Chefs Collaborative Board of Overseers
Matthew Weingarten, Board Chair
Executive Chef, Culinary Director, Sodexo
New York, New York
A longtime supporter of local farmlands, sustainable culinary practices and responsibly sourced ingredients, Matthew Weingarten has always strived to create menus that reflect a sense of place and time. In his role as Culinary Director for Innovative Solutions at Sodexo, Chef Weingarten’s artisanal approach to cooking is highlighted by his passion for culinary traditions and the lost culinary arts of curing, pickling, preserving and whole animal cooking – all of which help to better sustain our culinary and cultural knowledge for future generations. He has garnered acclaim for “some of the city’s finest Greenmarket cooking” from Time Out New York and food that is “thoughtful, well executed” from New York Magazine. In 2010, Weingarten was inducted into The Institute of Culinary Education’s Alumni Hall of Achievement and is a member of its national curriculum advisory board. In 2014 Chef Weingarten was appointed as the National Board Chair for Chefs Collaborative, the preeminent non profit organization dedicated to making sustainable practices second nature for every chef in America.
Senior Vice President of Culinary, Food Network
New York, New York
Bio to come.
Director of Operations, FishChoice.com
Justin Boevers is the Director of Operations at FishChoice.com where he helps businesses understand the issues and solutions surrounding sustainable seafood. Justin, alongside the team at FishChoice, has grown the FishChoice.com platform into one of the leading seafood industry resources with nearly 4,000 members. At FishChoice, Justin brings together the best available science from the leading sustainable seafood NGOs and aligns this information with a seafood supply chain industry network.
On a day-to-day basis, Justin is responsible for program content, strategy development, outreach, and communications. These responsibilities also involve working directly with chefs regarding the challenges and opportunities that exist in sourcing environmentally-responsible seafood. Prior to FishChoice, Justin worked for the Marine Stewardship Council sustainable seafood certification program in Seattle. Justin holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Utah and a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the University of Washington and has over 15 years of combined experience in social science and marketing within the seafood, tourism, technology, and consumer products industries.
Founder and General Manager, Zester Daily
Los Angeles, CA
Corie Brown is the co-founder and general manager of Zester Daily, an online source of high-quality food and drink content with 65 professional journalists and authors writing from around the world. A former editor and writer with the Los Angeles Times, she received the 2008 University of Missouri Lifestyle Award for her article about climate change and wine, A Scorching Future, and currently is writing a book on that subject. In 2006, she won both first and second prize for news reporting from the Association of Food Journalists. Corie was awarded a fellowship by the Foreign Press Center of Japan and worked in Japan in June 2010, during which she wrote a story on Koshu wine for the New York Times later republished in “The New York Times Book of Wine.” Previously, Corie was West Coast entertainment correspondent with Newsweek and a columnist for Premiere Magazine. On staff with BusinessWeek in Boston and other McGraw-Hill publications in New York City and Washington, D.C., she has written about energy, the environment and healthcare.
Butcher and Author
Adam Danforth trained at the professional meat processing program at SUNY Cobleskill, one of the only such programs in the United States, before going to work at Marlow and Daughters in New York City. He’s also worked as a butcher at Blue Hill and has taught butchering workshops at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture. Adam also works with individual farmers who are slaughtering animals for themselves, and because of that, he has a keen awareness of the needs of farmers, especially those who may be killing an animal for the first time.
He’s the author of two books, published by Storey Publishing, about slaughtering and butchering the animals you’d expect to find on the American farm. His interest with the human-animal relationship–historically and modern–is evident in his writing, as is his dedication to education and helping salvage the lost art of butchery. Adam lives in Ashland, OR with his daughter, Moxie Blaze.
Co-Owner, Grand Central Baking Company
Piper Davis is an avid baker and cook who inherited her ease in the kitchen from her mother, Grand Central Bakery founder, Gwyneth Bassetti. The family spent formative years on a 340 acre sheep farm in Eastern Washington where farm-stand produce and homegrown meat were a way of life. Piper always preferred to skip an outside chore in hopes of getting to help her mother prepare food. Now, as co-owner and cuisine director of Grand Central Bakery, Piper gets to share her love of seasonal local food with happy customers every day.
