Named "Outstanding Chef" by the James Beard Foundation in 2011, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, educator, television personality and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. TFG is the team responsible for renowned dining concepts in Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami, including minibar by josé andrés, Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills.
In late 2012, Andrés will present his first dining destination outside the US, in Puerto Rico at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Recently, Andrés was recognized by Time Magazine on the "Time 100" list of most influential people in the world.
Often considered an unofficial Ambassador of Spain, he is the new Dean of the Spanish Studies program of the International Culinary Center, the first program of its kind to be offered in the United States. Andrés can be seen on PBS as host and executive producer of Made in Spain. His cookbooks include Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen and Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America.
His native Spain awarded him the prestigious Order of Arts and Letters medallion in 2010, making him the first chef to receive this recognition. Also known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy, Andrés is a sought after speaker on issues including hunger, food security, nutrition education and childhood obesity.
After traveling to post-earthquake Haiti, he launched World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world. He is a long time supporter and Chairman Emeritus of DC Central Kitchen in Washington. Recently José was called upon to serve as a member of the board of directors of the Foundation for the National Archives. Andrés also teaches at Harvard as part of the course "Science and Cooking."
In 1999, Anthony Bourdain was the chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York City when The New Yorker published his edgy article, Don't Eat Before Reading This, about the seamier side of New York's restaurant kitchens, to incredible reviews. A full-length book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, soon followed, and his life hasn't been the same since.
Within a couple of years, Bourdain made his TV debut on the Food Network with A Cook's Tour, a 22-episode series featuring Bourdain circling the globe and feeding his adventure eating (and drinking) habit with the most extreme cuisine the world had to offer. His current Emmy Award-winning show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, is now in its eighth season on the Travel Channel. The second season of his other travel-based show, The Layover, will soon begin its second season. Bourdain and his team from Zero Point Zero Production will debut a new show on CNN in 2013.
He is the author of eleven books, including food/travel essays, mystery novels, a cookbook, an "urban historical" on Typhoid Mary and, most recently, Get Jiro! a graphic novel about ultra-violent sushi chefs, co-authored with Joel Rose. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit, Maxim, Observer, and the Face. He is an ongoing contributor and authority for Food Arts magazine.
Born in 1956, Bourdain attended Vassar College and graduated from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in 1978. For the next 20 years, he worked in, and then began running, kitchens in New York restaurants such as Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue, and Sullivan's. He remains Honorary Chef-at-Large for Brasserie Les Halles.
Bourdain and his wife Ottavia live in New York with their five-year-old daughter Ariane.
Emmy nominated Padma Lakshmi is known internationally as an actress, food expert, model and award-winning author. Lakshmi is currently filming her ninth season as host of Bravo's Emmy award winning "Top Chef."
In 2009, Lakshmi co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America alongside world renowned advanced gynecological surgeon Tamer Seckin, MD. After suffering from the disease for decades herself, she has been able to make amazing strides with the Foundation such as launching the first interdisciplinary research facility in the country for Gynopathology as a joint project between Harvard Medical School and MIT, where she gave the keynote address at the Center's opening in December 2009.
In addition to these current projects, Lakshmi is a savvy businesswoman with two companies of her own. The first is her fine jewelry collection, The Padma Collection, which is sold at many fine retailers nationwide. Secondly, she has created Easy Exotic, a collection of culinary products including fine teas and teapots; high-quality natural spice blends, roasting rubs and sea salts; as well as hard goods.
Lakshmi established herself as a food expert early on in her career, having hosted two successful cooking shows and writing a best-selling cookbook Easy Exotic, for which she won the International Versailles Event for best cookbook by a first time writer. Lakshmi followed this success with the publication of her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet, released by Weinstein Books which has over 150 recipes from around the world alongside intriguing personal memoirs.
For The Food Network, Lakshmi hosted Padma's Passport where she cooked diverse cuisine from around the world. Lakshmi has also hosted "Planet Food," a documentary series broadcast on The Food Network and worldwide on the Discovery Channel. She journeyed to countries such as Spain and India. Lakshmi is Emmy nominated for her role as host and judge on Bravo's Top Chef which has recently been awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition Show.
On the screen, Lakshmi was last seen with Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott in Paul Mayeda Berges' newest film Mistress of Spices. She then played Princess Bithia in ABC's much anticipated mini-series The Ten Commandments alongside Naveen Andrews (Lost), Omar Sharif and Dougray Scott. Lakshmi also recently starred in BBC America's Sharpe's Challenge opposite Sean Bean.
Carla Hall is a co-host of ABC Daytime's lifestyle series, "The Chew," seated alongside restaurateurs and Iron Chef America stars Mario Batali and Michael Symon, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly and health and wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz.
Hall is best known as a competitor on Bravo's Top Chef, where she won over audiences with her fun catch phrase "Hootie Hoo" and philosophy to always cook with love.
Hall is the owner of Alchemy by Carla Hall, an artisan cookie company that specializes in creating sweet and savory "petite bites of love." Hall's approach to cooking blends together her classic French training and Southern upbringing for a twist on traditional favorites. Hall is committed to health and balance in everyday living.
