Eve Bergazyn is a chef with a decade of experience. While attending the French Culinary Institute in New York City, she fell in love with the precision and flavors of pastry. She worked at Craft, A Voce, and staged in the city’s renowned pastry kitchens. Eve also has experience on the savory side, working for four years at Vesta, which was named by Zagat as one of NYC’s top 50 restaurants when she was chef.
LA-based Celebrity Chef Gino is a native of Parma, a city known as the true culinary breadbasket of Italy. A dynamic TV personality and an exuberant Emcee, Chef Gino has been using his contagious energy to raise American Families' Food IQ for the last 18 years.
Chef Gino is currently working on the second season of the ground breaking reality series on A&E "Born This Way".
During his 20+ years in the culinary field, Chef Gino has worked with many different talents; Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver, Michelle Obama and Jennie Garth. He has also hosted hundreds of cooking classes and events. His TV and web credits include VH1’s Basketball Wives, A&E’s Born This Way, Disney’s Gino’s Kitchen, RAI1’s La Prova Del Cuoco, Junior TV’s Junior Chefs, NBC Web’s Garden Party and more. His Cook Book is titled “Chef Gino’s Taste Test Challenge.”
He has hosted Gino's Kitchen for the Disney Channel and starred in the Italian prime time cooking show "La prova del cuoco."
Saengthong Douangdara was born in a refugee camp based in Thailand where his parents fled Laos after the Vietnam War. His family settled in Wisconsin. Growing up in the Midwest, he developed his love for Lao cuisine from his mom's home cooked food. He helped his mom in the kitchen while observing her traditional Lao cooking techniques. He began cooking for others when he attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where people noticed his passion for sharing his culture and history through food. His drive to explore more food adventures brought him to Hawaii where he attended graduate school at UH Hilo, and he gained extensive knowledge and techniques rooted in Hawaii.
With over 10 years of cooking experience, he pursued his passion in teaching people how to cook. While exploring the world, he gained an appreciation and love in specializing in Korean fermentation, Hawaiian food, and Lao food. He has cooked and taught at UCLA, UC Irvine, Whole Foods, and celebrity events. His drive to connect with people through food brought him to Los Angeles where he teaches interactive and fun cooking classes that go into the history, culture, and science of several cuisines around the world.
A native of South Texas, Maite Gomez-Rejón is has a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Grande Diploma from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She has worked in the education departments of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum and has worked as a private chef and caterer.
While researching a medieval tapestry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she came across a group of medieval cookbooks and her interest in culinary history began. From that moment on she couldn’t look at a portrait without wondering what the person portrayed had eaten. There was no going back.
In 2007 Maite founded ArtBites, art and culinary history combined with hands-on cooking instruction which she teaches at museums and cultural centers across the country. Maite has been a guest on the Today Show, featured in Food & Wine magazine, and interviewed on KCRWs Good Food and NPRs Splendid Table. Also a food writer, she is a contributor to Life & Thyme, Eaten Magazine, and other publications. Her essay, “Mexico’s Early Cookbooks,” is forthcoming in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Visit her website at www.artbites.net.
Nigel’s career in culinary arts started in 2007, after departing a successful career in the entertainment industry. Nigel is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu as well as Morehouse College. Nigel has worked in kitchens spanning from Los Angeles to New Orleans. In New Orleans, Nigel learned under the tutelage of Chef/Icon Leah Chase and her grandson Chef Edgar “Dooky” Chase IV. In Los Angeles Nigel worked at The Kitchen for Exploring Foods, & The Peninsula Beverly Hills. More recently he was The Executive Chef for WME/IMG’s Corporate Restaurant Jack & Ben’s.
Nigel started TheFeast.LA, with the goal of creating memorable culinary experiences while using locally sourced and sustainable products. He has provided services for Hollywood elite, national music festivals, film productions & local fundraisers.
In 2013 Nigel was instrumental in bringing #Hashtaglunchbag to New Orleans, LA. In May of this same year he created The Nola Truck, a Food Truck specializing in giving Creole & Southern cuisine a contemporary twist. The truck has been featured on local news, Travel + Escape’s Rebel Without a Kitchen, & Adam Richman’s Fandemonium. Currently Nigel splits his time between curating Culinary Events, Hosting The Gumbo Pot Podcast, & cooking for private clients.
May Hennemann was born in Brooklyn, raised in St. Louis and is of Thai/Burmese/Chinese descent. Spending summers with family in Asia, she developed her love of Asian street food. Combined with a love for Julia Childs and curiosity about the culture of food, family and country, she decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY six months after graduating from the University of Chicago. This eventually brought her to Los Angeles and a 16 year career in culinary education specializing in everything from classical French technique to Asian dumplings.
Ruth Kennison studied the art of being a chocolatier at The French Pastry School, the Callebaut Chocolate Academy, as well under M.O.F. Stephane Treand. Her infatuation with chocolate began with her first job in high school at a prominent sweets shop in Boston, where she grew up. Since then, Ruth has followed her dessert passions around the world – taste-tasting vanilla beans in Tahiti, selling homemade madeleines in Sydney, honing her chocolate skills in Asia alongside a former pastry chef from Spain’s El Bulli Restaurant and with chocolate greats in Paris.