Piper is the driving force behind Grand Central Bakery’s commitment to sourcing excellent local ingredients. She and her team work with a range of producers, from small row crop vegetable farms in the Willamette Valley to wheat farmers with thousands of acres in the Palouse Hills, with the aim of bringing the best local ingredients to a wide audience.
Piper credits her mother and the many bakers who have passed through Grand Central for her culinary education. She also received training in pastry at the National Baking Institute, where she completed the Viennoiserie program. She is a member of the Chefs Collaborative, The Bread Bakers Guild of America, Slow Food, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
In addition to her work in the bakery, she teaches hands-on baking classes, is co-author of The Grand Central Baking Book, and enjoys sharing her expertise in building relationships and supply chains that improve access to locally grown products. Piper lives in Portland Oregon, with her partner David, where she enjoys riding her bike and skiing as much as throwing a dinner party.
Chief Operating Officer, Relish Restaurant Group
Justin Dean comes from a family with deep roots in farming and agriculture. He spent his formative years hoeing fields and snapping greens beans – and that remains his happy place to be.
Most days are spent between a small urban garden in the historical Over-the-Rhine (OTR) area of Cincinnati and Napoleon Ridge Farm in Gallatin County Kentucky where he grows organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs for The Relish Restaurant Group.
The farm also raises heritage breed hogs, lamb, goat, chicken, duck and a small herd of Dexter cattle. Local 127 has taken local to a whole new level by building a working relationship with local farms and farmers to bring their patrons the best of what the Midwest has to offer. Dean’s adventure in food began at Johnson & Wales and after graduation, made his way back to the Midwest to work at the Mobile 5-Star Maisonette, then a job as a private chef, chef/owner of The Wildflour Cafe, and now, at The Relish Restaurant Group.
Chef/Partner, Big Jones
Born and raised in Jasper, Indiana, Paul Fehribach’s small-town upbringing instilled in him a passion for heritage recipes. His summers were filled with fishing, hunting, foraging for mushrooms and helping in the garden at his grandparents’ farmhouse. Fond memories of working alongside his mother in the kitchen and cooking from family heirloom recipes resulted in an appreciation for fresh, seasonal ingredients and a love for traditional cooking. As the executive chef and co-owner of Big Jones in Chicago, he showcases his homespun-style of cooking and commitment to finding and preserving historic foods of the American South.
Chef Paul is a graduate of Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. Following graduation, he served as the executive chef at Chapman’s Restaurant & Bar where he further explored cooking with local and organic ingredients and heirloom seeds. In the early 1990s, he joined the opening group of Laughing Planet Café in downtown Bloomington before moving to Chicago in 1996. He transitioned to the front of house while working at restaurants Hi Ricky Asian Noodle Shop in Deerfield, Ill. and finally Schubas Tavern & Harmony Grill.
By 2008, Paul was ready to return to the kitchen. He branched out on his own with the opening of his restaurant Big Jones. His regionally-inspired fare with Cajun, Creole, Lowcountry and Appalachia influences has garnered both local and national acclaim, including Best New Restaurant by Chicago Magazine. With a focus on utilizing seasonal heirloom crops, he actively supports co-ops, small farmers and frequents Chicago’s Green City Market. When not hard at work in the kitchen, Paul volunteers for the Healthy Schools Campaign and Chicago Public Schools’ “Go for the Gold” campaign to promote healthy eating in schools and combat childhood obesity.
A seven-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee and recipient of national awards from Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Gourmet and Saveur, Chef Michael Leviton is dedicated to the simple and pure preparation of local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients.
