Chef Christine F. Rivera
Chef de Cuisine
Galaxy Taco, La Jolla
Born and raised in San Diego, California. Chef Christine Rivera has always had a love for Mexican Food and Culture, which is where she draws her inspiration for her cooking. Her restaurant career began as a dishwasher at a local seafood restaurant by her parent’s house. Today she is the Chef de Cuisine at Partner/Executive Chef Trey Foshee’s Galaxy Taco, a causal Mexican eatery recently opened in La Jolla Shores, California. Throughout the last year Galaxy Taco has been recognized in multiple publications such as Zagat, Eater, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal and San Diego Magazine just to name a few.
While in culinary school Christine gained experience by working at various kitchens throughout San Diego including Kensington Grill, Premiere Foods and the Ocean Terrace/California Modern at George's at the Cove. She has also staged in varies national acclaimed kitchens such as Taco Maria in Orange County and Cosme in New York City. Christine was awarded one of Eater Young Gun of 2016, for her tortilla/masa program she has built at Galaxy Taco. Here is where she is able to apply her craft to make the perfect tortilla from heirloom blue corn from Mexico.
Chef Ghaya Oliveira
Executive Pastry Chef
Daniel, New York
A native of Tunisia, Ghaya Oliveira worked as a stock trader in both France and the United States prior to pursuing a career in pastry. Applying her analytical skill set to the art of pastry, Ghaya quickly rose through the ranks at Café Boulud under then Executive Pastry Chef Remy Funfrock. Upon opening his Lyonnais bistro Bar Boulud in 2007, Daniel Boulud recruited Ghaya for her first Executive Pastry Chef role. When neighboring Mediterranean concept Boulud Sud opened in 2011, Ghaya was charged with overseeing both restaurants’ pastry programs. It was during this time that Ghaya also created once of her most iconic desserts – the Grapefruit Givré. A whimsical presentation of flavors from her childhood, the dessert features sesame, citrus and rose water in various transformations of texture and temperature. In 2013, Ghaya was named Executive Pastry Chef at restaurant DANIEL, and has since received accolades from numerous publications, as well as the 2017 James Beard Award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef.”
Chef Irene Li
Mei Mei Restaurant/Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Boston
Irene Li co-owns the Boston-based Mei Mei Restaurant and Mei Mei Street Kitchen with her two siblings. Her background of living on an organic farm, working the restaurant line, and organizing for social justice inform her leadership of the food and sourcing elements of the company; she believes food can and should be delicious, fun, and just. She recently received her third consecutive James Beard Rising Star nomination.
Chef Jessica Koslow
Sqirl, Los Angeles
Jessica Koslow is the chef and owner of Sqirl in Los Angeles. Jessica started her career in pastry at the James Beard award winning restaurant, Bacchanalia, in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2011, she returned to Los Angeles and started Sqirl – a breakfast and lunch cafe in tune with the seasons not only through daily dishes but also through her line of preserves.
In 2014, she was named Eater LA’s Chef of the Year and her first cookbook, Everything I Want To Eat, was nominated for a James Beard Award.
Sqirl currently sits on Eater’s 2016’s list of the 38 Essential restaurants in America. Koslow is busy with her new restaurant, Tel, which will open in the spring of 2018.
Chef Katy Millard
Coquine, Portland (Ore.)
Katy Millard (alum of several Michelin-starred restaurants and former sous chef of Coi under Daniel Patterson) is chef and co-owner of Coquine, a one-of-a-kind destination restaurant in Portland, Oregon. A 2017 James Beard Award Best Chef Northwest finalist, Millard’s foundation in French technique brings focus and intention to her cooking; striving for consistency, perfection and purpose in every dish.
Chef Margarita Manzke
Republique, Los Angeles
Margarita’s love affair with food and restaurants began early: born and raised in the Philippines, she grew up in a kitchen at the White Rock Resort, a hotel and restaurant just outside Manila owned and operated by her parents. After studying pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in London, Margarita enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America in New York, where she received her degree in Culinary Arts.
Upon graduation, Margarita moved to Los Angeles, and worked in some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, including Spago and Patina, where she met her future husband and business partner, Walter Manzke. In 2001, she left Patina to work with Josiah Citrin at his two- star Michelin restaurant, Mélisse, where she quickly rose to the position of Sous Chef.
In search of new challenges, Manzke and Margarita moved north to Carmel in 2004, where they opened a trio of highly successful restaurants: Bouchée, Cantinetta Luca and l’Auberge Carmel.
In 2007, Manzke and Margarita returned to Los Angeles to reopen Bastide Restaurant, where she served as Pastry Chef. They had already begun to conceptualize the restaurant that would eventually become République, which opened its doors in December 2013. At République, Margarita oversees the Pastry Department, bakes the wildly popular breads, and is largely responsible for the success of the daytime Café. Margarita, together with her husband and his sister-in-law, also opened Wildflour bakery and café in a recently reinvigorated section of Manila, Philippines, which now has 5 locations.
Chefs Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer
Madcapra, Los Angeles; Kismet, Los Angeles
Sara Kramer, NY native, former Broadway performer, aspiring gardener and big fan of all dairy everywhere, began her professional cooking career at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Later, she worked with and alongside the inspired community at Diner, Marlow and Sons, Roman’s and Reynard in Brooklyn. Before relocating to Los Angeles, she was the opening chef of Glasserie in 2013. She’s now one half of Madcapra in the Grand Central Market and, along with Sarah Hymanson, recently opened Kismet. She and Sarah were recently named Best New Chefs for 2017 by Food & Wine Magazine.
Sarah Hymanson is a Chicago native and an Oberlin College graduate. In NY, Sarah worked at applewood, and both Blue Hill in NYC and the famed Blue Hill at Stone Barns. After opening the NY outpost of Mission Chinese with Danny Bowien, she joined Sara Kramer at Glasserie. In 2015, she and Kramer opened Madcapra, a produce-driven falafel shop in the Grand Central Market, and event more recently, the two opened Kismet on a friendly stretch of Hollywood Blvd. Sarah loves all funky and fermented foods, documentaries, sunscreen and capybaras.
Chef Shirley Chung
Steamers Co., Los Angeles
Born and raised in Beijing China, Chef Shirley Chung was exposed to international cuisine at an early age by her grandmother, Liang Si Yi, former Director of The Red Cross in China. Shirley immigrated to America at age 17 for college and worked in Silicon Valley for a few years after graduating. Shirley decided to follow her passion for food so she left her career in high tech behind and enrolled in California Culinary Academy San Francisco. She is trained in classic French and Italian cuisine, worked and opened restaurants for Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali. After she opened CarneVino as Chef de Cuisine for BBHG, CarneVino earned multiple awards for Best Steak House internationally. Prior to being a finalist on season 11 of “Top Chef” in New Orleans, she held the Executive Chef Position at China Poblano, by Jose Andres, which was nominated for the Best New Restaurant Award by the James Beard Foundation in 2011. While working at China Poblano, she fell in love with Mexican cuisine and learned more about her own heritage. In 2014, Shirley opened her restaurant in Orange County, Twenty Eight, featuring modern Chinese cuisine. Recently, Shirley has been competing on season 14 of BravoTV’s Top Chef. She used this opportunity to showcase her Chinese American Cuisine during the competition and she was rewarded by being named the runner up of Top Chef. Shirley is currently working on opening her next concept in Los Angeles. Steamers Co. is a fast-casual counter service seafood driven restaurant with an oyster bar.