Celebrity Chef Tour
Location: To Be Determined
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
6:00 pm: Reception, 7:00 pm: Dinner
$185 per person
$325 per couple
$600 for package of 4 tickets
About the Tour
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival, presented by Publix will be hosting the Celebrity Chef Tour once again this year. The Celebrity Chef Tour is a celebration of culinary camaraderie between award-winning James Beard Foundation recognized chefs, along with Savannah’s chefs and culinary community. It’s a unique dinner that brings together chefs, world-renowned winemakers and beverage experts to create a multi-course, interactive dining experience.
The Celebrity Chef Tour is the festival’s most epic culinary event with James Beard Foundation recognized chefs bringing their diverse talents together for a magical, memorable and collaborative experience. This year’s Celebrity Chef Tour dinner will exemplify some of the country's leading chefs and showcase some of Savannah’s leading chefs and culinary students.
The Festival and the James Beard Foundation are currently finalizing the participants and location for the 2016 dinner. Details will be provided as they come available.
(Note: Listed below were our participating chefs from the 2015 event. Our 2016 lineup will be posted as our celebrities are confirmed.)
2015 Celebrity Chef Tour Participants
Anthony Lamas’ roots in the Latin culinary tradition run deep, as he found his passion for food while working in his family’s Spanish restaurant as a child. Likewise, his mother’s heirloom recipes sparked his interest in the cuisine of his Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. By helping to prepare meals on the family farm and participating in Future Farmers of America, Lamas was practicing the “farm to table” philosophy before it was a national movement. To pursue his dream of becoming a professional chef, Lamas trained with the San Diego Culinary Apprenticeship Program and worked with Jeff Tunks at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Under Tunks’ tutelage, Lamas explored West Coast flavors while developing Pacific Rim recipes, and he credits the acclaimed chef as his mentor.
In 1992, Lamas discovered Louisville, Kentucky as an emerging culinary destination, and he moved there with the dream of cooking with leading local talent while working toward opening his own restaurant. His style of cooking was unique to the area, and in 2005 he opened Seviche to rave reviews. Early accolades included Lamas being named a “Top Chef to Watch” by Louisville Magazine. Seviche has consistently maintained a four-star rating from the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Lamas has also garnered significant national attention for Seviche. He has cooked at the James Beard House five times, and he was honored as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Southeast award three times. John Mariani of Esquire has said, "Seviche has emerged as one of America’s best and most innovative Nuevo Latino restaurants with plenty of the chef’s personality in every dish…If you have time for one meal in Louisville, make it Seviche." Latina.com named Lamas a “leader of the Latin food revolution alongside chefs like Douglas Rodriguez and Jose Garces in 2010. In 2011, Lamas won the title of Extreme Chef on the hit Food Network show. In 2013, Lamas was featured on the Cooking Channel show America’s Best Bites. Southern Living, Food Arts, Bon Appétit and Wine Spectator have also showcased Lamas’ talent.
In addition to his commitment to spicing up the South with his Nuevo Latino cuisine, Lamas is dedicated to raising awareness of sustainable seafood practices, and his efforts earned him a Seafood Ambassador Award at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 2011 Cooking for Solutions festival. Seviche is now a restaurant partner in the Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.
Lamas is very active on the food festival circuit, including participation in the Taste of Derby, the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games “Cookin’ in the Bluegrass” Celebrity Chef Dinner Series and the Fork, Cork and Style Festival with Emeril Lagasse in Louisville and Chicago. He has also been featured at the the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival and the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. In 2012, Lamas was featured as a Chef magazine “Chef of the Year” finalist.
Jonathan Waxman is a native Californian whose family nurtured him in the food arts from an early age. While selling Ferraris in Berkeley, his employer introduced Jonathan to Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco, which led to his enrollment in the La Varenne School in Paris where he mastered classic French cooking technique and received the Grand Diplôme.
Jonathan returned to the United States to work at Domaine Chandon in Napa Valley and later with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. In 1979 he became Executive Chef at Michael’s in Santa Monica. There he developed his version of California cuisine. His sous chefs included Mark Peel, Gordon Naccarato, Nancy Silverton, Roy Yamaguchi, Kazuto Matsusaka, and many others.
In 1983 Jonathan moved to New York. A year later he opened the celebrated Jams on East 79th Street with business partner Melvyn Master. Jams was followed by Bud’s, Jams London, Table 29 in Napa Valley, and Washington Park in New York.
Today Jonathan is chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan's West Village, Adele’s in Nashville with partners Howard Greenstone and Ken Levitan, and Montecito in Toronto with Ivan Reitman. He recently opened Bajo Sexto, a taqueria in Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In 2015 Jonathan will launch a reinvention of his classic Jams in 1 Hotels Central Park.
