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2017 Featured Personalities

Aaron Lhamom

When he first decided to start his career as a chef 16 years ago, Chef Aaron Lhamon knew that he had a passion for food and for sharing his creations with others. However, it wasn’t until much later that he learned that this career, industry, and group of professionals who he shares a common passion with is so much more than he ever expected. The culture, the lifestyle, the stress, and the triumphs – they are all far more complex and rewarding than he ever imagined, pushing him to the realization that he wanted others have the same chances to experience this amazing life. Having traveled across the country and developing friendship, support, and teachings of some of the most talented people the industry has ever seen; while mentoring other young chefs on their own journeys. His passion for creating delicious works of art, environments for guests to thoroughly enjoy their dining experience, and where industry professionals can thrive in the kitchen drives him to work every day at his craft.

Adam Centamore

Adam Centamore is a professional wine and cheese educator and author who conducts private, public and corporate tasting experiences. He is a member of the Wine Scholars Guild, Society of Wine Educators and American Cheese Society. He is also the Maître Fromager for the Boston chapter of the Chevalier du Tastevin, a prestigious French wine society. His first book, Tasting Wine and Cheese - An Insider's Guide to Mastering the Principles of Pairing was a finalist for cookbook of the year through the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Adam enjoys eating, drinking, and learning!

Andrew Swain

Chef Andrew Swain has worked in the restaurant business in every position from dishwasher on up, beginning at just fifteen years old. After garnering attention and acclaim as executive chef of Rye Tavern, he still feels most comfortable behind the line and out of the limelight. Swain is a Cape Cod native with a passion for food and the experience of dining out. He is committed to responsible, local sourcing and uses the freshest ingredients to create unique flavors that are drawing attention. His favorite activity? Cooking "mystery meals" for his family.

Andy Husbands

Andy Husbands, the award-winning Chef/Owner of the Smoke Shop and Tremont 647, 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. Recently he published his fourth cookbook, Pitmaster with co-author Chris Hart of the IQUE BBQ team. Chef Husbands' first book, The Fearless Chef has received widespread success and is now in its second printing. His second book, Wicked Good Barbecue, received high accolades from both the food and entertainment industries and received National Barbecue News' "2012 Best Book of the Year" award.

Avi Shemtov

Avi Shemtov is the Executive Chef and Owner of The Chubby Chickpea. He began the business as a way to introduce Boston-area diners to exceptional Middle Eastern food. Growing up in an Israeli-American family, Shemtov spent his childhoods in his father’s various restaurants, where he started spending time in the kitchens and getting a feel for how food was prepared. With no formal training but a lifetime of experience and a head full of ideas, Shemtov went on to open The Chubby Chickpea restaurant in 2010, adding a food truck two years later, and also a catering component. He runs all of them with a small team and an extremely hands-on approach and is constantly working to make them better serve his customers within the ever-changing dining landscape. In July of 2015 his first cookbook, The Single Guy Cookbook was released by Page Street Publishing. He lives in Canton with his wife and two children.

Ben Steigers

A classically trained sushi chef with global influence, Benjamin Steigers is the Executive Chef of PABU Boston at Millennium Tower Boston, set to open fall 2016. As Executive Chef, Benjamin brings eight years of culinary experience in renowned restaurants, spanning three continents. In his new role as the Executive Chef of PABU Boston, Benjamin will be responsible for overseeing all culinary activities at the lively izakaya and sushi bar concept.

Brendan Pelley

Brendan Pelley grew up in Chelmsford, MA, in a household where the voices of Julia Child, Jeff Smith, and Jacques Pepin were background noise in the kitchen. He began his career at the age of 18 after an episode of Iron Chef Japan left him in awe, and he never once looked back; working in a variety of settings — from sub shops to catering companies — before he earned the opportunity to hone his craft in some of the top kitchens in Greater Boston. At Doretta, Brendan draws upon his experience and passion for food to execute a fresh and truly seasonal menu, which changes daily. He makes just about everything possible in-house, with all ingredients sourced locally.

Brian Alberg

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, and Seeds Market Cafe in a newly opened Hancock Shaker Village location. In addition to his position as Executive Chef, he is the Vice President of Culinary Development for Main Street Hospitality Group, overseeing all aspects of food and beverage operations for the entire group portfolio which includes The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, The Williams Inn in Williamstown, MA, the Elm Street Market, a neighborhood café and grocery store in Stockbridge, MA, as well as several off-site cafés at cultural venues, and Main Street Hospitality Catering.

