Celebrity chefs and sommeliers

Sommelier Charlie Arturaola

  The distinguished sommelier Charlie Arturaola is a household name in culinary and oenological circles, and considered one of the nation’s “top 10 palates” by American Sommelier Association. The charismatic wine expert approaches his lifetime passion with knowledge and enthusiasm, and is in demand at food and wine events around the world. He is a featured sommelier and educator at many of the country’s greatest wine festivals, including Aspen, CO, Naples, FL (as a founding sommelier), Napa, CA, and Jackson Hole, WY. Charlie is on the tasting team for the Wine Spectator’s Wine Experiences, most recently in San Francisco, New York and Chicago. In 2005 Arturaola was named as Chevalier by France’s Ordre des Coteaux des Champagnes.

Master of Food & Wine in Mendoza, Argentina. Charlie is a guest columnist for USA Today. As an educator, Charlie Arturaola has been a “distinguished visiting sommelier” at Johnson & Wales University, and, for the last two years, has been teaching wine appreciation at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fl. He has also served as an expert speaker for Bloomingdales retail stores and Waterford Crystal. Arturaola is also president of Miami-based Grappolo Blu, a company that offers sommelier services, wine estate appraisals, and cellar salvages. His global knowledge of wine is so comprehensive that several insurance companies rely on him to appraise wine collections valued from $50,000 to more than one million dollars. Charlie's experience with wine embraces more than 25 years as cellar master, director of wine, sommelier and wine purchaser for hotels, resorts, restaurants, and luxury cruise lines. He has traveled to every wine region in the world, cultivating productive relationships with winemakers and is fluent in five languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Before founding Grappolo Blu, Arturaola served as wine director for two of South Florida’s top resorts, the legendary Boca Raton Resort & Club, in Boca Raton, and the luxury boutique Marco Beach Ocean Resort on Marco Island. Prior to his resort affiliations, he spent ten years as sommelier at Tulipano Ristorante and as manager of Rigoletto Ristorante, both in Miami. Before that, he was head wine steward for Cunard Lines, based in South Hampton, England. Arturaola’s extensive education includes a degree in journalism and broadcasting from the Press Institute in Montevideo, Uruguay, and studies in European history at the University of Navarra in Spain.

Andreas Larsson

Best Sommelier of the World 2007

2007: Best Sommelier of the World
2005: Best Sommelier of Sweden
2004: Best Sommelier of Europe (Trophée Ruinart)
2003: Best Sommelier of Sweden (Trophée Ruinart)

He is today considered the leading sommelier and wine taster in Sweden and abroad. He has a special affinity for the classical French vineyards, the evolution in Spain, great Riesling, Sherry and Champagne.

Andreas Larsson started his career as a chef in 1990 after graduating from restaurant school and worked active as a chef for several years. After some brief periods of combining the cuisine with playing Jazz music he decided to focus more on his interest for wine and the world of beverages.

After a lot of travelling and studies, Andreas Larsson got his sommelier diploma at 'Restaurangakademien' in Stockholm 1999.

Andreas Larsson works today in PM&Vanner restaurant in Vaxjo Sweden. He is the consultant Sommelier for Asian Airlines. He is a lecturer at various sommelier educations in Scandinavia. A frequent contributor to various wine publications in Sweden and abroad. Often hired as a taster in international wine competitions.

Andreas Larsson Website : www.andreaslarsson.org

Bernard Guillas

Executive Chef La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
The Marine Room, La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California - Award-winning Chef Bernard Guillas joined La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc. as executive chef in June 1994. Right at home in La Jolla, Guillas’ affinity for the coastal lifestyle reminded him of his home in Brittany. “When I lived in France, the smell of the sea and the lure of its bounty were constantly part of our table,” Guillas recalls. “I’m inspired by the variety and quality of the local produce and seafood found throughout our region. I love to use my classical training and my love for Pan Pacific flavors in all our restaurants.” Guillas is responsible for directing the resort’s three restaurants and all catering operations for the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the landmark Marine Room restaurant. As executive chef, Guillas oversees all menus, wine lists, and special events.

Guillas, no stranger to classic tradition, insists, “a good cook is a sorcerer who dispenses happiness on a plate.” For this chef, it is the magic of adding unusual seasonings to titillate the palate. He learned his alchemy early. Born into a family of butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs, Guillas’ Britannic upbringing was influenced by his daily exposure to fine cuisine. He began his formal training in 1978, at Le Bretagne Restaurant in Questembert, France, where he apprenticed with the legendary Georges Paineau. Over the next six years he expanded his culinary knowledge with several Maitres Cuisinier de France fine dining restaurants. Jumping continents, Guillas moved on to become chef de cuisine at Le Dolmen in French Guyana. Richly diverse South American flavors still influence his food today.

