Walter Pisano - Tulio, Seattle
For Chef Walter Pisano, running an Italian restaurant was preordained. As the son of a New York restaurateur, the business runs in his blood; as part of an East Coast Italian family, the food is in his heart. Pisano is a longtime fixture on the Northwest restaurant scene, most notably for opening and operating Tulio Ristorante. Since its inception, Tulio has been a regular on the awards lists, including Seattle’s Best Italian Restaurant, Best Business Lunch and Best Kept Secret…
Elise Wiggins - Panzano's, Denver
Panzano’s Executive Chef Elise Wiggins knew she wanted to be a chef from an early age, even if she wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. She just knew that she wanted to “cook and make people happy,” she says. Now, leading the culinary efforts at Panzano in downtown Denver, Wiggins cooks and makes people happy – locals and visitors alike – with her distinctive contemporary Northern Italian cuisine…
Michael Hillyer - The Capital Grille, Seattle
Chef Hillyer, the former Executive Chef of The Capital Grille, in Seattle draws inspiration from Pacific Northwest ingredients to create unique dishes . The Lobster and Crab Burger with Tartar Sauce and Corn Relish are available daily at the Capital Grill Restaurant.
Chef Laurent Manrique has learned, combining simplicity with challenge walks a tightrope between passion for one’s craft and a desire to constantly seek new opportunities. One of his career’s most significant accomplishments in achieving that balance was introducing his renowned Gascon cooking to contemporary seafood-centric Aqua. “It was a whole new adventure,” he says, “but one I was ready for. I needed to take a challenge like this.”
Chef Michael Cimarusti - Providence, Los Angeles
Michael Cimarusti’s passion and curiosity for food was ignited at an early age by his grandmother, Jo Cimarusti. In the great Italian culinary tradition his grandmother, alongside his great-grandmother and aunts, made sure that every Sunday get-together was an event. Cimarusti can trace his reverence for ingredients and proper technique back to those Sunday family meals…
Kent Rathbun - Abacus, Dallas
After rising rapidly through the ranks of some of the world’s finest restaurants, Kent Rathbun continues to demonstrate his culinary skills not only with the expansion of restaurant concepts but also with his new product line, Kent Rathbun Elements. Kent has created an astounding culinary legacy in Texas and has thrived on the national scene. He has cooked at the James Beard House in New York on several occasions and has been nominated four times as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southwest. In 2008, Kent and his brother Kevin defeated Bobby Flay in a culinary battle on Food Network’s Iron Chef America.
Heather Terhune - Atwood Cafe, Chicago
Executive Chef Heather Terhune has been messing and cleaning up kitchens since she was a young girl, but it wasn’t until college that she began her formal training. After attending the University of Missouri, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and Hotel and Restaurant Management, Terhune continued on with her education at the New England Culinary Institute, earning an Associates Degree in the Culinary Arts.
Daniel Bortnick - Firefly, Washington DC
Firefly’s executive chef, Danny Bortnick, is no stranger to the DC Metro area. Born and raised in Maryland, chef Bortnick is dedicated to supporting the region’s bounty. His commitment to seasonal, sustainable, and local food is evidenced by his ever-evolving menu, relationships with local farmers, and his bountiful organic garden. The menu at Firefly features timeless dishes, updated with passion and whimsy, all designed to be approachable and delicious. Many menu items were inspired by meals from Bortnick’s childhood. The simple, clean flavors and seasonal products shine of every plate. And he is glad to be leading the kitchen right in his own back yard.
Neal Fraser - Grace Restaurant, Los Angeles
Neal Fraser began his culinary career in Los Angeles at the age of 20, working as a line cook at Eureka Brewery and Restaurant, one of Wolfgang Puck’s earliest restaurants. Inspired by this introduction to the life of a professional chef, Fraser entered the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in the fall of 1990. During his tenure at the CIA…
Patricia Williams - District, New York
Patricia Williams is the new chef at District, chef Sam DeMarco’s former perch adjacent to The Muse Hotel. Williams is formerly of Morell’s Wine Bar & Café, and has worked as a chef in the city for many years at places like Berkley Bar and Grill and at Butterfield 81, way way back…