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.

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. Over the years, Chandra has worked at Mother Anna's in Boston's famed North End, Sibling Rivalry, and Petite Robert Central, honing her skills in every aspect of the restaurant business in anticipation of bringing her own restaurant to life. 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.

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.

Colin Lynch

A lifelong New Englander, Colin grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies at the Culinary Institute of America before settling in Boston. During his time at the CIA, he completed an internship at Chef Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant No. 9 Park and returned to work with Barbara following his graduation. In 2007, he took on the expanded role of Executive Chef for the Gruppo, where he was responsible for the Gruppo’s entire Back of House operations, including menu development, training, quality control, and supervision of all the Gruppo’s restaurants’ Chef de Cuisines. In June 2016, Colin opened a restaurant of his own with wife Heather Lynch and former Gruppo colleague Jefferson Macklin. Bar Mezzana, located in Boston's South End, has received rave reviews from local press and guests who praise the inspired crudo, handmade pasta, and warm hospitality.

Dan Ford

Blue Current Brewery started in a garage, based on a love of home brewing and a small obsession with anything Japanese. Their founder and master brewer/toji, Dan Ford, had spent time in Japan and had fallen in love with sake – the taste, the craft, the ritual. Having grown up home-brewing beers and later graduating to hard ciders and meads, Dan found a you-brew-it sake kit and the experimenting began.

Dan has a solid background in financial services and a passion for brewing. Pair this with his love for the taste, the craft and the ritual of sake and you have Blue Current's founder and master brewer. Dan has obtained both the Advanced Sake Professional (ASP) and Certified Sake Professional (CSP) certifications by the Sake Education Council, Tokyo, Japan.

Dante de Magistris

Dante de Magistris is the executive chef and co-owner of the award-winning Dante in Cambridge, MA, along with il Casale Cucina Italiana + Bar in Belmont, MA, 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.

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 CA 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. David was honored to be invited to cook at the James Beard House in NYC, and has earned top regional awards for “Best Mexican Restaurant, NH.”

Douglas Williams

Born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Douglass Williams first joined the myriad of culinary school grads in the area’s casinos’ kitchens. His first big job – one he called a life-altering experience – brought him to Boston to Michael Schlow’s Radius, where he honed his skills for 2.5 years. Then, he joined the opening team at Coppa in 2010 as a pasta cook, crediting Jamie Bissonnette as a huge inspiration to this day. After a year, travels took him to Thailand where he cooked with Lat Phonchaiya,“Queen of Curry” and worked at an entirely sustainable resort where he learned how to knead rice dough for confections and traditional applications. Before returning home, a two-week getaway to Sardinia included training to make culurgiones, the island’s traditional ravioli. Landing back in New York, Douglass joined Chef Paul Liebrandt at Michelin starred Corton. For two years, he continued to develop his knowledge base as chef de partie, focusing on meat, saucing, and plating. Then, at Liebrandt’s recommendation, Douglass continued on to join the team at Akrame, another Michelin starred restaurant, in Paris. It was here that Douglass found the inspiration to one day open his own restaurant. Now, two years later, Douglass opens MIDA, an Italian influenced neighborhood restaurant, in Boston’s South End.

Evanna Lyons

Evanna grew up in beautiful Co Cork, Ireland surrounded by farmland and the Atlantic ocean. From an early age, a family love of food fostered an interest in the best produce Ireland has to offer. During her previous career as a marine scientist in the UK, Evanna became passionate about local, sustainable food. Living overseas only served as a reminder of the wonderful quality of food in Ireland. In 2015, Evanna decided to make the leap and returned to Cork to study at Ballymaloe Cookery School, a culinary school located on a 100 acre farm that is truly "Farm to Table". There she studies with some of the best chefs Ireland has to offer. Soon after graduating, she made the leap to this side of the Atlantic. Very quickly, she found that much of the Irish food in Boston did not reflect the authentic flavors she missed from home. In February 2017, Evanna established Sásta - Modern Irish Pantry. Sásta focus' on the traditional flavors of Ireland, updated to reflect the food of Modern Ireland.

