Wine Director at Charlie Palmer Steak Las Vegas
After returning to Las Vegas, Lindsey worked alongside Ron Mumford, MS and Ira Harmon, MS at J&P Wholesale, a fine wine division of Southern Wines & Spirits of Nevada. This allowed her to gain insights into the distribution side of the wine industry and adopt successful sales techniques. In 2008 Geddes signed on to the team at Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group as Lead Sommelier and Wine Director at the award-winning CUT in the Palazzo. There she oversaw staff education and catered to an elite group of Vegas diners, including once serving wine to Leonardo DiCaprio.
In 2009, Lindsey was voted by a council of her peers to be honored as one of the top five best new sommeliers in Wines & Spirits magazine and passed her Court of Master Sommeliers Level I exam on the first attempt. Since then she has been featured in Wine Spectator and Food & Wine, and she is a regular contributor to Vegas Seven with a column called “Ask A Somm.”
The Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe is excited to announce award-winning chef John Rivera Sedlar as restaurateur of the hotel’s new restaurant ELOISA. ELOISA will open this fall on the main floor of the hotel. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and will serve Southwestern Latin fusion cuisine. Friendly, professional service will complement the great food and the comfortable, warm environment.
In creating this alliance, the Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe puts ingenuity and innovation in modern Latin cuisine at the top of its agenda. Sedlar is one of Los Angeles’ most successful and best-loved chefs. He owns the sleek, pan-Latin fusion restaurant Rivera. He returns to his hometown of Santa Fe after four decades of pleasing diners in Los Angeles.
“Santa Fe has long been, and still is, the epicenter of the most flavorful, vibrant Southwestern foods found anywhere in the United States,” says Chef Sedlar. “I’m so looking forward to returning to the Santa Fe cocina to cook once again my own contemporary versions of the wonderful foods I first ate as a child in my grandmother’s kitchen on Alto Street.”
“Chef Sedlar’s mastery of modern Latin cuisine and his Santa Fe roots make him a perfect fit for our restaurant,” says Tauseen Malik, Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe General Manager. “His culinary vision and creativity will bring a fresh new outlook to the culinary landscape of Santa Fe.”
Sedlar was named “the Father of Modern Southwest Cuisine” by Gourmet magazine and has competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. He guest-taught at the Culinary Institute of America and is the author of many cookbooks including “Modern Southwest Cuisine,” “Tamales,” and “The Tamale Poster.”
In 2011, Sedlar was named “Chef of the Year” by Esquire magazine and RIVERA restaurant was acclaimed as one of the nation’s “Best New Restaurants 2011.” Sedlar was recognized in the legendary Cook’s Magazine feature “Top 50 Who’s Who of Cooking in America,” and in Food & Wine magazine’s “Honor Roll of American Chefs.” He received the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts Magazine. In addition, he served for 10 years as spokesman for Patrón tequila.
Sedlar was raised on bizcochitos, empanaditas, and tamales in the New Mexican kitchens of his mother, aunts, and his grandma Eloisa, who was a professional chef. His father moved to New Mexico to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory. His middle name, Rivera, comes from his mother’s family, which has lived in northern New Mexico for centuries.
He grew up in Santa Fe and spent three years in the Spanish cities of Sevilla and Zaragoza. In 1973, he apprenticed himself to legendary French chef Jean Bertranou of L’Ermitage in Los Angeles and mastered classic techniques while evolving his own approach to cooking. Sedlar has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Latin America, and Spain to study Latin food traditions, and he is also the creator and founder of the first Latino food museum in the United States, Museum Tamal.
Sedlar’s first restaurant, Saint Estephe, opened in 1980 and was named “among the very best in California, or even the West” by Bon Appétit magazine. At Saint Estephe, Sedlar combined his classical training with his love of New Mexico’s cuisine to create what he named Modern Southwest Cuisine, also the title of his first book. He continued to create delicious, innovative food at his next restaurants, first Bikini in 1991, and then Abiquiu in 1994, both in Santa Monica.
