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Chefs & More

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Dinner

Antonia Lofaso

Chef Antonia Lofaso is the Executive Chef and Owner of three acclaimed Los Angeles restaurants: Black Market Liquor Bar, Scopa Italian Roots, and DAM. Each of her restaurants combine deep-rooted, personal culinary traditions with the influence of her globetrotting adventures and formal French training. Antonia is widely recognized for her role as host of Food Network's Beachside Brawl and The Julia Child Challenge, as well as Bravo’s Top Chef and CNBC’s Restaurant Startup.  

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Dinner

Nicolas López

Chef Nicolas (Nico) López oversees all culinary operations at Mercado Little Spain, Chef José Andrés’ outpost in NYC, a 35,000-square-foot Spanish food hall. Since opening, Mercado Little Spain has been recognized by The New York Times as the Best New Restaurant in 2019 and included in their list of 100 Best Restaurants in 2022. Chef Nico oversaw the creation of meals provided for World Central Kitchen to feed those facing food insecurity during the pandemic, and was named to Nation Restaurant News’ Power List for this extraordinary work.

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Dessert Reception

 Food Education Fund

Based in NYC, Food Education Fund is a not-for-profit organization on a mission to prepare, impact, and empower high school students through experiential learning in hospitality. FEF provides a comprehensive suite of programs, providing students with access to invaluable opportunities and hands-on experiences to enhance their economic and social mobility and allow them to cultivate sustainable careers.

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Wine Director

Bernie Sun

Based in New York, Bernard Sun oversaw the beverage programs for all of Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants globally, from Shanghai to Paris for 10 years. Bernard is the recipient of the 2010 James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Wine Service Award for Restaurant Jean-Georges. His wine knowledge and palate are the result of years of study and work in New York’s top restaurants including Lespinaase, Le Cirque2000 and Montrachet. He currently holds a position as Luxury Accounts Manager for Kobrand Corporation.

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Dinner

Junghyun “JP” Park

Junghyun ‘JP’ Park is the owner and executive chef of Atoboy, Atomix, NARO, and Seoul Salon (collectively NA:EUN Hospitality) in NYC. Chef Junghyun Park was named a “Rising Star” by StarChefs (2016), “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine (2019), and the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: NY State” in 2023."

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Guest Speaker

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has lent her expertise as a permanent judge on BRAVO’s Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series Top Chef. Gail has published two books: Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater (2012) and Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating (2017).

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Dessert Reception

Gautier Coiffard

Gautier moved from France to NYC in 2012. He met Ashley in 2016 and the two have been inseparable since. The only thing missing in his life was good bread. That is until he started baking. With a background in engineering, he perfected his recipes down to a science. L'Appartement 4F began in their small Brooklyn apartment. Through lots of trial, error, and butter, they curated a menu that brings France to NYC. They opened a brick and mortar in Brooklyn Heights in May of 2022. Each croissant is still rolled by hand!

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Spirit Ambassador

Vance Henderson

Vance Henderson is the U.S. National Brand Ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin, the deliciously super premium gin for which he travels the globe inspiring bartenders, consumers, and spirits enthusiasts alike to bring its refreshing and curious world to life. A veteran of both the front and back of the house, Vance also a gifted and versatile bartender has won several “best of” cocktail awards and competitions and has been featured in many national publications. He won the 2020 Bar & Restaurant Award for Brand Ambassador of the Year and won the 2023 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best U.S. Brand Ambassador.

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Dinner

Brooke Williamson

In addition to being the Chef and Co-Owner of Playa Provisions in Los Angeles, Brooke is also recognized for being the champion of Top Chef Season 14 win, for her role as West Coast team captain on Food Network's Beachside Brawl, and most recently, as one of the formidable titans on Bobby's Triple Threat. She can also be found at nationwide festivals, including Coachella, The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Bottlerock Napa, and beyond; or participating in philanthropic efforts with No Kid Hungry.

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Dessert Reception

Eunji Lee

Pastry chef Eunji Lee was born in South Korea and fulfilled a lifelong dream of studying pastry arts when she moved to France in 2006. Following pastry school, Eunji spent three years in Ze Kitchen Galerie and then trained under Alain Ducasse and Cedric Grolet at Le Meurice for four years. In 2016, she became the Executive Pastry Chef of Jungsik, the two Michelin star Korean restaurant in NYC, before leaving to open her own pastry boutique, Lysée in 2022. Eunji was named one of La Liste’s Pastry Talents of 2023 an Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2023.

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Auctioneer

Lydia Fenet

Lydia served as the Global Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships for Christie’s and has single handedly raised over one billion dollars for over 800 organizations. Lydia is the author of two best-selling books, The Most Powerful Woman in the Room Is You and Claim Your Confidence, with a corresponding podcast.

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Spirit Ambassador

Ben Wald

Ben Wald is the New York Portfolio Manager for Bond & Royal, a joint division of Sazerac and 375 Park Avenue Spirits. He oversees the New York market for the largest craft spirits portfolio in America. Before joining Sazerac, Ben was a bar consultant specializing on openings and operations management of high-end spirits programs. He was part of the opening bar team of Silver Lyan in Washington DC, which won Beat New Cocktail Bar in the US from the Spirited Awards in 2020. Ben has his WSET Spirits Level 2 certification with merit and the T Award from the CRT, the division of the Mexican Government charged with certifying tequila production. 

GUEST SOMMELIERS

Bernie Sun

Event Wine Director

Carrie Lyn Strong

Founder, Strong Wine Consulting
 

Dominick Purnomo

Owner/ Wine Director, Yono’s, dp An American Brasserie, Day Line and James Newbury Hotel

Tanya Raisz Porcelli

Wine Representative, Worldwide Wines 

Irene Justiniani

Wine Director, Pastis

Travis Padilla

Sommelier, Wine and Hip-hop

Denise Prykanowski

Wine Director, Local Eatery & Bar

Robin Kelley O'Connor

RKO Vine, Global Wine Specialist, Sommelier, Educator

Erin Healy

Chef Somm, Restaurant Daniel

Robin Wright

Wine Director, Café Carmellini

Hanna Krilov

Head Sommelier, Koloman

Kristina Schiro

General Manager, Verve Wine and Argot Chicago 

Natalie Grindstaff

Director of Beverage Programs, Crafted Hospitality

Charles Puglia

Managing Partner, Blacksmith Wine

Paul Schermerhorn

Wine Director, The Mark by JG

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