In 1984, Guillas moved to Washington DC as chef tournant, chef saucier, and sous chef under Pierre Chambrin, former White House executive chef, at Maison Blanche. In 1989, he relocated to San Diego and spent five years as chef de cuisine at the Grant Grill, located in the US Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego’s historic district. In 2001 Guillas was inducted into the International Restaurant & Hospitality Rating Bureau’s American Chefs’ Hall of Fame. Guillas is one of only fourteen chefs to receive this honor. Recently, Guillas has added and self published his first cookbook, Flying Pans with co-author and chef de cuisine of the Marine Room, Ron Oliver. Guillas’ multiple television appearances added to his roster of impressive credits in addition to being selected as one of fifteen “Rising Star Chefs” (1996), he has appeared in Food Arts Magazine, the “Rising Star Chef” cookbook and PBS’ “Rising Chef” television series. Guillas has been invited as guest chef to the prestigious James Bear House in New York on many occasions. Selected as San Diego’s “Best Chef” numerous times, including the Gold Medallion Awards (California Restaurant Association, San Diego Chapter), Chef Magazine, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine Readers Poll and San Diego Magazine People’s and Critic’s Choice. Guillas continues to infuse the local culinary scene with his unique talent and engaging personality.

Chef Guillas promotes sustainability and plays an active role in supporting his local community. He regularly participates in Mama’s Kitchen, Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation fund-raiser for hunger relief, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, annual guest chef for Celebrities Cook for Cancer, a fund-raiser that benefits the University of California San Diego Cancer Center. Guillas is also the chef spokesman for the Macy’s School of Cooking where he shares his passion for the culinary arts. He travels extensively throughout the world promoting his restaurants and the San Diego region.

www.chefbernard.com www.marineroom.com

Ray Lampe

Ray Lampe grew up in Chicago and after high school spent 25 years in the family trucking business. In 2000 the trucking business had run its course, and it was time for Ray to do something different. He had been participating in BBQ cook-off’s as a hobby since 1982, so he decided to take a leap and try to turn his hobby into a career. In 2000 Ray moved to Lakeland, Florida and began his career as a BBQ man. Some of the things this BBQ man does:
He’s an expert judge on the Food Networks “Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri”
He’s featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”
He travels the country as the Spokeschef for The Big Green Egg grill and smoker
He’s the featured BBQ Chef at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia
He’s a spokesman for The National Pork Board
He’s judged at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship BBQ Cook-off
He’s judged at the Terlingua, Texas International Chili Cook-off
He’s judged at The Best of The West Rib Cook-off in Reno
He served as Executive Chef at Southern Hospitality BBQ in NY 2008-2009
He writes the “Ask Dr. BBQ Column” for Fiery Foods & BBQ Magazine
He’s been a guest chef at the Club Med Food and Wine Festival
He’s been a guest chef at the Woodford Reserve Distillery

Ray has written five cookbooks and is currently working on a sixth. The first five are:
“The NFL Game Day Cookbook” published by Chronicle Books
“Ribs, Chops, Steaks, and Wings” written for Williams-Sonoma
“Dr. BBQ’s Big-Time Barbecue Cook”
“Dr. BBQ’s Barbecue All Year Long”
“Dr. BBQ’s Big Time Barbecue Road Trip”

Dr. BBQ has been featured in: Life Magazine - Maxim Magazine - Food & Wine Magazine - People Magazine - Everyday with Rachel Ray - Chile Pepper Magazine - Men’s Journal Magazine - USA Today - The Wall Street Journal - The Tampa Tribune - The Chicago Tribune - The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Dr, BBQ has appeared on: Food Network - E! News - HGTV - The NFL Network - The Discovery channel - The Outdoor Life Network - CNN - Daytime Tampa Bay - Good Morning Texas - The Howard Stern Show - Martha Stewart Living on Sirius - NASCAR Sirius Radio

Ray’s website: www.drbbq.com

Erik Peters

Club Med Corporate Chef and Event Founder

In 1989, New Yorker Erik Peters took a hiatus from college on a whim—to live in the mountains. He joined the kitchen of Chef Thierry Dupain, at Club Med Copper Mountain and the rest is culinary history. Then 20, Peters was more intrigued by the Colorado Rockies than perfecting a white wine sauce, but his priorities soon changed once he realized his affinity for creating fine meals and watching the reactions they produced. After a five-month season, Chef Peters knew he had found his calling and signed on for another season in the kitchen at Club Med Playa Blanca in Mexico.

On the off-season, Chef Peters refined his kitchen skills at the prestigious New York City catering company Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill. In 1992, Peters returned to Club Med full throttle, to work and study for three years under the most prestigious Club Med executive chefs in Colorado, Morocco, Italy, Switzerland, and France. In 1995 Peters became the first American to ever earn the title of Club Med Executive Chef. And at 27, Peters took control of his first kitchen, for an a la carte restaurant at the Club Med Archaeological Villas in Cholula, Mexico. Since then, he served as Club Med Executive Chef successfully running the culinary operations in Japan, Israel, Mexico, Mauritius, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the United States.

