Talent, Creativity & Culinary Magnificence
Big Sur Food & Wine Festival 2014 ~ Chef Line-up
Executive Chef, Domingo Santamaria ~ Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn
Executive Chef Domingo Santamaria comes from Oxkutzcab, Yucatan, where his Grandmother began his culinary education in her restaurant. In Domingo’s words, “She taught me her style, her secret recipes. That woman would have made the most temperamental chef run for cover. It was in her kitchen that I learned how to express my heritage through food. This was her gift to me.”
He went on to work in the culinary world of San Francisco for many years, apprenticing with a variety of Chefs. Domingo’s diverse experience in high-end ethnic restaurants led him to the iconic Grand Café in the Monaco Hotel. During this time he was part of the initial blossoming of the organic, sustainable food movement.
Domingo’s love of making people happy feeds his artistry here at the Inn. Inspired by Big Sur and the creative freedom that he enjoys in the Deetjens kitchen, a meal by Domingo is always unforgettable. As our guests say, “It feels like coming home.”
Executive Chef Dyon J. Foster ~ Hahn Estate
Raised near Houston, Texas, Dyon joined Hahn in 2012 and brings over a decade of wine and hospitality experience to the Hahn Estate culinary program. After a tour of duty in the United States Navy, he returned to the restaurant industry and worked as a server, bartender, wine steward, and restaurant manager developing diverse skills and feeding his passion for food and wine. Dyon’s eagerness to learn more about flavors and pairings led him to move from restaurant management to the kitchen. He graduated from the Culinary Center of Monterey in 2010. Dyon’s culinary style focuses on using high quality local ingredients that blend techniques and flavors from the Mediterranean, France, Germany, Mexico and the Pacific Rim. As the estate’s Executive Chef, Dyon oversees all of the culinary programs at Hahn and prepares imaginative pairings for Hahn’s wine club events, and publishes complementary original recipes for Hahn’s wines.
In his spare time Dyon enjoys cooking with his friends and family, hiking, and working with his wife and son around their home.
Executive Chef Phillip Burrus ~ Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA
Phillip Burrus is the executive chef at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Each year, Esalen’s teaching kitchen introduces hundreds of students, apprentices, and volunteers to farm to table cooking and conscious teamwork.
Phillip also leads workshops on farmstead cooking and preservation for the contemporary kitchen.
He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and has cooked and taught in Big Sur since 2006.
Chef Justin Cogley ~ Aubergine Restaurant ~ awarded Food & Wine’s Best New Chef 2013
Justin Cogley was appointed chef de cuisine of Aubergine restaurant in January 2011, where he oversees Aubergine and all of L’Auberge Carmel’s culinary programs. Cogley comes to Carmel by way of Chicago, Illinois, where he was instrumental in opening the Elysian Hotel’s new kitchen as executive sous chef.
His style is a sophisticated balance between innovation and unwavering deference for the finest ingredients he procures. “If I had to describe my food,” Cogley says, “I would say each plate has a purpose.” Cogley’s goal is to inspire guests to enjoy a broad combination of flavors and textures. He may present a diner with a vegetable prepared three ways on his plate but, Cogley says, “each of the flavors will be unique and pure.”
Prior to his career as a chef, Cogley was a professional international figure skater performing with “Disney on Ice.” Traveling and touring with the show for four years in Asia, Australia and Europe, Cogley was exposed to new flavors and cuisines, as well as a myriad of food markets and international techniques. These culinary experiences confirmed his passion for food, travel, and good wine, and when he returned to the United States, he enrolled at the Western Culinary Institute and began working in select restaurants in Portland, Oregon. After graduating with top honors in 2005, he launched his culinary career on the team at Charlie Trotter’s.
Kari Bernardi, Executive Chef ~ Super Natural Foods Company
Kari Bernardi, aka Super Natural Chef, is a certified Gourmet Raw Food Chef and Instructor. Kari is the owner and executive chef of a raw vegan gluten free product line called Super Natural Foods Company in Carmel California. She is the founding Director of Monterey County’s Farm to School Partnership Program and a former faculty member at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. Kari continues to be instrumental in supporting policies promoting healthy school food, bringing fresh fruits and vegetables into schools and teaching farm fresh nutrition education to students around the world. For over 20 years Kari has shared her teaching expertise to help people thrive on a plant-based diet and has taught students from 3 years old to 95 years young.
Photo Credit: Angela Aurelio Edible Monterey Bay
Butch Adams ~ Kai Lee Creamery
Butch Adams never thought he’d grow up to be a superhero. But here he is, having saved people from unexploded bombs and now using a certain kind of power to make life tastier.
His sweet new shop inside the American Tin Cannery offers a healthier ice cream – sounds like a catch-22, but it isn’t – and some peace of mind in addition to a dozen-plus delicious frozen treats.
Kai Lee Creamery’s name is the middle names of Adams’ two daughters, Serene Kai and Torian Lee (adorbs). Like the name, the business started with them. His eldest suffers from food allergies, but loves ice cream. So one day Adams set about making organic, corn-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, GMO-free, all-natural, locally sourced and handmade ice cream. It was so good, when he looked for something to do after retiring from munitions removal on the former Fort Ord, his wife suggested he open an ice cream shop.
Adams makes his treats from scratch with organic sugar, cream, milk and fruit, or with different bases from Straus Family Creamery because they’re certified organic. He even bakes locally picked apples for his apple pie flavor.
Whatever advancements come, Adams has created a purer sweet spot for our community, with zero formal training. He is also a self-taught artist; the whale logo pays homage to Monterey Bay his hometown and he painted it himself.
