Celebrity Chef Tour
2015 Celebrity Chef Tour Participants
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival, presented by Publix will be hosting the Celebrity Chef Tour once again this year at the Mansion at Forsyth Park. 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.
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.
6:00 pm: Reception, 7:00 pm: Dinner
Location: 700 Drayton, The Mansion on Forsyth Park
About the Tour
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 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 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.
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival
PO Box 10010
Savannah, Georgia 31412
ph: 912-232-1223; fax: 912-236-8821
©2013 - 2015 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.
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