William Davis started in restaurants at the tender age of 15 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. A career in economics was not as fun as working the floor, so he stayed in the hospitality industry both in Texas and Denver, Colorado. He realized that wine and spirits was his passion, and when he sat for his Introductory Exam and Course with the Court of Master Sommeliers over 15 years ago, his ‘wine bug’ was set in stone. In 2004, he decided that a full-time career with Charmer-Sunbelt in Colorado was necessary to pursue a greater understanding of the grape, and received the Certified Specialist of Wine, the Certified Specialist of Spirits, and the highest certification from the Society of Wine Educators, the title of Certified Wine Educator (CWE). Restaurants were still ‘in his blood’, and the dedication that sommeliers give to their craft is a vital part of bringing wine to the consumer, so he passed the Certified and Advanced Sommelier exams in 2007 and 2008 (on his first try), and is working to achieve his MS with the Court of Master Sommeliers. The academic approach to wine and spirits also interests him, and he obtained the Advanced Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in 2010, and is studying for the WSET Diploma. If that isn’t enough, he is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, and was the 2 time Regional Champion in the Central (2012) and Central-Great Lakes (2013) of TopSOMM, a competition to find the best sommelier in the United States. As a co-host of WineGuysRadioand TV from 2008 to 2012, he decided to focus on the consumer in late 2012 by introducing TerroirRadioto teach, educate, and mentor industry folk including retail buyers and sommeliers, and share the love of wine to all. Currently he is the Director of Education for Wilson Daniels, one of the leading importers and marketers of wines and spirits in the United States. He has led seminars and moderated events across the country, including Santa Fe Wine and Chile, Taste of Vail, the Denver International Wine Festival, the James Beard Foundations’ Cruise Series, and the Park City Food and Wine Classic. Sitting with winemakers and traveling the wine world is essential to his continued growth. After all, having a glass of vino with the most interesting people on earth doesn’t hurt!
Chef Fernando Ruiz now holds the distinction of “beating Bobby Flay”. Ruiz recently competed against the legendary chef on the popular Food Network show BEAT BOBBY FLAY and to the delight of culinary fans everywhere, took home the top honor with his chiles en nogada dish. The New Mexico based chef gives all the credit to his wife, Michelle Romero who encourages him and pushes him to be his very best everyday. Ruiz says of his wife, “It is true that behind every great man is an even greater woman.”
No stranger to the Food Network, Ruiz first gained notoriety by winning the competition show GUYS GROCERY GAMES. A year later, with more support and encouragement from his amazing wife, he returned to the popular cable network to compete on yet another show, CHOPPED. Once again, he did not disappoint by winning this contest too.
Ruiz was born in Phoenix, Arizona. His early years were spent in Phoenix and on the family ranch in Mexico. At the age of 13, he started running with a gang, trafficking weapons and drugs. At the age of 16 he got his first taste of “reality” when he was arrested for possession of weapons and drugs. At eighteen he got “busted” again. Ruiz spent his 20th and 21st birthdays in jail. It was while incarcerated that he earned his G.E.D. Upon release, he went straight into culinary school, graduating in 1999.
Chef O’Brien was appointed Executive Chef at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in 2018 and has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, most recently serving as chef, owner and operator of High Mountain Cuisine, a consulting and catering company that provided culinary services to clients in New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. Prior to High Mountain Cuisine, Chef O’Brien served as vice president of operations at Tinsley Hospitality Group, where he oversaw all business operations for various K-BOB’s Steakhouse locations in New Mexico, and director of food and beverage at The Club at Las Campanas, where he led all culinary operations for the luxury
membership club. Chef O’Brien is a classically trained chef and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1991.
Chef/Partner Paloma Restaurant Santa Fe
Nathan is chef and partner of Paloma Restaurant. Growing up in Austin and Santa Fe, Nathan has worked in several acclaimed restaurants in both cities, as well as New York. Currently focusing on Mexican-inspired cuisine, Nathan emphasizes the integrity of ingredients and the craft of cooking from scratch.
Growing up in the American Southwest, my home always smelled of roasting chiles, simmering beans and free garden herbs and vegetables; these ingredients found their way into every dish, down to the salsasand salads accenting the meal. The food at Paloma pays homage to ancient Mexican cooking traditions, while incorporating the innovative vibe of Santa Fe. In the Southwest, Mexican cuisine and culture are inextricably ingrained in the identityof our food. At Paloma, we take those Mexican influences, examine them, and bring them into the spotlight. As ac chef, I find it easy to make meaningful food when I understand the story behind it. New Mexico’s historic farming practices and seasonal bounty drive our menu at Paloma. By treating the ingredients with respect and a simple approach, we enjoy Turing local New Mexican ingredients into memorable Mexican-inspired dishes.