(Article by Shiho Fukushima, Monterey County Weekly) To read the full article click HERE
Chef Matt Glazer ~ Glen Oaks Big Sur Roadhouse
Glazer’s “Coastal Cajun” salutes the best of California’s cornucopia with a spin. Signature dishes include Monterey Bay Wild King Salmon and Halibut, expertly blackened with a searing 88-second pan fry, paired with a zesty cranberry bean, golden beet and corn succotash. The “Small Bites” menu sports a Lacinato Kale Caesar served in a julienne format, Southern-Fried Chicken Lollipop and Seabass Po’ Boy served with savory house-made Creole mustard.
Raised in New Orleans, Glazer honed his skills at the Culinary Institute of America before traversing the globe’s farms and kitchens. His journey came full circle in Big Sur holding posts at Esalen Institute and Big Sur Bakery prior to joining the Roadhouse. His passion for big flavors and unorthodox preparations are reflected in the fry-free Monterey Bay Calamari Creole showcasing his signature spice blend and Cajun trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery) as well as a gluten-free Big Sur Seafood Gumbo. Changing daily, the Gumbo’s slow-roasted vegetable roux and rich Monterey Bay halibut stock – infused with okra, spices, hand-made Andouille sausage and seasonal Dungeness crab – is art in a bowl. Grass-Fed New York Strip Steak with caramelized cipollino onions and fresh crimini mushrooms, Stuffed Portobello Mushroom with wilted chard and Braised Chicken Orleans dressed in a piquant red wine vinegar, tarragon and chervil blend then deglazed with a touch of cream round out the entrees. Big Sur Roadhouse is a pending member of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® program.
David Lawrence ~ Executive Chef, Managing Partner 1300 on Fillmore, San Francisco
1300 On Fillmore is a restaurant and lounge that draws on the rich cultural history of San Francisco’s Fillmore District, the city’s live music destination. 1300 on Fillmore features “Soulful American” cuisine, accompanied by a list of the finest California wines and a full bar. The restaurant opened in October, 2007, to rave reviews and has been wowing diners ever since. At the helm of the restaurant is executive chef and managing partner David Lawrence. At 1300 David Lawrence combines classic French cooking techniques with hints of southern flavors using fresh, California seasonal ingredients. Lawrence received his formal culinary training at Westminster College in London. In 1982 he joined England’s most celebrated and honored culinarians, Albert and Michael Roux, the chef proprietors of the world-renowned Le Gavroche and the Waterside Inn (both three star Michelin restaurants). Lawrence worked at five of the Roux brothers’ establishments, rapidly advancing from apprentice to sous chef in four short years. In 1986, Lawrence was appointed as chef de cuisine at London’s chic Interlude Restaurant where he had the honor of preparing meals for the Prince and Princess of Wales; Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon; and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A native of London, Lawrence left England for the United States in 1988 to join former Le Gavroche Chef Kurt Graising at the newly-opened 231 Ellsworth Restaurant in San Mateo. Serving as Chef de Cuisine, Lawrence worked closely with Graising to help shape the restaurant’s menu and culinary vision, an effort rewarded by numerous awards and accolades during Lawrence’s tenure. Prior to opening his own restaurant, Lawrence led a talented kitchen staff at The Carnelian Room, creating an eclectic menu featuring French-inspired California cuisine, and served as chef de cuisine at Cityscape Restaurant in San Francisco. While at Cityscape, Lawrence devised and implemented the Chefs for Kids program, raising thousands of dollars for the Tenderloin After School program. The City of San Francisco recognized Lawrence’s efforts by awarding him a proclamation, declaring March 10, 1994 “David Lawrence Day.” At 1300 on Fillmore, his “comfort food, done well” includes signature items include fresh water shrimp hush puppies, organic skillet fried chicken served with whipped potatoes, maple syrup marinated slow-braised short ribs with buttermilk chive mashed potatoes and deep-fried onion rings, and barbecue shrimp served with creamy hominy grits topped with micro greens. (www.1300fillmore.com)
Chef Cal Stamenov, Culinary Director~ Marinus – Bernardus Lodge ~ Best Chef 2012/2013 Monterey County Weekly.
Cal grew up on the California Central Coast in a rural area outside of San Francisco. He was lucky to discover his talent and passion early in life: love of the land, of good food and cooking. He entered culinary training right out of high school. After graduation in 83′, Stamenov entered the suitcase phase of life, and hopped around the world 15 years. Opportunity returned him to his Northern California roots where quality ingredients from the land and from the sea at his fingertips. Friendships with local fisherman, growers & foragers are truly invaluable. Highlights of his day are having fisherman drop off one hundred pounds of fresh Monterey Bay spot prawns or a forager unexpectedly arriving at the kitchen door with a basket of chanterelle Big Sur mushrooms. Fusions of vineyards and gardens literally at his door, Stamenov embraces foods he loves most – wood fired grill, California olive oil, garden-fresh vegetables and herbs, wines and vines & natural flavors.At Bernardus Lodge, guests enjoy Cal’s Natural cuisine in two unique dining rooms — Marinus Restaurant and Wickets Bistro. These venues offer the best of Carmel Valley wine country living from the lush mountain views, extensive wine selections and distinctive ingredients. Marinus at Bernardus Lodge has been enjoying high praise since the resort opened in 1999, and has won Wine Spectator magazine’s highly coveted “Grand Award” for its wine cellar since 2001. Marinus holds 4-stars from the Mobil Travel Guide for its outstanding menu, service and ambiance. Since 2001, the Zagat Survey has noted Marinus as one of the Top Restaurants and Most Romantic places south of San Francisco.
