kitchens over her storied career.
Santa Monica, CA
As executive chef of Michael's Santa Monica, Miles Thompson ushers in a new era for proprietor Michael McCarty's seminal restaurant.
Thompson's progressive culinary style and technical acumen, honed in top kitchens around the country that include SHED in Sonoma County, Son of a Gun, Animal and NOBU, brings fresh energy to the Los Angeles institution credited as a pioneer of California cuisine. Los Angeles last saw Thompson at the helm of the well-received Allumette in Echo Park in 2014, which earned coveted spots on Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants list in 2013, Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, Los Angeles Magazine’s top 75 restaurants and LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants during its tenure.
At Michael’s, Thompson applies the creativity and finesse that has informed his culinary style throughout his career to the local ingredients that have always been at the heart of the 38-year-old restaurant’s menu.
In a restaurant monoculture of ice cream quenelles and sauce smears, Maya Erickson digs out her own subculture. The pastry chef, who made her name at San Francisco’s Lazy Bear and is currently the pastry chef at Portland’s Langbaan, creates dishes with sharp edges—desserts that have personalities and a sense of humor, and a little bit of angst.
New Orleans, LA
Growing up in Washington, D.C., Wiggins started in the food and beverage industry at a deli called Pumpernickels when she was only 15 years old, a position that inspired her career. At age 20, she moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts and attended a culinary arts program while getting her start as a line cook in fine dining establishments.
In 2010, Wiggins relocated to New Orleans and joined the opening staff of Sylvain as the sous chef to executive chef Alex Harrell, who helped her develop her creative skills. In October 2014, Wiggins took over as executive chef at Sylvain. Since that time, her modern gastropub fare has landed her on The Times-Picayune’s list of Chefs to Watch 2015, Gambit’s 2015 Emerging Chefs list and her holiday cocktail snacks were featured on the cover of Food & Wine’s December 2015 issue. In 2017, Wiggins was a semifinalist for James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef” category.
In February of 2018 Chef Wiggins announced her departure from Sylvain restaurant after seven and a half years there. She intends to travel, spend time with family and learn new things to get her re-inspired for the chapter of her career. Most recently Wiggins was nominated for James Beard’s “Best Chef South”. In the next few months she will be sitting on a few panels in New Orleans discussing women in the hospitality industry and looks forward to attending Atlanta Food and Wine festival as a member of the all female advisory council in May.
New Orleans, LA
Growing up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Kelly discovered her passion for cooking and baking at an early age. After baking for iconic New Orleans chef Susan Spicer and graduating from Johnson & Wales in Charleston, she returned to New Orleans where she began working as pastry chef at Restaurant August. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina forced her to leave and pursue travel in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, even landing in San Francisco, where she helped open Martin’s West.
After working as the Executive Pastry Chef overseeing all of the pastry programs within the BRG Hospitality Group, Kelly fulfilled her dream of opening a Southern-inspired restaurant and bakery, Willa Jean, in 2015. Willa Jean has received local and national recognition, such as Louisiana Cookin’s “Bakery and Beyond” award and Travel + Leisure’s list of its favorite bakeries around the world. Kelly has also earned significant praise in Bon Appétit, Saveur and National Geographic. In February 2016, Southern Living named Kelly one of their “Southern kitchen magicians.” Later that year, she was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and won Eater New Orleans’ “Chef of the Year”.
In addition to her role at Willa Jean, she’s worked hard to make a positive impact on the hospitality industry. In 2017, Kelly launched "Yes Ma'am" to inspire, encourage and mentor the next generation of women chefs.