Jonathan participated in two seasons of Top Chef Masters on Bravo. His first cookbook, A Great American Cook, was published in 2007 and Italian, My Way was released in April 2011. He is a founding partner of Nashville’s Music City Food + Wine Festival and works closely with many charities, including Citymeals-on-Wheels and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Jonathan currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.
Tory McPhail has followed a path forged from hard work to arrive at the historic Commander’s Palace restaurant’s storied chef legacy, which has cultivated the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, and Jamie Shannon.
McPhail hails from Ferndale, WA, a small town near the Canadian border, where he learned to appreciate local goods and the comfortable gathering place of his parents’ kitchen. Corn planted in the spring would become dinner in the summer; fish caught in the afternoon from his family’s stocked pond would make it to the plate by dusk. “I knew food didn’t just
come from the grocery store and magically appear there,” he says. “Being able to watch it all grow gave me a passion for natural foods.”
After high school, McPhail attended Seattle Community College and received an ACF- accredited degree in culinary science. Compelled by New Orlean’s history, soul, and Mardi Gras celebrations won him over, he moved upon graduation and at just 19, he was hired by Commander’s Palace Executive Chef Jamie Shannon. He worked diligently through all 12 stations of the kitchen, honing his craft and making a positive impression on his boss.
In search of “as much experience as possible, as quickly as possible,” McPhail later completed a series of stints at several culinary hot spots, including the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, FL; the Michelin-starred L’Escargot in London and its sister restaurant, the Michelin two- star Picasso Room; and the Caribbean/Creole-intensive Mongoose Restaurant in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In spring of 2000, McPhail returned to the Commander’s family as executive sous chef at Commander’s Palace Las Vegas. Though he loved his job there, New Orleans and Chef Shannon beckoned, and he returned to the Big Easy where the Brennan family named him executive chef of the original Commander’s Palace in January 2002.
Today, McPhail continues his dedication to creating and sustaining strong relationships with local purveyors, as well as executing exciting dishes in the Commander’s kitchen. “I’m always thinking very forward when it comes to Creole food,” he says. A passionate and resolute chef who pursues culinary perfection, McPhail delights in exploring a variety of flavors in his seasonal menus—embracing Creole traditions while updating classic dishes with fresh, local ingredients. His Creole Seared Gulf Fish, for example, showcases farm-fresh produce like Spring Mushrooms, Corn, Fingerling Potatoes and seared Speckled Trout.
McPhail’s masterful work has not only kept Commander’s Palace at the top of critics’ lists, but has also led him to numerous TV appearances, including Bravo’s “Top Chef,” on which he was a guest judge along-side Commander’s Co-Proprietor Ti Adelaide Martin; NBC’s “Today”; CBS’s “Early Show”; “Paula’s Party” with Paula Dean; “After Hours With Daniel Boulud”; and numerous Food Network programs, including “Sara’s Secrets,” “My Country, My
Kitchen,” “Into the Fire,” and “Bobby Flay’s Food Nation.” Tory also co-hosted “Off the Menu,” which aired on Turner South Network for six years.
A James Beard Rising Star Chef and Best Chef South winner, McPhail was also named one of the best chefs in the country by TheDailyMeal.com in 2013, as one of Saveur magazine’s inaugural “Tastemaker Chefs” in 2012; awarded the winner of the Great American Seafood Cook- Off in 2009; co-authored Commander’s Wild Side with Martin, a collection of recipes taken from the legendary restaurant’s kitchen; has served on the Nutrition Advisory Board for Cooking Light magazine; and has been a spokesperson for Wild American Shrimp and for McCormick’s Old Bay seasoning.
Chef Scott Crawford redefined haute cuisine in the region, earning praise for his modern treatment of Southern ingredients, integrity with which he enhances flavors, and overall inspired, approach to seasonal cooking in the South. This year marks a turning point in Crawford’s career; after more than a decade as Executive Chef in luxury properties, Crawford formed a partnership to open his own restaurants in downtown Raleigh, NC – Standard Foods and Nash Tavern.
Crawford – a three-time James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best Chef: Southeast” – who was raised among Pennsylvania farms, embraced the South’s rich agriculture, and blazed a trail of culinary prestige as he cooked across the region. Most recently, Crawford earned the coveted Forbes Five-Star award at Herons in The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina in 2010-14, as he had previously, at The Georgian Room at The Cloister Hotel in Sea Island, Georgia in 2007-09, and at The Woodlands Resort & Inn in Summerville, South Carolina in 2004-06. Under his direction, Esquire Magazine named The Georgian Room a “Best New Restaurant” and Newsweek recognized Herons among the “101 Best Places to Eat in the World.”
Today, Crawford shares his progressive take on Southern comfort food in Standard Foods’ restaurant & grocery, where their whole-animal butcher program and backyard feeder farm play a leading role.
