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2018 Featured Personalities

Peter Beauregard

Marilyn Brass
Marilynn and Sheila Brass are the authors of Baking With The Brass Sisters, the latest cookbook from America’s favorite home bakers. Their cookbook, Heirloom Baking With The Brass Sisters, was a finalist for the James Beard Award in the Dessert and Baking category. Both Heirloom Baking and their second cookbook, Heirloom Cooking With The Brass Sisters, were selected as one of the best 25 cookbooks of the year by Food & Wine Magazine, which referred to them as “Dessert Geniuses.” They have hosted their own specials on PBS, The Brass Sisters Queens Of Comfort Food, and the Cooking Channel, The Brass Sisters Celebrate The Holidays. They won a Throwdown with Bobby Flay by baking their recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. They are enthusiastic collectors of culinary antiques and handwritten manuscript cookbooks and have recently launched a new show on PBS, The Food Flirts.

Sheila Brass
Marilynn and Sheila Brass are the authors of Baking With The Brass Sisters, the latest cookbook from America’s favorite home bakers. Their cookbook, Heirloom Baking With The Brass Sisters, was a finalist for the James Beard Award in the Dessert and Baking category. Both Heirloom Baking and their second cookbook, Heirloom Cooking With The Brass Sisters, were selected as one of the best 25 cookbooks of the year by Food & Wine Magazine, which referred to them as “Dessert Geniuses.” They have hosted their own specials on PBS, The Brass Sisters Queens Of Comfort Food, and the Cooking Channel, The Brass Sisters Celebrate The Holidays. They won a Throwdown with Bobby Flay by baking their recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. They are enthusiastic collectors of culinary antiques and handwritten manuscript cookbooks and have recently launched a new show on PBS, The Food Flirts.

Jim Braude
Jim Braude is the host Greater Boston and co-host of Boston Public Radio. He has worked with co-host Margery Eagan for 18 years, first doing a TV show together at NECN then a radio show at WTKK. The duo came to WGBH in 2013. He started his professional career as a legal services lawyer in the South Bronx handling housing and prisoners’ rights cases. He was the founder and first president of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, a union representing staff in civil legal offices for the poor in 35 states. Jim graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and New York University’s Law School.

Manita Bunnagikam
Manita Bunnagitkarn is the chef owner of Cha Yen Thai cookery. She came to the United States at age 15 and has started working in a few Thai restaurants ever since. A diligent chef, she was working with the Marriott group before studying Culinary Arts in Johnson & Wales University. She also had the opportunity to learn under Chef Todd English for many of years. Besides the passion for Thai food, Manita has always enjoyed experimenting ice cream making. She's been trying out different recipes at home for years. As she brought Cha Yen to Watertown, she also decided that the restaurant would sell the unique ice cream flavors that she had come up with throughout the years.

Robert Bruce
As Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Boston, Chef Robert Bruce oversees the hotel’s food and beverage programming, including menu creation and execution for some of Boston’s most high-profile events, galas and weddings. He also creates and implements seasonal menus favoring local farmers and growers for Artisan Bistro and Avery Bar. Bruce is a proponent of, in his own words, “simple food done right—perfectly executed dishes with uniquely memorable flavors that highlight a short list of ingredients. You don’t need a million components in a dish. But what you put on the plate should be perfect and it should have a reason for being there.”

Adam Centamore

Marc Cina
Mark developed his skills at venerable Boston area restaurants including Central Kitchen, Craigie Street Bistrot, and Chez Henri before joining the opening team at Stoddard’s Fine Food & Ale as Executive Chef. A few summers saw Mark in Nantucket as chef de Cuisine at Great Harbor Yacht Club’s ocean front fine dining restaurant. Currently Executive Chef at Yvonne’s, Mark has been continuing the tradition of creating modern supper club classics in a grand setting since August 2017.

Chris Coombs
The young, talented Christopher Coombs fell in love with the hospitality industry on the first day of work in a local seafood restaurant on the north shore of Boston. Known for his unique and sophisticated style of food, Christopher is firing up the kitchen at Deuxave using local American ingredients with contemporary French cuisine techniques. His deep passion for food and strong desire to learn has led him to gain an abundance of knowledge in the culinary world and a very impressive resume. He also is the owner of Boston Chops, where he continues to awe his guests with the uniquely-prepared fresh ingredients on his various menus.