Partnering with local charities, particularly those having to do with schools and environmental issues. He is the honorary Co-Chair of Dinner in the Vineyard; MEarth’s annual fundraiser that benefits the thousands of students from across Monterey County who experience, learn, and grow with MEarth at the Hilton Bialek Habitat. In addition, he donates his time participating in events such as Cooking for Solutions, Pebble Beach Food and Wine and the Monterey Wine Education Foundation. For several years Stamenov was at the helm of several annual and prestigious international gatherings such Masters of Food & Wine event and The Quail Motorsports Rally. Most recently, he has taken culinary charge of Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revivial event, benefiting the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation. The celebrated 3,000 person event showcases Chef Cal’s unique ability to bring to high quality culinary craftsmanship to a party of any size. He resides just a few miles down the road from Bernardus Lodge with his three daughters in one of the most beautiful and desirable corners of the world. Together they tend to over 40 rare fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, flowers and bees in their backyard; having discovered both the satisfaction of watching something grow and the thrill of harvesting what they planted.
R. Kent Torrey, President & CEO (Cheese Eating Oenophile) ~ The Cheese Shop, Inc.
Question: what provides your senses with delectable eye candy, sensual smells, all while tantalizing your taste buds? Answer: everything at THE CHEESE SHOP!!!
Simply put, Kent and his staff of The Cheese Shop Inc, in downtown Carmel~by~the~Sea, California, ROCKS when it comes to their selections of wonderful world class wines, their incredible array of cheeses, and gastronomic gourmet foods!!! A visit to Carmel is just not complete without a stop at this world-renowned store!
On any given day you will find Kent and his extremely amiable staff sampling from over 200 different cheeses from around the world, passing along to the customers wonderful insights from the history of that particular cheese’s origins, or how that cheese can be used in intricate dishes, to tips on throwing great wine & cheese tasting parties, or how to pack a romantic picnic full of their goodies to be enjoy while watching a stunning sunset at the Carmel beach. Hearsay has it that many marriage proposals were the results of such picnics!
AND alas, to the bemusement of his staff, Kent will always be offering up one of his litany of “cheesy” jokes to both entertain, and make you groan all at once!! Life is just too short not to have FUN, and when it comes to eating and drinking, The Cheese Shop makes you have FUN!!!
Over the years, Kent has been fortunate enough to assist the public and professional trade through various media sources, publications and staged events with highlights including this September’s 4th Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Fest, and others like: Gourmet Fest Carmel, ZAP in San Francisco, LA Food & Wine Festival, World of Pinot Noir Festival, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Masters of Food & Wine, Blackberry Farm, Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Taste of Washington, Big Sur Food & Wine Festival, Central Coast Classic, and the Les Amis D’Escoffier Society Foundation Inc. In addition The Cheese Shop has been featured on the Travel Channel worldwide as a “Must See Destination” & showcased on the Food Network for their world famous pesto. Being from the state of Hawaii, Kent has infused the “O’hana” spirit into this family oriented business, which has celebrated 41 years of eating and drinking! Kent’s mantra: “Eat Cheese, Drink Wine, Live Life Happy!!” We can be reached through our website www.TheCheeseShopInc.com as well as finding us on both Facebook & Twitter!
Chef Ted Walter ~ Passionfish
Chef Ted Walter earned a BA in English from the UCSB in ’81, with the intention of becoming a writer. But while at college, he worked in restaurants. By the time he graduated, he realized his true creative calling was in the preparation of great meals. “I don’t think I meant to do it,” says Ted. “But I just fell in love with working in restaurants and never looked back.” Ted trained as a classic French chef in restaurants across the country, before perfecting his own, California-influenced culinary style: highlighting sustainable seafood and fresh, local produce to create meals that are delicious, healthy and kind to the planet. He opened Passionfish in 1997, with his wife Cindy as partner and business manager. “I’ve always loved cooking fish,” he says. “When you work at most restaurants, fish is most likely a special. But for me, there are more fish dishes in my repertoire than duck or lamb.” Ted sources his ingredients from Carmel Valley farms, local markets, and the fishers of Monterey Bay. His recipes express the fresh flavors of the seasons, often enhanced with one of his signature sauces. Ted’s “sustainable living” philosophy is one that was born of necessity. When he began having difficulty finding ingredients that had been readily available in the past, he knew he had to change the way he shopped, the way he cooked, even the way he prints his menus. A certified green restaurant, and one that has become a destination for food enthusiasts, Passionfish is proof that sustainable living can be good living — and that true artists will find their way.
Jacques Zagouri ~ Chef De Cuisine ~ Andre’s Bouchee
Jacques Zagouri graduated from Ecole Hôtelière de Nice, France in 1988, and received his apprenticeship at Moulin de Mougins, France. As a very young man he began weaving his tapestry of culinary passion and is now renowned for his many culinary delights, specializing in Middle Eastern, Italian, French & Kosher Fine Dining Cuisine. He has attracted a diverse clientele for Andre’s Bouchee and is Chef de Cuisine in Carmel by the Sea, owned by Elizabeth Lemaire. Jacques expanded his culinary passion by developing specialty French kosher cuisine both in France and Israel. His ambition led him to the United States where he became Executive Chef at Le Deauville French Bistro in Lexington, Kentucky after a short stint in Las Vegas working as Executive Chef for Village Steakhouse. Elizabeth and Andres son, Stephane Lemaire brought Jacques to Andre’s Bouchee in 2009. Chef Jacques Zagouri prepares authentic French Bistro Cuisine with a California Coastal flair. The restaurant’s friendly atmosphere buzzes with excitement and energy that makes you feel you are dining in one of the small neighborhoods inside Paris.
Chef Kurt Grasing, Owner ~ Grasings
Kurt Grasing has worked in some of the finest restaurants in the world. His apprenticeship began at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, after which he refined his craft at ‘Narsai’s’ in Berkeley, first as a saucier and then as chef. Later he worked at the Pierre Hotel in New York as Executive Sous Chef. In the years that followed he was at the three star ‘La Gavroche’ in London and Four Seasons in Boston, then left to open ‘231 Ellsworth’ in San Mateo in 1986 which was soon considered one of the top restaurants in California.