After working alongside some of the world’s best chefs in New York City and San Francisco, including Eric Ripert and Gilbert Le Coze at Le Bernadin, Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque and Joyce Goldstein at Square One, Leviton returned to the Boston area and opened Lumière (1999), a celebrated French-inspired neighborhood bistro in West Newton, and Area Four (2011), a bakery/coffeehouse and bar/restaurant in Cambridge guided by local, seasonal ingredients and wood-fired cooking. Leviton’s firm commitment to sustainability resulted in his 2010 appointment as Chair of Chefs Collaborative, until he passed the torch to Matthew Weingarten in September 2014. In this role, Leviton led by example, encouraging both the restaurant industry and the average consumer to act on a small level by shopping locally in order to impact the way food is raised, grown and distributed globally.
Chef/Owner, Black Trumpet
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
The path into cooking professionally was a sinuous one, wending its way from Washington, D.C. up the coast to Boston and ultimately the ridiculously quaint seaport village of Portsmouth.
Having cooked a little in the late Eighties and early Nineties, and after several stops for college education and stints in advertising and food journalism, Evan ate a meal at Lindbergh’s Crossing in 1998 and – with help from his fiancée Denise – had an epiphany. The restaurant at 29 Ceres Street, already renowned for its twenty-six year run as the legendary Blue Strawbery, would become the epicenter of the Malletts’ world. Evan and Denise moved to Portsmouth shortly after that, and Evan applied for a job as a prep cook at Lindbergh’s Crossing. The partners at Lindbergh’s opened a Spanish-themed tapas bar called Ciento, where Evan was named sous chef. In 2001, the Malletts (including newborn Eleanor) moved to Mexico, where Evan cheffed at a Mexican/Cajun restaurant in San Miguel de Allende.
In 2003, Evan was lured back from Mexico by an offer to head up the kitchen of Lindbergh’s Crossing. The great northward migration with Denise and Eleanor (and Cormac, a few months shy of being born into this world) ended with a new home on ten acres of mushroom-rich land in southern Maine, where the Mallett family still resides today.
In March of 2007, Evan and Denise bought the restaurant, naming it Black Trumpet after a particularly delicious mushroom Evan found while foraging. By purchasing the space, the Malletts essentially vowed to be stewards of an historic restaurant location in an even more historic building. Mallett’s connection to local food sources and his love of Latin and Mediterranean cuisines continues to inspire him as he mans the stove with an aging grace. The legacy lives on at Black Trumpet, evolving with every season and every seasonal menu change. In 2011 and 2013 Evan was named as a James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef, Northeast.
In addition to Chefs Collaborative, Evan is actively involved and sits on the boards of Slow Food Seacoast, and the Heirloom Harvest Project, an initiative to join farmers, chefs and educators to identify and restore a food system native to the greater NH Seacoast.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chef Andrea Reusing collaborates with small farms in her marriage of North Carolina ingredients and Asian flavors at her Chapel Hill, NC restaurant, Lantern. Since opening in 2002 it has been named one of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” and “best farm-to-table restaurants” by Gourmet, as one of “America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences” by Food & Wine and as “Restaurant of the Year” in 2009 by The News & Observer. Reusing is the 2011 winner of the James Beard award for Best Chef: Southeast. She serves on the boards of the Center of Environmental Farming Systems, Chefs Collaborative and was recently appointed by Governor Beverly Perdue to the Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council. Reusing’s first book, Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes, was named one of 2011’s most notable cookbooks by the New York Times.
Stephen Stryjewski, Clerk
New Orleans, Louisiana
Chef Stephen Stryjewski was born in Kansas to a military family and traveled extensively as a child. Born to a Polish father and an Irish mother meant that meat, potatoes and gravy were the mainstays of his culinary life. However, the military lifestyle exposed him to multitudes of different cuisines. At fourteen he began working as a dishwasher at a New Jersey country club and moved up to prep cook and line cook, which set the stage for what would become a life-long passion.
