The road to success is often down a road of hard work, dedication and some failure.
Chef Jacques Pépin
19 ore faJacque Pepin was born in 1935 in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, near Lyon, Pépin always found the kitchen to be a place of both comfort and excitement. He helped in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pélican, and, at age 13, began an apprenticeship at the Grand Hôtel de L’Europe. He subsequently worked in Paris, ultimately serving as personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.
11/30/2023Marcus Samuelsson is the renowned chef behind many restaurants worldwide including Red Rooster in Harlem (NYC) and Overtown (Miami); Hav & Mar in Chelsea (NYC); several MARCUS locations including the Bahamas, Newark, and Atlanta; and his newest concept, Metropolis at the Perelman Performing Arts Center (World Trade Center, NYC) which opened November 2023. Samuelsson was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times and has won eight James Beard Foundation Awards. Additionally, Samuelsson has won numerous competition shows including Top Chef Masters and Chopped All-Stars and appears regularly on those franchises as a Judge. He also recently appeared as an Iron Chef on Netflix’s Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend. Samuelsson is the author of multiple books including The New York Times bestselling memoir Yes, Chef and The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food. Follow Samuelsson on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @MarcusCooks and on TikTok at @Marcus_Cooks.
10/25/2023Follow Him: @rob_levitt ABOUT HEAD BUTCHER AND CHEF ROB LEVITT: Acclaimed chef and butcher Rob Levitt first got his feet wet in the culinary world working as a dishwasher while pursuing a degree in Jazz Performance at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Sparked by his new passion for the restaurant industry, Levitt continued to cultivate his skills at the Culinary Institute of America before landing at the Park Avenue Café in Manhattan. With a desire to move back to the Midwest, Rob relocated to Chicago and worked his way through some of the city’s most popular restaurants including modern Spanish tapas spot, del Toro, Michelin-starred North Pond and acclaimed Italian eatery 312 Chicago before opening his first restaurant Mado, with his wife Allison in 2008. After three years of critical acclaim, the duo took the next step and opened The Butcher & Larder, Chicago’s first local, sustainable, whole animal butcher shop, which has been recognized for excellence in its craft by Food & Wine, GQ, The Travel Channel, The Food Network, The Good Food Awards and more. In 2015, Levitt joined Chicago-based Local Foods, to share knowledge and further expand The Butcher & Larder’s offerings with café, retail and wholesale distribution opportunities. After nearly 20 years mastering his skill and with nine years of butcher experience under his belt, Levitt eventually caught the attention of James Beard Award-winning Chef Paul Kahan, landing the coveted role of head butcher and chef of One Off Hospitality’s beloved Publican Quality Meats. Expanding upon Kahan’s signature "snout to tail” approach to butchery, Levitt captains the culinary program at PQM, creating a seasonal menu featuring rustic soups, gourmet salads, and sandwiches, while mastering an array of natural and organic meat products, house-made sausages and more at Chicago’s critically acclaimed butcher shop, neighborhood café, bakery and gourmet market.
Chef Neal Fraser
9/19/2023Chef Neal Fraser, owner of multiple restaurant concepts in Los Angeles, started his career in the kitchen at age 20. Fraser touts an impressive resume that includes a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and an honor roll of kitchen credits such as Wolfgang Puck’s Eureka and Spago, Checkers Hotel under Thomas Keller, Joachim Splichal’s Pinot Bistro, Hans Rockenwagner’s Rox, and the highly revered Boxer. Currently, he and his business partner/wife Amy Knoll Fraser own and operate critically acclaimed Redbird and high-volume special events and performing arts venue Vibiana.
Chef Jonathon Sawyer
8/16/2023Follow him: @chefsawyer Chef Jonathon Sawyer Get ready to be swept away by the incredible journey of Jonathon Sawyer, a Chicago-born chef whose love for food was ignited by an old-world German chef. As a young man, Sawyer found himself trapped in an engineering program, staring at an auto-cad program every day. His only escape was cooking at a local restaurant every night, under the watchful eye of a stubborn and surly German chef. One day, the chef, with his thick accent, surprised Sawyer with high praise, telling him, "You, you are good at cooking." And just like that, Sawyer's fate was sealed.Leaving engineering school behind, Sawyer enrolled in culinary school, where he discovered his true love and passion for cooking. But his journey was far from over. He went on to work for renowned Chef Charlie Palmer in New York City before opening his own restaurants, Parea in NYC and Lolita in Ohio, for Michael Symon. But it was back home in Cleveland, where Sawyer built his small restaurant empire, including The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat, and Trentina. He even ventured into the stadium business and started a probiotic vinegar business. Sawyer's talent did not go unnoticed, and in 2010 he won the Food & Wine "Best New Chef" award, followed by the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2015. In 2020, Sawyer opened Adorn Bar & Restaurant in Chicago, which was a hit and earned a spot in the prestigious 2021 Michelin Guidebook. His latest venture, Kindling, located in the Willis Tower and a dream live-fire restaurant in partnership with The 50/Fifty Group, has been hailed as one of the best restaurants of 2023. But that's not all! Sawyer has also made a name for himself on television. He is currently a celebrity chef on Food Network's highest-rated show, Tournament of Champions, and has appeared on several other shows, including the premier episode of Bobby Flay's Triple Threat, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Chopped. He has also authored two cookbooks: the best-selling children's cookbook, Noodlekids Cookbook, and House of Vinegar, a cult classic among home cooks. When he's not busy whipping up culinary masterpieces, Chef Sawyer can be found exploring the great outdoors, hiking and foraging with his furry companions by his side. He also enjoys quality time with his family, engaging in friendly board game competitions with his wife, Amelia, and their children, Catcher and Louisiana. Beyond his love for cooking, Sawyer is also dedicated to giving back to his community, regularly working with various charities to donate his time and culinary expertise where needed. With a heart as big as his passion for food, Chef Sawyer is truly a man of many talents and interests.
