Chefs & More

Hors d'Oeuvres


Jamie Bissonnette is the James Beard Award-winning chef and partner of Boston favorites Toro, a Barcelona-style tapas bar, and sister restaurant Coppa, an Italian enoteca, in the South End. Bissonnette was awarded the inaugural People’s Choice: Best New Chef award by Food & Wine magazine. In 2014, he was honored with the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Northeast. In 2016, Bissonnette, alongside chef partner Ken Oringer opened Little Donkey, in Cambridge, MA, and a second location of the eclectic spot opened in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019.



Chef Greg Baxtrom has spent the past decade working in some of the world's most exciting kitchens, including Alinea, Per Se, Atera, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Lysverket in Norway. In 2016, Baxtrom opened his first solo project, Olmsted, in the heart of Brooklyn near Prospect Park. At this neighborhood restaurant, Baxtrom pulls from his experience and training, and his respect for agriculture, to create a vegetable-heavy menu which is inspired by nature’s bounty, even--and especially--in the heart of Brooklyn. In 2019, Greg opened his second restaurant Maison Yaki, where he combines his two favorite cuisines, French and yakitori, and in December 2021, he opened his third project, Evi's Backerei, an all-day bakery and cafe.

Keynote Speaker


Jacques Torres, known as "Mr. Chocolate," is the authority on all things related to this confectionery delight. Through his early years as a pastry chef, Jacques developed a deep affinity and passion for chocolate. Raised in France, Jacques fulfilled his American dream in 2000 with the opening of his first chocolate factory, Jacques Torres Chocolate in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Jacques was a pioneer—the first artisan chocolatier to start from cocoa beans to make his own chocolate. Jacques prides himself on specializing in fresh, hand-crafted chocolates using premium ingredients free of preservatives and artificial flavors.


Master Jamón Carver


Born in Barcelona, Carlos Sánchez is a unique artist. He is considered one of the best Spanish ham carvers in the world. Pushed by his curiosity and love of jamón, Carlos perfected a new jamón carving technique called “La mini tapa,” a cut in which the ham carving master creates a spiral that culminates in a completely unique look and feel. Over the years, Carlos has been able to showcase his talent serving both the Spanish and English Royal families, in addition to carving at notable luxury events, including Michelin Star galas and F1 events, as well as being the first Spanish Ham Carver to be inside an Oscars Gala. Carlos is joining us on behalf of ThinkFoodGroup, and we thank Chef José Andrés for his generous contribution.

Spirit Ambassador


Vance Henderson is the U.S. National Brand Ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin, the deliciously super premium gin for which he travels the country inspiring bartenders, consumers, and spirits enthusiasts alike to bring the unusual and curious world of Hendrick’s Gin to life. Vance also served as a U.S. Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder and Drambuie. A gifted and versatile bartender, Vance has won several “best of” cocktail awards and competitions and has been featured in numerous national publications.

Hors d'Oeuvres


Ken Oringer is one of Boston's most notable chefs. A James Beard Award-winner, Oringer has built an empire of restaurants inspired by his travels around the world: Tsukiji Fish Market-style Uni sashimi bar and Italian enoteca Coppa in Boston; as well as Barcelona tapas bar Toro in Boston, NYC, and Dubai; and the culmination of his travels is available on the menu at the Cambridge, MA location of Little Donkey, now featuring an all natural, minimal intervention, and small producer focused wine list; Little Donkey opened an outpost in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019..



Celebrated chef Elizabeth Falkner was born in San Francisco, grew up in Los Angeles and moved and worked her way up in kitchens in San Francisco in the 1990s and owned and ran several restaurants through 2014. Today she does recipe development and consults for numerous products and brands through her company, ChEF Productions. She is currently working on defining culturally diverse cuisines with Yale Hospitality. She speaks and emcees events around the country focused on food waste issues, health and wellness, and with an emphasis on creativity and sustainability. She relentlessly cooks for charity events and food festivals all over. Falkner does both savory and sweet, traditional and modern.