After attaining executive chef level and amongst the globetrotting, Chef Peters has expanded his culinary knowledge with a 5-month intensive training in pastries and bread making in France with world-champion pastry chef Pascal Caffet and master bakers Eric Keyser and Jean-Luc Viennet. Peters also received specific culinary certification in modern and traditional techniques from two of France’s most prestigious culinary schools, Bocuse & Lenôtre.

Over the past 6 years, Chef Peters, Club Med Corporate Chef, is implementing a new dining experience at Club Med throughout the Americas and has revamped the entire culinary product leading the company’s upmarket shift. The newest endeavour of Chef Peters is the Club Med Wine & Food Festival which has been designed to promote culinary tourism throughout the Caribbean, focusing on the Dominican Republic and more specifically on Punta Cana. Chef Peters’ vision and brainchild is experiencing great success as the event is now entering its third year.

Robert W. Bennett

Robert Bennett joined American Harvest Baking in December 2005 as Executive Chef and Director of Operations. In this role, Robert is the creative driving force behind the company’s product offerings and introduces unique, customized breads and desserts to the commercial market. Robert’s oversight also involves the daily operations of the bakery and is responsible for ensuring the company’s high quality product and service standards. In late November 2006, AHB acquired the Classic Cake Co. of Cherry Hill, which is also under Robert’s guidance. New and exciting pastries are being created at this time. For over 20 years, Robert Bennett has shared his passion for cooking through his work as a creative chef, teacher and owner. Robert started his career as Executive Pastry Instructor at the New England Culinary Institute (NECI), his alma mater. He quickly catapulted into the worldwide media in January 1985 for being appointed the Honored Pastry Chef for President Reagan’s second Inauguration. He prepared a cake for 44,00 people with a small team of students from N.E.C.I. After which, he took on the position of Executive Pastry Chef/Consultant at the Jumby Bay Resort, Antigua, West Indies. In 1987, Robert was hired as one of four Pastry Chefs at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he quickly worked his way up to Le Bec-Fin’s Head Pastry Chef. In 2001, Robert stepped out on his own and opened Miel Patisserie, a high end, boutique style pastry shop in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over the years, Robert Bennett competed in numerous competitions worldwide and in 1989, he represented the United States in the premier World Cup Pastry Championship in Lyon, France. Since retiring from competition, Robert has served as a judge for the United States Pastry Competition in New York. An active member of the culinary community, Robert Bennett was one of the original members appointed to the Board of Directors of the North American Pastry Chef’s Association. He is also co-founder of the Philadelphia Pastry Society and was honored by NECI with their “Distinguished Graduate Award.” More recently, Bennett has become a regular on Philadelphia’s WHYY-TV12, receiving numerous invitations to demonstrate his expertise on live television. Chef Bennett is also one of the founding chefs of Chef Aid, which has raised millions of dollars in its 13 years existence. He will be honored at this year’s 2007 dinner in April. He was recently named U.S. Ambassador for the Barry-Callebut Chocolate Company and was the U.S. Judge at the 2005 World Chocolate Master Championships in Paris, France. Locally, Robert donates his time and dessert specialties to more than 30 charities each year, including SCANtastic, the annual fundraiser for Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), and The Red Ball, which benefits the American Red Cross., and Make A Wish Foundation. Originally from Lynchburg, Virginia, Robert now resides in Center City Philadelphia.

Rick Moonen

An advocate for sustainable fishing and seafood, Chef Rick Moonen’s passion for conservation has led him to national acclaim. A native New Yorker, Moonen graduated first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1978. He apprenticed at L’Hostellerie Bressane in Hillsdale, New York where he built both his confidence and experience working side by side with Chef Jean Morel. From there, Moonen assumed the position of saucier at Manhattan’s La Cote Basque. This experience was followed by two years at Le Cirque working with the legendary Alain Sailhac. In the ensuing years, Moonen continued his career in New York, becoming executive chef at some of New York’s most iconic restaurants, including Le Relais, Century Café and Chelsea Central before joining Buzzy O’Keefe at The Water Club. After six years, Moonen left to become executive chef and partner at Oceana where he helped garner the restaurant national recognition and three stars from The New York Times. His next step was partnering to create Molyvos, a Greek fish house, which would further demonstrate the range of his culinary skills. Here he created Greek cuisine on another level, and Molyvos was the first Greek restaurant to earn three stars from The New York Times. After five years Moonen decided to develop his own restaurant. As executive chef and owner of New York City’s rm, Moonen earned critical acclaim and, once again, received three stars from The New York Times. In 2005, he was drawn to the rapidly developing culinary scene in Las Vegas and closed his doors in New York City to bring his unique flavor and specialties of the seafood world to the West Coast.