New Orleans, LA
Adrian was born in Houston, Texas and his family moved to Louisiana when he was 9 years old. After graduating high school and experiencing one year in college, he realized I was not destined for an office job and kept working at the only real high quality restaurant in Lake Charles. Once three years passed and Adrian had moved around every station, thoughts of the next step started to creep up. His sous chef at the time was about to open a restaurant in New Orleans and wanted Adrian to help him open up Ancora. He worked two jobs just to save up enough money to finally move. With three months before we opened he helped seal dining room floors, moved coolers, set up the kitchen and everything else in between, and Ancora finally opened in June 2011. Having started as sous chef in his early 20s, he's moved up to chef/co-owner with partners chef Adolfo Garcia and GM Bryn Thompson. At Ancora, he had no idea how little he knew in the food world and after 7 years I am more fully aware how much more there is to know is this industry. From making dough everyday, to drying salami and prosciutto, the staff at Ancora put our hands on as much as possible, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
With an upbringing that placed a heavy emphasis on food, Zachary Meloy always made a note of what he’d eaten each day as a child. While attending college in Birmingham, Zach worked with chef Frank Stitt at Bottega. He ultimately landed on a culinary career after graduating with degrees in both Spanish and ceramics. Leaving Birmingham, Zach enrolled in Johnson & Wales Denver and, after graduating, spent close to five years living, traveling, eating, and studying in Central America. Seeing the ingredients he’d thought specific to his home in the South, he became fascinated with the natural overlaps between the Latin and Southeastern American kitchens. Inspired by this commonality, Zach focused on his own style of cooking reflecting his roots in Southeastern American and Latin cuisine. In 2011, in an effort to build a groundswell behind their own food, he and his wife Cristina started PushStart Kitchen, an underground supper club, in an art studio at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Tucked away in the 130 year old factory, they served private, prix fixe meals to members of their modern speakeasy focusing on their favorite elements of their Latin-Southern cuisine. After almost three years of service and feeding 100+ guests a week through the supper club, they decided to bring their passion to a new brick and mortar space, and Better Half was born. Now, Better Half continues to focus on the blurring of lines between cultures while providing a creative menu in an intimate and casual space
New Orleans, LA
Born and raised in New Orleans, Michael Gulotta began cooking in local restaurants at a young age. After graduating from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, he joined the newly opened Restaurant August. Gulotta then took leave to train in the Italian Riviera and Germany’s Black Forest. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Michael returned home to help rebuild and assist with August’s re-opening. He was named Chef de Cuisine in 2007 and led the award-winning kitchen for 6 years while establishing relationships with local farmers and purveyors.
He opened his first restaurant, MOPHO, in January of 2014 with his brother, Jeffrey Gulotta, and high-school friend, Jeffrey Bybee. Located in New Orleans’ Mid City, MOPHO strives to be a true neighborhood restaurant and a destination for Southeast Asian inspired cuisine utilizing the Louisiana pantry. In its first year, MOPHO was nominated for America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit Magazine and named Restaurant of the Year by New Orleans Magazine. In 2016 Michael was named one of Top 30 Chefs to Watch in the nation by Plate Magazine, A New Orleans Rising Star by Starchefs, and a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.
His team recently opened its second full-service restaurant, Maypop, in the Central Business District of New Orleans. Maypop has been named a Top 5 Best New Restaurant by The Times Picayune and A Best New Restaurant by New Orleans Magazine.
San Francisco, CA
Yoni Levy grew up in California and began his culinary career in the Bay Area working at One Market and The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur. Levy’s next stop was Boston to help open the Great Bay restaurant, He then moved to Chicago to work at Blackbird, Lula Café, The Bristol, and Old Town Social. Each chef Levy worked with instilled in him a deeper appreciation for building strong relationships with local farmers, ranchers, seafood suppliers, and the local community. Yoni was Chef de Cuisine at Flora restaurant in Oakland before opening Daniel Patterson’s Alta CA as Head Chef. Levy is currently the Executive Chef at Outerlands in San Francisco where he highlights local produce, seafood, and meat. Yoni’s goal at Outerlands is to run an honest, community based kitchen.
Ryan is the chef owner of Please Restaurant in Cincinnati. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, Santos originally set out to be a graphic designer. But after moving back home to Cleveland after school and taking a job under Chef Nolan Konkoski at the French-inspired Tartine Bistro, Santos says he found a passion and wanted to do and learn “anything and everything” in the kitchen. After two years at Tartine, he moved to Salt of the Earth in Pittsburgh, working under Chef Kevin Sousa, then traveled from L.A. to Virginia, working under various chefs he admired. After tiring of the nomadic lifestyle, he stopped in Cincinnati for a summer to try his hand at pop-up dinners under the Please moniker.