A native of Nashville, TN, Hall received a degree in Accounting from Howard University, but traveling through Europe awakened her passion for food, and inspired a new career path. Hall attended L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland where she completed her culinary training, going on to work as a Sous Chef at the Henley Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. She also served as Executive Chef at both The State Plaza Hotel and The Washington Club and has taught classes at CulinAerie and her alma mater L'Academie de Cuisine.
Hall is a true believer that, "If you're not in a good mood, the only thing you should make is a reservation."
Hall lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Matthew Lyons and stepson Noah.
Andrew Zimmern is a James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer, teacher and is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the creator, host and co-executive producer of Travel Channel's hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World, and his new series, Bizarre Foods America, he travels the globe, exploring food in its own terroir. From world class restaurants to street carts and jungle markets, it's all about discovering and sharing the authentic experience as a way to interpret the way we live our lives so we can make better choices for our future.
In May 2012, Zimmern won the prestigious James Beard Award for "Best Television Program On Location." He previously won a Beard Award for "Best TV Food Personality" in 2010. His MSN.com web-series, Toyota's Appetite for Life, received an Effie in 2010. Bizarre Foods also took home two CableFax awards in 2009, one for "Best Television Program: Food," another for "Best Online Extras" for Andrew's Travel Channel web-series, Bizarre Foods in the Kitchen.
Zimmern is a contributing editor at Food & Wine magazine, an award-winning monthly columnist at Mpls-St. Paul Magazine and a senior editor at Delta's Sky magazine. As a freelance journalist, his work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. Andrew is the author of The Bizarre Truth, and Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World of Food published by Broadway Books/Random House. Feiwel & Friends is publishing Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Food in the fall of 2012.
Andrew has served as a corporate and product spokesperson for Target, Cascal, Pepto Bismol, Toyota, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble, and Travel Leaders. Recently, Zimmern joined Babson College as Entrepreneur in Residence at the Lewis School through the spring of 2013. He is also a board member of Services for the Underserved in New York City.
He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Rishia, son Noah and several un-eaten pets.
Winner of the James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic 1999", Jeffrey Buben is the chef and owner of two prestigious restaurants in Washington, D.C., Vidalia and Bistro Bis. Acknowledged by Bon Appétit as one of the "Best New Restaurants of 1993," Vidalia has garnered both local and national recognition with its regional American cooking delivered with Southern hospitality.
Renovated in the summer of 2003, Vidalia has consistently been awarded three stars since October 2003 from The Washington Post food critic, Tom Sietsema and top honors by Washingtonian Magazine's "Top 100" list since 1994. Vidalia has also been the recipient of the prestigious DiRona award by the Distinguished Restaurants of North America each year since 1996.
The restaurant's wine program has received the Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence" and the Wine Enthusiast's "Award of Distinction". America Online users named Vidalia as the number one restaurant in the "City's Best Restaurants." Vidalia was inducted into Nation's Restaurant News' prestigious Fine Dining Hall of Fame in 2008
The fall of 1998 heralded the arrival of Buben's second restaurant, Bistro Bis located at the Hotel George on Capitol Hill. Bis features creative contemporary French bistro cooking with updated renditions of classic fare. Bis was voted one of "Washington's Best New Restaurants to Watch" by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. Washingtonian's "Top 100" in 2007 listed Bistro Bis in the top third of the city and the restaurant has been included in the magazine's "Top 100 Restaurants" since 2002.
The Washington Post has recognized Bis in numerous years as a top dining destination and applauded for the "best onion soup" in the area. Nominated by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington for "Restaurant Power Spot," Bis continues to be the place "Where Capitol Hill Dines." The Mobil Travel Guide, AOL City's Best consistently rank Bistro Bis in the top tier as "Best Hot Spot Restaurant" and as a "Power Lunch Destination. Bis has been featured on the Travel Channel as a top restaurant destination in Washington, D.C.
Jeffrey Buben is a 1978 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and has served on the school's alumni board of directors. With over 20 years in the industry, he has worked in such notable restaurants as The Sign of the Dove, Le Cygne and Le Chantilly in New York and at several distinguished hotels including The Four Seasons, The Mayflower and The Hotel Pierre. Voted "Chef of the Year" in 1996 by The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, Jeff continues to work tirelessly to contribute to many different charitable organizations including Share Our Strength, Food & Friends and the Wine Advocate Fund for Philanthropy.
Jeffrey is a partner with his wife Sallie in the Fully-Baked Restaurant Group, which owns and manages Vidalia Restaurant and Bistro Bis in Washington, D.C.
Growing up in Torino, Italy, Chef Enzo learned to love cooking via his mother's example at a very early age and has never stopped. At fourteen, he enrolled in The Professional Culinary Institute in Turin, Italy and finished at the top of his class. In 1986, after having worked in numerous restaurants, fate would play a hand in his future: though only seventeen, the chef packed his bags and became the first head chef at the Little Italy Gourmet in San Diego California. A few months later, he joined Galileo restaurant as head chef in Washington, D.C. and ran a four star kitchen.