In March of 1998 Kurt created ‘Grasing’s Coastal Cuisine’. In an impressive first year it received enthusiastic review and was voted “Best New Restaurant” and “Best Chef” by the readers of ‘Adventures in Dining Magazine’. More recently, Grasing’s has been featured in Bon Appétit Magazine’s Best of the Year issue, and was awarded Carmel Business Association’s “Business of the Year” award.
Chef Brad Briske ~ La Balena
Brad Briske is the chef at La Balena, one of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s newest and most premiere restaurants. As the chef he is responsible for locating the freshest, most local and nearly always organic ingredients that is then transformed into hand made cuisine. Bradford, La Balena and his recipes have been mentioned recently in the Edible Monterey, Monterey County Weekly and with Route 1 Farm. Before connecting with Anna and Emanuele Bartolini, Bradford was introduced to the local food community through Gabriella Café in Santa Cruz, after which he contributed to the opening of Main Street Garden in Soquel. After only being open for one month La Balena was voted the best new restaurant in Monterey County Weekly. Learning through experience since 2005 after graduating from the Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan, Bradford continues to make honest, wholesome loving hand prepared food as if you were family and sitting at his table. (Black & White Photo by Wink Photograph)
Tim Wood, Executive Chef ~ Carmel Valley Ranch
Tim Wood, Executive Chef at Carmel Valley Ranch, began his culinary career in the Catskills region of New York’s Hudson Valley. It was here amongst the area’s countless small family farms that Wood learned the importance of local seasonal ingredients – where they come from, how they are grown, and how to be creative with them. This early awareness of quality ingredients planted an initial seed of interest in a culinary career, which continued to sow when Wood enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York.
During a three-month cross-country culinary adventure in the spring of 2000, Wood connected with Chef Cal Stamenov at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, California, which grew into another key friendship and professional mentoring experience. Chefs Wood and Stamenov worked together, travelling to an array of national and international culinary events. It was during this period that Wood initially became inspired by the wines of the Central Coast, leading him to pursue sommelier certification.
Carmel Valley Ranch is nestled in the heart of California’s most fertile growing region. The area’s rich history of wine growing and sustainable, organic farming is reflected in Chef Wood’s fresh, natural and seasonal menus. Fresh seafood comes directly from the waters of the Monterey Coast. Many of the fruits and vegetables featured in Chef’s dishes are grown at the Ranch’s on-site organic garden, literally picked walking distance from his kitchen.
“The best thing about working in the Central Coast area is the ability to be so closely connected to local products and the people behind them,” says Wood when speaking about his overall philosophy. “When you know where your food is from and understand the care that the purveyors grant it, it is easy to extend your hand in friendship and consider them part of your family.”
Chef Jeffrey Weiss ~ Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar
Jeffrey Weiss is the chef of jeninni kitchen + wine bar in Pacific Grove, California.
Previously, he has cooked in New York, Washington DC, and internationally including spending time learning in the kitchens of James Beard award-winning chef José Andrés, April Bloomfield, and Spanish-based chefs Dani García and Adolfo Muñoz.
Chef Weiss is one of a select group of Americans to earn the prestigious ICEX culinary scholarship; an opportunity that allowed him to live in Spain, learn the regional cuisines, and cook in the kitchens of top Spanish chefs. His book, Charcutería: The Soul of Spain–released in March 2014 to critical acclaim– chronicles his time working in Spain and learning the various charcuterie traditions of the Iberian Peninsula.
Chef Weiss is a graduate of Mission College’s Hospitality School and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
Johnny De Vivo, Executive Chef ~ Porters in the Forest
My Name is Johnny De Vivo. I grew up in Southern California and moved to Utah at the age of 14. My family decided to open a restaurant when I was 17 and my life in the kitchen started from there. When I was a little boy my family would tell me how I used to help my grandfather cook in the kitchen. I guess I was born to be a chef.
My life as a chef started washing dishes in my mother and father’s restaurant. After a few months, my mother asked me if I would like to go to culinary school. I replied of course because I already knew I wanted to be a chef.
After three years of commuting from Utah to Las Vegas, NV to attend school (with my mom of all people), I decided to start staging. I remember I would stand in front of Picassos 2-3 times a week just to get my foot in the door. Finally my time had come and I was accepted. After a few months of staging, I decided to move to Las Vegas and work under a chef by the name of Jaques Van Staden. I was not aware of the caliber of chef I was now working under, but I was committed to learn everything I could. About six months went by, and Jaques decided to relocate to Alize on Top of The Palms. Soon after, I followed. After staging at Picassos for six months, I decided to work full time at Alize. Quickly moving up the ladder to sous chef, I was becoming very well rounded.
After four years in Las Vegas, I decided to move back to St. George, Utah and take over the family business. While training both front and back of the house on proper kitchen and serving techniques, the restaurant was on an upswing, food was great, service was up to par, and my plan was underway. While running and operating the restaurant, I was lucky enough to have been the private chef for Dr. Julius Erving (“Dr. J”) who became a close friend to my soon-to-be wife (of five years) and I.
My business partner and I decided to relocate the restaurant to a larger location in 2008; what a wild year that was! I decided to get married, have a baby, and open a new restaurant. Things were going great, the restaurant was busy, and the plan was moving forward. Unfortunately, the big housing crash hit in September of ’08, just about 3 weeks after opening my restaurant. It was a struggle, but like everyone I was scrambling to get by. Despite outstanding acknowledgement from the community and winning local awards, business was still getting slower. In 2010, after trying every angle to stay afloat, I was forced to close the doors. After 15 years of business, Scaldoni’s finally closed its doors.