Frank McClelland

Chef Frank McClelland’s L’Espalier has been a perennial “best” of America’s restaurants for three decades, earning top accolades from Zagat, Forbes, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Frommer’s, Wine Spectator and Condé Nast Traveler as well as nods in international media. L’Espalier is New England’s most decorated independent restaurant with twelve consecutive AAA Five Diamond Awards (the only one in Boston) and twelve consecutive Forbes (Mobil) Four-Star awards. He speaks and judges across the country at events like Taste of Vail, Foxwoods Food & Wine Festival and the Chefs Collaborative National Summit. McClelland is also a co-owner of La Brasa in East Somerville and most recently a restaurant at the Essex Marina named Tides.

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. There he held several culinary positions, including Demi Chef de Partie at both the Bow Valley Grill and in Banquets. He also held the position of Chef de Partie at the Banffshire Club. Mentored by the Executive Chef at the time, he learned what it took to run a restaurant, having assisted in all 11 kitchens. Four years later, Graham made the move to Fairmont Vancouver Airport as Sous Chef.

Graham then followed his passion for food all the way to Boston. Upon arriving in the U.S., Graham worked to further sharpen his skills at Fairmont Battery Wharf as Chef De Cuisine at Argosta Bar + Bistro, and then took the opportunity to move to Fairmont Washington, D.C. as Executive Chef. There, he looked after the daily culinary operations of Juniper Restaurant, Banquets, In Room Dining and Lobby Lounge. Graham found his way back to Boston, accepting an Executive Chef position 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. From fresh apples and Vermont cheese to rich seafood and steaks purveyed from the region, Graham has a passion for featuring local ingredients on his carefully-crafted menu, offering a simply elegant dining experience in the heart of Back Bay.

Jared Forman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, 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. A move to Massachusetts to work for Tim & Paul Maslow at Strip T’s in Watertown as its first Chef de Cuisine gave Jared the opportunity to experiment, cook the food he loves, connect with customers, and help reinvigorate the long standing neighborhood favorite. He also met Sean Woods, his future business partner, and helped open Ribelle in Brookline.

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.

Jason Heard

Chef Jason Heard started cooking as a young boy during summer vacations to his grandmother’s home in the small city of College Park, Georgia. It was a rule in her house that if you were in her kitchen you had to be working, and his daily chores included prepping biscuit dough and picking and cleaning okra, tomatoes, squash, peppers, peaches, melons and any other vegetable or fruit available in the family garden.

As the son of an U.S. Army officer, Heard spent his formative years moving from military base to military base all over the world, exposed him to a variety of different foods, cooking styles and fostered a taste for incorporating new ingredients and techniques into some of his favorite family recipes. After school, he returned to Georgia and worked at local restaurants around Savannah and Atlanta before settling in Key West for an 11-year stint cooking at several Caribbean-influenced restaurants.
In 2003, Heard made his move north of the Mason-Dixon line to Boston, where he got married and started a family. After three years of cooking in the city, he landed at the storied East Coast Grill, where he combined his passion for BBQ and respect for Southern-based recipes and ingredients with creative incorporation of other cuisines and cooking styles from around the world.

As the Executive Chef at Coppersmith, Heard oversees the globally-inspired, comfort food-driven menus at each of the dynamic venue’s various spaces, including the restaurant, patio, café, the “Airdeck”, a rooftop bar with classically-outfitted Airstream, and private events. You can often find Heard tending to his two outdoor smokers constantly playing with new variations of BBQ and incorporating as many local ingredients as possible.

Jason Tom

Having been born in Cambridge, MA, 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.

Jeremy Sewall

xecutive Chef Jeremy Sewall may have been born in upstate New York, but he’s had the heart of a true New Englander since childhood summers spent in Maine with his family, feasting on lobsters, clams, and other New England specialties. The water, too, plays a large role in his lineage; fishing has been a Sewall family livelihood for generations. Today, Jeremy sources his fresh lobsters from cousin Mark Sewall, who captains his 38-foot boat out of York Harbor, Maine. Regardless of his original zip code, few embody New England more than Jeremy. After educating himself in some of the best kitchens around the world, Jeremy and his wife Lisa, a former pastry chef at L’Espalier, opened Lineage in Brookline, Massachusetts in 2004. From there, he’s helped open Eastern Standard, teamed up with Garrett Harker and Skip Bennett to open Island Creek Oysters and Row 34, recently opening a second Row 34 in Portsmouth, NH. In the fall of 2014, Jeremy released his first cookbook, James Beard Award nominated The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes, with co-author Erin Byers Murray.

Through his restaurants, Jeremy is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of New England seafood and the passion of the people who bring it to us. For Chef Jeremy Sewall, it’s in his blood.