Friday, March 23rd Roster
Santa Monica, CA
Born and raised in San Diego, Brittany Cassidy grew up in a large family of home cooks. She started training as a dancer at ten, and pursued the art during her young adulthood. Discovering a love for cooking while dancing professionally for Emmy award-winning choreographer Tessandra Chavez’s Unity Dance Ensemble for six and a half years, Cassidy often catered intermissions during show performances. A friend finally suggested she go to culinary school, and she enrolled in Hollywood’s Le Cordon Bleu, graduating in 2008. Under the guidance of Matt Carpenter, her mentor and first Le Cordon Bleu instructor, she began as a line cook under him at Josie, followed by Momed. In 2011, she worked at both The Hollywood Roosevelt’s Public Kitchen and Bar as a line cook, and at .ink as a morning prep cook. In 2013, award-winning Executive Chef Jeremy Fox brought Cassidy on as a line cook at Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon, and she eventually worked her way up to Chef de Cuisine in 2015, running day-to-day operations for the acclaimed, ultra-seasonal restaurant. At Rustic Canyon, Cassidy has honed her skills in managing a successful kitchen and creating a cohesive team. Additionally, Fox has taught her the valuable lesson of what it really means to be a mentor, providing her with the tools to teach and guide her fellow cooks’ growth. Cassidy lives in Santa Monica, and in her spare time, she stills enjoys taking dance classes to keep her mind and body centered.
Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, Olivia attended The French Culinary Institute right out of high school to get a degree in Pastry Arts and went on to work at Bouchon, The Inn at Little Washington and Metzger Bar and Butchery in Richmond, Va. At Metzger, she became the Pastry Chef and formed a tight relationship with Brittanny Anderson. Olivia then partnered with her and four others to open Brenner Pass and Chairlift. Being the Pastry Chef at her own restaurant and also coffee shop next door has given Olivia the opportunity to create a Pastry and Bread Program thats truly her own.
New Orleans, LA
James Kubie, an Atlanta native, grew up with a great appreciation of southern food. Hailing from a long line of professional cooks starting with his great grandmother Ella, who owned a diner during the Great Depression. As part of his graduate research in sculpture at SAIC, James worked in community kitchens on the Southside of Chicago that focused on maintaining the practices of traditional Afro-Cuban and Brazilian cooking. After school, James decided to devote his full attention to professional bread baking and pastry making in various kitchens around Chicago. Eventually, the desire to migrate back to the South brought James to New Orleans, where he apprenticed under Chef Zak Miller at Coquette. After three years of working with Chef Miller and Chef Maggie Scales, James returned home to Coquette, where he now heads the pastry department, combining his love of sculpture, his baking background and his rigorous pastry training, to make beautiful, innovative desserts.
Jason White is Chef de Cuisine of Theodore Rex in Houston, Texas, a modern bistro with a regional spin. He previously was the sous chef for Oxheart Restaurant, where he and the team attained several citywide and national awards. Jason previously held stints in Houston at Revival Market, Stella Sola, Voice at the Hotel Icon, and Bennigan's in San Jacinto, TX. In his spare time, Jason enjoys a good beer and playing the drums for a band called The Demonic Hen.
New York, NY
Isabel Coss was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She grew up spending free time in the amazing farmers markets of Mexico City and then attended Culinary School there. Isabel held her first kitchen job at Pujol (#25 on the San Pellegrino List) with Chef Enrique Olvera as a bread baker at 17 years old. This is where she found her passion for bread and mexican pastries. In 2011, Isabel moved to New York City and joined Empellón with Chef Alex Stupak, where she managed production of pastry and masa and in 2013 became Pastry Chef. In 2016, Isabel helped open Agern restaurant in Grand Central Terminal with Chef Gunnar Gislason. She oversees the Pastry Program as Pastry Chef.
