Chef Akshay Bhardwaj

Akshay Bhardwaj Junoon

Chef Akshay Bhardwaj is a two-time Michelin Star Chef who found himself drawn to the restaurant industry at an early age. While attending Fordham University Gabelli School of Business in 2012, Akshay started an apprenticeship in the kitchen of Junoon under Chef Adin Langille.

His culinary career has been exclusively within the Junoon family. He began as a intern and worked his way up to Lead Line Chef training at different sections in the kitchen. Following a stint at Junoon Dubai, he returned to Junoon in New York to become Junior Sous Chef and eventually Sous Chef in 2015. Along the way, he learned French, Italian and even Japanese techniques working under various chefs, which he applies at Junoon to help push the boundaries of Indian cuisine. He was promoted as the Executive Chef in 2016. Chef Akshay’s cooking has a strong emotional component rooted in childhood food memories and how they made him feel.

In Nov 2018, Junoon was awarded and retained the Michelin Star for the eighth year in a row and holds the title of the only Indian restaurant in New York City with a Michelin Star. Executive Chef Akshay was one of the youngest Indian chefs to be recognized for this coveted award age 24 when Junoon got its Michelin Star October 2017.

Prior to embarking on the culinary path Chef Akshay studied Business at Fordham University and is completing a Business degree at Baruch College in New York. His interests include football, basketball, soccer, playing the piano and spending time with family. He visits India regularly, where he enjoys his grandmother’s cooking.

Chef Joe Flamm

Joe FlammTop Chef Season 15 Winner

Joe Flamm is Executive Chef of Chicago’s Michelin Starred Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia. Working alongside Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano, Chef Joe showcases his Midwestern and Italian heritages through Spiaggia’s tasting, bar and a la carte menus. The menus rotate seasonally and regionally and are inspired by Chef Tony and Joe’s travels throughout Italy.

Growing up in a large Italian family on Chicago’s south side, Chef Joe fell in love with cooking at an early age while spending time in the kitchen with his Grandma Mary making homemade pasta, ravioli and pizza. It was this passion that led him to the Le Cordon Bleu of Culinary Arts, where he received his associate degree.

Prior to joining the Spiaggia team, Chef Joe worked alongside some of Chicago’s most prestigious chefs, including Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat, Art Smith at Table Fifty-Two, and Bill Kim at bellyQ and Urbanbelly. Chef Joe has also staged in some of Italy’s best kitchens including Glass Hostaria in Rome and Del Pescatore in Mantova, and cooked for presidents, celebrities, the James Beard Foundation and more.

Chef Joe is the champion of Top Chef on season 15 of Bravo’s hit show.

In his spare time, Chef Joe enjoys spending time with his wife and trying new restaurants. He is involved with Pilot Light, a Chicago charity which helps children make healthier choices by connecting the lessons they learn in the classrooms to the foods they eat on their lunch trays and beyond.

Ken Frank

Ken Frank La Toque

Frank’s love of French cooking began when his father moved the family from California to Yvoire, France. Frank chose to remain in France and began his culinary career as a dishwasher. After returning to California and refining his skills, Frank first achieved national acclaim at age 21 at the Los Angeles restaurant, La Guillotine. In 1979, he opened the first La Toque on the Sunset Strip. After a 14-year run, Frank sold the restaurant and, in 1995, opened the award-winning Fenix at the Argyle.

In 1998, the second incarnation of La Toque made its debut in Rutherford, California at The Rancho Caymus Inn. La Toque was awarded a Michelin Star in 2007, the first year the organization published a San Francisco Bay Area guide.

In 2008, Frank moved the restaurant to The Westin Verasa Napa. La Toque has continued to be well-received by the nation’s top critics and reviewers. In 2008, La Toque earned a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer and, in October 2009, was honored again with a Michelin Star, which it still retains today. In 2014, La Toque received Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, the highest honor for a restaurant’s wine list, which it continues to receive yearly since 2014. He was the first American chef invited to participate in the Annual Fiera Internazionale Tartufo Bianco D’ Alba in 2015 and was also inducted into The Order of the Knights of the Truffle and Wines of Alba.