Johnny Sheehan

Inspired by cooking in his home kitchen at a young age, Johnny took his first job in the restaurant industry washing dishes at age 14. As a young adult, he peered into the Boston restaurant scene while making deliveries all over the city as a tractor trailer driver. He courageously made a pivotal career turn and enrolled at the acclaimed Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he earned his degree and had what he describes as “life-changing experiences” along the way. Opportunity knocked while he was still in culinary school and post-degree when he went to work under celebrated Chef Ken Oringer at Boston’s renowned French Modern American restaurant Clio. Johnny worked tirelessly to learn each station in the kitchen and moved up the line. Then he jumped at the opportunity to work alongside Chef Chris Gould at Clio’s notable sushi bar, Uni.

His next chapter began on Boston’s South Shore when he took the reigns at The New World Tavern, a gastropub in Plymouth, Massachusetts. First, Sheehan elevated the cuisine to match the Tavern’s award-winning beer selection. The result? His menu along with The New World’s beer selection went on to win Boston Magazines “Best casual restaurant south of Boston.” During his time south of Boston, Johnny also brought together a group of respected South Shore chefs and organized a series of Chef Dinners featuring organic and sustainable ingredients from local farms and purveyors Chef Sheehan has been featured on episodes of Boston’s popular television program, The Phantom Gourmet, where he received the rare and coveted “Hidden Jewel” accolade for his innovative fare.

Jonathan Schick

Jonathan Schick is the Executive Chef at Rail Stop, a Beauport Hospitality Group property at Brighton’s Boston Landing. Chef Schick began his culinary career with a degree from Le Cordon Blue in Dover, New Hampshire. During school, Schick began his career with an internship working at Wentworth by the Sea alongside Certified Master Chef® Dan Dumont gaining a wide variety of experience within the hospitality industry. After his internship, Schick was offered a position at Wentworth by the Sea working the Garde Manger station and assisting with large banquets. For the next two years, Schick worked at Rendezvous Bay Hotel, Anguilla BWI and Ocean Properties, one of the largest consortium of hotel operating and development groups in North America with over 100 locations. His work included a season as Banquet Chef at the Bar Harbor Club in Maine.

From there, Schick became the opening chef of the award-winning TWK, The Waterfield Kitchen, where he worked with an award-winning group North Shore restaurant group which has opened over nine distinct restaurants throughout Boston. Schick has also worked with Certified Executive Chef® Joseph Leonardi the Captain of the U.S. Culinary Team at the Somerset Club, the esteemed private social club in Boston.

As Executive Chef at Rail Stop, Schick specializes in contemporary New England cuisine and fresh seafood using the highest quality and local ingredients. When Schick isn’t in the kitchen, he loves to spend time with his niece and nephews.

Joshua 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. During this time, Josh and his partner, Katrina Jazayeri, began independently hosting a series of pop-ups and themed events, allowing them to celebrate their own personal favorite things. Thus, Bread & Salt Hospitality was born, and in September 2014, Bread & Salt took the opportunity to open their first restaurant, the temporary "Bread & Salt at Wink & Nod" in Boston's South End. Now, the 32-year-old chef presents Juliet, the first freestanding entity under Bread & Salt Hospitality, to Somerville.

Joshua Livsey

Joshua Livsey is the Pastry Chef of Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, using local ingredients to create seasonal desserts that complement the restaurant’s contemporary New England cuisine. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Livsey began his pastry career when he enrolled at Johnson & Wales University where he spent four years discovering his passion and honing his craft. Over the summer he worked his way up to Head Pastry Chef at Shelter Harbor Golf Club’s fine dining restaurant. Upon graduating Livsey took the position of kitchen manager at a Sweet Indulgence, a local bakery, learning the ins and outs of running a business. In 2011, he launched his own custom-made cake business, while continuing to work at the local bakery. After spending three years splitting his time between his business and the bakery, Livsey moved to Atlanta, Georgia to work for Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, where he managed the wedding and specialty cakes program and banquet desserts. In September 2016, he returned to his New England roots and assumed the role of Executive Pastry Chef at Harvest. When he is not in the kitchen, Livsey enjoys taking his dog for a run and spending the afternoon on the beach with his family.