8/2/2023Don’t hose me baby!!!!! Drew Nieporent, one of America's most respected and celebrated restaurateurs, is the founder and inspiration behind the Myriad Restaurant Group, which operates Tribeca Grill, Nobu New York City, Nobu Fifty Seven, Nobu London, Nobu Next Door, Bâtard, Porsche Grille at Citi Field, and Crush Wine & Spirits. Over the last 30 years, Myriad has opened and operated over 39 restaurants around the world, including Seattle, Louisville, Providence, Boca Raton, London, San Francisco, Moscow, Citi Field, home of the New York Mets in Flushing, New York.Nieporent's first restaurant, the groundbreaking Montrachet (1985), earned three stars from The New York Times and kept that rating for 21 years. In 2008, the restaurant reopened as Corton, maintaining its three New York Times stars and receiving two Michelin stars with chef-partner Paul Liebrandt at the helm. In May of 2014, Nieporent reopened the space as Bâtard with the help of chef- partner Markus Glocker and partner John Winterman. Earning three stars from The New York Times, New York Magazine, and a coveted Michelin star, the restaurant opened to critical acclaim. As 2014 came to an end, Bâtard landed at the top of several end-of-year lists, including the number one spot on The New York Times' list of "The 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014". In May of 2015, the restaurant won the James Beard award for “Best New Restaurant”.Tribeca Grill (1990), with partner Robert De Niro and an all-star roster of investors including Bill Murray, Sean Penn, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, opened to national acclaim and continues to be one of New York's landmark restaurants.In 1994, again with partner Robert De Niro and sushi master Nobu Matsuhisa, Drew launched Nobu New York City to worldwide acclaim. Nobu NYC, Next Door Nobu, and Nobu Fifty Seven have all earned the coveted three-star rating from The New York Times. Nobu NYC was voted Best Restaurant in America by The James Beard Foundation. Nobu has gone on to open restaurants in all parts of the world.Also in 1994, Nieporent was one of the few American restaurateurs to go bi-coastal. In collaboration with Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, and Francis Ford Coppola, he opened Rubicon in San Francisco.Myriad's excellence in wine service is widely acknowledged. It is the only restaurant group to earn three coveted Grand Awards from Wine Spectator Magazine - for Rubicon, Montrachet, and Tribeca Grill. In 2005, Myriad opened Crush Wine & Spirits, which was named the best new wine shop by Food & Wine Magazine.Nieporent graduated in 1973 from Stuyvesant High School and in 1977 from Cornell University with a degree from the School of Hotel Management. While at Cornell, he worked on the world class cruise ships Vistafjord and Sagafjord. In 1978, he began his management career with Warner Le Roy at New York City's Maxwell's Plum and Tavern On The Green. He then worked at the prestigious French restaurants Le Perigord, La Grenouille and Plaza Athenee's Le Regence.Drew donates his time to dozens of charities. He is on the board of Madison Square Garden's Garden of Dreams Foundation, Citymeals-on-Wheels, and DIFFA, an Honorary Chair of the City Harvest Food Council and Culinary Director of the Jackson Hole Wine Auction. He has co-chaired SOS's Taste of the Nation event in New York City since 1997. He has been honored by Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (2009), American Heart Association (1999), the Tourette Syndrome Association (2000), Food Allergy Initiative (2001), American Liver Foundation (2003), Cancer Research & Treatment Fund (2005), and Kristen Ann Carr Fund (2006). Drew is in great demand as a spirited, highly effective auctioneer at charity events.
Chris Bianco, The Pizza Maestro
7/19/2023Be sure to check him out here: @pizzeriabianco When Chris Bianco started the diminutive Pizzeria Bianco inside the back corner of a neighborhood grocery store, little did he know that he would be such a driving force in the slow food movement and specifically the artisanal pizza front. Chris, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2003, helped spawn a generation of independent and artisanal pizzeria’s, lending his advice, wisdom and food philosophies to dozens of fellow chefs and restaurateurs. In 2005, Chris opened Pane Bianco, about four miles from the Pizzeria. Pane features split foccacia sandwiches and other baked goods including Bianco’s signature pizza al taglio. Pane Bianco has been voted best sandwich in Phoenix on several occasions. Bianco rounded out the lineup opening an elevated dinner restaurant, Tratto, in Phoenix. Tratto received the only 5 star rating from the Arizona Republic. There are currently two Pizzeria Biancos in the Phoenix area and in 2022 Bianco opened the first Pizzeria Bianco outside of the state in downtown Los Angeles. Recently, Bianco opened a Pane Bianco at the Row DTLA in Los Angeles, just across the street from the Pizzeria. In 2013 & 2014, Pizzeria Bianco was nominated for a James Beard Award in the Outstanding Restaurant category and in 2022 won the award for Outstanding Restauranteur to go along with his Best Chef Award. In 2010, Chris joined with third generation canner Rob DiNapoli to create a line of organic whole peeled tomatoes. The Bianco DiNapoli lineup has grown into a national consumer and food service brand. The New York times has rated Bianco DiNapoli as the best canned tomato in 2020 and 2022. Chris also supports many local and national charities, providing support to many worthy causes. He has supported Alex’s Lemonade Stand for many years, started by a young girl named Alex, who was battling her own cancer and yet wanted to raise money to find a cure so that other children wouldn’t have to suffer.
7/5/2023One of Houston’s most talked about chefs, Ryan Lachaine the chef/partner of Riel, was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His culinary education began at the apron strings of his Ukrainian mother and grandmother as they churned out pierogies, cabbage rolls and other treasured family recipes.