Paloma is a vibrant restaurant with a Mexican-inspired menu of lively, modern dishes. Everything I our kitchen is made from scratch; our recipes are authentic, with fresh interpretations of regional Mexican cuisine.Paloma is mezcal and tequila focused, with a festive selection of agave-based cocktails, as well as a full bar to provide classic cocktails, beer, and wine.We will welcome you with the warmth, kindness and energy we yearn for when we think of Mexico.
Shaun O’Neale exploded onto the culinary scene in September 2016 when he claimed the title of America’s best home cook and was named Season 7 Champion of MasterChef on FOX. He graduated from reality star to culinary star in May 2017 with the release of his debut cookbook “My Modern American Table”. During his season of MasterChef, Shaun won over the palettes of Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi, Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck with his bold flavors and flawless presentation. He carried the same techniques that earned him a record-setting 8 wins in the MasterChef kitchen through to his cookbook. “My Modern American Table” teaches other home cooks how to recreate Shaun’s upscale, modern American dishes like his lobster ravioli and salted caramel chocolate tart. For the past 20 years, Shaun has been orchestrating dance floors as a DJ with the highlight of his career culminating on New Year’s Eve 2011 as he became the first DJ to perform on Las Vegas Blvd in front of over 100,000 people. Beginning in Tampa, FL and now calling Las Vegas, NV home, Shaun has taken the same skills and determination that helped him to become a successful DJ and used them to start the next phase of his life as the next up-and-coming culinary star. Shaun is a self-taught chef who educated himself by reading cookbooks, studying the history of food and traveling across the globe to absorb different cultures and flavors. As he continues his world-wide travels promoting his cookbook and building his brand as DJ/Chef/Author, Shaun will continue to work hard for his fans and the people that support him and looks forward to everywhere this culinary journey will take him.
Peter Barlow is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He worked as Chef de Cuisine at Easy Bistro for James Beard semi-finalist, Erick Niel for 5 years. During his time at Easy Bistro, Peter took a year off to travel across the country to work with top chefs and restaurants including 2 Michelin Star Chef Douglas Keene, Chef Ludo Lefebvre at Trois Mec and Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal. He then traveled to Chicago to work for 3 Michelin Star Chef Curtis Duffy at
Shortly after he spent time with Chef John Shields (Charlie Trotter’s/Alinea) at Riverstead Inn in Virginia. Peter was chosen to be the opening Chef De Cuisine at Flora Street which has remained as the only 5 star restaurant in Dallas and nominated for James Beard best new restaurant 2017.
Among many other accolades in Dallas, Chef Peter has been nominated multiple times as best new chef and Texas rising star chef of the year by many local publishers. In 2018 he formed Niteshade Chef Collaborative with business partner Chef DAT, together they choreograph elaborate festivals, socialite parties, nationwide personal chef and restaurant
Ravi Kapur was born in Hawaii to his Hawaiian Chinese mother and Indian father. The flavors of the diverse and strong food cultures of the islands have cultivated his palate DNA – a treasure he draws from to create his unique and delicious food at Liholiho Yacht Club. Kapur’s desire to cook sparked while in college. Two years later he began his cook to chef journey. In 1998 he moved to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy.
Awards and Accolades:
- San Francisco Chronicle “Top 100 Restaurants” 2016
- Food & Wine “Best New Chef” 2016
- San Francisco Magazine “Chef of the Year” 2015
- SF Eater “Restaurant of the Year” 2015
- San Francisco Magazine “Rising Star Chef” 2012
Chef Neal Fraser, owner of multiple restaurant concepts in Los Angeles, started his career in the kitchen at age 20. Fraser touts an impressive resume that includes a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and an honor roll of kitchen credits such as Wolfgang Puck’s Eureka and Spago, Checkers Hotel under Thomas Keller, Joachim Splichal’s Pinot Bistro, Hans Rockenwagner’s Rox, and the highly revered Boxer. Currently, he and his business partner/wife Amy Knoll Fraser own and operate critically acclaimed Redbird; high-volume special events and performing arts venue Vibiana; fast-casual Fritzi Coop in the Farmer’s Market at the Grove.
Located in downtown Los Angeles, Redbird is Fraser’s flagship where he showcases his signature sensibility of refined yet approachable modern American cuisine, influenced by the city’s multitude of cultures. Carved into one of the city’s most historic architectural gems, inside the former rectory building of Vibiana (the cathedral-turned-event-venue), Redbird is singular, timeless and “blissfully grown-up.” The restaurant has received many accolades including a coveted spot on Los Angeles Times’ Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurant List.
