CHEFS & SOMMS

JACQUES PÉPIN

Born in 1935 in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, near Lyon, Pépin always found the kitchen to be a place of both comfort and excitement. He helped in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pélican, and, at age 13, began an apprenticeship at the Grand Hôtel de L’Europe. He subsequently worked in Paris, ultimately serving as personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

 

After moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin first worked at Le Pavillon, an historic French restaurant in New York City. From 1960 to 1970, he was director of research and new development for Howard Johnson’s and developed recipes for the restaurant chain. At the same time, he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Columbia University.

Author of 29 books, he published his first cookbook, The Other Half of the Egg with Helen McCully in 1967, the same year that his only daughter, Claudine was born. Pépin released his seminal text La Technique in 1976, and his autobiography The Apprentice in 2003.

 

Pépin is a former columnist for The New York Times and his articles have appeared in countless food magazines, especially Food & Wine magazine. He is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from five American universities, was awarded France’s highest civilian honor, La Légion d’Honneur, in 2004, as well as the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 1997 and the Mérite Agricole in 1992. He has received 16 James Beard Foundation Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

 

In 2015, Pépin received the American Public Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award in November and the inaugural Julia Child Award, which was presented to him at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on October 22. A longtime close friend of Julia Child, he starred with her in a PBS series called Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, which won both an Emmy Award and a James Beard Foundation Award in 2001.  He also released his latest cookbook and 13th companion PBS-TV series, Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. The book was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; the 26-show public television series was produced by KQED-TV in San Francisco, CA.

 

For the past 30 years, Pépin has taught in the Culinary Arts Program at Boston University and, since 1989, he has served as dean of special programs at the International Culinary Center in New York City. He and his wife, Gloria, have called Connecticut home since 1975.

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CLAUDINE PÉPIN

-Co-Founder/CEO-

Claudine Pépin is the Co-Founder & CEO of the Jacques Pépin Foundation. She has prepared meals and shared cooking techniques on the James Beard Award Winning “Jacques Pepin’s Kitchen: Cooking With Claudine” and “Jacques Pepin’s Kitchen: Encore With Claudine.”
 
Claudine was named “Woman of the Year” by the Academie Culinaire de France – Filiale des Etas Unis and has appeared on numerous television shows including “Cooking Live with Sara Moulton,”  “Good Morning America,” “Molto-Mario," and the newest series, “Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in The Kitchen."

Her first book, Let’s Cook French, is a collection of thirty favorite, simple, classic French recipes in both English and French, illustrated by her father Jacques and daughter Shorey.

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ROLLIE WESEN

-Co-Founder/COO-

In addition to being the Co-Founder & Chief Operations Officer of the Jacques Pépin Foundation, Chef Rollie Wesen is also an Assistant Professor in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, a resident lecturer at Boston University and the Community Kitchen, RI Food Bank. 

After 20 years of professional cooking experience, Rollie joined the faculty at Johnson & Wales University where he has since earned a master’s degree in education and is currently working toward his doctorate in Educational Leadership, as well as his Executive Chef Certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

Chef Wesen is passionate about food and teaching. In the classroom, he strives not only to inspire excellent culinary technique, but strong personal and professional character development.

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ANDREW ZIMMERN

-Presenter-

American television personality, chef, food-writer, and teacher. He is the co-creator, host, and consulting producer of the Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Bizarre Foods America, and Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World.
 
For his work on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern he was presented the James Beard Foundation Award in 2010 and another in 2013. He also hosts the show Dining with Death, which discusses some of the foods that could cause death.

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ABRAM BISSELL

-Hors-d'oeuvres-

 

Chef Abram Bissell, Executive Chef of The Modern since 2014. Most recently, Abram opened The NoMad as Chef de Cuisine in 2012, directly following his role as Executive Sous Chef at Eleven Madison Park, during which time the restaurant earned three Michelin Stars, four New York Times stars, and membership in the Relais & Chateau association.

 

Earlier in his career, Abram worked in the kitchens of Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar Restaurant in Big Sur, and L’Espalier in Boston. Abram attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, and grew up in a small fishing community in the Florida Keys.

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COREY CHOW

-Canapé-

Chef Corey Chow, Chef de Cuisine, Per Se.

He joined the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in 2007 as a commis at Per Se. He quickly moved up the ranks as a chef de partie, working all the stations, and in June 2010 he became the first sous chef that Eli Kaimeh, then chef de cuisine, promoted.

 

At the end of 2013, Corey decided to gain experience elsewhere at The Nomad, and later as the chef de cuisine of Torrisi Italian Specialties. In 2015, Corey returned to Per Se as an executive sous chef before being promoted to his current role.

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MARCUS SAMUELSSON

-First Course-

Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, Streetbird Rotisserie, and American Table Cafe and Bar by Marcus Samuelsson; a committed philanthropist; and a New York Times-bestselling author. The youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times, Samuelsson has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards including Best Chef: New York City, and was tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner.