In February 2005, Chef Moonen opened his multi-level restaurant Rick Moonen’s rm seafood at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The lower level of the restaurant offers regional coastal favorites and a bountiful world-class raw bar in a bustling market atmosphere. The upper level offers a more elegant experience featuring Chef Moonen’s inventive tasting and à la carte menus. When not behind the stove, Moonen can be found throughout the country educating about the dangers of over fishing and ocean conservation. As an industry leader, he has testified for environmental and sustainable policy issues in Washington, DC and New York. He is a founding member of the Seafood Choices Alliances, which named him “Seafood Champion” in 2006, as well as an active member of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Seaweb, and a chef’s advisory board member of Ecofish. He also has served as a spokesperson for American caviar, a more environmentally sound alternative to the Caspian Sea varieties, and he is often quoted for his expertise with various indigenous and exotic fish. Moonen is happiest doing the things that originally brought him to a culinary career in cooking, teaching and writing about fish and seafood. His current passion has been the writing of his first cookbook, Fish Without a Doubt, a practical, hands-on guide to buying, preparing and cooking a wide array of fish. Fish Without a Doubt was released April 2008 by Houghton-Mifflin.


Jannette Berrios

  Mrs. Berrios has over a decade of experience in the Culinary Arts within the Hospitality Industry. She began her professional career in 1998 at the San Juan Ritz Carlton Hotel, Spa and Casino, where she held various positions, such as: Banquet Chef, Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine. At the San Juan Ritz Carlton, she specialized in international cuisine under the mentorship of Chef Alain Gruber. Chef Berrios also lent her talent to the Atelier Restaurant at the Central Park Ritz Carlton in New York City and at The Dining Room of the Atlanta Ritz Carlton. This two landmark properties allowed her to enhance her culinary skills with French and Mediterranean Cuisine.

Afterwards, in 2006, Mrs. Berrios was offered to join Norwegian Cruise Lines, where she held the positions of Executive Sous Chef of various cruise ships like: Pride of Hawaii, Pride of America, Pride of Aloha and Norwegian Wing. At sea, she managed the daily operations of six international restaurants and while travelling through the Hawaiian Islands developed her talents and passion for the Pacific Rim Cuisine
In the summer of 2007, Chef Berrios was appointed Executive Chef at the cruise ship The World of the Resident of the Seas. This lead her to experience the most important Mediterranean and African Ports, including: Barcelona, Lorraine, Venice, Civitavecchia, Dubrovnik, Havre, Dakar, São Tomé, Lüderitz and Cape Town.
In her young career, Chef Berrios has received invaluable awards and recognitions. In 2002, she was the first women selected for the Puerto Rico Culinary Team winning a Gold Medal, and also awarded with the Gold Medal Caribbean Atlantic Competition. In 2005, she received the Chaine des Rotisseurs Silver Medal at the USA Finals; she was also the youngest ever member elected to the San Juan Chapter of the Chain de Rotisserie.
Since October 2007, Berrios is giving her broad international culinary talents and Puerto Rican flavor to La Concha Resort’s restaurants as the Executive Chef.

Arthur Artiles

  With a keen understanding of the ins and outs of commercial and home kitchens, professional chef turned sales engineer Arthur Artiles joined the team at M Tucker (Florida) in 2009. After a 14-year career working inside of some of South Florida’s most prominent kitchens, Artiles combined his fondness for food with a lifelong desire to draw and design, resulting in the ideal professional opportunity – consulting and designing kitchens for one of Florida’s best known companies in the field.

Prior to his newfound career, Artiles spent his formative years as a South Florida chef and was considered among the most talented young chefs in the region. The famed Chef Norman Van Aken mentored him for eight years. Artiles joined Van Aken’s then Coral Gables self-named restaurant – Norman’s – as a pastry assistant in 1998 and worked his way up the ranks to executive sous chef in a short three years.
During his tenure as a Van Aken associate, Artiles was chosen to supervise the opening of two of Van Aken’s restaurants in Coral Gables, Fla. and Orlando. In 2003, he was instrumental in the opening of Norman’s, a 200-seat, $4.5 million restaurant concept at the Ritz Carlton, Orlando. Soon after, he opened Mundo, another Van Aken concept – a 300-seat, $5 million restaurant at the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables. Two years later, Artiles was sought out to discover his Spanish roots at Brosia, a Mediterranean restaurant in Miami’s Design District. In his first solo project as executive chef, Artiles was not only responsible for the food and beverage but also for overseeing the construction of Brosia’s kitchen and food preparation space. While at Brosia, Artiles also became a professor of culinary arts at Don Ignacio’s Culinary School in Doral, Fla.
Most recently, Artiles was hired to open the new Mediterranean restaurant at the W South Beach. At Soleà where he presided as consulting chef de cuisine, Artiles combined his culinary savvy and social charm to energize and enliven each patron’s dining experience. Artiles graduated from the culinary program at Johnson and Wales University in Miami where he gained a solid foundation in the traditional Floridian cuisine. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality with a concentration in hotel management at Florida International University.

Sean Bernal

Executive Chef
The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Puerto Rican born Sean Bernal has an unwavering commitment to excellence that has taken him through all stages of his culinary career. A native of Santurce, Puerto Rico, Sean's appreciation of fine food came at a young age from a family that loves to cook. After a short time at a local community college, Sean decided to follow his passion for food and obtained his first cooking job as a breakfast cook.