In 2016, after a historic renovation on Nash Square, Crawford will open his modern American tavern – Nash Tavern – also in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.
Chef Jean Yves Vendeville, department head of the Culinary Institute at Savannah Technical College has been with Savannah Tech since December 2008 and has more than doubled enrollment in the program.
Vendeville was recently named Instructor of the Year by the Technical College System of Georgia and Chef Educator of the Year by the Low Country Chapter of the ACF. He has led student teams to win three consecutive American Culinary Federation (ACF) Southeast Regional Championships – in 2010 in the Hot Food Team competition and back-to-back wins in the Knowledge Bowl competition in 2011 and 2012.
At the 2012 ACF Southeastern Regional Conference, Chef Vendeville received the top ACF award – the President’s Medallion. This award is the ultimate honor for a lifetime of commitment and service to the standards and excellence ACF exemplifies. He has achieved his ACF Lifetime Certification as an Executive Pastry Chef and holds a Lifetime Certification as an Executive Chef from the Chef Association of America.
Vendeville has assembled a top-notch team of faculty, who have each earned national American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification under his leadership. He has embedded many aspects of sustainability into the program including an on-campus organic vegetable garden, an herb garden, and a composting site.
The Culinary Institute of Savannah ACF-accredited culinary arts program has been described as the “best in the U.S.A” by its ACF accreditation review board. According to his committee chair, the Culinary Institute of Savannah, offering ACF-accredited diploma and degree programs in culinary arts, has gone “well over and above the standards and expectations for a technical college teaching facility.” The committee recommended that the program receive the maximum accreditation time of seven years, when the average is three years.
He is developing his first book, entitled Croquembouche: The Art and Technique. His book will focus on pastry and desserts, prepared in traditional French technique. It will include 250 color photographs and recipes of his creations. His book is slated for publishing this year by Taylor and Francis of London and will be distributed internationally.
Chef Leoci’s passion for food developed at an early age, with a Barese Father, a Sicilian Mother and a family of artisan cheese & salumi makers, craft wine makers and cooks. With the roots of Southern Italian cuisine and culture, Leoci continued training in Florence, Italy at La Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu, which guided him towards his culinary calling.
He furthered his culinary career at the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne, Florida. Eagar to take on new endeavors, Chef Leoci began to offer services as a Private Chef, beginning with an exclusive Family on Fisher Island in Miami, Florida. Using only the best seasonal ingredients while preparing healthy meals and traveling globally pushed Leoci’s skills to a higher level, with high profile clients, he created upscale New Year’s bashes to private dinners for authors and celebrities.
In 2009, Leoci set roots in Savannah, GA. Giving lovers of great food a spark and inspiration to taste Italy’s culinary treasures and traditions. Leoci’s main goal is using the artistry, craft and knowledge he accumulated throughout his life, not only respect to history of Italian Cuisine but also his vision of food seen around the world.
Recently named the city’s “Best Chef”, for the forth consecutive year, and “Best Italian Restaurant” for the third consecutive year, by Connect Savannah, Chef Roberto Leoci and Leoci’s Trattoria offer back-to-basics Italian cuisine boasting fresh ingredients, homemade pastas, brick-oven pizzas, enticing entrees and an extensive wine list. The menu also represents a major effort to keep the ingredients as local as possible. “Importing food from Italy defeats the whole purpose of Italian food as I was raised and trained to understand it,” Leoci explains. “The true basis of Italian food is local ingredients, no matter where you’re cooking it.” As Leoci’s Trattoria doors open and close each day Chef Leoci honors his beliefs that dishes should maintain the quality and excellent taste developed generations and centuries ago.
These beliefs where appreciated by a local organic farm, Hunter Cattle Co., who provides Leoci’s with fresh farm raised free range chickens, pastured pigs and grass fed beef. Their relationship developed into a partnership. “I’m very lucky,” Roberto says. “Once I found the quality and consistency was superior, I wanted to secure that I would be getting this product all of the time.” Chef Leoci began to pull flavors from memories and family recipes, thus the journey began and Leoci’s Fine Foods was developed. Bringing an All-Natural Salumi Line (USDA Approved) to the public. Boosting fresh Italian Sausage, Pancetta, Guanciale, Lonza and Lamb Sausage, all raised by Hunter Cattle Co. Leoci’s Line also consist of Duck Prosciutto, Pickled Items, Relish, Jams, Coffee and Ketchup. Leoci’s Fine Foods brings consumers local, health driven, organic products.
Recently Chef Leoci opened Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar is downtown Savannah's newest gathering place for fine food + drink. Chef Roberto Leoci utilizes the purest ingredients and age-old techniques to create soulful and sophisticated coastal Italian dishes. Following the Italian tradition of making food with what's available locally, we do our best to source product from our network of local farmers, fishermen and purveyors. We hope Pacci quickly becomes your favorite neighborhood eatery, where the food excites you and the setting makes you want to return again and again.
