Nightbird, San Francisco, CA
Kim Alter is the chef/owner of Nightbird and adjoining Linden Room, which marks her first solo project in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. Nightbird is an elegant boutique restaurant that embraces community and diversity, and delivers a hospitable and whimsical experience. Chef Alter’s menus showcase a commitment to technique, whole animal cookery, and support of local farms, and she offers a five-course tasting menu that changes frequently. Chef Alter earned a Food & Wine magazine nomination for People’s Best Chef in 2012 and 2013 with her talent for bringing “down-to-earth boldness to cerebral dishes.” She also won Best New Chef from Oakland magazine while at Haven, which was also named Best New Restaurant under her direction.
Chef and Owner
Dirt Candy, New York, NY
Chef Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, her award-winning vegetable restaurant on the Lower East Side. The first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times, it has been recognized by the Michelin Guide seven years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet magazine, the Village Voice, and many others. She was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America and her award-winning comic book cookbook Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, now in its sixth printing, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America.
Bleu Chocolat, British Virgin Islands
Chef Erika Cline has crafted some of the country’s most scrumptious desserts and chocolates over the past 20 years. She started her career in Detroit as a pastry cook under the country’s first master chef, Milos Cihelka. Currently living in the British Virgin Islands, Chef Cline is the owner of Bleu Chocolat, a bean-to-bar chocolate boutique that has more than five origins of cocoa. She is opening another Bleu Chocolat in Florida. Chef Cline has been an advocate for minority chefs in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Her passion is to touch one’s soul with delicious Southern comfort desserts and chocolate. Her motto is “A Day is Never Good without Chocolate.”
Corporate Executive Chef
Altamarea Group, New York, NY
Chef Lauren DeSteno is the corporate executive chef of the Altamarea Group, where she works with the myriad properties, various special projects, and foreign expansion, and provides culinary support to Chef Michael White. Her career with Chef White began in May 2009, with the opening of Marea Restaurant. Currently, Chef DeSteno’s work has been taking her to Dubai, where the Altamarea Group will be opening the second location of Marea Restaurant in November 2018.
Host, Pati’s Mexican Table; Resident Chef
Mexican Cultural Institute, Washington, D.C.
Pati Jinich is the James Beard award-winning host of public television’s Pati’s Mexican Table and resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. She is the author of two cookbooks, Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking and Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen. Born and raised in Mexico, she began her career as a political analyst, but studied at night at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg. Prompted by the director of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, Chef Jinich launched Mexican Table, which offers live cooking demonstrations into the world of Mexican cuisine. Her show has been nominated for other James Beard awards and, in 2016, for two Daytime Emmys.
Owner and Chef
Parachute, Chicago, IL
Chef Beverly Kim, after 20 years of experience, opened her own restaurant, Parachute, in 2014, with her husband in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood. Parachute is a small, independent restaurant serving globally inspired cuisine and a menu that changes nightly based on availability of carefully sourced products at their peak. This year, Parachute received one Michelin star, the third time it received this honor. It was named Chicago’s Best New Restaurant 2015 by the Chicago Tribune, Restaurant of the Year 2014 by Eater Chicago, and a Bon Appetite’s Hot Ten. Parachute was also a James Beard award finalist for Best New Restaurant in 2015. Chef Kim and her husband were James Beard nominees for Best Chefs Great Lakes 2017 and 2018.
Chef and Owner, Lantern; Executive Chef
The Durham Hotel, Durham, NC
Chef Andrea Reusing received the James Beard award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2011. She collaborates with small farms and producers across North Carolina and is an advocate for food policy change. She was the founding chef and general manager of Enoteca Vin, the critically acclaimed, wine-focused restaurant in Raleigh. In 2002, she opened Lantern, where she combines North Carolina ingredients with eastern flavors. At The Durham, Chef Reusing adds a modern touch to American melting pot and hotel classics. She is the author of Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes; founder of Kitchen Patrol, a nonprofit that improves children’s access to quality food through weekly cooking classes; and chair of the JBF impact advisory committee.
Corporate Executive Pastry Chef
New Waterloo, Austin, TX
Chef Amanda Rockman was named a James Beard Foundation award semifinalist in 2015. She has appeared on Beat Bobby Flay and Top Chef Just Desserts. In 2017 she was promoted to corporate executive pastry chef for all New Waterloo entities. She attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she received her AOS in baking and pastry arts and completed an internship under Emily Luchetti at Farallon in San Francisco. Her career has taken her to Chicago, where she opened The Bristol, Balena, and Thompson Hotel’s Nico Osteria as executive pastry chef; and her native Texas, as executive pastry chef at South Congress Hotel in Austin.