Carlos Garcia

Carlos García Alto, Obra Kitchen Table

Graduated from the Hofmann School of Hospitality in Barcelona, he did internships in several restaurants, among them El Bulli, El Celler de Can Roca and Mugaritz. He served as chef Malabar in Caracas where he achieved important awards for his international creative cuisine. Since 2007 he is co-owner and chef of Alto in the Venezuelan capital.
García regularly participates in congresses and prestigious gastronomic events, both inside and outside the country. He was invited by Slow Food in 2012 to the Meeting of Cooks of the Alliance in Tuscany. In 2013 he presented a lecture on Venezuelan cuisine in Mesoamerica, Mexico and, the following year, joined the project Food for Soul by Massimo Bottura, in the Ambrosiano Refettorio in Milan. Participated in the twelfth edition of Identità Golose Milano (2016). In August of 2016, again, he responded to the call of Bottura to join the brigade of cooks of RefettoRio Gastromotiva, during the Olympics of that year in Brazil.

In 2007, the Venezuelan Academy of Gastronomy awarded the Tenedor de Oro to the Chef of the Year, and when the prestigious list The World’s 50 Best premiered its Latin American chapter in 2013, Alto won as the best restaurant in Venezuela occupying position 25. In 2014 and in 2015 it returned to comprise of the famous ranking and conquered the 28 and 29 places, respectively. In 2016, it appeared in the position N ° 32 and was awarded Best Restaurant in Venezuela for the fourth consecutive year.
Throughout these years, Carlos Garcia has emerged as one of the most outstanding chefs in Latin America. His proposal of contemporary Venezuelan cuisine combines the interpretation of a territory through edible metaphors, constant inquiry into the culinary repertoire and the pantry of the country, and direct links with local producers. Among its major obsessions, cocoa. Convinced of the value and quality of Venezuelan Creole, he devotes an important part of his work to promoting it as an essential ingredient and flag in his gastronomic discourse.

In May 2018 he opened his second restaurant “Obra Kitchen Table” in Miami Florida, a casual eater restaurant with a new concept in Miami, Obra Kitchen Table is a homey restaurant where families, friends, couples, business people can experience simple and familiar flavors of Latin American cuisine as if they were sitting in the kitchen of their home.

Santiago Gomez

Santiago Gomez Cantina Veinte

As a pioneer of modern Mexican cuisine in Miami, Santiago has positioned Cantina Veinte among the best restaurants in Miami Named: “Best Mexican Restaurant by Miami New Times”, “Best Mexican Restaurant by Zagat”, “Best Latin Restaurant by Zagat”, “31 Best Mexican Restaurant in America by Thrillist”. After the great success of Cantina, early 2017 Gómez opened his most recent restaurant Tacology “One of the best restaurants in Miami 2017 by Zagat” in which he takes tacos as an inspiration and transforms a traditional Mexican Taquería in a Restaurant.

Chef Scott Hunnel

Scott Hunnel Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Scott Hunnel is executive chef at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, overseeing all culinary operations at the award-winning hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. From quick service to Five Diamond, Hunnel works with the chefs in each of the resort’s 11 food-service locations to achieve top-tier experiences, whether it’s an artisan burger at Gasparilla Grill, elegant canapes in Garden View Tea Room or a truffle course at Victoria & Albert’s. Hunnel works with each of the restaurant proprietors and chefs to create new menus and to provide the best possible guest service.

The resort’s re-imagined Gasparilla Grill is the latest concept under the direction of Hunnel, creating a world-class, fast-casual experience with a chef-driven menu, state-of-the-art pizza ovens and a sandwich bar concept that originated in French boutique bakeries. But Hunnel’s focus remains on Victoria & Albert’s, the AAA Five-Diamond restaurant where he has been at the helm in the kitchen for 22 years. Now Hunnel and Chef de Cuisine Aimee Rivera collaborate on the exquisite menus as Hunnel’s role expands to encompass the entire resort food operations. Certified by the American Culinary Federation, Hunnel is the first and only James Beard-nominated chef in the Walt Disney Company. He was a James Beard nominee for “Best Chef in the South” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015, and was named Santé magazine’s “Culinary Professional of the Year” in 2008.

Originally from the Chicago area, Hunnel graduated from the Joliet (Ill.) Junior College culinary arts program, where he worked in the Renaissance Hotel with three master chefs, learning classic European techniques that are the foundation of his cuisine. Shortly after graduation, he joined Walt Disney World Resort and was tapped as chef for Victoria & Albert’s in 1995. Hunnel also collaborates with three Michelin-star Chef Arnaud Lallement on the menus for Remy restaurant aboard the Disney Cruise Line Fantasy and Dream ships.