Prior to the success of Redbird and Vibiana, Fraser and Knoll Fraser opened two of Los Angeles’ most loved restaurants – critical darling Grace, and ever-beloved, breakfast, lunch and dinner bistro, BLD. A second location for BLD currently operates inside the Los Angeles International Airport.
Fraser has also been catering for over 30 years in and around Los Angeles and across the country with events ranging from intimate dinner parties in private homes to a week-long 3 meal a day Breeder’s Cup event at Santa Anita to plein air dining events with the Outstanding in the Field group, and at Coachella and Burning Man.
At Fraser’s award-winning flagship property Vibiana, which houses his critically acclaimed restaurant Redbird in its rectory building, he and his staff execute over 100 events a year in the former cathedral and over 400 events in the 5 private dining rooms of the rectory building. This is in addition to regular dinner service seven nights a week and
brunch on the weekends in the 140 seat Main Dining Room. Fraser and Knoll Fraser have recently completed the development of the property with a 3,000
square foot garden and event space behind the Main Hall.
Over the years, both Fraser and Knoll Fraser have been active members in the community, donating time and talent to a variety of charities. Fraser currently resides on the board of LA’s Best. Seven years ago, Fraser and Knoll Fraser co-founded Beefsteak, an annual event benefitting the Los Angeles Food Bank with Simpson’s creator Matt Selman, comedian Eric Wareheim and comedy producer Cort Cass. As an avid cyclist, Fraser is an active participant in Chef’s Cycle, an annual event in support of No Kid Hungry.
Outside of the restaurants, Fraser has logged some hours on the small screen, most notably on Bravo TV’s ‘Top Chef Masters,’ Fox’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ and Food Network’s ‘Iron Chef America,’ on which he won his battle against chef Cat Cora. He also won his battles on Esquire TV’s ‘Knife Fight,’ and Food Network’s ‘Beat Bobby Flay.’
Fraser and his restaurants have been featured in publications such as Food & Wine, Los Angeles Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Architectural Digest and Eater Los Angeles.
Considered one of America’s leading chefs, Richard is the owner of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chophouse in Dallas – named one of Bon Appetit’s top new restaurants shortly after opening in 1993. Since then, both he and the restaurant have garnered stellar reviews and accolades from premier publications such as Gourmet and Zagat Guide. Richard followed this success by opening the award-winning Fish Market Grill in Dallas.
Consistently recognized by the world’s top restaurant and dining publications, Chef Chamberlain’s awards include:
· “One of America’s Top Tables,” from Gourmet
· “One of America’s Top Restaurants,” from Zagat Guide
· “Award of Excellence,” from Wine Spectator
Born in Chicago and raised in Santa Fe, Kevin Nashan spent as much of his childhood in a restaurant as he did in the classroom. For 27 years, his family owned La Tertulia, a beloved Northern New Mexican restaurant started by his Hispanic grandfather in 1972. Throughout his youth, Nashan helped out doing everything from washing dishes to working front of house. After graduating from St. Louis University, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
After culinary school, Nashan interned at Commander’s Palace under Chef Jamie Shannon, introducing him to the fast-paced world of restaurant kitchens. Nashan then moved to Chicago to immersed himself in French cuisine under the guidance of celebrated Chef Roland Liccioni at La Francais in Chicago. In 1998, Nashan moved to northwestern Spain to stage at El Raco de Can Fabes, but due to a miscommunication, found himself there in the wrong month! Always resourceful, he set out for San Sebastian, a laid-back surf
town with one of the highest concentrations of Michelin stars in the world. He knocked on doors and landed at the famed three-starred restaurant Martin Berasategui.
After nearly a year in Europe, Nashan longed to return to the states and assumed a position at Daniel in New York City, working his way through the kitchen under the watchful eye of Chef Daniel Boulud. In 2002, Nashan returned to his adopted hometown of St. Louis with the intentions of opening a restaurant. He learned the owners of local standby Sidney Street were looking to pass the torch after 16 years in business. Nashan loved the beautiful building and decided, along with his wife, Mina, to buy the restaurant in 2003.
