Chef & Owner, For His Temple- Monroe Louisiana
After leaving a 28 yearmortgage banking career, Dana started down the path of opening a restaurant.
Natural career progression, right? It is when God’s involved. In desperate need of something to do, quickly realizing retirement was NOT happening & after a lot of prayer – ok maybe a lot of whining to God – an idea developed of taking her love for cooking, combined with her passion for healthy foods & offering it to others?!?! What?!?!?! Open a restaurant??? With no prior restaurant experience??? Could it be done??? Was this area ready for a wholefood, sustainable, organic restaurant? She was told no. But if you know Dana, you know that is just fuel for her fire.She started by doing a pilot. What else would you do after that many years in corporate America?
Three months of test cooking for a select group of families went well, so she moved forward.
Next step, she leased a commercial kitchen & cooked to order. Using social media, meals were advertised & orders were taken. This phase went well & business grew, so she moved forward.
Now to open the restaurant…… a suitable space was found in the Cultural District of West Monroe & renovations began. There were crazy overnight trips to Dallas to pick up equipment, scrubbing, painting, planning, building, thinking, sweating, negotiating & PRAYING. In September of 2015 the dream became reality &a the
doors opened. What started out as take home meals only has grown into daily lunch offerings, baked goods, casseroles to order & a Meal Rx service. God is always guiding & providing!
Dana’s philosophy on food is simple – it must nourish & it must taste good. Simple, right? Serving clean, primarily local, organic foods that are gluten free is #1 on the list of priorities. Local farms are her best friends & she is always seeking out new farms in northeast Louisiana that are committed to clean, sustainable agriculture. Cooking farm to table meals using handed down family recipes as well as creating new dishes using fresh, whole organic ingredients is her passion. She cooks 100% gluten free, primarily organic meals that feed the body & the taste buds.
Dana is married to the world’s best husband, Eddie. Sorry ladies, but he’s taken. Together they have 6 kids (5 grown, 1 at home), 4 kids in love, 7 grandkids (so far) - Mary Alice & Corey; Adam & Monica with Roland & Waylon; Hannah & JD with Connor, Jaxon, Brooklyn & Hudson; Tyler & Katelyn with Taliah; Caroline & Caleb. With a big family, Dana knows cooking most nutritious meals possible is so important. It’s a beautiful thing to live your passion!
City Pork Hospitality - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Chef Ryan Andre’ is the Executive Chef at City Pork Brasserie and Bar which was featured on Food
Network’s “Burgers, Brew and Que” with Chef Michael Symon and Named 225 Magazine’s “Best New
Restaurant in 2015. At the helm of the Brasserie, Chef Andre’, is raising the bar of the food scene in
Baton Rouge and is constantly in search of ways to make the city a “GastreauxNomic” destination. He
was named 225 magazine best chef 2017. He is the Co-Founder of Gastreauxnomica and is dedicated to
the growth and vision it shares. Chef Andre’ has previously worked at several known restaurants such as
Commander’s Palace of New Orleans, Capital City Grill and Le Creole Restaurant. As a veteran and
pioneer of the Baton Rouge food scene, he continues to strive to improve the vision and awareness of
this beautiful city through his passion.
Executive Chef, Bayou Roux - Monroe, Louisiana
Crowned "Louisiana King of Seafood 2016," Chef Blake Phillips is excited to be the new Executive Chef at Bayou Roux in Monroe, LA. Chef Blake, originally from Monroe, went to Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Austin, Texas. From there, he worked his way up, starting in resorts in Colorado before moving to New Orleans where he honed his craft in such fine establishments as Commander's Palace and Mike's on the Avenue.
He also spent several years catering for movies, TV, and large-scale special events with v.i.p. guests. Recently Chef Blake has been involved with Louisiana culinary trails lone-star takeover in Austin TX, and also invited to Best Chefs of Louisiana 2016 event held by ACFNO. Chef has been named one of Louisiana' Cookin' magazine "Chefs to watch of 2017". "My style of cooking is pretty broad with most flavors being based in my Louisiana up-bringing. I like to change classic dishes and give them my own personal touch, kind of like a signature. At the end of the day the most important thing to me is the total experience people walk away with when they leave my restaurant".
stäge - Jackson, Mississippi
Tom Ramsey is a chef, sommelier, raconteur, writer and media personality living in Jackson, Mississippi. At his “day jobs” he hosts pop-up restaurants for his company stäge and writes about food & travel as Contributing Editor of Okra magazine.