While attending Johnson & Wales University to pursue an Associate's degree in Culinary Arts, he earned an apprenticeship with Chef Hans Klein of The Bistro in Coral Gables. After two years at the Omni Colonnade, his desire for growth earned him a coveted sous chef position to open Baleen on Grove Isle with Chef Robbin Hass. Just a few years later, Sean was recruited by the brand new J.W. Marriott in Downtown Miami to be the Chef de Cuisine for its culinary operations. From there Sean held the position of Executive Chef at Tambo Restaurant in South Beach where he gained national acclaim for his creative Latin-Asian styled cuisine. Bernal returned to Coral Gables to unveil his new style fusion Latinean cuisine at Pescado Restaurant.

Sean's cooking blends perfectly with the hot Florida sun, using fresh local tropical fruits, Latin heirloom quality vegetables and of course "Ultra-fresh" fish and shellfish from local waters, blending influences from traditional Caribbean, Latin, South American and Asian cuisine that fits in perfectly with Oceanaire's daily changing menu.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room is located in Mary Brickell Village at 900 South Miami Avenue, Suite 111. Under Chef Bernal, Oceanaire serves more than 1,000 pounds of fish per week including 12 different varieties of fish daily, and 12 different types of oysters daily. According to Bernal, “If it swims, floats, or crawls in the ocean, you’ll find it on our table.” That includes everything from Carolina Ruby Red Trout, Ketchikan Peninsula King Salmon and Alaskan King Crab to Whole Haulover Inlet Hogfish, and Key West mahi-mahi prepared black and blue.

Oceanaire was recently listed as one of ZAGATS top rated fine dining restaurants in South Florida. For additional information, visit the website at www.theoceanaire.com. or call 305.372.8862 (TUNA). Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m./Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Pascal Messier

Coming from Bedford a small town in Quebec, Chef´s Pascal Messier opens is restaurant at 29, Agio a 40 seat restaurant located in Santo Domingo. Then moving to the brand Paradisus by Melia, he implements a tasting restaurant working with products and flavors from around the World. Meanwhile finishing a Masters as Ejecutive chef with the University of Puerto Rico. Looking to always inovate he then takes the challenge of taking over the F&B department and the kitchen of Melia Santo Domingo based in the capital of the Old World.
Getting at fourteen is parent´s signature, he starts working as a dishwasher for two months and then get´s is training the old fashion way. By working each area one by one, from garde manger, to hot kitchen and so on.He learn´s the basics.Then moving in a constant search to broaden his horizon and love for cooking he will learn to combine the flavors of Italy, France, Greece, Asia throw in a little of american cuisine, a dash of latin and a goog old quebec technique and you will get a sophisticated but yet subtle cuisine to bring out the pure taste of each ingredients.

Ramiro Viera

Starting as a young cook assistant, Ramiro Viera has settled his culinary experience in a practical way – searching for excellence in every culinary and professional experience he lives.
Born in Paysandu, Uruguay, he develops his career at Universidad del Trabajo del Uruguay, Escuela Superior de Hoteleria y Gastronomia of Argentina. His academic background includes enology, language and regional food training in Florence, Italy; pastry, bakery and yeasts, in Los Angeles, Ca. and swiss and britain food sponsored by Nestlé. He is a International Certified Chef since 2003, by Les Toques Blanches association.
Winner of important distinctions, such as the National Contest of Young Chefs of Buenos Aires, Argentina; is still an active participant of international gastronomic festivals such as the Gourmet Festival of Puerto Vallarta , Mexico -in its various editions- where he was recognized as a distinguished citizen. Also, he has worked as Executive Chef of events like Summit of Nations at Quebec, Canada and the Caribbean Tourism Organization Conference (CTO) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Ramiro Viera has shared his culinary knowledge with top gastronomic schools of Colombia and Argentina. As a Chef Instructor at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM- Dominican Republic), he has dragged a thorough resumé, as a teacher (starting this practice in 1998 in Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Ramiro Viera has had great appeal in different markets, achieving perfect handling of all gastronomic areas of the industry: counceling, menu designs, the opening of Tequendama Hotel in Argentina, and kitchen personnel training. Moreover, he has collaborated in the training of operation personnel for different categories and clients for the CCN company group (Centro Cuesta Nacional- Dominican Republic).

Maria del Carmen Bonarelli

Mary viene de una familia con años de experiencia gastronómica y desde muy jóven estaba rodeada de amantes de la cocina empezando por su abuelo Annibale, quien le dio la inspiración para cocinar, y con el apoyo de su padre Enzo ha logrado una gran trayectoria culinaria y que aún le queda mucho camino por recorrer. Desde que terminó el colegio empezó su travesía por el mundo culinario, estudió Administración Hotelera en la Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra de Santo Domingo (PUCMM) al completar esta carrera, fue rumbo a Nueva York al Culinary Institute of America (CIA) a enfocarse en su pasión y convertirse en chef. Adquirió experiencia trabajando en el Hotel Intercontinental de Miami y vivió unos años en italia donde se empapó de las técnicas y secretos de la cocina tradicional italiana la cual ha sido su especialidad hasta la fecha. A su regreso a Santo Domingo asume el cargo de Chef Ejecutiva y Gerente de Operaciones del negocio familiar, Vesuvio Malecón, el restaurant con la más larga y admirada trayectoria en República Dominicana y que ha estado en pie desde 1954 siendo una tradición para los dominicanos y parada preferida de turistas.

