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CELEBRITY PRESENTERS
 
Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn is the co-owner and chef of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. In 2018 Dominique became the first female chef in the United States to receive three Michelin Stars. She has long drawn inspiration from her childhood and personal journey to craft the narrative of her flagship restaurant and her menus continuously evolve along with her. Today Atelier Crenn tells the story of California, the place Dominique now considers home. The state’s rich bounty, from plants to seafood, form a base for creation— sourcing most produce from Dominique’s own Bleu Belle Farm in Sonoma. Dominique also owns Bar Crenn, a listening bar that serves playfully luxurious food, curated cocktails, and sustainable spirits. In the summer of 2023, she opened the highly anticipated Golden Poppy, her first Paris restaurant. Dominique continues to be recognized for her constant presence in the international culinary community, promoting innovation, sustainability, and equality through her restaurant ideals and participation with various panels and summits.

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Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern is an Emmy-winning and four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer, and passionate global citizen. As the creator, executive producer, and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise, Andrew Zimmern’s Driven by FoodWhat’s Eating America, Emmy-nominated Family Dinner, Wild Game Kitchen, and the Emmy-winning The Zimmern List, he has devoted his life to exploring and promoting cultural acceptance, tolerance, and understanding through food. You can also find him judging Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend on Netflix, The Silos Baking Competition on HBO Max, and mentoring young chefs on Food Network’s All-Star Academy. Later this year, he will premiere Andrew Zimmern’s Field to Fire. He has written four books, including the Ippy Gold Medal award-winning AZ and the Lost City of Ophir. Andrew is the founder and chairman of Intuitive Content, named one of the top 100 production companies in the world by Realscreen, and Passport Hospitality, a restaurant and food service development company. He is passionate about his philanthropic endeavors and sits on the boards of Services for the UnderServed, EXPLR Media, Soigne Hospitality, Giving Kitchen, and Beans is How. He is on the advisory boards of Procure Impact and the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, and serves on City Harvest’s Food Council. Andrew is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme and The Nature Conservancy, and is the International Rescue Committee’s Voice for Nutrition. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Sustainable Aquaculture and the Independent Restaurant Coalition.

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Scott Conant

Scott Conant is a two-time James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author, and TV personality. With a career spanning more than 35 years, Conant brings a deft touch and unwavering passion to creating culinary experiences with thoughtful hospitality and soulful cuisine. His portfolio of acclaimed restaurants includes The Americano in Atlanta, Georgia, and Cellaio at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, New York. Conant has been a popular presence on Food Network as a recurring judge on Chopped since 2009 and frequent co-host on Beat Bobby Flay. Conant has published four cookbooks to date with the most recent

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Maneet Chauhan

Maneet Chauhan is a James Beard award-winning chef, author, restaurateur, and Food Network personality. Born in Punjab, India, Chef Maneet worked in some of the country’s finest hotels before moving to the U.S. to study at the Culinary Institute of America. She went on to work as executive chef in some of New York City and Chicago’s top restaurants, which received national acclaim under her leadership. After relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Maneet and her husband, Vivek Deora, cofounded Morph Hospitality Group, where they currently run two restaurants, Chauhan Ale and Masala House and The Mockingbird, along with eet by Maneet Chauhan in Disney Springs near Orlando, Florida.

 

Maneet’s two critically acclaimed cookbooks, Flavors of My World and Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India, are reflections of her upbringing and the local markets and street vendors of India and have been featured in publications like The New York Times, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Food Network Magazine, and more. On television, in addition to her role as a judge on Chopped, Maneet also competes at the highest level on shows like Guy Fieri's Tournament of Champions II, where she brought home the championship title in 2021.

 

When she’s not in the kitchen or traveling, Chef Maneet can be found at home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Vivek Deora, their daughter, Shagun, and their son, Karma.

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Michael Hunter

Hunter by name and trade, Michael Hunter is an outdoorsman, forager, hunter, and professional chef with close to three decades of expertise in a professional kitchen. Born and raised on a horse farm in southern Ontario, Canada, Michael’s dream was to own a restaurant that would combine his love for food with a passion and respect for local and wild ingredients. Michael has used his experience in the outdoors to explore his culinary creativity, becoming chef and co-owner of Antler Kitchen and Bar in Toronto, Canada, in 2015. Antler is strongly rooted in regional food culture—pure, fresh, and seasonal. It embodies local flavor and spirit, offering contemporary dishes with an emphasis on game meat, sustainably caught wild fish, and wild-foraged vegetables and fruit along with locally farmed ingredients that are always raised with passion and care. Antler has received countless accolades in numerous local and national magazines, newspapers, and more recently, the internationally acclaimed Michelin Guide. Michael has cooked at culinary festivals around the world including the United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil.

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Jamika Pessoa

Beloved by millions as “Chef Jamika,” Jamika Pessoa has entertained TV audiences since her debut on the first season of the Next Food Network Star reality series; she was a fan favorite. Since then, she has been a daytime talk show host, cooking competition judge, and social media personality, as well as guest regular on shows like Good Morning America, GMA3, the Tamron Hall Show, and the Sherri talk show.