After graduating from high school, he moved to Amherst, MA where he discovered that he was quite suited to working in restaurants rather than pursuing academic subjects. After working in several chain restaurant kitchens, he accepted a job with Marriott, where his interest in cooking professionally truly developed. This experience inspired him to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.
With a reasonable foundation now in place, he departed to Europe to travel and research her rich culinary traditions. The sprawling markets and incredible products captured his attention and made a strong impression on his own culinary aesthetic. The emphasis on technique and simplicity he discovered in Europe introduced him to ideals that would later become the foundation of his own culinary philosophy. When he returned home, he moved to the Napa valley in California and began to work at Tra Vigne. There he found the same attention to detail and quality of ingredients that impressed him in Europe. With the urge to travel, he continued his journey to New Orleans, LA to work at Commander’s Palace. Chef Jamie Shannon and the Brennan family emphasized the importance of service in the dining experience. On the Outer Banks of North Carolina he briefly worked at the Blue Point Bar and Grill, then to Vidalia Restaurant in Washington, DC. He moved back to New Orleans to help Emanual Loubier open Dante’s Kitchen and then joined Herbsaint Restaurant as a line cook and was quickly promoted to sous chef. During the next four years he established a great working relationship with Herbsaint’s owner and chef, Donald Link. Together they conceived Cochon, a Cajun style southern restaurant in New Orleans’ Warehouse District that features regional cuisine, local ingredients and homemade products in a small plate format.
Sylvia R. Tawse, Treasurer
President, Fresh Ideas Group
Sylvia keeps her feet grounded in two worlds: organic agriculture and public relations for the natural products industry. Both are meant to benefit the environment while encouraging pleasure at the table. She founded The Fresh Ideas Group in 1995; the communications agency specializes in organic and specialty foods, as well as healthy living. FIG won the national 2012 Bulldog Media Relations Silver Award for “Boutique Agency of the Year” (Specialty Practice), and Bronze Award for “Best Food & Beverage” Campaign. She and her husband, Lyle Davis, own Pastures of Plenty Farm, an organic 35-acre working cut flower and vegetable farm and Big Bang Catering company. Sylvia has an extensive background in retail-level natural foods marketing and PR, in addition to providing senior level counsel to numerous brands on communication through major crises. She has conducted new product launches for dozens of national brands, based on educating the public on food issues that matter to today’s consumer. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Public Relations Society of America, Chefs Collaborative, Les Dames Escoffier and Slow Food International. Oh, and Sylvia is a mother of four.
Chef/Owner, Nicks on Broadway
At the age of 24 Derek Wagner opened Nicks on Broadway. Eleven years later, and in it’s second location (500 Broadway), he has opened an expanded version of the ever-evolving, grass-roots-start-up restaurant. From its modest eighteen seat beginnings, to its current 55 seat, acclaimed version, nicks has always focused on seasonally inspired, locally sourced, integrity driven food and service. With a concentration on attention to detail, passionate cooking and uncompromising standards, Derek focuses on bringing gourmet food and attentive service to his customers in the most unpretentious and upbeat atmosphere possible. With such grass roots, staying connected to the community is paramount to Derek and the philosophy that has come to shape nicks on broadway. Starting years ago, Derek has developed and fostered strong relationships with local growers, producers, farmers, fishermen and artisans. His efforts and passions have also lead him to establish on premise herb and vegetable gardens, the planting fruit trees in his near-by yard, and composting for local farms and the following years on-site gardens. It has also set him on a continual search to find even more farmers, producers and growers to partner with. Whatever they cannot produce or grow at nicks, they try to source carefully, thoughtfully, and locally whenever possible.
Derek has been nominated for The James Beard Rising Star Award twice, been featured on TV’s Food Network several times, written about in Food & Wine, Esquire Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Clean Eating Magazine, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The London Independent, to name a few. Nicks has been named “One of the Worlds Best Restaurants” by Fodor’s International Travel Guide for the third year in a row. He has also contributed to several books including Harvest to Heat, The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook, Eat Shop New England and several local Rhode Island cooking and restaurant books.