Josue Louis

Executive Chef Josue Louis brings the simple, clean and bold flavors of Provence to Boston. Having worked at Bistro du Midi since opening, Louis marries the culinary techniques of the Midi region in France with the seasonal New England bounty. The result is a refined yet approachable menu with dishes that surprise and delight the most discerning epicurean tastes.
Louis is a native Bostonian whose fervor for the culinary arts was ignited from a young age while attending Madison Park Vocational High School. A graduate of the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Louis has experience working in renowned establishments such as The Fairmont Copley Plaza. Throughout the years, Louis has developed an immense appreciation for dishes that embody seasonality and ingenuity.

Karen Akunowicz

Karen Akunowicz is the Executive Chef and Partner at Myers+Chang in Boston, MA. A three time (2015, 2016, 2017) James Beard Nominee for Best Chef Northeast, she competed and was a fan favorite on Bravo TV’s Emmy nominated show "Top Chef" as well as the Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay”. She is the co-author of Myers+Chang at Home (Houghton Mifflin 2017) and was called one of the “21 Badass Women Changing the Food World” by Marie Claire Magazine. She started her career as a cook at the beloved Ten Tables restaurant in Jamaica Plain. She later fell in love with Italian food, cooking at Via Matta in Boston's Back Bay where she met restaurateur Christopher Myers. She lived and cooked in Modena, Italy for a year, as the Chef at L’Avian Blu before returning to the states. She went to work for Ana Sortun as the Sous Chef at Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge. There she studied the powerful spice driven cuisine of the Middle East and embraced the true farm to table mentality of the restaurant. Karen now helms the kitchen at Myers+Chang where she creates powerful, spicy, crave-able dishes, drawing inspiration from Chinese, Taiwanese, and Southeast Asian cuisine. Karen writes lifestyle articles and recipes for and is proud to be a No Kid Hungry Chef, working with the organization Share our Strength to eradicate childhood hunger.

Kathy SidelIn

Kathy Sidell’s family, mealtime was not just about eating food. Time at the table was about discussing, evaluating, even obsessing about food and drink. With a family legacy in the Boston food industry, including father Jack Sidell, Kathy was bound to run a food empire, taking the first leap into the family business when she opened the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts in 2005. She followed up her success of the Metropolitan Club by opening two suburban locations of the more casual MET Bar & Grill concept and MET on Main in Nantucket. In October 2010, Kathy opened MET Back Bay, on Boston’s most notable street, the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth Streets. This spring Kathy opened her latest restaurant, Saltie Girl, an intimate 30 seat seafood bar nestled next to MET Back Bay. Saltie Girl focuses on globally sustainable iterations of fresh fish & seafood be it fried, sautéed, raw, house-potted, smoked or tinned.

Kyle McClelland

A New England native, McClelland was born in Dover, New Hampshire and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is where he developed his love of seafood and passion for all things culinary. McClelland attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City where he earned his Grand Diploma and began working with local establishments Ambrosia on Huntington before making the move to Boston where he worked under Chef David Daniels at The Federalist at the XV Beacon Hotel. After time spent in Nantucket and New York, In 2016 McClelland brought his talent back to Boston, pairing up with award-winning restaurateur Kathy Sidell to open Saltie Girl, her newest restaurant with a focus on globally sustainable iterations of fresh fish and seafood. From the moment Saltie Girl opened, Sidell and McClelland have been racking up rave reviews from the likes of The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, and The Travel Channel, and Saltie Girl has been named Boston’s top restaurants by Eater, Zagat, Boston magazine and Thrillist to name a few. Chef McClelland’s impressive accomplishments in his 19-year culinary career are a result of his unyielding passion, precise technique and innovate palate. He has appeared on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and cooked at the James Beard House. When he is not in the kitchen, McClelland enjoys listening to live music, trying new restaurants, and spending time with his friends and family.

Manita Bunnagitkarn

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 at Johnson & Wales University. She also had the opportunity to learn under Chef Todd English for many of years. Later on, Manita got a chance to work at Finale Dessert at Boston Park Plaza Hotel for several years. She worked with Chef Nicole Coady during that time and managed the kitchen. She is determined to use only fresh ingredients, her cooking style also closely reflect authentic Thai food. Besides the passion for Thai food, Manita has always enjoyed experimenting ice cream making.

Mario LaPosta

Mario LaPosta’s lifelong obsession with pizza started when he was a child watching the pizzaioli in his father’s hometown just north of Naples.