 

True to form, she was a standout as cohost of The Good Dish, a nationally syndicated talk show which aired originally on Fox affiliates throughout 2022. From answering “what’s for dinner” and spotlighting the latest food trends to chopping it up in the kitchen with celebs like Susan Lucci, Kristin Chenoweth, Laila Ali, and Rob Lowe, Jamika’s fun-loving nature created a captivating presence on screen. The Good Dish is currently streaming on Amazon’s Freevee.

 

Other notable appearances include being a series regular judge on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games and Raid the Fridge, and contributing to shows like Unique Sweets and Best Thing I Ever Ate. Early on in her career, she was a break-out star as the charismatic field correspondent on ABC’s The Chew. Jamika’s extensive culinary journeys allowed her to literally eat her way across the country as viewers eagerly tagged along.

 

Chef Jamika Pessoa is classically trained and studied abroad in Austria and Italy. Known for her Caribbean-heat-meets-Southern-sweet cooking style, Jamika has evolved her culinary point of view to culinary consciousness, which is where mindfulness meets cooking. She was motivated by the fact that as she gets older, so do her fans. She still loves to have a good time in the kitchen, yet her perspective has shifted to incorporating ingredients that will keep us all around for the long haul. Now she is about creating recipes and eating foods that “look good, taste good, and make me feel good.”

 

The excitement that Chef Jamika brings doesn’t stop in the kitchen! As a super stylish fashion fan and lifestyle and party planning expert, she always has fans asking, “Who are you wearing,” “Whatcha’ cooking up,” and “Where is the party?” Chef Jamika is known for cooking up a win wherever she goes.

 

As a former celebrity caterer turned TV host, brand ambassador, and motivational speaker, Jamika is a natural when it comes to finding and creating great food, making new friends, and connecting with and inspiring audiences. She shares wonderful stories and life lessons all along the way. Recently, she added to her resume the title of adjunct culinary instructor at Nashville State Community College, impressing upon young people that they can achieve their culinary career dreams.

 

A Southern belle with Caribbean roots, Jamika feels right at home nestled in the heart of Nashville, where she happily resides with her husband and two young daughters, Sasha (7) and Stella (3).

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Ronnie Woo

Ronnie Woo is an accomplished chef, TV personality, and author celebrated by fans and peers alike for his creative global cuisine. With his signature cooking style, charisma, and infectious sense of humor, he captivates audiences and has built a loyal following off and on his social channels.

Ronnie is the author of the national bestselling cookbook Did You Eat Yet?, which also garnered praise from both fans and critics. A celebration of his culture, the book features over 100 craveable, all-American Asian-inspired recipes alongside personal notes that are both entertaining and charming. He masterfully and beautifully provides delicious options for every craving and every skill level.

In addition to being an author, Ronnie is the founder of The Delicious Cook, an LA-based private chef company that specializes in four-star dining experiences. He is an accomplished private chef known by his clients for his creative Cali-Asian cuisine. Ronnie was also the chef and host of the cooking and relationship show, Food to Get You Laid, helping potential suitors tap into their culinary skills to take their relationships to the next level. He makes regular appearances on The Today Show, GMA, The Drew Barrymore Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Rachael Ray, Food Network, Netflix, and Peacock, among others.

 

Prior to his life as an author and celebrity chef, Ronnie was a fashion model with Wilhelmina Management before signing with Ford Models. Additionally, he holds a master’s in marriage and family therapy, as well as a master’s in business administration. When he’s not traveling the world, Ronnie resides in Los Angeles with his husband and their three adorable dogs.

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Arjav Ezekiel

Beverage Director and Co-Owner, Birdie’s

Arjav Ezekiel was born in New Delhi, India, where he spent his childhood before his family moved to Portland, Oregon, when he was 12 years old. He’s been surrounded by food and hospitality all his life. His parents are the world’s greatest entertainers and host dinner parties every week and own an Indian pop-up supper club called Thali Supper Club. From an early age, Arjav developed a passion for good food and thoughtful and warm hospitality. 

 

After graduating from Kenyon College in Ohio, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he began his restaurant career in the dining room at The Source by Wolfgang Puck. He then spent several years at Komi, a Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning restaurant. In 2015 he moved to New York City to help open Danny Meyer’s Untitled at The Whitney, where he met his wife and business partner, Tracy, before being promoted to the management team at the iconic Gramercy Tavern.