 

Samuelsson was also crowned champion of television shows Top Chef Masters and Chopped, winning $115,000 for UNICEF and $50,000 for the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), respectively. 

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JARED SIPPEL

-Second Course-

Chef Jared Sippel was raised with strong connections to food and farming, with a family who grew produce and raised livestock. 

 

To broaden his palate and further educate himself on European cuisine, Jared spent several months working for Chefs Sylvestre Wahid and Jean-André Charial at the two Michelin starred L’Oustau de Baumanière in Provence, and staging across Italy at Michelin starred restaurants including La Primula and La Subida in Friuli Venezia Giulia, and La Peca in Veneto. It was during this trip that the majority of the inspiration behind Italienne was derived, from menus to wine lists and aesthetics.

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HILLARY STERLING

-Third Course-

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Chef Hillary Sterling is the Executive Chef at Vic's, the popular NoHo Italian-Mediterranean restaurant from restaurateurs Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer (also of Cookshop, Hundred Acres and Rosie's). A born and bred New Yorker, Chef Hillary previously worked at A Voce under Missy Robbins and Lupa Osteria Romana and Mesa Grill. Hillary was named one of StarChefs Rising Stars in 2011 and works closely with Share Our Strength to help end childhood hunger.  At Vic's, Hillary focuses on a menu of locally sourced Italian inspired dishes, including house made pastas and pizzas and market-driven plates cooked in the wood burning oven.

SHERRY YARD

-Dessert-

Sherry Yard leads the culinary innovation division at iPic Entertainment Group's restaurant division.  She has been credited with redefining what guests eat at the movies, crafting a unique “Dining in the Dark” menu that has revolutionized the typical moviegoing outing with a focus on the sensory experience of a meal. 

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JACQUES TORRES

-Dessert-

Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, Jacques Torres prides himself in producing hand-crafted chocolates and confectionary products. He served as award-winning Executive Pastry Chef at Le Cirque, hosted several of his own series on Food Network & PBS and has written 3 cookbooks.  He has nine locations throughout New York City.  www.mrchocolate.com

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STEVE OLSON

-Cocktail Curator-

Steven Olson has been helping to shape the beverage industry for over 40 years as a writer, consultant, educator, lecturer, and is particularly for his pioneering work with Sherry, Spanish and Greek wine, Sake, Gin, and Agave spirits. 

 

He’s opened nearly 50 restaurants and bars to date and was honored as Best Bar Mentor at the Spirited Awards at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail. 

 

In addition to continuing to serve as a founding partner in Beverage Alcohol Resource, to educate, guide, and propagate the healthy, enlightened, and responsible use of beverage alcohol products, his newest role as Global Mezcal Advocate / aka maguey geek / co-operating partner in Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal is a dream come true.

ROBIN KELLEY O'CONNOR

-Host Sommelier-

A wine educator, international wine judge, wine writer, and sommelier, Robin Kelley O’Connor is a leading wine expert. His thirty years of experience allows him to offer an unparalleled suite of services to corporations and individuals from around the world.

Robin serves as a guest wine instructor and examiner for the Intensive Sommelier Training program at the International Culinary Center. ICC is one of the leading culinary educational institutions in the U.S., with campuses in New York and Napa Valley.

Among his many professional honors, Mr. O’Connor bears the distinction of induction into the wine world’s most prestigious institutions, including the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc- des Graves et de Sauternes-Barsac, the Jurade de Saint-Emilion and Les Hospitaliers de Pomerol.

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BERNIE SUN

-Host Wine Director

Bernard Sun, Corporate Beverage Director for Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s four-star restaurant group. He oversees the beverage programs at all the group’s restaurants, from New York and Paris to Shanghai, composing wine lists, creating cocktails, training staff, and managing the financials. A hands-on director, Sun visits the restaurants nightly, often jumping into service to pair wines and spirits with the Vongerichten’s innovative cuisine.


Before joining the Jean-Georges family in January of 2005, he was the sommelier at Gray Kunz’s four-star Lespinasse, Sirio Macchioni’s renowned Le Cirque 2000, and Drew Nieporent’s legendary Montrachet. The winner of the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Wine Service, as well as the 2010 BCA Global Vision in Wine Award, Sun also makes wine in Napa, Bergerac, and the Willamette Valley under his III Somms label.

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GUEST SOMMELIERS

 

MICHEL COUVREUX

Head Sommelier, Per Se

 

BROOKS FRASER

Wine Director, Temple Court

 

NATALIE GRINDSTAFF

Director of Beverage Programs, Crafted Hospitality

 

MORGAN HARRIS

Head Sommelier, Aureole

 

NICOLE HAKLI

Beverage Manager, Momofuku Ssäm Bar

 

KERI LEVENS

Wine Director, Chefs Club

 

CARRIE LYN STRONG

Wine Director, Casa Lever

 

MARIKA VIDA-ARNOLD

Sommelier/Owner Vida Et Fils Wine Consulting

 

CHAD WALSH

Beverage Director, Agern

 

BARBARA WONG

Sommelier, The Modern