Nashan seamlessly incorporates his wide variety of culinary experiences and influences into seasonal, locally sourced creations. His French training shines through his food while his time in Spain shows its lasting impact in soulful sofrito-based dishes and the innumerable cured products in the pantry. The New Mexican cuisine of his childhood is also never far from his mind and his love for Southern cuisine is reflected in the form of ingredients like ham hocks, sorghum, and speckled grits. Nashan believes that sourcing locally should be expected, not celebrated, and it doesn’t get much closer to home than the micro greens he grows in the basement or the garden occupying in the Sidney Street parking lot.
In August 2014, Nashan opened his second restaurant in St. Louis, Peacemaker Lobster & Crab. Inspired by Nashan’s time spent cooking and living in New Orleans and his travels along Maine’s rocky coast, Peacemaker highlights the Acadian tie between Northeastern and Louisiana cuisines. The menu features creative interpretations of coastal favorites like lobster rolls, po’boy sandwiches, steamed blue crab, seafood boils, chowders, gumbos, and seasonal pies. Nashan opened a second location of Peacemaker in
Tulsa, OK in a historic downtown space at the heart of Tulsa’s Blue Dome District in September 2018.
Nashan won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest in 2017, after being a finalist in the category in 2014 and 2016 and a five-time semifinalist. He has cooked for President Barack Obama, and he won the 2013 Cochon 555 Barbecue competition in St. Louis. When he’s not in the kitchen, he can be found training for triathlons and ironman competitions (he’s completed six!), playing sports, hunting, and being outdoors. He loves enjoying all St. Louis and Tulsa have to offer with his wife, Mina, and their two sons,
Max and Miles.
Director of Operations at Charlie Parker Steak Las Vegas
One of the country’s leading experts on food, beverage, and service, Steven Geddes is the only working chef in the United States to hold the honor of Master Sommelier.
The Colorado native first found himself cooking in Las Vegas at the landmark restaurant, Andres. At the age of seventeen, Geddes was cooking side by side with the restaurants famed owner, mentor, and chef; Andre Rochat. With experience on the line, assisting with Rochat’s cooking classes, and a newfound respect for wine, Steven began redefining his outlook on the food and beverage world.
In 1995, now armed with an ever-evolving pallet, Steven Geddes earned the esteemed Court of Master Sommeliers honor of becoming a certified Master Sommelier. After five years of hard work and determination, at the age of 29, he became only the 25th American to hold this internationally certified title.
As a Master Sommelier, Geddes has had the opportunity to be part of many important projects including leading the charge to curate the wine list and famed “wine tower” upon the opening of Chef Charlie Palmer’s renowned Las Vegas restaurant, Aureole, as well as a teaching post at UNLV’s esteemed hospitality school.
With a firm grip on the pulse of the wine world, Geddes wanted to return to where it all started, cooking. He trained under the tutelage of famed chefs Wolfgang Puck, Andre Rochat, George Morrone, Charlie Trotter, Bradley Ogden, Charlie Palmer and Rick Moonen. Geddes has been named one of the world’s foremost gastronomers—a renowned authority on the marriage of food and wine and all of the nuances of the dining experience. He went on to oversee the entire operation of Cincinatti restaurant, Local 127, where he served as both Executive Chef and General Manager and delivered a generous dose of gastronomy with a locally-sourced approach on American heritage recipes.
Steven moved back to Las Vegas in 2014 to rejoin forces with Chef Charlie Palmer. An instrumental force in the multi-unit expansion of the Charlie Palmer Group in 2014-15, he now oversees the group’s west coast operations. Over the years he’s been featured in New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wine Spectator, Wines & Spirits, Decanter, and more and has achieved numerous wine and cooking awards.
Valerie Masten serves as vice president for the New York importer Skurnik Wines & Spirits, specializes in German and Austrian wines as well as grower champagnes.
A vivacious native of Richmond, Virginia who lived in Atlanta after earning a degree in cellular biology from the University of Georgia, Masten leavens her intense knowledge of all things oenological with a background as a competitive cheerleader, and, as she once told The New York Times, she has “no fear of being silly. I’m known for randomness, non sequiturs, and goofiness.” Exemplified, perhaps, by her ability to pull off a one-handed cartwheel while holding a full wineglass.
Nationally recognized as the chef of the renowned SPQR in San Francisco, California, (a Michelin-starred restaurant from 2013 through 2015), Matthew Accarrino has been a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: West and Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2014.