In July 2021, following their move to Texas, Arjav and Tracy opened Birdie’s, a small restaurant and wine bar in East Austin that serves a seasonally inspired fine dining-caliber menu with a counter-service format. In 2022 Arjav was named Esquire magazine’s Wine Guru of the Year and a Wine Enthusiast Wine Star nominee thanks to his exceptionally thoughtful curation of the restaurant’s wine program, which takes special care to mix classic and new producers with an emphasis on mindful farming and minimal intervention in the cellar. Birdie’s represents Arjav and Tracy’s shared vision for a reimagined restaurant model that places sustainability and equity at the heart of its business model. Birdie’s has been named one of Bon Appétit and Esquire magazines’ Best New Restaurants in America and was on the New York Times 2021 Restaurant List. In 2023 Food & Wine named Birdie’s Restaurant of the Year. Outside the kitchen, Arjav is an avid basketball fan and loves to spend time with his two dogs and family.

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Chris Mangless

Chef Chris Mangless is a Green Bay, Wisconsin, native dedicated to local and seasonal cuisine. Chris had a love of food from the start, cooking for his parents at the ripe age of six. He grew up as part of a small Midwest family, and was constantly surrounded by comfortable, simple foods that nourished the body and soul. His grandfather owned and operated Widow Jones Bakery, allowing Chris to see firsthand the value of dedication to the craft while learning everything he could from his father, one of the original bakers at Widow Jones.

 

Chris began cooking in restaurants during his high school years and when it came time for college, he instinctually chose culinary school. He attended Johnson & Wales University and upon graduation, set out to learn the craft at several highly touted restaurants throughout the country.  He traveled to Orlando to work under legendary chef Norman Van Aken where he was fortunate to learn the techniques of New World cuisine. After his time in Florida, Chris continued his journey through the Midwest, staging at several high-profile restaurants before landing back in Green Bay where he started The Traveling Chef, with the thought of creating in-home tasting dinners as a way to stay creative between cooking gigs.

 

In May of 2011, Chris unveiled Three Three Five, a private dining studio located in the historic Broadway District of downtown Green Bay. Three Three Five has allowed him the opportunity to provide a private locale for parties, events, and intimate concerts, while serving as base camp for The Traveling Chef. Three Three Five is open as a restaurant one night a week on Wednesday evenings, creating the opportunity for his team to experiment, create, and innovate. His passion and focus emphasize seasonality with a blend of classical and modern technique, yielding an incomparable take on American cuisine.

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Daniel Fox

Restaurant owner and executive chef Dan Fox began cooking in some of Chicago’s most beloved restaurants (Everest, Spring Restaurant) as well as abroad at restaurants in Austria and France. The Kendall College grad worked as executive chef at the members-only Madison Club before opening Heritage Tavern in 2013. One of the city’s most anticipated restaurant openings, Heritage Tavern has been recognized for its upscale farm-to-table cuisine and approachable, classic atmosphere. Patrons enjoy twists on familiar dishes that only use local and sustainable ingredients.

 

The Chicago area native also has a passion for pigs—raising heritage breeds, that is. In 2011 he founded Fox Heritage Farms and in 2017 acquired Willow Creek Farms to raise heritage breeds of pigs including Berkshire, Hampshire, Yorkshire, Mangalitsa, Swabian-Hall, Red Wattle, and Tamworth—all of which are prized by chefs and consumers for their pure flavor. Heritage Farms provides pigs to other Madison-area restaurants and grocery stores, including L'etoile, Graze, Coopers Tavern, Osteria Papavero, Willy Street Co-op, Woodman’s, and Metcalfe’s Market.

 

Fox was Madison Magazine’s 2013 Chef of the Year and a James Beard semifinalist for the Midwest region in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Most recently he was featured on Food Network’s Chopped.

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Joe Papach

A native of Whiting, Indiana, Joe Papach’s passion for cooking was first piqued by helping his grandmother prepare classic Mexican dishes from scratch. After graduating from Johnson & Wales, he cooked at a series of high-end establishments in Providence, Boston, and Chicago before spending several years as sous chef of New York’s Gramercy Tavern. Relocating to Northern California, Joe worked at three-Michelin-star landmarks, Quince and sister restaurant Cotogna, both in San Francisco; and Napa’s iconic French Laundry, where he spent six years as sous chef. He and his wife Shaina settled down in her hometown of Madison in 2018, opening The Harvey House in 2021 and Butterbird in 2024.

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Kyle Knall

Chef and Co-Owner, Birch and Culinary Director at Stone Bank Farm (Milwaukee, WI)
Kyle Knall is the culinary director at Stone Bank Farms and chef and co-owner of Birch, which spotlights ingredients sourced exclusively from the region in an open-hearth setting while prioritizing delicious, honest cooking and sustainability. His work has contributed to the transformation of Milwaukee’s dining scene and earned impressive accolades, including a nomination for Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2022 and a nod for Birch on The New York Times Restaurant List in 2023, where Kyle’s cooking is celebrated as “worldly Midwestern cuisine free of clichés.” The Birmingham native has always had a passion for food, rooted in the traditions of the American South. Kyle has worked under industry luminaries Frank Stitt, Michael Anthony, and Stephen Starr. Earlier in his career, he was a partner of Maysville in New York and Kenton’s in New Orleans, both of which received critical acclaim.

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