Brian Dandro
Chef Brian Dandro boasts an extensive resume within the culinary industry. Over the years, Chef Dandro has played a vital role in the emergence of Royal Sonesta Boston into the forefront of leading culinary entities in both Boston and Cambridge. A Massachusetts native, Chef Dandro embraces using fresh, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, designing and tailoring menus to best reflect the local seasonal bounty. He has made changes to menus throughout the hotel to utilize the products of several local farms and purveyors to add a taste of New England to the meals.

Dante deMagistris
Dante de Magistris is the executive chef and co-owner of the award-winning Dante in Cambridge, along with il Casale Cucina Italiana + Bar in Belmont, and il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar in Lexington, MA. He is the consummate Italian American chef and has perfected century-old family recipes that are equal parts traditional Italian comfort food and exclusive family classics. Dante’s innovative technique has earned the attention and praise of national and local culinary critics, and he has received numerous awards.

Jim Dodge

Carl Dooley

Margery Eagan
Margery Eagan is the co-host of 89.7 WGBH’s midday program Boston Public Radio. She has worked with co­-host Jim Braude for 18 years, first doing a TV show together at NECN then a radio show at WTKK. The duo came to WGBH in 2013.Eagan was the Catholic spirituality columnist for the Boston Globe’s website, Cruxnow, and is now a weekly columnist for the newspaper. In 2015 Margery Eagan won first place for excellence in religion commentary at the Religion Newswriters Association’s annual conference in Philadelphia. She attended Smith College and graduated from Stanford University. She has three kids and lives in Brookline.

Tiffani Faison
Tiffani Faison is an American chef, restaurateur, culinary consultant, and television personality. Her restaurant "Sweet Cheeks" is a Southern-style barbecue restaurant located in Boston. Her newest concept — Tiger Mama — is rooted in Southeast Asian flavors, capturing elements from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and beyond. Tiffani was the runner-up on Top Chef season one and competed on Top Chef All-Stars and Top Chef Duals. She is a tireless advocate for LGBT human rights and lives in Boston with her wife and furry kids.

Jared Forman
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., the official launch of Jared’s culinary career came when he landed an internship at the critically-acclaimed Per Se in New York. Next, he took a position at momofuku noodle bar before moving over to momofuku Ssäm Bar shortly after its opening for a total of three years with David Chang. Now, Jared is the chef & co-owner of Deadhorse Hill, a refined American restaurant & café in downtown Worcester. Leading the charge in the city’s dining revival, 33-year-old Jared looks forward to bringing his passion and talent to his first owned & operated space.

Eric Frier
Florida native Eric Frier first landed in Boston in 2011, working with critically-acclaimed chef Jamie Bissonnette at Toro in the South End. Since then, he’s been in some of the city’s best kitchens including Coppa, Ribelle, and Uni. In May 2017, Eric partnered with owner Mary Kurth on the reopening of Somerville’s Spoke Wine Bar where he serves as executive chef.

Rick Gallego
Rick Gallego was born in Taunton, Mass. A career-changer in his 20’s, he has been cooking now for a little over 10 years. He graduated magna cum laude for Le Cordon Bleu. His passion for using local food and supporting local farmers is what brought him to The Farmers Daughter. Rick has previously worked at Tastings Wine Bar and Bistro and well as floor 2 of Legal Harborside in Boston’s seaport district. While in Boston, Rick had the opportunity to work with Sandy Block on wine dinners for Jordan, Ponzi and Opus One to name a few. Rick is passionate and driven to push the envelope of brunch in Southeast Massachusetts.

Will Gilson
A two-time James Beard Award nominee, Chef Will Gilson of Puritan & Co. in Cambridge brings his worldly culinary flair and rustic farmers’ market sensibility to the Gala this year. Gilson’s Puritan, among Bon Appetit’s “50 Best New Restaurants” in 2013, serves up seasonal fare, incorporating local produce from his family’s farm with a decidedly New England influence. Beginning his career at the age of 15 when he apprenticed with Chef Charles Draghi at Marcuccio’s in the North End, Gilson is a rising star in the northeast culinary scene.

