This year the Food and Wine Festival will feature award winning, internationally acclaimed chefs, including Chef Kent Rathbun (Abacus), Chef Dean Fearing (Fearing's), Chef Tim Hollingsworth (French Laundry) and Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz and Chef Lauren Sung Wong Tee (Capella Pedregal). Each chef will prepare signature dishes for the opening night welcome reception, the BBQ on the beach, and the grand finale five-course dinner. The attendees will also have an opportunity to learn from the masters through a series of cooking demonstrations with each of the chefs.
Kansas City–born and raised-- Chef Kent Rathbun trained in kitchens in his hometown and moved on to Texas. There, he polished his take on global cuisine at his first venture, Dallas' Abacus, inspired by his travels throughout the world. Since then, his mini culinary empire has expanded to include five more restaurants, a line of cooking products, and a successful catering business. Rathbun has repeatedly appeared on a number of TV shows, including the Food Network’s "Chef du Jour", Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, "Ready Set Cook", the CBS Early Show, the Rosie O’Donnell Show and NBC’s Today Show. In 2008, Rathbun competed on Food Network’s hit series “Iron Chef America” and defeated grill master Bobby Flay in a frenetic culinary battle. Rathbun was honored to be one of the featured chefs for the Bush 2001 Inaugural Ball and has participated in the Pre-SuperBowl Event, “Taste of the NFL” for the past seven years.
The creator of Fearing’s Restaurant and its “Elevated American Cuisine – Bold Flavors, No Borders,” chef/partner Dean Fearing has developed one of the hottest dining concepts in the country. Named “Restaurant of the Year” and “Table of the Year” by Esquire Magazine, No. 1 in Hotel Dining in the U.S. by the prestigious Zagat Survey, and nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Best New Restaurant, Fearing’s has received countless accolades. His namesake restaurant has created an ongoing buzz with its seven distinct dining venues, acclaimed farm-to-table seasonal menu, and the personal presence of Fearing himself. Long known as the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” and now the creator of a generation of highly-flavorful dishes, Chef Dean Fearing has spent his life cooking for people who love good food. The son of a Kentucky innkeeper, Dean Fearing grew up with grandmothers who knew all about food and who appreciated the finer details of Southern cooking and barbecue. He still uses and treasures their recipes, and they remain one of the most important inspirations of his culinary life.
Chef Hollingsworth joined French Laundry at the age of 21 spending 12 years at Thomas Keller’s renowned restaurant and is the establishment’s former Chef de Cuisine. Hollingsworth received the 2010 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, and also won the 2008 Bocuse d'Or USA semi-finals, one of the most prestigious food events in the world. The self-taught chef is a California native and enjoys using the bounty of the agricultural state in his creations.
Philippe Schmit is executive chef and owner of Houston's Philippe Restaurant + Lounge, which was recognized by Texas Monthly as one of Texas' "Best New Restaurants" following its spring 2011 debut. One year later, Philippe was recognized "Best Wine Restaurant" in America by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Most recently, Schmit was named "Master Chef of France", the most sought after award given to chefs dedicated to French cuisine. Born and raised in Roanne, France, he first apprenticed at age 14 at a local restaurant in the picturesque French town northwest of Lyon. Schmit trained at three of Paris's most respected Michelin 2-Star restaurants in addition to securing positions in Holland and England. After igniting his career stateside for 10 years, Schmit opened Orsay as executive chef. The restaurant took the New York restaurant scene by storm and is still consistently rated as one of the city's best.
Capella Pedregal's newly appointed Executive Chef, Yvan Mucharraz has worked in some of the finest kitchens in the U.S. and Mexico. An alumi of the French Laundry, Mucharraz spent time with Michelin-starred Chef Juan Mari Arzak, one of the great masters of New Basque cuisine, at his flagship restaurant Tezka in Mexico City. He also helmed Casa del Lago at the Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya from 2007 to 2010 before joining the French Laundry. At the Capella Pedregal, Mucharraz oversees all of the property’s culinary operations including a 42-strong kitchen team, the resort’s signature fine dining establishment, Don Manuel’s, the stunning El Farallon, the Beach Club, Crudo’s, 24-hour in-room dining and banquets.
Lauren Sung Wong Tee
Rounding out the culinary talent for the Food & Wine Festival is Capella Pedregal’s accomplished pastry chef, Lauren Sung Wong Tee. Trained in Singapore’s finest hotels, including Capella Singapore, Chef Lauren’s dessert creations marry tradition with inspired whimsy and will be showcased throughout the events.