Most recently, Ruth has been traveling around the “chocolate belt” of the equator learning as much as she can about where our beautiful chocolate comes from. Ruth has a passion for educating both children and adults about every aspect of the cocoa bean. Ruth launched her own chocolate company and website called Bonaparte Chocolate and she insists that all her new concoctions be tested by her husband, David, and son, Sebastian.
My memories of childhood are not necessarily that of a regular child – I did not have time to play with other children in the neighborhood, go to the park, buy candy and toys or enjoy rides. But I do not remember being unhappy. I recall how in a family of 8, with a monthly income of only $30, we were so content and happy. A warm caring father, a loving mother, and chirpy sisters and brother is all I remember.
I was 11 when I started helping my father at work: a roadside food stall. He would prepare food and I would clean the dishes. I used to go to school in the morning and work him till midnight. From one road to another, I would walk beside my father holding his hand and thinking what a wonderful life this is, where I feed people and it makes them happy. This is what I will do all my life, I used to think to myself.
I am Rubina Khan and I am from Chitral (North Pakistan), an underprivileged society where cultural restrictions do not allow women to experience true freedom or chase their dreams. For me, my dream was to make my father proud. People have role models; Nelson Mandela, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Mother Teresa, and all these amazing people had one thing in common – determination and commitment. I did not have to go too far from home to get my inspiration. My father was my idol. He is the foundation, the strength that drove me to explore the world, and to challenge the limitations of being a girl in a society that was oppressive.
In 2004 during a high school summer break, I got the opportunity to intern at Marriott International Hotel Islamabad. No women allowed in the kitchen; it was dominated by male chefs and their male assistants. Women were shunted into roles that typically entailed customer service, the front desk, telesales, and the like.
It is true that determination alone cannot do magic for you; I was young, struggling and I needed guidance. I found a mentor; the executive chef I used to assist pushed me to go beyond my limits. He would advise on how I could improve my competence in what I do and he would instill in me the confidence that I am no less than other chefs who happen to be men. In no time I became the first woman of my country to work as a chef and I was only 18 years old.
In 2006, I got a scholarship to study Hospitality Management at the College of Tourism and Hotel Management in Lahore, the hub of hospitality, food and culture. I knew this was a great learning opportunity. At the same time, I started to look for jobs because I was also contributing to my family’s income back home. I got a fulltime Job working the night-shift at the Pearl Continental Hotel. I graduated second in my class, specializing in Food and Beverage Science and Management from the AH&LA (American Hotel and Lodging Association).
I was extremely excited and for me, God could not have been more kind. I was enjoying my job, delivering trainings to my peers; I was the youngest woman chef around. Meanwhile, I came across the Fulbright Scholarship from USEFP advertisement and I applied. In July 2007, my life changed. I received a fully funded scholarship to study Hotel and Tourism Management in Seattle, Washington where I later graduated on the President Honor list. While there, I was member of the legislative committee, as well as a member of the disciplinary committee.
I made a lot of friends from all across the world and we all shared the true love and passion for making people happy with our food.
My cooking mantra was to always keep it simple. I believe in mastering the Technique. Once you know the technique, you can transform coal into diamond. I love the quote by Erin Morgenstern: “You don’t have to be a chef or even a particularly good cook to experience proper kitchen alchemy: the moment when ingredients combine to form something more delectable than the sum of their parts. Fancy ingredients or recipes not required; simple, made-up things are usually even better”.
In 2010 I returned to Pakistan with a renewed zeal. The confidence that I have and can achieve whatever I put myself faith into. I joined Marriott Hotel Islamabad as a Chef de Partie. I trained several women in the kitchen and encouraged them to take initiatives and think outside of their gender roles.
In 2011, I was interviewed by the International Labor Organization and captioned in the mainstream media by Express Tribune as the “brave woman of Chitral”. This opened doors to me to help other women through development work and to advocate for the rights of women in the (professional realm) world of work.
In 2011, I competed for Unilever’s Chef of the Year, Pakistan cooking contest, and I made it to the semifinals amongst 1500 other contestants who were all male. I was also one of the nine outstanding alumni of Pakistan to meet Deputy Secretary of the United States of America, Thomas Nides.
I was honored as the only student of my college to receive “Pride of COTHM” Award. After graduating, I moved to Memphis where I met my business partner and took command of a Mediterranean restaurant as an Executive Chef until I met my husband in 2014 and moved to Los Angeles.
My journey has been a real rollercoaster ride with bumps, sharp curves and steep falls. And I believe it will be like that till I make to my destination. This journey has been meaningful because I had the support and love of my parents and my siblings and my husband who became my anchor. My teachers and colleagues pushed me to unfold horizons for myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I travelled Pakistan, Dubai, UK, Canada and the United States for my passion of cooking and travelling, and I tasted their food and experienced their cultures. It amazes me how food can bring all these cultures together. My quest for learning, cooking and sharing the art of cooking is never-ending, and it has been my dream to be able to enrich people’s lives with something that can spread love, sweetness and warmth. And I think I can do that with Food.