LaPosta began working in local pizzerias when he was fifteen years old. During his time studying hospitality at Central Connecticut State University, LaPosta worked in the kitchen at Bricco in West Hartford, one of Connecticut’s most celebrated Italian restaurants. After graduation, he moved to Italy to apprentice in Rome. LaPosta has competed in the World Pizza Championships in Italy finishing 10th place overall in Pizza Napoletana. He comes to Boston with fifteen years of pizza making experience, both in Italy and New England. His dedication for authentic, simple, and soulful food comes from his mother— who is an exceptional cook— and her homemade pizza.

Mariyln 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.

Matt Jennings

With four James Beard Foundation Award nominations for Best Chef: Northeast, three Cochon 555 wins, and a spot on Food & Wine’s 40 Under 40 Big Thinkers in America list, chef Matt Jennings is recognized nationally for his bold, lusty cooking, and his dedication to New England artisan and seasonal ingredients. After a decade of success with his restaurant Farmstead in Providence, Rhode Island, Jennings returned to his native city of Boston, Massachusetts, in February 2015 to open Townsman. The restaurant is a New England brasserie that pays homage to his deep roots in the area, showcasing his commitment to locality and love of the Northeast. Townsman was named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America; USA Today named it one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in the country, and Food & Wine included Townsman in their list of 10 Restaurants of the Year. Jennings’s first book, Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots, will be published October 17, 2017.

Matt Louis

A native of NH and a protégé of Chef Thomas Keller, Chef Matt Louis is as talented and creative in the kitchen as he is passionate about bringing national and regional attention to the thriving culinary scene in Portsmouth, NH. Chef/Owner of the wildly popular Moxy in Portsmouth, NH, Chef Louis has just opened his second restaurant, the Franklin Oyster House, also in Portsmouth, NH. He sources local ingredients to deliver inventive and contemporary tapas with a nod to New England culinary traditions at Moxy, and showcases the fresh bounty of the sea, with special kudos to locally sourced oysters off the NH shores at Franklin. Chef Louis was honored by the James Beard Foundation as a Best Chef, Northeast, Semifinalist, 2015 and is a three-time nominee as Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef.

Pankaj Pradhan

The proud owner and chef of the Red Lentil, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant just outside of Boston, in Watertown, Massachusetts, 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.

Rebecca Arnold

Rebecca started her career with an interest in health food while studying Tae Kwon Do at the age of 13. She developed a passion for great food after studying nutrition in college and then attending culinary school in NYC. She has cooked in San Francisco, Boston, and New York where she learned about the cuisines and flavors from China, The Mediterranean, Israel, Italy, and Vietnam to name a few. She has cooked at Sarma, was the Sous Chef at Alden & Harlow, and chef of Pain D’Avignon on Cape Cod. At age 30 she and her partner, James DiSabatino of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, decided it was time to open their own healthy plant based fast casual concept. Whole Heart Provisions ended up being just that.

Retno Pratiwi

Retno Pratiwi is the chef and owner of Kaki Lima Boston, an Indonesian pop-up restaurant. Pratiwi hails from Jakarta, where at an early age she began cooking alongside her grandmother to prepare meals for her large, extended family. Her earliest memory of cooking is being in a sling on her grandmother’s back as she hand-ground essential spices like coriander and candlenuts into fine powders. In 2010, after moving to Boston with her husband, Peter Gelling, Pratiwi attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Soon after graduating, Pratiwi and Gelling launched Kaki Lima Boston with a mission to popularize high-quality, authentic Indonesian cuisine in the United States. Pratiwi goes to great lengths to use all the same ingredients and techniques used in Indonesia, which is no easy task. Both the Boston Globe and the Improper Bostonian gave Kaki Lima their ‘Best of Boston Pop Up’ awards this year. The New York Times wrote that Pratiwi and Gelling were “champions of Indonesian culture, obsessing over the details and authenticity of their food.” Pratiwi hopes to open her own space sometime next year.

Rick Gallego

Rick Gallego was born in Taunton, MA. 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.

Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien is chef de cuisine of Cuisine En Locale, award-winning locavore catering company and operators of the ONCE Lounge and Ballroom on Highland Avenue in Somerville. His lifelong commitment to local farm to table cooking has its roots in childhood summers spent in his grandmother's kitchen using fresh ingredients grown in her garden and fresh fish and shellfish plucked from the waters around the Ipswich River with his grandfather, a lifelong Ipswich clammer. Sean is an experienced personal and private chef, with a strong background in many world cuisines including. Indian, Cajun Creole, New Mexican and Québécois as well as Barbecue.