He appeared on the premiere episode and the “Supermarket Masters Tournament” of Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network; made it to the quarterfinals on Season Three of ABC’s The Taste; and was featured on Appetite for Life and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Tom is a widely published writer of recipes, fiction, essays, op-ed pieces and magazine articles. His work has been featured in local, regional and national publications as well as in various online publications. He is currently working on his book Less, but that’s really up to the publishing gods. By night, he wears a mask and a cape and fights crime… not really, but only because he doesn’t currently own a cape and a mask. If he had such things, well…one never knows what he might be up to next.
Although Tom has been cooking since he could reach the knobs of his parent’s stove, he’s only been cooking professionally for eight years. Before trading in his business suits for a manual labor job with his name on his shirt, Tom spent thirteen years as an investment banker, specializing in mergers and acquisitions as well as capital aggregation. The bulk of his investment banking practice was concentrated in the fields of insurance, re-insurance and financial services, but he also worked on transactions in the manufacturing, real estate and consumer products sectors. Tom was also a partner in the lobbying firm Athena Government Relations, was the owner of a cigar manufacturing/importing company and worked for a period of time in the entertainment industry. He has served on numerous boards of directors for charities, service organizations, museums and public and private companies in the US and abroad.
Tom resides in a temperamental old house in Jackson, Mississippi with his wife Kitty, four cats and three very naughty goats.
The Fat Pelican– Monroe, Louisiana
Monroe-raised chef, and North Delta Food and Wine Festival alum, Chris McKnight, is bringing
southern-inspired dishes to a delectable new level in an environment that he says is
“comfortable, relaxing and inviting.” He learned cooking from his grandmother, and he also
credits renowned Louisiana chef Cory Bahr for helping him develop expertise. The best part of
his job, he says, is that he learns something new every day and is presented with new challenges.
Chris McKnight began realizing his culinary abilities at the tender age of 5, after spending time
with his grandmother. Chris fondly recalls the time spent with his grandmother making
biscuits and desserts . Chris remembers vividly how he sought out every opportunity
given to him by Chef Bahr. Whether it was making salads or washing the dishes, Chris states that
he absorbed “what he needed to know,” and as fate would have it, Chris moved swiftly up the
ladder of success to eventually become Executive Chef at Restaurant Sage. With his dreams
pressing him forward, Chef Chris did not let his focus fade, and he later rejoined
Chef Bahr for a short stint at Restaurant Cotton where his Classic French cuisine sustained his
placement in Chef Bahr’s brigade until he found his calling at Cascio’s Tavern in July of 2013.
McKnight, wanting to use his incredible kitchen powers for good, created (and is still creating) a menu that offers something to everyone, and opened The Fat Pelican in June, 2016 to rave
reviews. The menu spotlights chicken, duck, fish, and The Pelican Burger, made with
House ground beef, fully dressed on a house made roll and paired with hand-cut French fries.
Chef Chris was a participant in the National American Seafood Cook Off in 2012.
Seafood R’evolution - Ridgeland, Mississippi
Originally from Scotland, Chef Simon Brown has worked extremely hard to make a name for himself since coming to the States 5 years ago. Starting his culinary career as a dishwasher in Dundee, Scotland at age 13, Brown worked his way up through the ranks to win Young Scottish Chef of the Year in 2008 and later to become the head chef of Glasgow’s top restaurant, La Vallee Blanche. After a serendipitous turn of events, he met his American wife Jennifer while she was studying in Glasgow, and the pair moved to the States in 2011.
Returning to West Monroe, LA for a few years, Brown found that he had to begin again, and worked his way up through small town American kitchens while finalizing the Visa process, becoming the head chef of several prominent restaurants. Two years ago, he was recruited by celebrity chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto to help open a new restaurant in Ridgeland, MS. Since developing and opening Seafood R’evolution, where he is currently Executive Sous Chef, Brown has headed up events with Folse and Tramonto such as Naples Food and Wine Festival 2015 and 2016, Taste of Mississippi, cooking for Chaine des Rotisseurs regularly, and he tours the country with Chef Folse catering private dinners and cooking classes. With the arrival of his first child, a new R’evolution in the works and many events on the horizon, Brown stays extremely busy building his new American life while always holding on to his Scottish roots!