Everything happens for a reason, I moved my family to Monterey, and started working for the Hyatt Regency Monterey. I enjoyed working for the company, but felt that my talents were not being utilized to their fullest potential. I found a great Executive Chef position located in Carmel, CA, running both Casanova and La Bicyclette Restaurants. I now have the opportunity to work with a top notch team and local organic ingredients, where creativity is flowing, and we seem to be making great strides in the culinary department. My wife teaches at All Saints private school in Carmel Valley, my son plays football for Pacific Grove High School and my little daughter appears to be growing a foot a day.
Jason Balestrieri, Executive Chef / Partner / General Manager ~ Cantinetta Luca
Jason Balestrieri is executive chef / partner of Cantinetta Luca, Carmel’s popular and bustling neighborhood trattoria. Appointed to the position in 2008, Balestrieri offers the pure flavors of authentic Italian food in a casual, modern setting. With deep familial roots in Southern Italian cuisine, Chef Balestrieri specializes in handmade pastas, wood-oven baked pizza, unique varieties of house-cured salumi, roasted whole fish and meats served family-style. In September 2011 Balestrieri launched the neighboring Salumeria Luca, a wonderfully authentic Italian deli and bakery offering high-quality imported and house-made items. In 2012 David Fink and Jason Balestrieri opened their concept for gourmet burger restaurant located in the Carmel Plaza.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Balestrieri was steeped in his Italian family’s deep culinary traditions. After receiving his Culinary Arts degree from the Milwaukee Area Technical College, Balestrieri worked at a Milwakaukee neighborhood cafe. before moving to highly regarded Pfister Hotel, where he trained as line and pantry cook.
The sunny skies of California beckoned, however, and Balestrieri moved to Los Angeles in 1993, accepting a position at Pinot Bistro under chef/founder Joachim Splichal and executive chef Octavio Beccera. Dedicating the next five years to Twin Palms in Pasadena, Balestrieri advanced from sous chef to chef de cuisine under chef/owner Michael Roberts, and finally to executive chef at the Twin Palms in Valencia.
In 2000, Jason’s association with Joachim Splichal evolved when he accepted a position as lead cook at Los Angeles’ acclaimed Patina. He was quickly promoted to sous chef for Splichal’s Cafe Pinot, and for three years worked as executive chef at Pinot Hollywood. Ultimately, Jason became executive chef at Splichal’s Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse, where he assumed complete responsibility for all kitchen operations of the 250-seat restaurant.
During his time with Splichal, Balestrieri was introduced to David Fink, a close friend of Splichal’s and owner of Cantinetta luca and L’Auberge Carmel. Balestrieri became executive chef at Cantinetta Luca in 2006, and partner two years later.
Chef Sam Bans ~ Treebones
Chef Sam Bans was born in Fiji Island spending his growing years in Fiji, New Zealand and California. International travel as a Fashion and Commercial photographer awakened his palate to the global delight of combining a variety of traditions and culture to his farm to table style. In 2001 Sam graduated from California Culinary Academy progressively managing kitchens in New York, Florida, the Bay area, Napa and Santa Barbra.
“My Passion for food was inspired by my mother’s love for cooking and my love for eating! Mom’s secret: ‘Always cook from your Heart and Soul and Always be Happy while cooking’. I incorporate mom’s motto into every culinary creation I prepare. Treebones offers a unique opportunity to unitize a plethora of fine edibles hand harvested from our coastal organic garden every morning. My culinary style is fused with California flair; fresh and local.
My greatest satisfaction from the culinary arts comes from the reciprocity of sharing great food. I receive great joy when I meet our guests who dine with us and when they share with me they enjoyed the best meal of their vacation it brings a smile to my soul and reaffirms why I Love what I do!”
Zohara Mapes, Chocolate Maker / R&D ~ TCHO Chocolates
Zohara’s passion for chocolate began as a young girl making French-style truffles. Her love for chocolate has led her on journeys through Mayan jungles and into labs with chocolate technologists. She started a confection company creating seasonal pairings highlighting the diversity of flavors inherent in cacao. Inspired to make chocolate from the source, she joined the Bean Team at TCHO and became a chocolate maker. She also travels and works with the TCHOSource program for coop development to provide training on sensory and quality analysis of fine cocoa.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Denver, Yontz began working in kitchens as a teenager, but attributes his first real love of food to his apprenticeship under his mentor, celebrity chef, author and self-proclaimed “Dean of Southwestern Cuisine,” Jimmy Schmidt (Chianti on Main, Chianti Tucson Grill, Rattlesnake Club). In Denver, Yontz worked with restaurateur Kevin Taylor at Palletes Restaurant and Café Z in the Denver Art Museum before expanding both his geographic and culinary horizons at Pranzo Italian Grill, a well-known celebrity hangout in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Moving from Italian to Southwestern cuisine, Yontz then worked with Chef Mark Miller at Santa Fe’s Coyote Café.
In 2001, Yontz ventured briefly to Houston where he served as corporate R&D chef for Pappas Restaurants, implementing award-winning themes and recipes in more than 70 locations before returning to Santa Fe as executive chef at Someone’s in the Kitchen, an upscale catering company. Yontz has achieved great success in the various markets in which he has served, garnering praise from regional associations and media, and culminating in an invitation to the prestigious James Beard House in 2002. Yontz recently returned to his native California to raise his family and serve as executive chef at Rio Grill where he hopes to crystallize his creative culinary vision.