Shiela 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.

Sophie Benyamina

My inspiration springs from my childhood in France, when I would push open the doors of traditional French bakeries to discover a dream world where cakes, chocolates, and confectionary filled the shelves and manifested themselves with an artistic refinement that delighted the eyes and the taste buds alike.

Sophie Gees

A baker since childhood, Sophie began her professional pastry career with a summer job at Rosie’s Bakery in Wellesley, MA. After graduating from Smith College, Sophie relocated to New York City to pursue a career in the kitchen and was hired by Pure Food and Wine as a pastry prep cook. Within her first year at the restaurant, Sophie was promoted to Pastry Sous Chef. Following her time in New York, Sophie lived briefly in Maui before moving back to her hometown of Boston to attend Boston University’s Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy Program, and to broaden her culinary experience. Most recently leaving behind a nearly three-year stint at Clear Flour Bread in Brookline, Sophie joined the team at Oleana in August of 2016.

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.

Prior to joining the talented Committee team, Tsilipanos worked in a variety of positions across New England including L’espalier working as a line cook under the helm of his mentor Chef James Hackney for who he credits his undying love for cooking to. He’s also held positions at top dining destinations including Sel de la Terre and Cape Cod’s Wequassett Resort and Gold Club. After years spent in the United States, Tsilipanos decided to open his own restaurant concept in Greece and it was during this time that he developed his own unique style of cooking using fresh and simple ingredients to create traditional Greek dishes with a twist. Tsilipanos decided to return to the city of Boston and most recently worked as a Sous Chef for the Restaurant Associates Compass Group and as a Private Dining Chef for Brown Brothers Harriman.

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.

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, MA. 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 & Top Chef Duals. She is a tireless advocate for LGBT human rights and lives in Boston with her wife and furry kids.

Tim Wiechmann

Tim Wiechmann was born to German parents on the North Shore of Boston, but raised internationally and tri-lingual (German, English, French). He trained at some of the world’s greatest restaurants— Taillevent, L’Arpege, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and with some of the most acclaimed French chefs of the last fifty years, including Alain Passard and Joel Robuchon. He is a graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and also holds a BA in French and German literature from the University of Vermont. Tim Wiechmann takes a visionary and non-traditional viewpoint to being a chef. He takes a holistic approach to cooking, meaning he looks beyond the kitchen for inspiration and knowledge. He grows his own plants, builds his own yeasts, stores his winter crops, crafts the furniture and sculpts the artwork in his restaurants. He and his wife, Bronwyn, translated this learning and vision into a decade plus of success with T.W.Food (now Self Portrait), which earned five Best of Boston awards and features in The New York Times, Wine Spectator, Saveur, and NPR. T.W.Food consistently placed among top fine-dining restaurants in the city. In 2013, they opened their eponymous “Bronwyn” Bronwyn burst onto the food and drink scene and filled a much-needed void, legitimizing and updating a familiar yet often forgotten cuisine. Bronwyn was Esquire’s Best New Restaurant in America 2015 and Tim was named Boston Magazine’s Most Outstanding Chef 2015. The same year he Beat Bobby Flay on his popular Food Network show with his Schnitzel.

Tony Maws

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, earning 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. Known for his dedication to showcasing locally raised meats and produce as well as locally caught seafood, Maws remains committed to providing his guests the best tastes of New England and encourages them to rolling up their sleeves and mop up the plate in what he describes as “refined rusticity.”

Tyler Anderson

It was while working in Vermont that Anderson grew to love New England, its local farms and artisan producers. Now ensconced in New England as head of all culinary operations at The Copper Beech Inn, Anderson is committed to serving sustainable seafood, and meats and vegetables that have been raised, foraged, farmed or produced within a 150-mile radius. Anderson and crew run a full charcuterie curing room and work with locally raised heritage pork breeds. His style of cooking is very much modern American, with a New England influence. In April of 2010, he presented his menu to a sold out crowd at the James Beard House, and more recently, Anderson was the winner of “Chopped” on the Food Network. In 2012 he moved on from The Copper Beech Inn to open Millwrights in Simsbury, Connecticut. Anderson and his wife Sonja live with their two children, Averi and Gaven, near the ocean in Westbrook, Connecticut.

Will Gilson

A two-time James Beard Award nominee, Chef Will Gilson of Puritan & Co. in Cambridge, MA, 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.