Born in the Midwest and raised on the east coast, he moved west to California in 2007. His unique culinary style draws inspiration from his Italian heritage, personal experiences and classical training with some of America’s best chefs. Coupled with the embrace of the bounty of opportunities California ingredients present and a strong belief in direct sourcing, producing, even playing a role in the creation of his own ingredients, the results have been an intensely personal cuisine that is both technically polished and soulful.
It’s a cuisine that has garnered praise from publications such as Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Saveur, The Wall Street Journal, Food Arts, Plate, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, 7X7 and SF Magazine.
Under his direction, SPQR was recognized with a Michelin star in the 2013 and 2014 guides. Since his arrival there, Accarrino has been named Star Chefs “2010 Rising Star” for his “innovative vision, finesse, and deeply satisfying cuisine,” and in 2011 he took top honors at San Francisco’s Cochon 555 competition.
Accarrino has been nominated three consecutive times by the James Beard Foundation as a semi-finalist for “Best Chef: West.” Food & Wine Magazine named him “People’s Best Chef California” in 2013 and editorially selected him for the prestigious “Best New Chef” award in 2014. He is also the co-author of SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine.
Known as much for his butchery skills as his culinary chops, Josh Gerwin, a native Santa Fean, ventured east early in life, where he attended the New England Culinary Institute and came away not only with a degree but earned the Institute’s “Golden Tong Award” for best savory chef in his class.
After serving as sous chef at the prestigious Five Diamond Fairmont Princess Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, he relocated to New Mexico. His first culinary venture in the Land of Enchantment came as the chief operator of the Curbside Café, a revolutionary food truck stationed in Santa Fe, which made high-end gourmet food affordable.
In May, 2009, Gerwin leased and reopened the historic 300-year-old Casa Vieja in Corrales, where he created a menu featuring rustic New Mexican fare showcasing fresh, local produce from the Corrales Growers’ Market and other local purveyors of freshness. By year’s end, he had garnered “Best Chef in Albuquerque” recognition from readers of the Alibi. A year later, Alibi readers accorded Casa Vieja “Best Restaurant in Albuquerque” honors.
Gerwin then opened Dr. Field Goods Kitchen in 2012, where he put into practice his desire to have a “New Mexico fusion meets the rest of the world” cuisine. Capitalizing on his dream of being a kind of one-top-shop, Gerwin then opened Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop & Bakery, just down from the Kitchen. Both establishments exemplify his desire to use local, sustainable agriculture as much as possible.
Master Sommelier Joseph Spellman has been a steady presence in the Chicago dining scene since 1979, as professional sommelier, restaurant manager, wine writer and educator.
In 1996 Joe successfully completed all three stages of the prestigious and difficult Master Sommelier Diploma. In 1997, representing the United States, Spellman finished first of 24 national champion European, Asian and North American sommeliers when he won the International Grand Prix SOPEAX du Sommelier, the most recognized sommelier competition in the world.
He now carries the title “Le Meilleuer Sommelier du Monde en Vines et Spiritueux de France,” only the second American to ever achieve this distinction. Joseph’s accomplishments notwithstanding, he still believes quite simply that most wines go with most foods, that a half-full bottle is better than a half-empty glass and that it takes a lot of beer to make good wine.
A sought-after speaker nationally, The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is pleased to celebrate Joe’s fifteenth anniversary of hosting our Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta Seminars.
Tim Gaiser is a nationally renowned wine expert and Master Sommelier. From 2003 to 2011 he served as the Education Chair and the Education Director for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas. He also serves as an adjunct professor for the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley.
Tim has experience in all phases of the wine industry - online, wholesale, retail, winery, and restaurant - including stints at Heitz Wine Cellars in the Napa Valley and Bix and Cypress Club restaurants in San Francisco. He has developed wine education programs for restaurants, winery schools and wine distributors and taught classes on wine and spirits at every level of education. His client list includes Constellation, Fosters, Diageo, American Express, Evian, Pepsico International, Franklin-Templeton, Wells Fargo, Wines of Germany, the VDP and the Consorzios for Prosecco Superiore, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino. Prior to developing his wine expertise, Tim received an M.A. in Classical Music from the University of Michigan. He played classical trumpet as a freelance professional and as an extra with the San Francisco Opera.
A native Nebraskan, Jesse Becker M.S. began his wine career at 21 when he took a position as a clerk with a wine shop in Lincoln. Jesse moved to California’s Napa Valley in 2001 where he worked in the cellars of both Robert Sinskey and Miner Family wineries. During this time, he also poured some of Napa’s top wines for Michael Chiarello’s Tra Vigne Cantinetta.