Shiho Fukushima – Chef ~ Ocean Sushi
After graduating from the prestigious Tsuji Cooking Academy in Osaka, Japan Masayasu “Chris” Fukushima and wife Toshimi (custom bento specialist/nutritionist/cook) opened Ocean Sushi Deli in 1986 as a sushi take-out specialty shop and catering business. Chef Chris pioneered the concept of sushi in local grocery stores so we delivered fresh sushi for over two decades to most markets, a few schools and CHOMP every morning. Catering sushi for the Marriott, Carmel Valley Ranch, Spanish Bay, Portola Plaza and Monterey Plaza Hotel keeps us busy as well as our small casual cafe in downtown Monterey that offers over 200 authentic Japanese delicacies featuring housemade gyoza, teriyaki sauces, broths and dressings. Chef Chris works out of the Pacific Grove take-out location while
Toshimi and daughter Shiho run the Monterey location which also features the largest chilled sake selection in the area. Chef Chris is an avid ballroom dancer and local instructor, also a volunteer coach for York School on the side while Toshimi enjoys studying the art of tea ceremony and tennis as well. After a stint in the wine industry and IT Shiho moved back to her hometown after graduating from UCSB, teaching English in Japan on the JET Program, living in San Francisco, La Jolla and most recently Denver after realizing that food is her passion. Shiho is the GM and is a certified sake specialist, culinary concierge, food event coordinator and a freelance food contributor for the Monterey County Weekly Magazine. After recently discovering that she has severe gluten, soy and dairy allergies she started gluten free catering to help those with similar health issues. In August, she and her team participated at the 67th annual Monterey Obon Festival – an annual Japanese cultural summer festival where they ran a booth called “Gluten Free Shiho” and most likely the first gluten free food specialty vendor at an Obon festival in the world. On her spare time she enjoys hosting dinner parties and founded Make a Racket Foundation a non-profit. MARF’s vision is to provide underprivileged children life skills to succeed and thrive through the game of tennis. MARF will do this by providing necessary tennis equipment and mentorship to promote opportunities for their success. Monterey casual cafe deli, 165 Webster Street, Monterey, CA 93940, 831-645-9876. Pacific Grove take-out only, 2701 David Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 831-649-1320, www.oceansushi.com, www.racketfoundation.org, #glutenfreeshiho, www.shihointhecity.com
Chad Minton, Executive Chef ~ Hyatt Carmel Highlands
Chef Minton comes to Carmel with an outstanding record of culinary achievement, beginning with the Shoreline Grill at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas. He relocated to San Francisco where he worked at the Ritz-Carlton under Chef de Cuisine Gary Danko. At that property’s Terrace Room, Minton became intimately familiar with traditional French provincial techniques and cemented his undeniable passion for cooking. His talent earned him a promotion to the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and was elevated to Dining Room Sous Chef under Chef de Cuisine Olivier Gaupin. Later in his career Chef Minton would return to the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company at their Mobile Five Diamond Marina Del Rey property as Executive Chef earning him the distinction of the only cook in the company’s history to work his way up from Apprentice to Executive Chef. It was here that he achieved every chef’s lifetime goal of earning a Michelin Guide recommendation for his restaurant, Jerne.
Chef Minton’s first experience with Hyatt came as Chef de Cuisine at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. During his tenure there, he was a regular guest of Narsi David’s Cooking Classes at Macy’s Cellar, catered charity events in Napa Valley and San Francisco and conducted private dinners for the Pritzker family and Robert Mondavi. Chef Minton is also proud to have hosted an American Institute of Wine and Food gala dinner where he had the honor of meeting that organization’s esteemed co-founder Julia Child. Chef Minton then assisted in the re-opening of the Hyatt Regency Vancouver property following a twenty-million-dollar renovation in 2002, becoming the Chef de Cuisine at the newly created Mosaic Bar and Grill.
Chef Minton’s desire to return to Hyatt was met with a move to New York City as Executive Chef at the Andaz 5th Avenue, Hyatt Hotel’s ultra-chic, lifestyle boutique flagship property; recently named Travel & Leisure Magazine’s #1 New York business hotel and one of Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Top Ten Hotels in New York City.
Tony Baker, Executive Chef ~ Montrio Bistro
Chef Tony Baker started his career in England. Following graduation from culinary school in Bristol, Tony worked in several highly acclaimed restaurants around the country including: Hintlesham Hall and Lucknam Park Hotel, often cooking for both royalty and political figures.
In 1994 he made the move to the United States and has since then been a part of Monterey’s Downtown Dining Group, starting first at Rio Grill then moving to Montrio Bistro in 1997. Tony has been leading the team at Montrio ever since, serving up many trademark dishes. Montrio Bistro has become the go to restaurant in Monterey consistently winning ‘best restaurant in Monterey’ by local readers polls.
His consistent use of sustainable ingredients and local purveyors has earned him praise and acclaim on a national level. Chef Bakers awards and accolades are extensive from the United Fresh Produce Excellence award, American Culinary Federation’s “Celebrated” Chef of the Year award and many others.
The celebrated local Chef, local radio voice, and television personality with appearances among others on “View From the Bay”, “Bringing it Home”, “The Rosy Chu Show” and a national television endorsement for the “Ove Glove and Pogo Whisk” is doing his part to help elevate the nation’s culinary standards. Throughout the years, Tony has demonstrated his uncanny ability to bring people together for great food, good fun, and a good cause. Often offering up his talents for local causes and community events, Tony, with his dedication to organic and sustainable ingredients, is often regarded as the “Artichoke Chef” for his long-term relationship with grower Ocean Mist Farms, his ongoing online “Ask the Chef” series. www.ChefTonyBaker.com
Montrio Bistro Background: For 17 years, Montrio has celebrated the heritage and craftsmanship of the local purveyor. From seed to fork, Montrio’s ingredients have always changed with the season — as nature intended. Montrio and Chef Baker are proud to continue that focus with even more emphasis on the delicious and seasonal ingredients that come from our local farmers, ranchers and fishermen. www.montrio.com
Baker’s Bacon, Chef Baker founded his own brand of bacon in 2011 Baker’s Bacon. “I found a need for truly hand crafted British style dry cured farmhouse back bacon” After months of testing, he now makes three forms of his bacon and sells primarily to the foodservice industry in California, as well as via mail order at www.bakersbacon.com
“Feel good about what you eat”.