Leandro Diaz

Chef Diaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He went on to graduate in Culinary Arts and now has his own Television Culinary Show on one of the best channels of the country. He has recently created a new way to learn how to cook while you enjoy your dinner based on cooking shows with innovative logistics, delicious cooking, and a unique place. Chef Diaz has also held several other prestigious positions such as Culinary Magazines Director, Culinary University Cook Professor, Brand Image, was part of the Culinary Team that represented Dominican Republic in Club Millesime CapCana and more… These are just a few things that this visionary, versatile, creative and charismatic Chef can do.

Juancho Ortiz

Chef Ortiz initiated his job in the area of Hospitality in the 80’s where, travels to Brazil he specialized in gastronomy. Then Puerto Rico, Spain and natal his country. He began his works in communications (Radio) in the 70’s, then in the 90 he initiated his interest in television at the hand of Sunday Bautista and Freddy Warlike in the section "The world Gourmet" by color vision, every Thursday at 5:00pm. In the natural progresión of his life, Chef Ortiz has created his own independent program "The corner of Juancho" on channel 21, later By Mango TV, with his project "Pelando Mango, and now currently produces the program "Pasion Gourmet" on channel 10 television that is trasmitted today on Monday through Friday at 10:00-10:30am with second showings from Monday to Sunday at 3:30 4:00pm. In addition to his media adventures, he continues to give kitchen classes at the private level as well as at the business level, and assess large restaurants and hotels recognized in his country.

Dianna Munne

Born, in a Cacao and Chocolate Family at the Dominican Republic. Has been the pioneer and only Chocolatier making her own Finest Dominican chocolate from the bean. She earned her Baking and Pastry Arts diploma at Johnson & Wales University at Providence, Rhode Island, finishing her bachelor degree in Food & Service Management. Since then returned to her hometown developed the concept of Xocolat, continuing with the journey of her ancestors through working passionally with chocolate. Xocolat since 1993 -1999 began with a simple line of bonbons and some chocolate figures. Specialize in fine decorative presentations always looking to please all needs for their customer. On 2000 started the Corporative markets with the line of goodnight personalize chocolates for hotels. Through the years the meeting of the demands for different presentation for gifts, souvenirs completed our wide variety of products. From 2005 Xocolat incorporate the Chocolate Bakery which develop a specialty line of desserts cakes, petit fours, mousses. Diana’s passion for chocolate drives her to continue on the investigation of its roots as it was “ EL MANJAR DE LOS DIOSES “ ( food of the Gods).

Stefano Lacava


Born of Italian heritage in Brooklyn, New York, Chef Stefano started his tour of duty at age 13 while still tied to Grandma Jennies’s apron string. The many hours spent working at the family bakery and Lucky Luciano's nephew’s butcher shop made Stefano realize food would become his life’s work.
He attained his Hotel and Restaurant Degree while working full time. He studied Classic French Cuisine “Escoffier” in NYC and completed his private externship in Innsbruck, Austria.
Chef Stefano’s first tour of duty was featured in People Magazine showcasing “Joanna’s Restaurant”, New York City. At Joanna’s, Chef Stefano worked with famed chef Daniel Moriarty, formerly of Paul Prudone’s kitchen.
. Chef Stefano’s love for food runs deep; so when presented with an executive sous chef position at “Gianni’s South Street Seaport” under the direction of Chef Consultant Ann Rosensweig, of 21 Club fame, he jumped at the opportunity.
Chef Stefano continued to work for this group created by Restaurateur Gianni Utzelli and Robert Shapiro for many years. The group consisted of Seven Restaurants all featuring fresh pasta utilizing Chef Stefano’s Grandma’s Jennies techniques. The team worked hard, stuck to the vision of creating a dynasty food concept resembling that of the Rothschild legacy, the legacy Gianni’s mother was born into. Gianni’s South Street Seaport soon became NYC latest attraction in the financial district.
As a member of this elite food team Chef Stefano was able to compete in a culinary salon. The Team won a gold metal which enabled Chef Lisa Beferee to secure a place on the United States Culinary Olympic Team to which Chef Stefano became an alternate team member. “To this day, I am still so proud of the honor”, states Chef Stefano.
The Globe trotting Chef’s next tour of duty was at “Loews Hotel” in Paradise Island, Bahamas. As Executive chef, he created amazing foods, fusing the herbs and spices of this Caribbean Island into his cuisine while staying true to the Loews’ brand. The elite guest list included the likes of Prince Rainier of Monaco, Princess Stephanie and Rocker, Lenny Kravitz.
Chef Stefano returned to Florida after several years of cooking for the International jet-set crowd. Once in Florida it immediately became clear to him that the diverse food culture of Miami and South Beach would be a great canvas to create amazing exciting foods from around the world.
Chef Stefano recalls with amazement at been invited to participate in the 1st “Feast on the Beach” by Shep Gordon; sponsored by American Express for Sharon Stone fundraiser for the Tibetan Monks. This event led to the creation of what is now known as “The Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival”, one of the largest events in the United States. He not only cooked and worked with the likes of celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Julia Child; but joined the original “Mango Gang” chefs in this three day cook out and music jam.

