Chefs & Celebrity Guests

2014 Chefs 

Dean Spinks
Dean Spinks (Palo Alto, CA) A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Chef Dean has over 19 years experience in the hospitality industry including, serving as Executive Chef for Google and YouTube. Raised in Georgia, his passion for cooking was fueled at young age growing up in a household steeped in southern traditions and learned most of his cooking style from his mother and grandmother. At Google, Dean was part of a team of professionals who reinvented the concept of corporate food service and was named Best Corporate Food Service in the nation. Chef Spinks is now an Executive Chef for Facebook where he continues to redefine the standards and ideals of the Silicone Valley corporate food service scene.
William DeSimoneBilly DeSimone (Palo Alto) William “Billy D” DeSimone, is a self-trained chef and the owner of Buffalo Diner in Buffalo, West Virginia. Billy D and his wife Deanna joined the Facebook culinary team on their trip to St Croix in 2013 to help with the Sunset BBQ, one of the events during the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience. Billy D stunned St. Croix Complex high school students, who work side-by-side guest chefs at Sunset BBQ, when he quickly turned a bread cart into a meat smoker.  Like his brother, the late Facebook Corporate Chef Josef DeSimone, Billy D is a philanthropic at heart and just about every weekend can be found donating his time and skills to benefit a charity. Billy D is the founder of the Josef L. DeSimone Giving the Dream Memorial Fund which will start giving scholarships in 2015.
todd grayTodd Gray (Washington, D.C.) Chef Todd Gray, co-owner and executive chef of the acclaimed Equinox restaurant in Washington, DC, is a tireless champion of sustainable farming and fishing practices, and a passionate promoter of local, mid-Atlantic foods. In 2008 Equinox won the Restaurant Association Award for Best Fine Dining. Gray’s cooking has earned him five nominations for the prestigious Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic award from the James Beard Foundation. Gray and his wife and business partner, Ellen Kassoff Gray, are co-writing a book tentatively titled “Kitchen Conversations: Blending Jewish and American Flavors for Delicious, Easy Meals.”
 
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Leah Cohen (New York) A native New Yorker, Chef Leah Cohen comes from a Filipino, Russian-Romanian Jewish background. Cohen attended the Culinary Institute of America. She then went to work for Chef David Burke at Park Avenue Café. Cohen joined Italy’s Slow Food program, and worked in Sicily at Michelin-starred La Madia.She has worked at Chef Daniel Humm’s kitchen at Eleven Madison Park, was sous chef at Centro Vinoteca and competed on season 5 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Following the TV show, Cohen traveled and worked in Hong Kong, Bangkok, the Philippines and Thailand. Upon her return to New York, she opened Pig and Khao, featuring Southeast Asian food.
Sam ChoySam Choy (Hawaii) James Beard Award Winner Sam Choy is a graduate of Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts program, a chef, restaurateur, author and television personality. He presently has a restaurant on the big island of Hawaii called “Sam Choys Kai Lanai” Choy has also designed food for American Airlines first and Business Class menu for American’s Hawaiian flights. His me us are still on the flights to this day. He has authored top-selling cookbooks and frequently appears on TV shows including Emeril Live, Food Network Luau Challenge, America’s Iron Chef, Sarah Moulton’s Cooking Live, East Meets West with Ming Tsai.
TonyCastellucciTony Castellucci (Palo Alto, CA) James Beard Award Winner Sam Choy is a graduate of Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts program, a chef, restaurateur, author and television personality. He presently has a restaurant on the big island of Hawaii called “Sam Choys Kai Lanai” Choy has also designed food for American Airlines first and Business Class menu for American’s Hawaiian flights. His me us are still on the flights to this day. He has authored top-selling cookbooks and frequently appears on TV shows including Emeril Live, Food Network Luau Challenge, America’s Iron Chef, Sarah Moulton’s Cooking Live, East Meets West with Ming Tsai.


2014 Guest Wine Personalities

(Upcoming…)

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Past Chefs and Celebrity Guests:

Nate Appleton (San Francisco)
Govind Armstrong (Los Angeles)
Paula DaSilva (Miami Beach)
Tiffany Derry (Texas)
Josef DeSimone (Palo Alto, CA)
Willy Diggelman (Panama)
Rocco DiSpirito (New York)
Catherine Driggers (Sonoma)
Michael Ferraro (New York)
Betty Fraser (Los Angeles)
Eric Greenspan (Los Angeles)
Theo Gumbs (St. Thomas)
Robbin Haas (Guatemala)
Mike Lata (Charleston)
Anita Lo (New York)
Gerry Klaskala (Atlanta)
Antonia Lofaso (LA)
Tim Love (Texas)
Wayne Nish (San Francisco)
Evelyn Paul (Atlanta)
Kevin Rathbun (Atlanta)
Richard Reddington (Napa)
George Reid (Anguilla)
Gabriel Rucker (Portland)
Liza Shaw (San Francisco)
Ana Sortun (Boston)
Simon Stojanovic (Miami)
Roberto Trevino (Puerto Rico)
Mathayom Vacherat (St. John)
Merlin Verrier (Chicago)
Johnny Vinczencz (Miami)
Sue Zemanick (New Orleans)

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Past Guest Wineries & Vintners:

Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena
Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vineyards
Chris Benziger of Benziger Wineries
Germán Bistué of Wine Bridge Imports
Cesare Bruni of Villa Cervi
Bob Foley of Robert Foley Vineyards
Anthony Giglio: Sommelier, Author, Educator
Gustavo Gonzalez of Robert Mondavi
Jennifer Halleck of Halleck Vineyard
Tom Hedges of Hedges Cellars
Carroll Kemp of RedCar Winery
Julianna Martinelli of Martinelli Vineyards
Trent Moffet of Moffet Vineyards
Michaela Moretti of Casa Moretti in Notaresco
Lindy Novak of Spottswood Winery
Joel Peterson of Ravenswood
Michael Phillips of David Michael Winery
Maria Ponzi of Ponzi Vieyards
Kent Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine Company
Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine Company
Eric Wente of Wente Wineries
Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars
Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine
Francesca Tinazzi of Tinazzi Winery
Camille Seghesio of Seghesio Family Vineyards
Rudy Von Strasser of Von Strasser Winery