Jonathan Roberts – Culinary Mastermind ~ Pig Wizard
The PigWizard, a.k.a. Jonathan Roberts, is not easily biographied. There is not a list of notable restaurants, butchers, or jobs that make him look seriously committed to a life in the food industry. Nor does he have a culinary school degree, despite having taught at one, or even a high school diploma. His resume isn’t even all food related, having done a 3 year apprenticeship with a wildlife metal sculptor, 4 years as a part time cabinet maker, and a year with a blacksmith. In spite of all of that, food is a central theme in his life, and he finds ways to tie together all of his working and traveling experiences into delicious and inventive food. While he rarely opens cookbooks, but you can find scores of research papers on food science and nutrition stored in his laptop, and reads frequently about the history of food. An avid mushroom hunter, spearfisherman, roadside berry picker, and mid-night fruit forager, Jonathan refuses to go to the gym, but will climb mountains and brave icy currents if there is free food to be found. The name PigWizard came from one of his students while teaching a week of pork butchery and charcuterie at the now closed Culinary Center of Monterey in 2008. Jonathan liked the name so much he started putting it on labels of sausage that he sold to former customers of Monte Vista Market in Monterey, where he had worked on and off for 5 years learning the then-disappearing craft of whole animal butchery. With a fun name, the unforgettable logo, and delicious pork products, PigWizard quickly developed a cult following. Getting the product to the masses has had many challenges, due to the labyrinthine-like regulations of various state and federal agencies. So in May of 2012, PigWizard left the country, spending nine months in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Italy with his newlywed wife, to whom he proposed to at the end of BSF&W in 2011. It was a chance to recharge and refocus, as well as eat really well and learn some new techniques and recipes. Since returning in January, Jonathan and Nicole have been scouting for locations and opportunities to open a full butchershop and deli in the Monterey area.
Brandon Miller, Executive Chef ~ Mundaka
Brandon Chase Miller was born in San Francisco in 1964. He grew up on the waterfront and started his seafood experience in high school, cracking crabs at waterfront stands on Fisherman’s Wharf during summer vacations. At the age of 20, Miller began establishing his culinary career when he took over the oyster bar at Pacific Heights Bar & Grill in 1984. Not content with their setup, Miller spent a year redesigning the oyster bar and researching the best purveyors in town.
In 1985, Miller started in a pantry position at Fog City Diner. A year later, he was Cindy Pawlcyn’s sous chef, taking charge of everything from butchering to baking. Miller’s education in Italian cuisine began when, in 1987, he moved up to an executive sous chef position under Michael Chiarello at Tra Vigne in Napa Valley. Miller credits Chiarello as one of his primary mentors, saying “Before Tra Vigne, I’d create things off the cuff. But Michael taught me about true cuisine, traditional dishes, and food history.” During his three years at Tra Vigne, Miller’s talents were utilized again as he assisted in the original planning and setup of the kitchen.
In 1990, Miller left Tra Vigne to explore Europe. After creating the menu for a small Italian restaurant in Amsterdam, where he chefed for nine months, Miller spent three months with Georges Blanc, France’s famous proponent of nouvelle cuisine. He rounded out his European tour by simply traveling. “I finished up with a month of eating in Italy,” Miller says. “What an experience!” On his return to San Francisco, Miller worked as sous chef under Jan Birnbaum at Campton Place, where he cooked up American specialties such as beer-braised sausage and homemade red sauerkraut.
It was at LuLu Bis that Miller was first appointed as chef. There he combined his creative powers with geographical and historical food research to design a signature menu. “I worked solely with dishes from the cusp of the Northern Mediterranean, an area that runs from Spain through Southern France to Italy’s Ligurian coast.” Again at Paragon, a popular bar and grill in San Francisco, Miller was appointed executive chef where he created an innovative new menu that showcased his knowledge of local seafood as well as his diverse culinary expertise.
Miller’s twelve years of restaurant experience now culminate in a distinctive Country Mediterranean menu at Stokes Restaurant and Bar. “It’s wonderful to be in Monterey,” he said, “the history, the lifestyle and most of all, the available ingredients are a perfect match with how I want this restaurant to be.”
After 13 years at Stokes Restaurant and Bar as Executive Chef/Partner, Miller left at the end of 2008 to explore the foods of the Basque region in Spain. After month of travel and food exploration, Miller came back to Carmel and became the Executive Chef of Mundaka in Carmel – a Spanish tapas restaurant owned by Restaurateur Gabe Georis.
In his spare time, Miller is an avid fly fisherman and you can often find him combing the beach with his two French Bulldogs Geno and Lulu.
Chef Soerke Peters ~ Basil
Soerke Peters is an award-winning international Chef whose far-reaching experience includes everything from a mastery of cuisine to corporate managerial experience.
Chef Soerke Peters’born and raised in Germany always had an interest in cooking. He decided to become a chef at the age of five. He remembers cooking with his grandmother as a young boy, and followed this path his entire life to become a chef.
After his three year apprentice ship in Wilhelmshaven/ Germany he moved to Munich and worked at world class hotels and restaurant including a one and three Michelin Star rated restaurant.