In true South Beach style Chef Stefano moved to “33139” and ended up cooking rattlesnake chili for the likes of Alice Cooper, Michael Douglas, Madonna and many others.
Soon after his arrival on South Beach, Chef Stefano worked on several special events such as Summit of the Americas, several Fundraisers for former President Bill Clinton, Super Bowl Press Core events and numerous NFL events.
After achieving success in restaurants, exclusive clubs, hotels and landmark events; Chef Stefano then turned his talent and love for food to launching and consulting on new projects along with fundraising efforts such as the “Make a Wish” Foundation event.
. One extremely exciting project for Chef Stefano was the creation of “Fresco Mediterranean Restaurant” inside the landmark Eden Roc Hotel. During the $28 million revitalization of this classic and historic MiMo design by architect Morris Lapidus. The addition of a world class Spa program seemed to be fit. New Times described this treasure as “reclaiming the property to its famous status on the millionaire mile”. The New Times “Them’s Good Eden” review stated “Chef Stefano LaCava's menu manages to both work in and unify influences from every nation that touches the Mediterranean Sea. In its execution, the fare outshines every trattoria, cafe, and bistro I've reviewed this year.”
Chef Stefano’s true passion and talent shone thru recently as a former partner at “Town Kitchen & Bar”. At Town Kitchen, his need to create casual quality cuisine at reasonable prices for locals in a non-trendy neighborhood setting was fulfilled. His knowledge and expertise from eight years on the distributor side with “US Foodservice” and “Sysco” enabled him to set up strong and profitable vendor relations, create and design the kitchen from scratch and formulate the menus and concept culminating in the “birth” of this project. Again he was rewarded when New Times stated in their review “Chef Stefano’s LaCava’s contemporary American menu is Pop Music to the Palate”. Town Kitchen was awarded Best New Restaurant in South Miami in New Times “Best of 2007” and Best Neighborhood Bar 2008.
Chef Stefano is currently enjoying his part in outrageous elite events and venues with the culinary team at “Barton G Catering” in Miami’s South Beach. Barton G. Weiss has been featured in T.V. Food Networks “Behind the Bash” with Giada De Laurentiis, and as a judge on Top Chef Miami on the Bravo Network.
“My life as a Chef is amazing! The rewards are great, taking care of special clients like Oprah Winfrey, Mick Jagger, Sophia Loren, former heads of state and a gamut of “who’s who” is fun; but what really fuels my passion are the many charity events we do year after year,” states Chef Stefano.
Chef Stefano is currently enjoying book signings for his part as contributing author of “Food for the Soul” spa recipes, in the recently published book, “Everyday Grace, Everyday Miracle - Living the life you were born to live” created by power Author and Life coach, Lorna Owens.
“Food is my passion and the way I share my Love with the World” states Chef Stefano.

Sue Torres

Chef/Owner, Los Dados

Chef Sue Torres wants her food to transport guests to Mexico – a place where bold, authentic flavors dominate and home-style cooking with fresh ingredients picked that morning at the farmers’ market is the norm.

A New York native, Sue learned to cook by watching her grandmother in the kitchen when she would visit her in Puerto Rico. Whatever her grandmother lacked in terms of culinary education and technique, she more than made up for in flavor, turning simple dishes like rice and beans into memorable meals. Sue quickly knew that she was destined to spend her life in the kitchen, and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, where she learned the culinary history, techniques and traditions that complemented her grandmother’s lessons.
Sue became a rising star at CIA, and upon graduating secured a coveted position as the first female entremetier at La Grenouille. From there, she would work in other top Manhattan kitchens before landing at age 21 at Arizona 206, which is where she began to make her mark. It was there that Sue was introduced to the southwestern and Mexican ingredients that would ultimately influence her culinary style. In particular, Sue was fascinated by the variety of flavors, complexities, temperatures and textures various chiles presented, and pursued them with a chef’s passion.

In 1997, Sue moved on to Rocking Horse Café Mexicano, where she would turn this passion into her life’s study. She travels to Mexico each year to study, absorb and experience the varied flavors, ingredients and dishes from each region, often staying in the homes of her cooks and their families. She used, and continued, these experiences when she opened the critically-acclaimed and ever-popular Sueños in 2003, where her innovative Mexican cuisine has become a New York favorite.