New Orleans, LA
John Sinclair is from Berlin, CT and first fell in love with cooking as a Boy Scout when tasked with leading cooking demonstrations to showcase what was possible to cook while camping. His culinary career has seen him cooking at noteworthy spots in Connecticut like Firebox Restaurant alongside his best friend Ed Jones III and at Millwright’s with Tyler Anderson. Upon arrival to New Orleans, John cooked at Herbsaint with Rebecca Wilcomb and Marcus Jacobs and at Coquette with Michael Stoltzfus. To date, though, his strongest culinary influence remains his late friend and culinary school classmate Jason Campanario, whose effortless way of creating simple, yet beautiful dishes left an indelible mark on John. He places a premium on using ingredients and flavors that people may remember from past experiences and that rekindle connections with family heirloom recipes. This can certainly be seen in John’s work at Barrel Proof Kitchen, where items like chicken wings and bologna sandwiches are all elevated expressions of past comfort food experiences. John’s long-term vision for the hospitality industry is to become a place that fosters creative expression while also improving the quality of life of those who work within it. John believes that a culinary team that is happy, invested, fulfilled and motivated in all of their culinary endeavors will ultimately lead to even better guest experiences.
At age 26, Cable left his engineering job to attend culinary school in Austin, Texas. After culinary school, he packed up to travel and learn from some of the country's best chefs including Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy), Ryan Smith & Hugh Acheson (Empire State South, Staplehouse), and Ned Elliot (Foreign & Domestic). Since moving to Washington D.C. in 2016, Cable is the Executive Chef of the Michelin Bib Gourmand winning restaurant, The Royal.
New York, NY
Matt Conroy is the Chef at Virginia’s, a modern American bistro in NYC’s East Village featuring a seasonally focused, marketdriven menu and esoteric wine list. Conroy’s culinary awakening came early in life. By the age of 15 he spent most of his free time in kitchens of local restaurants in his hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. During these formative years he worked tirelessly in numerous kitchens while collecting cookbooks and studying all he could about the craft of cooking. At 22, Conroy became Sous Chef at Verde restaurant in Stratton, Vermont. There, while working under Chef Rogan Lechthaler, he gained his passion for using local produce and whole animals. After a three year stint in Vermont, Conroy was ready for his next challenge: a position in Boston at the critically acclaimed restaurant Craigie on Main, led by awardwinning Chef Tony Maws. To take the next major step in his culinary career, Conroy then moved to NYC to join Chef Alex Stupak at the Empellon Cocina, taking a position as Sous Chef. Stupak has called Conroy one of the best upandcoming young chefs to watch in NYC. Conroy was next able to pursue his passion for French cuisine as Chef of Little Prince in Manhattan, putting modern and classic techniques into practice on a daily basis. Now, as the Chef of Virginia’s, one of the East Village’s neighborhood gems, Conroy constantly updates the thoughtful, concise menu based on the seasonal markets that are so vital to NYC restaurants.
Brittanny Anderson is the Chef and Owner of Metzger Bar and Butchery and Brenner Pass in Richmond, VA. The former is an ode to classic German Cuisine, and the latter to the French and Italian Alps. At both restaurants she strives to transform classic cuisine with modern presentation and local ingredients. Brittanny is a two time semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.
Brunswick & Portland, ME
Cara Stadler is a four time nominated James Beard Rising Star Chef and Food and Wine Best New Chef 2014. She trained internationally under Guy Savoy and Gordon Ramsay then traveled and worked in China and Singapore for four years. Her food is a culmination of her travels, heavily influenced by Asian flavors, French technique, and Maine's local produce.
Photo by Ted Axelrod
San Francisco, CA
Chef/Owner of ICHI Sushi in San Francisco. Tim is an 18-year veteran sushi chef, uses traditional Japanese ingredients and ethics with a sustainable approach. ICHI was named a SF Chronicle Top 100 Restaurant 2014.
Sunday, March 25th Roster
All 24 chefs will be paired up in teams of two to each collaborate on a single dish in an 12 course tasting menu with free wine. You'll try thoughtfully composed dishes featuring chefs from all over North America in a comfortable, sit down, full service environment. This dinner series is unlike any other as you're able to mingle and interact with the chefs throughout the dinner. #doitforthegram
The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine
300 N Broad Street, Suite 102
New Orleans, LA 70119
March 22, 23, and 25
Kristen Essig is an Indie Chefs Week OG and along with her partner at Coquette, Michael Stoltzfus, were instrumental to bringing ICW to New Orleans. Mike is the founding chef of Coquette Restaurant off Magazine which opened in 2008 to critical and guest acclaim. Kristen joined the team a couple of years ago and is now a partner chef with Mike. Kristen and Mike are 2018 James Beard Foundation Award Finalists for Best Chef South.