Cooking in the kitchen since he was 14, Patrick McNamara’s passion led him to become the owner and executive chef of Noble Fare, along with his wife Jenny. His philosophy for the restaurant is to provide “the art of good eating,” which he accomplishes by using fresh, quality ingredients to create his Southern-inspired dishes.
One of Savannah’s 10 Best Restaurants according to USA Today’s "10 Best” Best of Savannah's Historic District: Fresh, flavorful, innovative and beautifully presented -- seafood simply doesn't get any better than Noble Fare's near-perfect plates. Amidst an intimate, chandelier-lit setting, diners delight in selections from an ever-changing menu that highlights fresh local ingredients handpicked by passionate owner and chef Patrick McNamara himself. Past standout creations have included the tuna tartar with avocado, pineapple relish and curry oil, the pan-seared scallops over bacon and corn risotto and the raspberry chocolate cake paired with creamy custard. A newly remodeled wine bar on the restaurant's second floor is the perfect spot to grab a drink before dinner or to enjoy on its own.
About the James Beard Foundation and the Celebrity Chef Tour:
The historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village is maintained as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. The Celebrity Chef Tour, which benefits the James Beard Foundation, brings the Beard House experience to cities all over the United States, delivering once-in-a-lifetime multi-course dining experiences to food lovers.
Reception, 6 – 7 pm
Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, Stella Artois Beer and Haus Alpenz, signature cocktail, “The Drayton”
Patrick McNamara, Executive Chef, Noble Fare, Savannah GA
Ahi Tuna Snowcone and Deviled Quail Egg Canape
Special thanks to Manchester Farms, Hunter Cattle, Co., Noble Fare and Cheney Brothers
Roberto Leoci, Executive Chef/Owner, Leoci’s Trattoria and
Executive Chef, Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar, Savannah, GA
Springer Mountain Farms Cannelloni and Shrimp Al Zafferano
Special thanks to Springer Mountain Farms, BD Judge Seafood and Cheney Brothers
Scott Crawford, Executive Chef/Owner, Standard Foods, Raleigh, NC
Sunchoke Salad, Pear, Hazelnuts, Hickory with Spicebush Vinaigrette
Special thanks to The Garden Produce, Raleigh City Farm and Standard Foods
2013 Phifer Pavitt "Date Night" Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California
Anthony Lamas, Executive Chef/Owner, Seviche, Louisville, KY
Open Blue Cobia Tiradito with Bluegrass Soy, Green Apple, Crispy Quinoa and Coriander
Special thanks to Open Blue Cobia and Cheney Brothers
2013 Babylonstoren Chardonnay, Simonsberg Mountains, South Africa
Jonathan Waxman, Executive Chef/Owner, Barbuto, New York, NY
Paccheri, Swiss Chard, Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
2008 Piccini Brunello Di Montalcino "Riserva", Tuscany, Italy
Special thanks to The Garden Produce, Cheney Brothers and Publix Supermarkets
Jeff Williams, Executive Chef, Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA
Pan-Roasted Atlantic Tripletail with Haricot Vert, Maple Vinaigrette, and Balsamic Glaze
Special thanks to Wild Ocean Market, BD Judge Seafood and The Garden Produce
2012 La Crema Pinot Noir, Willamette, Oregon
Tory McPhail, Executive Chef, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans, LA
Assiette of Creekstone Farms Black Angus Beef, Barbecued Beef Bacon, Grilled Spinalis, Fire-Roasted Marrow Bone, Marrow Fat and Cow Cracklins’, Autumn Squash, Enoki Mushrooms and a
Sauce made from the Smokhouse Drippings
Special thanks to Creekstone Farms
2012 Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages, Sonoma County, California
2007 Château Lassègue, Grand Cru, Saint-Émilion, France
Jean Vendeville, Department Head, Culinary Institute of Savannah Technical College
Chocolate Financier with Mandarine Parfait and Caramel Sauce
Special thanks to Savannah Technical College and Cheney Brothers
Heitz Wine Cellars, "Ink Grade” Port, NV, Napa Valley, California
Centerpieces, Truffles and Breads, handmade by the students of the
Culinary Institute of Savannah Technical College
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival
PO Box 10010
Savannah, Georgia 31412
ph: 912-232-1223; fax: 912-236-8821
©2013 - 2016 Savannah Food & Wine Festival, Tourism Leadership Council and The AdFish Group
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival is presented by the Tourism Leadership Council, a 501-(c) 6 organization, with proceeds benefiting the TLC Scholarship Fund, with educational opportunities for hospitality program students in colleges and universities in the Coastal Empire and many local charitable organizations.
Please drink responsibly when attending events at the Savannah Food & Wine Festival. DO NOT drink and drive. The life you save might be your own!