Jesse moved to San Francisco in 2002 and worked for retailer K&L Wine Merchants. In 2004, he took the opportunity to work the harvest for Burgundy producer Maison Camille Giroud and returned to the US and settled in Chicago. There he shifted his career focus from retail to hospitality, working as a sommelier with restaurants Charlie Trotter’s and NoMI at the Park Hyatt. He committed to education and professional development and passed the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) exam in 2006.
He spent two years alongside Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey at the James Beard Award winning restaurant Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, during which time he passed the rigorous Master Sommelier exam, making him one of 173 people in the world to achieve this distinction.
Jesse worked the 2008 harvest in Sancerre with Alphonse Mellot before joining Chef Paul Kulik at The Boiler Room in Omaha, Nebraska. The Boiler Room is an ingredient-driven Omaha restaurant with a menu that changes daily to reflect seasonality and product availability. The wine list is expansive with an emphasis on France, Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy.
Jesse also contributes to several publications including Sommelier Journal, Vintrust SOMMselections, and Food & Spirits Magazine and recently helped develop a website and wine pairing iPhone app called WinetoMatch.com, a wine and food pairing site for consumers and professionals.
Becker earned his MS while working along side Bobby Stuckey at Fracas Food & Wine.
Executive Chef Arroyo Vino Santa Fe
Allison joined Arroyo Vino in 2018 as Executive Chef, after a fifteen-year culinary career that began in Santa Fe with an externship at Coyote Café in 2002. After graduating in 2003 from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, Allision worked in Martha’s Vineyard for two years at the Coach House. She then moved west, to join the team at the prestigious Little Nell Hotel in Aspen. She spent 7 years at “The Nell”, including 2 years as Executive Chef at Ajax Tavern. After Aspen, Allison continued to build her considerable expertise in managing kitchens by spending 3 years in Austin as Executive Chef at laV Restaurant & Wine Bar, followed by 2 years in Marfa as Executive Chef at the game changing Hotel Saint George.
Executive Chef El Nido Santa Fe
Lombardy native, Executive Chef Cristian Pontiggia is the proud recipient of many awards. In addition to working at two Michelin Star awarded restaurants in Europe, he has received several awards for cooking and wine knowledge from the Chaine des Rotisseurs. The Italian government recognizes him as a Master Chef and he holds a culinary degree that certifies him as a Doctor of Oenogastronomy. Chef Cristian is actively engaged in the Santa Fe community and volunteers as a Cooking With Kids Super Chef.
Chef Cristian recently took over the reigns at the iconic El Nido restaurant in Tesuque.
Chef/Author, San Francisco
Laura Werlin is one of the country’s foremost authorities on cheese. She is the award-winning author of five books on the subject, is a sought-after speaker and spokesperson for consumer and trade organizations, and is a frequent television and radio guest. An expert in cheese and wine pairing and American artisan cheese, Werlin received the James Beard award for her book The All American Cheese and Wine Book, which was the first of its kind in America to focus entirely on cheese and wine pairing. Her newest book centers on America’s favorite sandwich – and hers – grilled cheese. Grilled Cheese, Please! Her previous grilled cheese book, Great Grilled Cheese, was the winner of the World Gourmand award for best cheese book in the world. In addition, Werlin, whose passion is American cheese, wrote the ground-breaking The New American Cheese. And in 2007, her book Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials, won a prestigious James Beard award nomination. Werlin is known for her approachable, yet authoritative, teaching style and is frequently asked to conduct cheese and wine pairing, cheese education, and cooking classes across the country. She is also a regular instructor at The Cheese School of San Francisco. When she isn’t talking about or eating cheese, she can be found jogging on the streets of San Francisco, where she lives.
Werlin is known for her approachable, yet authoritative, teaching style and is frequently asked to conduct cheese and wine pairing, cheese education, and cooking classes across the country.