Dessert Reception


Katzie Guy-Hamilton is dedicated to inspiring others to embrace real food as a means to thrive: saving room for joy, celebration, and dessert. As a top ten Pastry Chef, Certified Health Coach, Food and Beverage Director, and Author, Katzie is redefining healthy eating.  Her first book, Clean Enough: Get Back to Basics and Leave Room for Dessert, delivers on this sustainable approach. She has made joy edible with the launch of the luxury gifting company: Cassata Bakery. 

Wine Director


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. Sun also made wine in Napa, Bergerac and the Willamette Valley under his III Somms label. He currently holds a position as Luxury Accounts Manager for Kobrand Corporation.

Spirit Ambassador


Paul Kim (PK) is the NYC Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve. Woodford Reserve is the distillery that is constantly innovating, while honoring history, in the production of their family of super premium American whiskies. Growing up in his family’s restaurant in Chicago, PK is a lifetime hospitality professional. He has worked in coffee, bars, restaurants, and was a professional brewer for some of the finest craft breweries in America. His knowledge and experience led to participation in highly regarded cocktail conferences such as Tales of the Cocktail, San Antonio Cocktail Conference, Tampa Bay Repeal Day Conference, and Camp Runamok to name a few. He’s proud to share his passion, dedication, and knowledge of Woodford Reserve to the best city in the world, New York, New York.



JJ Johnson is a James Beard Award-winning chef best known for his barrier-breaking cuisine connecting the foodways of West Africa and Asia to the Americas. JJ opened FIELDTRIP, a quick-casual rice bowl shop with locations in Harlem, Rockefeller Center, and Long Island City, that highlights rice traditions from around the world with globally-inspired flavors. JJ is a television host on "Just Eats with Chef JJ" on TV One’s network Cleo TV. Chef JJ published his award-winning first cookbook, Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day in 2018.



Taku Sato received culinary training in Japanese cuisine at various notable restaurants in Japan prior to joining the Nobu Fifty Seven team in 2005. Distinguished for his adroit dedication and appreciation for the intricacies of sushi-making, he was promoted in 2012 to Executive Sushi Chef of Nobu Fifty Seven. He currently oversees a staff of 20 chefs, as well as sushi bar operations. During his spare time, Chef Taku also contributes to culinary events. Most recently, he has participated at the Taste of the NFL as the NY Jets Chef, the DeGustibus Cooking School and Serve the Underserved as a guest chef, and the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, leading a Sakai Knife demonstration.

Dessert Reception


Raised in a hospitality industry family that frequently travelled to Rome, Hallie has had a lifelong love of ice cream and the joy it brings. Following stints cooking in southern Italy and at the Rome Sustainable Food Project, the idea for Caffè Panna was first born when Hallie began selling her ice cream at a weekly popup in the South Bronx. She ran the popup while serving with City Year, a local program that deploys AmeriCorps members to provide academic and social emotional support in under-resourced New York City public schools. 

Cocktail Curator


James Beard Award-winner Dale DeGroff developed his extraordinary techniques and talent tending bar, most notably at New York’s famous Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating the great, classic cocktails. Dale has since been credited with reinventing the bartending profession and setting off a cocktail revival. He is author of The Essential Cocktail, The Craft of the Cocktail, and The New Craft of the Cocktail. He is also a partner in the award-winning bar training program, Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) and founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.



Guest Sommeliers

John Canvin

Wine Director, Ai Fiori

André Compeyre

Chef Sommelier/Manager, Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

John Jansma

Sommelier, Per Se

Irene Justiniani 

Wine Director, Pastis

Dylan Lyon

Beverage Manager, Nobu Fifty Seven


Travis Padilla

Sommelier, Terroir Tribeca

Tanya Raisz Porcelli

Wine Representative, Worldwide Wines 

Denise Prykanowski

Beverage Director, City Winery


Dominick Purnomo

Owner/Wine Director, Yono’s  | dp An American Brasserie

Kristina Schiro


Carrie Lyn Strong

Sommation & Strong Wine Consulting

Marika Vida-Arnold

Sommelier/Owner Vida Et Fils Wine Consulting