Between then and now, Enzo has earned success and respect in the culinary world while working and owning numerous and successful Washington DC restaurants such as Donna Adele, the Radicchio restaurant chain, the acclaimed fine dining Barolo on Capitol Hill, the Italian tapas restaurant concept Atrium in West Palm Beach, Florida and working as Executive Chef/Consultant at Teatro Goldoni restaurant.
Throughout the years he has earned two nominations for The Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington; won a few national awards and was recognized by magazines and newspapers across the country for his authenticity and for his approach to modern Italian cooking as well as his playful inventiveness.
With unflagging energy, Chef Fargione still finds time to teach cooking classes where he passes on his personalized vision of modern cooking as well as attending and supporting local charity events with his fellow chefs. Chef Enzo is an active and proud member of the James Beard Foundation where he regularly cooks and appears in its kitchen in New York City.
Nationally renowned chef and restaurateur Guillermo Pernot joined Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar as the top toque in 2006. As Concept Chef, Pernot is responsible for maintaining the quality, taste and authenticity of Cuba Libre's cuisine at all locations as the company expands its concept across America. His dinner, lunch and brunch menus envision what Cuba's cuisine would be like today, if it had continued to flourish beyond the golden era of the 1950s. Pernot's dishes are full of color, aroma and style.
Pernot is credited for introducing Nuevo Latino cuisine to Philadelphia. His restaurant ¡Pasión! earned an impressive list of accolades including awards from Gourmet, Philadelphia Magazine and Fodor's. Pernot was named Esquire's "Chef of the Year". Additionally, he received two of the most prestigious awards given in the food industry: The James Beard Award for "Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region" and "Best Single Subject Cookbook" for Ceviche: Seafood, Salads and Cocktails with a Latino Twist.
Pernot's background also includes the launch of Vega Grill, during which Food & Wine named him one of "America's Ten Best New Chefs," and Restaurant Hospitality named him one of the "Ten Rising Stars." He also spent time in Miami, where he led the kitchen at Gloria Estefan's Latin restaurant, Allioli in South Beach.
Pernot's culinary success can been attributed to his passionate and flavorful cuisine – a culinary dedication to his roots. Born in Argentina, Pernot and his wife, who is Cuban and whose great, great grandfather was a former President of Cuba, live in suburban Philadelphia with their two children. "I love the idea of leading Cuba Libre's expansion," Pernot says. "I am able to use my experience and culinary skills to mentor young chefs, manage multiple outlets and foster the future growth of the Cuba Libre concept."
Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but Adam Sobel ended up just fine. "Every experience I've had has been important to shaping my own style," says the Executive Chef of Bourbon Steak, the Michael Mina-backed dining experience at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC.
"What I've taken from each chef I've worked with has defined what I do and gotten me where I am now." At Bourbon Steak, Sobel is dazzling DC's ravenous power set with the pick of local products fashioned into creative twists on classic steakhouse fare.
In 2012, Bourbon Steak won the award for "Best Fine Dining Restaurant" from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan DC. Under Adam's leadership, the restaurant has been featured in notable publications including Esquire, The Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine. How he got there was by soaking up culinary smarts from a string of what might be called "big concept" chefs. From Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas, for instance, he learned the significance of seasonality.
From Charlie Trotter in Chicago, he picked up attention to detail. With Gunter Seeger in Atlanta, he studied refinement and technique. Under Guy Savoy in Vegas he learned to cook to guests' needs. And Rick Moonen at RM Seafood in Vegas opened his eyes to the importance of sustainability.
"I apply all that learning to what I do everyday." That takes a special touch in DC, where people really enjoy going out and are hungry to try new things – on or off the menu. To that end, Sobel is pushing the artisan aspect of Bourbon Steak.
"It fits the theme of the restaurant," he continues, noting that Bourbon Steak's offerings of lamb, pork, goat and lighter fish dishes stand alongside rather than behind the expected beef. "We're also putting a lot of emphasis on vegetables and making sure dishes are balanced with less butter and a little more acid." Sobel counts himself particularly fortunate to be able to utilize the Hotel's herb and vegetable garden, which occupies 500 square feet (46 square meters) along the CO Canal towpath.
"Every day at 5:00 pm, I head out with a bowl of ice water and an herb clipper. It's serenity." Sobel has had a knack for good fortune throughout his career, which began in earnest at a vocational high school for the culinary arts on Long Island. "I knew within three days this was what I wanted to do," he recalls.
While most future chefs count themselves lucky to get a gig washing dishes at age 16, Sobel's instructors recognized his desire and hooked him into wonderful opportunities to learn and grow. Everything came together at the Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, New York, where training in the classical European tradition had him hands-on at everything from ice carving to shucking 500 clams a day. It was great preparation for the star-studded restaurant path that lay ahead – as well as for the adventurous palates of DC. "I'm enjoying the demographics here because people have such high expectations. That puts a lot of pressure on me. But that's what it's all about."