Chefs & More
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. Toro also has homes in New York City and Dubai. Bissonnette was awarded the inaugural People’s Choice: Best New Chef award by Food & Wine magazine. In May 2014, he was honored with the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Northeast. In 2016, Bissonnette, alongside chef partner KenOringer opened Little Donkey, in Cambridge, MA, and a second location of the eclectic spot opened in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019.
Passionate author, chef, cyclist and philanthropist, Chris Cosentino is co-owner of San Francisco’s celebrated Cockscomb restaurant, Jackrabbit in Portland, Acacia House at Las Alcobas, in Napa Valley, & Rosalie in Houston Texas with partner Oliver Wharton and parent company Delicious MFG & CO. Cosentino cooked at some of the country’s most beloved restaurants, including Red Sage in Washington, D.C. and Rubicon, Chez Panisse, Belon, and Redwood Park in the Bay Area, before opening Incanto, his first executive chef position. At Incanto, Cosentino drew critical acclaim for his innovative Italian and whole animal cooking.
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. After completing her year of service with AmeriCorps, she took the Penn State’s legendary Ice Cream Short Course and returned to Rome to crystalize the concept for Caffè Panna while working at new school Roman gelateria Otaleg.
Steph is a long-time veteran of the hospitality industry with a passion for spirits, whisky in particular. In her role as Brand Education Manager for International Beverage Group’s core single malt and gin brands - Speyburn, Old Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc and Caorunn – she’s responsible for traveling the country and preaching the gospel of these award-winning spirits. Steph has spent the better part of a decade advocating on behalf of single malt in the U.S., traveling extensively to Scotland to work alongside the Master Distillers and their teams who make the whisky. This has allowed her to hone her palate and intensify her knowledge of one of Scotland’s greatest gift to the world: Scotch Whisky.
Chef 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..
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 most recently Lysverket in Norway. In May 2016, Baxtrom opened his first solo project, Olmsted, in the heart of Brooklyn just two blocks from Prospect Park. At this neighborhood restaurant, Baxtrom pulls from his experience and training, and fuses that with his respect for agriculture, to create a vegetable-heavy menu which is inspired by nature’s bounty all around, even--and especially--in the heart of Brooklyn. In spring of 2019, Baxtrom opened Maison Yaki just across the street from Olmsted, combining his two favorite cuisines in this French yakitori restaurant that is rooted in his appreciation for classical French cuisine and love for the style of yakitori.
Jacques Torres 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.
Michael Toscano is a Brand Ambassador with Woodford Reserve who partners with influential trade, as well as high level craft cocktail bars and restaurants to grow their understanding of all things bourbon whiskey with an emphasis on the Woodford Reserve family of brands. Michael has traveled the world as the head bartender of the #1 bar in the world "Dante"(50 Best) while helping organize and execute pop-up "Caffe Dante" experiences with Seagrams and Bacardi in, Moscow, London, and Spain. He has also competed in international bartending competitions, "World Class" presented by Diageo and "Most Imaginative Bartender" presented by Bombay Sapphire.
After graduating from Newcastle College, Matt Hoyle spent his formative years training in modern British restaurants such as 21 Queen Street, before working at Nobu London in 1998. Here, he was singled out by Owner Nobu Matsuhisa to oversee the kitchens of two new Nobu projects. Chef Hoyle assumed the role of Head Chef at Matsuhisa Mykonos, followed by a stint as Head Chef for Nobu at the Badrutt’s Palace seasonal promotion in St. Moritz. In 2005 he left Europe to open what would become Nobu’s flagship restaurant, Nobu Fifty Seven. Chef Hoyle oversees kitchen operations at Nobu Fifty Seven in his current role as Executive Chef.
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 1990’s and owned and ran several restaurants through 2014. Today she does recipe development and consults for numerous products and brands and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 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.
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.
General Manager & Wine Director, Morrell
Wine Bar & Café
Sommelier, Ai Fiori
Chef Sommelier/Manager, Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Beverage Director, Craft
Director of Beverage Programs, Crafted Hospitality
Robin Kelley O'Connor
RKO Vine Global Wine Expert Educator
Wine Director/Owner, Yono’s | dp An American Brasserie
Restaurant Manager, Bistro Verde, Nordstrom NYC
Carrie Lyn Strong
Wine Director, Casa Lever
Sommelier, Eleven Madison Park
Sommelier/Owner Vida Et Fils Wine Consulting