Chandra Gouldrup
For Chandra Gouldrup, the daughter of a Maine potato farmer, cooking has been a lifelong passion. Nurtured over years in the kitchen with her grandma cooking with hand-picked ingredients out of the backyard garden, Chandra always knew she wanted to re-create that feeling of family, comfort, and fresh, local fare in her own restaurant. In 2013, Chandra opened The Farmer's Daughter in downtown Easton. Committed to partnering with local growers to supply as many of her ingredients as possible, Chandra has created a farm-to-table experience for patrons in a quintessential New England setting and was the 2017 recipient of the WGBH Culinary Stewardship Award.

Robert Harris

Nicola Hobson

Andy Husbands
Andy Husbands, the award-winning chef/owner of the Smoke Shop, has been enticing patrons with his adventurous American cuisine for nearly 20 years. Chef Husbands has been praised both locally and nationally for his bold flavors, commitment to using the best, fresh ingredients and seasonality, receiving nods from countless publications, from the Boston Globe and Boston Magazine to Wine Spectator and Star Chefs. Chef Husbands also competed in the 6th season of Fox Television Network's Hell's Kitchen, hosted by Gordon Ramsay and the most recent season of CHOPPED.

Diane Kochilas

Josh Lewin
For Chef Josh Lewin, a career in the kitchen was inevitable. Following HS graduation, Josh landed his first real apprenticeship at a family-run steakhouse in Connecticut. He also staged with a number of highly regarded chefs and restaurants, including Charlie Trotter's, No. 9 Park, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Craig on Main, Clio, and Uni Sashimi Bar. Josh joined Beacon Hill Bistro as sous chef in 2010 and became executive chef just 2 years later. Now, the 32-year-old chef presents Juliet, the first freestanding entity under Bread & Salt Hospitality, to Somerville.

Graham Lockwood
Graham Lockwood’s roots in food started on his grandparent’s farm where he was inspired by the fresh fruits and vegetables. His love for cooking took off, and upon finishing his culinary Internship through George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario, he took his skills to Fairmont Banff Springs in 2006. Graham then followed his passion for food all the way to Boston. At OAK Long Bar + Kitchen where he brings his appreciation for locally-grown food and a commitment to New England culture to the expansive menu.

Brian Miller

Erin Miller
Erin Miller, chef and owner of Urban Hearth in Cambridge, has built her culinary career around a simple concept - that there is much to be learned and joy to be had when we gather around the table together. Urban Hearth began as a culinary event company in Brooklyn, NY over 15 years ago. Since then, Erin has continued to bring people together to share wholesome, creative, seasonal fare, sourced locally and respectfully. Urban Hearth opened its doors in North Cambridge in 2016 as a café and community space during the day and fine dining supper club at night. The restaurant has quickly become a favorite gathering spot for people in the neighborhood and beyond.

Naile Elif Ozkefeli
Elif OZKEFELI, born in Turkey, is a designer/interior architect and a cook/baker. She is an experienced cafe, restaurant and bakery designer where she ran a showroom of her own with a small bakery/cafe within.
Taking baking as a lifestyle, she dedicated herself to bake from scratch like the good old days; granma way. With the house recipies using all natural ingredients for Eastern Sides and Meditteranean dishes, salads/mezes, she reserved her top notch place in the community she is serving. Starting the wholesale deliveries of the products to reputable gourmet markets and shops, she is ready for the next level.

Brendan Pelley

Anthony Pino
Chef Pino is a Johnson & Wales University graduate. As a young chef he worked in a number of professional kitchens in East Boston. For the past decade he has lived and worked in New Hampshire but returned to "Eastie" to coach basketball, teach cooking classes, and support local charities. Even though he was gone for a while, East Boston has always been his home. Chef Pino has been with Cunard Tavern since it opened, has partnered with various local and national craft breweries on beer dinners, and also oversees food and beverage for the Top Deck @ Cunard roof top bar.

Pankaj Pradham
The proud owner and chef of the Red Lentil, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant just outside of Boston, in Watertown, Chef Pankaj Pradhan came to cooking in a rather roundabout way. During a brief career in IT, he realized something was missing from his life. Drawn towards cooking, he decided to attend culinary school in Kolkata, in his home country of India. Working for Hyatt Hotels and Carnival Cruise Lines, Chef Pradhan visited over 40 countries and completed his higher culinary training in France. Growing up vegetarian, Chef Pradhan found working on a cruise ship and handling a great deal of beef was a challenge. He transitioned to a new life as a chef at a New York City Indian restaurant. He eventually opened the Red Lentil Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant in 2009, allowing him to express his creativity as a chef, and bringing people together over food.