Four years later, Sue found herself ready for a new challenge. When a mutual friend introduced Sue to David Rabin and Will Regan, she realized her aspiration to have a home-style Mexican restaurant to complement Sueños’ creative fare could become a reality. At Los Dados, Sue brings forward strong Mexican flavors, creating homemade salsas and tortillas in the classic tradition while offering guests a chance to recreate culinary memories of Mexico, in the heart of New York City.

Philippe Ruiz

Chef Philippe, a native of France, joined the Biltmore in 1999. He presides over two of the Biltmore’s restaurants -- Palme d’Or, a consistent award winner, and the new Cascade, beautifully located between the magnificent Biltmore pool and its golf course.

Ruiz began his training at the age of 14 at the Hotel School in Bonneville, France, studying with the illustrious Georges Blanc, who recognized him as one of France’s foremost young culinary prodigies. He went on to build his professional reputation at several Michelin two star restaurants, including Restaurant Château de Divonne in Divonne-les-Bains; Restaurant Le Chat Botté at the Hôtel Beau Rivage in Geneva; and Restaurant Le Vieux Moulin, also in Geneva. He then turned to the Caribbean, where, at the renowned La Samanna in St. Martin, he was recognized as one of the top chefs in the region.
The 2007 Zagat Survey describes Palme d’Or as "a trip to gastronomic heaven". The Miami Herald, which has twice rated Palme d’Or as “exceptional,” describes Ruiz’s fare as “sublime-distinctive, creative in its unique way of being classic and modern all at once.”

About the Biltmore
Reflecting the passion and cultural dynamism of one of America’s most exciting cities while offering serenity and sophistication, the Biltmore is a 150-acre protected jewel in a tropical garden setting in the midst of Miami. Offering championship golf, tennis, the largest hotel swimming pool in the country, a stunning new world-class spa and an award-winning fitness center, the 276-room Biltmore is one of the very few true destination resorts in a major metropolitan area. The elegant Palme d’Or – voted the Best Restaurant in South Florida – the chic 1200 Courtyard Grill and the poolside Cascade restaurant as well as the handsome Biltmore Bar have put the resort on the map as one of South Florida’s most-sought-after sophisticated and innovative dining experiences and “must-do” social scenes. The hotel’s iconic status among American resorts has made it a favorite among heads of state, celebrities and sports stars.

Julian Alonzo

Executive Chef

Chef Julian Alonzo was pursuing his life's passion at an age when most young men are happy to get their driver's license. At 16 years old, the Greenwich Village native began honing his skills at renowned three-star restaurant, Montrachet. Enrolled at the unique CITY-AS School, he was allowed to work for his credits instead of attending class.

"Going into such a serious kitchen at an early age had a profound impact on me," says Julian. "I was amazed at the discipline, how everything operated like clockwork."
This level of focus was key in the development of his light, modernist style, which is exemplified in Brasserie 8 ½'s menu of updated classics and new innovations. "All of the elements here are superlative, from the décor to the state-of-the-art kitchen, and the cooking maintains that same level of excellence," he states.

Upon finishing high school, Julian enrolled in the French Culinary Institute. He attended classes by day and by night he worked at the long-standing La Caravelle, which closed its doors in 2004 after an amazing 43 years of service. When he graduated in 1991, Julian followed his then mentor to Maxim's, and shortly after set off on an extended period of globetrotting.

Always searching for the crème de la crème of the culinary world, from new concepts in cooking down to fine china, Julian’s first stop was famed Paris eatery Guy Savoy, owner of two highly-coveted Michelin stars, then on to cook at various Club Med locations around the world: Martinique, Turquoise, Sandpiper (Florida), Cancun, and Ixtapa. Missing his hometown of New York City, Julian returned to Manhattan after his extensive four year culinary tour.

“Experiencing different dishes in their native lands was an eye-opening experience, but nowhere beats Manhattan where you can find a different cuisine on every block,” remarks Julian.

Upon his return to the city, Julian was hired as Sous Chef of The Sea Grill by Executive Chef Ed Brown. During this tenure, he discovered a penchant for seafood, one that is evident in Brasserie 8 ½'s menu. He quickly rose to Executive Sous Chef, then Chef de Cuisine, which provided him the license to creatively influence the restaurant's menu.

This led to Julian's hiring as Executive Chef at Patina Restaurant Group’s Café Centro, located in the famed MetLife Building. His light, contemporary approach won him critical acclaim and a three-star rating from Bob Lape of Crain's New York Business. A rarity on the upscale culinary scene, Julian has continued to receive critical acclaim at Brasserie 8 ½, as he is a chef with both the energy of youth and the wisdom of experience.

Julian regularly participates in off-premise events, lending his services to such organizations as Autism Speaks, Volunteers of America and the James Beard Foundation, where he was most recently a host for Spain’s 10 Cocina de Laguardia.

The birth of Julian’s son has lent a vibrant quality to his culinary undertakings and his most cherished moments in the kitchen are when he and his son, now three years old, spend quality time cooking at-home classics such as pizza and chocolate chip cookies.




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