In 1991 Chef Peters moved to New York City and immediately started working for Mr. Pino Loungo’s Toscorp, Inc., , an emerging company that, which included Coco Pazzo and Le Madre just to name a few.
Chef Peters’ timing could not have been better, and he fell in love with Italian cuisine. He learned the simplicity of Italian food and worked his way up from Line-Cook to Corporate Chef overseeing 16 restaurants nationwide.
In 2001 he decided to open his first restaurant called Meritage in Manhattan. An all American concept using only local ingredients including wine and liquor.Unfortunately due to the 9/11 event he decided to close before he opened. It was too risky since there was no business he says.
In October of 2001 Chef Peters decided to move to Los Angeles, the new “Hot Spot” for great and creative restaurant concepts. While mastering Northern-Italian cuisine at Ca’del Sole in Los Angeles Chef Peters opened Froma on Melrose in West Hollywood. He was also the Executive Chef at the Sunset Restaurant in Malibu before taking the opportunity to move to Carmel by the Sea and taking over Basil Seasonal Dining with his long friend and business partner Denis Boaro.
Chef Peters’ passion for Farm to Table food and being sustainably responsible made Basil the first Certified Green Restaurant in the Monterey County.
Michael Goodloe, Executive Chef ~ Hog’s Breath Inn
Upon graduating culinary school in 2005 from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California he landed jobs at various top rated resorts, private clubs, and other restaurants throughout southern California. He spent years of training under Michelin Star achieving chef Gianluca Re Fraschini and two time 5 Mobile Star achieving chef Jean Pierre Dubray at the exclusive The Resort at Pelican Hill in their signature restaurant Andrea. Also along the he has teamed up doing food and wine pairings with Master Sommelier Steven Poe at Big Canyon Country Club.
Leaving the Los Angeles area food scene he arrived to Carmel to revamp the Hog’s Breath Inn as Executive Chef and General Manager. So far he is in loving the experience here and looks forward to the future here on the central coast of California.
Elena Salsedo-Steele, Executive Chef / Owner ~ Sweet Elena’s
I opened Sweet Elena’s in 1992 in Sand City. Prior to opening Sweet Elena’s, I worked at Ventana in Big Sur as a pastry chef for fourteen years. Mentored by Chef Albert Kumin of the International Pastry Art Center and Cornelius Van Peski of Carmel, my love for culinary arts grew.
Born and raised in North Africa and France, with an Italian Mediterranean background, food was always an important part of our lives. My father was a winemaker and ran a vineyard in Tunisia and later in France. My mother was a “gourmande” and bought our food daily at the local farmer’s market. We had big family reunions and spent a lot of time cooking such foods as grillades (grilled meats and vegetables), couscous (a North African dish), homemade pasta and ravioli.
Sweet Elena’s is an artisan bakery, where everything is made from scratch, reminiscent of home country cooking, using fresh and local ingredients.
The farmer’s market with its seasonal variety of products has been a great source of inspiration for my cooking: Fruit pies and tarts (Meyer lemon, cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot); vegetable, chicken & chard, spinach & mushroom galettes; quiches. Our delicious granola, made w Amen Bee honey, crisp biscotti w anise, and our star cookie filled w raspberry jam have a big following.
When Sand City initiated the local arts festival, Sweet Elena’s started a tradition of showcasing local artists. A cozy gathering place, great art, and delicious food.
Graham Gaspard, CEO ~ Black River Caviar
Black River Caviar is produced on the Rio Negro in Uruguay by the Alcalde family who in the early 90’s were the first to aquaculture sturgeon in the Southern Hemisphere. By sourcing the finest genetics in the world and passionately honing the art of caviar production we are now the source for some of the finest caviar in the world.
Tod Champagne ~ Happy Girl Kitchen Co.
Todd Fisher, Executive Chef ~ Tarpy’s Roadhouse
Stand side-by-side with Chef Todd Fisher and you will see a creative giant in red clogs who takes a practical approach to cooking magnificent food. Bold American cuisine, anchored in a casual style with sophisticated techniques, defines Chef Todd’s distinctive dining experiences. With more than 20 years as a food lover, chef & dynamic host, Chef Todd’s exuberance and passion for all things delicious has always made him a fan favorite at local events, festivals and culinary gatherings around the country.
A San Francisco native, Fisher has always called California home and after moving to the Monterey peninsula in 1992, Fisher decided to put down roots and build his career here. Over the last two decades Chef Todd has held several prestigious kitchen posts around the Monterey peninsula, orchestrated lively culinary collaborations, pioneered farm to table dining and traveled the country as the Celebrated Host of “The United States of Bacon” on Discovery Networks. Always looking for ways to immerse himself in the local culinary culture, Chef Todd has taken to the airwaves as the host of the “All American Carnivore” on KRML radio.
In April of 2014, Chef Todd assumed the reins of the Historic Monterey Landmark Tarpy’s Roadhouse, where his youthful energy and reengineered classics has proven to be a perfect marriage of exceptional service, sensational food and a stunning setting.
Considering all of his professional accomplishments, Fisher’s most prestigious titles are Husband and Father as he shares his life here on Monterey peninsula with his wife Ada and 5 amazing children. In the words of Chef Todd, “Live life like you mean it, every day!”
Chef Dory Ford / CEO ~ AQUA TERRA Culinary
Dory’s passion for food has consistently received numerous accolades. His abundant culinary experiences have given him the opportunity to further develop his passion for fresh, seasonal food – made with the sustainable and organic ingredients which continue to inspire his work as owner and head chef of AQUA TERRA Culinary.
Bio’s Coming Soon!
Jerry Regester, Executive Chef ~ Santa Luca Preserve
Chef Anjan Mitra, Owner ~ Dosa Located in San Francisco
Click here to see 2013 Participating Chefs