James Salomone
James Salomone, Executive Chef at Parsnip, grew up in Chicago with a large Italian family where food was not only a means to fuel the body, but an art form to show one’s passion and love as well. Learning and drawing inspiration from his mother - who excelled at homemade creations featuring vegetables from her backyard garden - Chef Salomone serves approachable, ingredient-driven cuisine. With his classical French training, he refines American cuisine and incorporates a global pantry of seasonal ingredients from countries in Europe and along the Silk Road, reflecting a broader palette that echoes the dynamic culture of Cambridge.

Jason Tom
Having been born in Cambridge, Jason Tom, Chef at Night Market, spent his early years living in the Chicago area only to return to New England, and his Cambridge roots, to establish his culinary career. While earning his B.A. in English and East Asian Studies at Colby College in Maine, Tom discovered a fondness for cooking as he tried to replicate his family’s home-style Chinese dishes. After graduation, Tom took a job in financial services and soon found his passion for cooking growing while his interest in the financial world dwindled.As an avid traveler and backpacker, Tom loves the multicultural aspects of food; how it can transport you to a different time and place when at home and how it can lead you to strange and new places when away. His travels in Europe, China, and Southeast Asia helped foster a true love for the bold, intense flavors of the streets, whether tart, sweet, salty, spicy or funky. Tom looks forward to bringing his experiences cooking, traveling and eating to sourcing for and executing Night Market’s menu every day.

Theo Tsilipanos
Chef de Cuisine Theo Tsilipanos brings over 18 years of experience and knowledge of authentic Greek cuisine to the kitchen at Committee. Modeled after a modern-day ouzeri, Committee’s menu of fresh, seasonal fare allows guests to enjoy the best of Greek cooking while connecting with one another in a vibrant setting. Tsilipanos fully embraces this concept as a native of Greece’s Lamia city. When Tsilipanos isn’t in the kitchen, you can find him traveling with his wife, exploring new restaurant concepts, or watching his favorite shows with a nice glass of wine. He draws inspiration for creativity in the kitchen by exploring the bustling streets of Boston and taking in all the vibrant city offers.

James Salomone

David Vargas
David Vargas, Chef/Owner, Vida Cantina brings his Mexican heritage and appreciation for local seasonal New England product to every plate at Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, NH. David grew up in southern California and worked at his parents’ restaurant. His mother is from Guadalajara, his father from Jalisco, and it was important to his family that David spend time in Mexico and appreciate his heritage. Appreciate it he does indeed at Vida Cantina, his first restaurant, where with each dish he is “elevating our understanding of what Mexican food is or should be, while elevating our understanding of what New England cuisine is or should be” according to the December 2015 review by The Portsmouth Herald.

Rich Vellante
Rich Vellante joined Legal Sea Foods as a chef and became Executive Chef in 1998. He now oversees all culinary operations, developing new recipes and menus as well as managing and training the culinary staff in all Legal's kitchens. A graduate of Hamilton College, he studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City before spending two years in Italy, cooking his way through several provinces using traditional, farm-fresh ingredients and seafood. He is also the former chef-owner of a three-star restaurant in Massachusetts. Rich was awarded “Executive Chef of the Year” by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association in 2018, earned a Chef 2000 award, was voted “Menu Strategist of the Year” by Restaurant Business and was included among the nation’s Top 50 R&D Chefs by Nation’s Restaurant News.

Tim Willis
Timothy Willis was born in Boston, MA, but grew up in New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. He spent most of his summers with his grandparents attending to their gardens, where he found his love for fresh local produce. After high school, Tim headed to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI to pursue his career as a chef. While in school, he worked at many of Providence’s fine Italian restaurants including Bella Vista & Capriccio. Tim’s second internship was with Jasper White’s Summer Shack during their opening at Mohegan Sun resort and Casino in Connecticut. Tim loved the concept of the Summer Shack, where “Food Is Love” and all the food was prepared simply, from scratch, using the best quality of fresh seafood and local produce. He flourished in this environment and after starting as a cook, he worked his way all the way to be the Culinary Director of all the Summer Shacks where he oversaw all the food operations for all there restaurants.