Sheraton New Orleans Hotel Executive Chef
With over thirty years of culinary experience, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel’s Executive Chef, Mark Quitney, is a hospitality industry veteran who has been responsible for the kitchens of luxury hotel properties in New Orleans, Atlanta, St. Kitts, Marco Island, and Point Clear, Alabama.
Chef Quitney has twice had the revered distinction of hosting a dinner at the famed James Beard House in New York and was named one of the Top 20 Chefs in Louisiana by the American Culinary Federation.
His all-seafood gumbo recently took the bronze at the 2016 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off as well as the 2016 New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Fleur De Lis Award Soups & Stews Culinary Award. Other recent victories for Chef Quitney include the 2016 United Way “Got Gumbo?” Cook-Off for People’s Choice Best Gumbo and Judges’ Choice Best Seafood Gumbo as well as WYES’ Season of Good Tastes 2015 “Cooking with Community” winning Black & Gold to the Super Bowl Doberge cake. Chef Quitney has dedicated himself to improving his community through his participation in charitable events including the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala, United Way's Annual Gumbo Cook-Off and the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.
Joel and Jordan Myers
Owners, Caster and Chicory - Monroe, Louisiana
Joel and Jordan Myers are the owners of Caster and Chicory, a local Beignet and Café au Lait food truck. Joel is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu with a passion for artisan baking. Jordan, a Monroe native, has enjoyed baking for her family since she was a little girl and spends most of her days now in the kitchen with their 7 young children. Joel and Jordan have been baking together for 14 years. Their goal with Caster and Chicory is to bring Louisiana's signature baked goods (especially fresh Beignets and King Cakes) to our local community with New Orleans quality.
Chief Operating Officer & Executive Chef , County Seat- Livingston, Mississippi
As a young child, Chef Jeremy Enfinger remembers stirring the gumbo pot and sitting on the ice cream churn of his grandmother’s front porch in downtown Mobile. Born and raised on the Gulf Coast, in a deep culinary heritage, it was only natural to follow this dream that was so deeply embedded by his grandmother. Currently residing in central Mississippi, Enfinger is the former executive chef and general manager of Cooper Restaurant Group’s Ruth’s Chris Restaurant. His career in the culinary world started when he was fifteen years old working as a hired hand for a well-known local caterer. Aspiring to greater things, it wasn’t long before he was behind the stove soaking in anything and everything there was to learn. Enfinger believes that a successful restaurateur needs to be experiential in all aspects of the kitchen and restaurant. While attending Auburn University, studying Hotel Restaurant Management, he worked in a small scratch kitchen. Ultimately he completed his culinary studies at Faulkner State College. For the past twenty years Enfinger has successfully worked in the restaurant industry, of which fifteen have been in management and eight have been at Ruth’s Chris.
In addition to his duties at Ruth’s Chris, Enfinger enjoys teaching cooking classes, participating in BBQ competitions, competing in culinary competitions, and recently was one of seven chefs who represented the state of Misssissippi at the James Beard Foundation’s kitchen. Annually Enfinger participates in the “Throw Down on the Farm” with Chef Greats Alice Waters and Jamie Olver. Enfinger is passionate abou the culinary industry and when not working or competing he enjoys the handiwork of other chefs throughout the United States. Enfinger prides himself on his pursuit of Culinary Knowledge and believes that a good Chef is always opene to learning new things.
Jeremy is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Chef at County Seat; the newest adventure and the next chapter. Follow County Seat on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or website at www.countyseatms.com.
Drake Catering - Shreveport, Louisiana
Blake Jackson from Shreveport, Louisiana. Lover of family, friends, the outdoors, and all
things food & wine. My journey in food was happenstance. I told myself that food was a
hobby, and that there were more important things to do in the world. After several years
in the political arena, I soon realized that food was my true gift. Labeled as Nouveau
Louisiana Cuisine, melding traditional local & southern recipes with worldly techniques
and flavors has become the focus of my culinary career.
In April of 2016, I was honored as one of the Best Up & Coming Chefs by the American Culinary Federation of New Orleans, and I have been the recipient of Best Caterer Award by SB Magazine for the past three years. While having started several business in the past few years, Drake Catering has been my flagship and home base for culinary exploration. I look forward to continuing to expand my knowledge and the opportunities to share my craft with our region.
We welcome Chef Blake back to the North Delta Food and Wine Festival-2017!
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