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Chefs & More

Hors d’Oeuvres


Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning chef, author, television personality and founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, TN.  She is a recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network’s “Chopped.”  She and her husband opened Chauhan Ale & Masala House in 2014, Tansuo and The Mockingbird in 2017.  She authored Flavors of My World and Chaat: The Best Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India.



Alon Shaya is Chef-Partner of Pomegranate Hospitality, which includes Saba in New Orleans, Safta in Denver, and both Miss River and Chandelier Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans.  Born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and a proud New Orleanian, Alon has always had a deep appreciation for the way restaurants anchor their communities. He is the author of Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel.  He is a multiple James Beard Foundation award-winner, including “Best Chef, South” and “Best New Restaurant.”   

Dessert Reception


Caroline Schiff is the Executive Pastry Chef at Gage & Tollner, author of The Sweet Side of Sourdough, and James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Award Nominee 2022. Widely known under the Instagram moniker @pastryschiff, she is a celebrated pastry chef, culinary consultant, and recipe writer and developer based in Brooklyn. She got her start in the restaurant industry over a decade ago and worked her way up through a number of acclaimed restaurants and bakeries before taking her current position.

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.



Ming Tsai is the James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of Blue Dragon in Massachusetts and his latest venture BABA at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana. An Emmy Award-winner, Ming hosts PBS-TV’s “Simply Ming,” now in its seventeenth season. Ming is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming TsaiSimply MingMing’s Master RecipesSimply Ming One-Pot Meals, and Simply Ming In Your Kitchen. He launched a new line of veggie filled patties, MingsBings.



A Brooklyn native of Italian-Indonesian heritage, Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja joined the Bowery Group in 2015.  Two years later, she opened Shuka in SoHo with the restaurant group, earning a devoted following for her vibrant Eastern Mediterranean fare as Chef/Partner.  While stepping into the culinary director role for the Bowery Group, Ayesha also opened the acclaimed Chelsea restaurant Shukette in 2021.  In 2022, she was recognized as a James Beard Best Chef New York finalist.

Dessert Reception


Natasha Pickowicz is an NYC-based chef and writer and a three-time James Beard Foundation Award finalist. Much of her pastry work explores the relationship with baking and social justice, including ongoing collaborations with NYC institutions like The Brigid Alliance, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, God's Love We Deliver, and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, for whom she produced a massive city-wide bake sale. Currently, Natasha runs the pastry pop-up called Never Ending Taste. Her debut cookbook will be published by Artisan Books in spring 2023.


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. 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 numerous national publications. He won the 2020 Bar & Restaurant Award for Brand Ambassador of the Year and has been a repeat Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award top nominee for Best American Brand Ambassador.



Esther Choi is the Chef and owner of Mokbar and Ms.Yoo in New York City. Inspired by the time-honored techniques of her grandmother’s Korean cooking, Esther believes that food is the ultimate expression of a country’s culture. Esther has been hailed as a “New Rising Chef” by the Food Republic and in 2015 was named “Zagat 30 under 30” NYC Culinary Rockstar. From 2018 to 2019, Esther hosted Eater’s “The Kitchen Gadget Test Show.” Currently, she hosts “Get Down with K-Town,” a podcast about Korean-American Culture.

Keynote Speaker


Brandon Edwin Chrostowski is on a mission to change the face of re-entry in the United States. In 2007, he founded EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute with the belief that “education wins” and that every human being - regardless of their past - has the right to a fair and equal future. EDWINS has grown to include culinary education and life skills training at its flagship French eatery, edwins too, in Cleveland, Ohio; a Butcher Shop and Bakery and Diner; and a nearby Second Chance Life Skills Center campus. He is the subject of the Academy Award nominated documentary Knife Skills.

Cocktail Curator


​James Beard Award-winner Dale DeGroff developed his extraordinary techniques tending bar, most notably at New York’s Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating the great, classic cocktails. Dale has since been credited with 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 founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.

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. 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.

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