Tony Mantuano

Tony Mantuano James Beard Award Winner

James Beard Award winner Tony Mantuano is an influential culinary force, a chef who has been on the ground floor of defining true Italian cuisine in the United States. In addition to his role as chef-partner at Michelin-star restaurant Spiaggia, Mantuano is the chef partner at River Roast, situated on the Chicago River; Terzo Piano, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant at The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago; Terralina Crafted Italian, a waterfront Italian restaurant located in Disney Springs set to open this spring; and a new restaurant concept set to open early 2019 in the heart of Wrigleyville in partnership with Joe Maddon.

Mantuano is a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest and The Chicago Tribune’s Good Eating Award, which honors achievement in the food and restaurant industry. Outside of the kitchen, Mantuano is often recognized for his participation on season two of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” Other projects include cookbook collaborations with Cathy Mantuano, a wine expert and former manager of Spiaggia. The husband and wife team authored “The Spiaggia Cookbook” and “Wine Bar Food.”

Chef Akshay Bhardwaj

Brandon McGlamery Luma on Park

After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Brandon passionately pursued his culinary career, seeking exposure to both domestic and international techniques and experiences. He attributes much of his inspiration and success to time spent at notable Northern California dining destinations including his time spent at Stars, The Fifth Floor & Delfina in San Francisco, The French Laundry in Napa Valley, & Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It was in these establishments that he first discovered his love for great ingredients and the craftsmanship of cooking.

Prior to moving to Florida, Brandon served as Chef de Cuisine at Bacchanalia in Atlanta, Ga., where he worked with his mentor, James Beard Award winner, Anne Quatrano. Brandon moved to Winter Park to Luma on Park in 2006, the restaurant received much critical acclaim including Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, Florida Trend Magazine’s Golden Spoon Award, Steward of the Monterey Bay Aquarium for Substainable seafood, and the AAA Four-Diamond Award. He has also been nominated as a James Beard Best Chef: Southeast in 2013 and 2017.

Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Chef Masaharu Morimoto — known to millions as the star of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America — has garnered critical and popular acclaim for his seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients. Since 1998, Morimoto has competed on the Japanese television show, Iron Chef and also appears on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America.

In 2001, Chef Morimoto opened his first restaurant in Philadelphia, which was later followed by restaurants in New York, Napa, Honolulu, Boca Raton, Mumbai, New Delhi, Mexico City, Tokyo and Maui. Morimoto Asia Orlando at Disney Springs opened in 2015, followed by Momosan Ramen and Sake NYC and Morimoto Las Vegas at MGM Grand in 2016. Morimoto Asia Waikiki, Momosan Waikiki, Morimoto Dubai and Morimoto Doha opened in 2018, bringing his global restaurant count to 16. Momosan Seattle was announced in the summer of 2018 and expects to open in 2019.

His first cookbook, Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking (2007), won two IACP awards (in the “Chefs and Restaurants” category and the “First Book: The Julia Child Award”) and it was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award. His second cookbook, Mastering The Art of Japanese Cooking (2017), introduces readers to the healthy, flavorful, surprisingly simple dishes favored by Japanese home cooks.

Chef Morimoto also has a variety of signature products including Miyabi Morimoto Edition knives, a line of beer in partnership with Rogue, signature wine Morimoto Cabernet Sauvignon by Mondavi and two lines of premium sake, including his convenient Easy Cup, a resealable on-the-go product perfect for parties and backyard BBQs .

Keep up with Chef Morimoto via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or

James and Julie Petrakis

James and Julie Petrakis The Ravenous Pig

Husband-and-wife duo, James and Julie Petrakis both grew up in Winter Park, Florida and met while studying at the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Collectively, their resumes including working in kitchens spanning from New York City to Atlanta. It was during this time where they gained a strong appreciation for local and sustainable ingredients. The couple returned to Orlando to start a family and open their first concept, The Ravenous Pig, in 2007.

Today, James and Julie are culinary leaders spearheading Orlando’s burgeoning food movement with multiple concepts in Orlando, including: The Ravenous Pig (2007), an award-winning American Gastropub; Cask & Larder (2012), a Southern Public House featuring seasonal ingredients located in Orlando’s International Airport; Swine & Sons Provisions (2015), which specializes in artisanal charcuteries, butcher sandwiches, craft beer, a line of products including biscuits, spices and rubs, jellies and more; and The Polite Pig (2017), a fast-casual concept in Disney Springs combining local Florida flavors with wood-fired, smoked modern barbecue.

James and Julie have been recognized as semi-finalists by the James Beard Foundation for “Best Chef-South” for four consecutive years. They have also received notable accolades from publications, such as Food & Wine, Saveur, and Southern Living. They are also authors of The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida cookbook.