Chef/Owner Sazon Santa Fe
Originally from Mexico City, Chef Fernando Olea has been enthralling diners in Santa Fe since 1991 with his unique interpretation of contemporary and traditional Mexican dishes. Chef Olea creates sophisticated flavors using Old Mexico’s indigenous and culinary traditions alongside ingredients from around the world. His menu is deliberately small, featuring fresh and locally sourced produce and meats when possible. Nothing evokes the mystery of Mexican cuisine more than mole, a regional dish from the heart of the country. The origin of Mexican mole is mysterious. Some say it was an Aztec delicacy served to the Spanish conquistadors. Others say 16th century Hispanic nuns created it. We’re not sure of the origin, nor can the original recipe be defined! In Old Mexico each cook has their unique mole recipe often handed down generation by generation. Mole is a sauce of complex flavors that usually includes toasted and ground spices, seeds, nuts, chocolate and chile. Many mole recipes contain more than thirty ingredients and some recipes have five varieties of chile alone. Moles can be defined by their color such as rojo, verde, and negro; the town they are from such as Puebla, Oaxaca, Michoacan; and social class, such as pobres and ricos. Chef Olea is delighted to share his moles that include his “New Mexican Mole” that he created to commemorate Santa Fe’s 400 year anniversary in 2009. The large mural in the main dining room, painted and presented to Chef Olea by Federico Leon De La Vega, a well known artist from Mexico City, illustrates all of the ingredients found in this mole.
Chef/Owner The Compound Restaurant Santa Fe
Mark Kiffin, celebrated Chef/Owner and author of The Compound Restaurant, won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award as Best Chef of the Southwest 2005. The Compound is Santa Fe’s premier restaurant with Chef Kiffin’s acclaimed seasonal contemporary American cuisine derived from Santa Fe’s rich heritage of regional and Mediterranean influences. The New York Times, Gourmet Magazine, Wall Street Journal and Wine Spectator have all selected the Compound as Santa Fe’s favorite. Chef Kiffin re-opened The Compound, a long-time beloved culinary presence located in the heart of Santa Fe’s cultural Mecca, Canyon Road, on May 30th, 2000. The restaurant celebrates his 50th anniversary this year with Kiffin owning it for the most recent 15 years.Through Chef Kiffin’s diligence and dedication, the restaurant has been reinvigorated, has reclaimed its original stature as a leading destination and is currently one of the very finest restaurants in the region. A recognized leader in Southwestern cuisine, Kiffin has developed a unique and exciting signature contemporary American menu, focusing his seasonally-evolving menu on true regional ingredients and New World influences deftly combined with the culinary style and flavors of the Mediterranean.Kiffin opened Zacatecas Tacos & Tequila in Albuquerque in 2013 and it was a James Beard Semi-Finalist for Best New Restaurant.
A recognized leader in Southwestern cuisine, Kiffin has developed a unique and exciting signature contemporary American menu.
Executive Chef Terra Four Seasons Santa Fe
In his first Executive Chef role in the US, Autenrieth oversees Terra restaurant, one of Santa Fe’s premier dining destinations serving contemporary American cuisine while incorporating New Mexican influences. Chef Autenrieth has a distinct global perspective and command of international flavour profiles to Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, building upon a culinary trajectory of 19 years that has traversed Tanzania, Saint Lucia, Australia, St. Maarten, Bermuda and the UK. Most recently Chef Autenrieth was Executive Sous Chef at Four Seasons Resort Nevis in the West Indies where he spent three and a half years honing his skills in fine dining with a special focus on locally-sourced seafood and hands-on guest experiences such as diving for lobsters followed by interactive cooking classes. Originally from Germany, his culinary resume would be the envy of any travel junkie. Before Autenrieth began working on the resort’s new menu, he was on a quest to become an expert in the Northern New Mexican food culture. He spent months researching the local cuisine, visiting farmers markets, talking with local suppliers, eating at area restaurants, and collaborating with the Four Seasons Resort staff. Autenrieth describes his culinary style as “diverse” and enjoys mixing Indian, Asian, and Caribbean flavors in his cooking. His new dinner menu features many eclectic dishes combining these influences with New Mexican cuisine, such as a jerk spiced prime rib with a Hatch chile steak sauce (only offered on Friday and Saturday evenings).
Kai has worked from Tanzania to Bermuda, most recently in Nevis in the West Indies.
Executive Chef Coyote Cafe Santa Fe
Eduardo started working for Eric DiStefano in 1996 at Geronimo Restaurant. Working his way up through the line under the tutelage of Eric and his older brother Jose, he became the Executive Sous Chef of Geronimo in 2002. When Eric took over at Coyote Café in 2007, he brought Eduardo with him. He has served as Executive Sous Chef of Coyote Café through 2015 and took over as Executive Chef last year.
Eduardo has worked for the Geronimo & Coyote Cafe teams for 20 years in Santa Fe.