I am always eager to share new recipes with colleagues and friends, to teach and serve food that people will remember while giving them memories that they will not forget.
I want to reach out to people to show them what an amazing, wonderful experience it is to create flavors, to understand the alchemy of food and convert that into that palatable experience that makes people rejoice and overcome worries and soothes them. I just want to say to those millions of people: men and women, girls and boys, who just like me, work at a roadside stall feeding others day in and day out, to never let your passion die, to not let adversity get the better of you, to hold onto your faith and say, Tomorrow will pass too! It always does, and it is mostly better than yesterday. One should not let one’s aspirations be slave to a society’s will.
My message for girls across the world, and particularly from my country: we have an undying stamina, a drive, a push within us, and we just need to put all of it to an end that is satisfying. Only then can we be happy.
If feeding people heals the body and soul, then food provides the connection between humans and places where trust and harmony are established…
Born in Rabat, Morocco and raised in Casablanca, Yasmina grew up surrounded by captivating aromas, succulent meals and sensual music. Everyday, a new, exciting, fresh celebration of flavours unfolded in her home. Teachers by tradition, Yasmina ‘s mother and grandmothers passed along their culinary mastery, which ignited in her a profound love for cooking and hosting.
In her twenties, Yasmina made the journey to the U.S., where she earned her first culinary stripes in renown establishments in Philadelphia like “Beau Monde” and “La Creperie” Chicago, as well as others in Washington DC and Miami. The dance of life eventually took her family to Los Angeles, where she creates beautiful, healthy Moroccan food with a California twist.
I hope you will come and take a class so I can share it with you!
Rose Lawrence is the owner and fermenter behind red bread since 2011. Rose has always been captivated by food. She is committed to understanding the science, art, and magic of real food treated with care. She has won awards for pie, cookies, bread and cake. Rose is a passionate chef, baker, master food preserver, and is actively involved with food justice issues.
He was the kid who ran home from school to whip up his own after school snack, to make tomato soup from scratch or home-baked bread for his grilled cheese. Summers? In the garden growing salad and tomatoes in the rich black loam of his native Minnesota. After heading to college and on to building his own family his interest in the foods of the home developed as he was surrounded by great family cooks from the Caribbean, American SouthWest, Mexico, and the American South.
With a deep love of the foods of America, he enjoys culinary trips to the Southwest and South to learn about the culinary traditions in our own country. After more than a decade in the corporate world, Chef John returned to his great passion of food finding a position with a well known Culver City Restaurant Supply House, the perfect venue to develop and share his love of food. By repurposing an underused showcase kitchen he invited local chefs, cookbook authors and culinary instructors to use the space to share and teach. The idea was a hit giving Chef John the opportunity to hone his skills with chefs including Roy Choi (Kogi BBQ, A-Frame), Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar), Ray Garcia (Fig), Josiah Citrin (Melisse), the founders of Tacos Puntas Cabras, Farmer Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms, and cookbook authors Jacquay Pfieiffer (the Kings of Pastry) and Martha Rose Shulman (The Art of Vegetarian Cooking and NY Times Health Editor), Kevin West of Saving the Seasons and the Grand Dame of Southern Cooking Nathalie DuPree.
Carol has been cooking professionally for over thirty years. Since graduating from the California Culinary Academy’s professional cooking and pastry programs in 1985, she has cooked in many notable restaurants and developed a substantial resumé as a pastry chef, private chef, consultant, food stylist, caterer, blogger, on-camera chef, recipe developer and marketing consultant for print and on-camera productions. For the past twenty-four years, she has taught at the Epicurean School, L’Academie de Cuisine, the New School of Cooking and The Gourmandise School. Carol’s love of travel takes her once a year, as guest chef, to Raison d’art Retreats in Catalonia, Spain. In addition, she co-owns californiaculinaryretreats.com. Carol currently teaches private cooking classes and caters custom designed events and dinner parties.
Brie Wakeland grew up surrounded by animals and nature, on a small farm just south of Dallas, Texas. She has been passionate about gardening and cooking for nearly all of her life. Brie is a culinary arts and garden educator for the non-profit Garden School Foundation. Since 2015 she has taught thousands of students within LAUSD, valuable culinary techniques and recipes from around the world; along with lessons on how to grow and harvest one’s own food. Brie’s passion lies in being a teacher, but she also makes a great effort to continue to study and grow as a student.
Christianne Winthrop's culinary career began in early 2009, when she left her job in commercial real estate to focus on food. Since then, she has launched her own boutique food services company, specializing in modern American cuisine with a healthy twist. Services include recipe testing and development, small event catering and cooking classes both in-home and at several locations throughout LA and Orange County.
When Christianne isn't teaching or catering, she is a freelance food writer and recipe developer with credits in The Los Angeles Times, Disney.com’s “Magic of Healthy Living,” BrainWorld magazine, SeriousEats.com and CBS Local's "Best of LA" website. As well as graduating with highest honors from Le Cordon Bleu’s Hollywood culinary program, Christianne holds a BA in English from UC Davis and studied playwriting at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. She currently lives in Long Beach with her husband Bob. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.