Justin Plank

Justin Plank Terralina Crafted Italian

Since he was six-years old, Justin Plank has been preparing dishes for the masses. From helping his mother cook meals for his eight brothers and sisters to feeding the guests who come to visit Terralina Crafted Italian at Disney Springs, Plank knows what it takes to create a dish that will appeal to a variety of tastes.

Plank graduated at the top of his class from the Florida Culinary Institute and won the opportunity to travel to Zurich, Switzerland, for his externship. While there, he earned the honor of becoming the chef of house. Since then, Plank has run different kitchens from Wolfgang Grand Cafe in Seattle, Wash, to LeGrand’s Alaskan Prime Seafood & Steaks in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park, Fla. During his 2002 to 2007 tenure at at Park Plaza Gardens, Plank established the restaurant as an Orlando hotspot and was voted one of Central Florida’s top 10 chefs two years in a row.

Before joining the Levy Restaurants family, Plank switched gears by taking a job at Lake Port Square, an Independent Living Community in Leesburg, in order to be closer to his family. Instead of making the same meals every night for different people, Plank made different meals each week for the same people and it was a great change of pace from his usual work.

Eager to get back on his original path, Plank is excited to lead Terralina Crafted Italian’s kitchen. Working alongside James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano, Plank hopes to put his personal spin on traditional Italian dishes.

Chef Steve Richard

Steve Richard Paddlefish

As a Massachusetts native, seafood is part of Chef Steve Richard’s DNA. Some of Richard’s earliest memories involve driving around New England with his grandfather and trying out different lobster rolls together at all kinds of places, from eateries located on the side-of-the-road to upscale restaurants. His grandfather’s love of seafood and of cooking for friends and family were both contagious.

Once in college at Northeastern University, Richard often found himself cooking for his roommates at any opportunity he could. After graduating and embarking on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, Richard decided to change course and follow his passion for cooking.

In the late 1990’s, Richard moved to Florida and started his journey to becoming a chef. He began at Wolfgang Puck Grand Café as a pantry chef and worked there part-time while taking every culinary class available at Valencia College. For the next seven years, he quickly worked his way through the ranks and became an Executive Sous Chef. In 2007, Richard was named Executive Chef for Portobello Yacht Club. While there, Richard worked closely with James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano on the transformation of the restaurant into Portobello Country Italian Trattoria. Richard was named regional chef for Levy Restaurants in 2011 and is excited to bring his talents to Paddlefish.

Chef Art Smith

Art Smith James Beard Award Winner

Chef Art Smith is the chef and co-owner of Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine at Disney Springs, Blue Door Kitchen and Garden in Chicago, Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Atlanta, and Art Bird & Whiskey Bar at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

Art Smith has received two James Beard Foundation awards, the culinary profession’s highest honor, and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. He cooked for Bob Graham and Jeb Bush in the Florida Governor’s Mansion, and in 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position that lasted ten years. Smith now coordinates and cooks for special events all around the world.

Smith is the author of “Back to the Table;” “Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families;” “Back to the Family;” and “Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort,” with a focus on healthy cooking and healthy living.

Chef Smith is the founder of Common Threads, a non-profit organization teaching low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals since 2003. He believes that through hands-on cooking and introducing children to fresh foods we can help prevent childhood obesity, reverse the trend of poor eating habits, and learn about diversity and tolerance through the celebration of our cultural differences and our commonalities.

In 2015 Smith launched a non-profit organization, Reunion, Florida Garden and Kitchen School, in Madison, Fla. at the historic Wardlaw-Smith House near his childhood home in Jasper, Fla. At Reunion, students of all ages receive free classes on southern cooking traditions, horticulture, and weather forecasting via Weather Stem systems.

In 2008 Chef Art Smith received an Honorary MBA Degree, awarded by the School of Hospitality at Florida State University. On May 19, 2012 Chef Art Smith received an Honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University, North Miami Campus.

Smith lives in Chicago and Florida with his husband Jesus Salgueiro, their four children Zumy, Zuky, Brando and Angel, and numerous dogs, cats, chickens, fish and turtles.

Orlando Wine Festival and Auction package purchases benefit the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3). A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free, within the state 800-HELP-FLA, or by visiting Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state. IRS registration #59-2940230. Your gift is tax deductible as a charitable contribution only to the extent that it exceeds the value of goods or services you received in exchange. Please consult your tax professional for the most up to date and complete information on tax deductibility.