This year the Food and Wine Festival will feature award winning, internationally acclaimed chefs, including Chef Kent Rathbun (Abacus and Jasper’s), Chef Ricardo Zarate (Picca), Curtis Duffy (Grace), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga) and Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz (Capella Pedregal). Each chef will prepare signature dishes for the opening night welcome reception, the Kraft event on the Pool Deck 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.
This year’s Festival will feature the following chefs:
Chef Kent Rathbun
Award-winning Dallas-based chef who runs the five-star Abacus as well as Jasper’s, which boasts three locations in Texas - Plano, The Woodlands, and Austin. Rathbun’s restaurants are focused on delivering high-quality regional cuisine and his third restaurant concept, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, has created buzz as the new Mecca of casual, affordable cuisine in Dallas. Jasper’s has been named one of Esquire Magazine’s “Top 20 Best New Restaurants in America” while Rathbun himself was nominated as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southwest in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2004. He has appeared on numerous 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.www.kentrathbun.com.
Chef Ricardo Zarate
Zarate has elevated Peruvian cuisine to new levels through a showcase of Japanese finesse, hometown flavors, and LA attitude. After graduating from Lima’s top culinary school and working in London’s top restaurants for over a decade, Ricardo, a Peruvian native, moved to L.A. to open Mo-chica in 2009 and in 2011 opened Picca, a lively modern cantina with contemporary Peruvian dishes with strong Japanese influences complete with a robata grill and sushi chef. Food & Wine awarded Zarate as “Best New Chef” and “Best New Chef - People’s Choice” in 2011. In 2012, GQ’s Alan Richman cited Picca as one of the “Ten Best New Restaurants in America” and theArtichoke with Huacatay Aioli as one of his “5 Best Dishes of the Year.”www.chefzarate.com.
Chef Frank Brunacci
Frank Brunacci was raised in Australia and trained under culinary greats such as Alain Chapel, Laurent Pillard, and Jacques Reymond. After graduation, he headed to London to cook with Joel Antunes at Les Saveurs, which is consistently ranked as the best fine dining establishment in the U.K. When Antunes left to head to the The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, in Atlanta, he requested Brunacci to follow suit. Brunacci followed and soon after joined Victor’s at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, where his career took off in the U.S. – during his tenure there, the restaurant received a AAA five diamond rating, becoming the only restaurant in the state of Louisiana to garner this award. A proponent of high-end ingredients and fresh truffles in particular, Brunacci is now the Vice President of Sales for North and South America at the Truffle & Wine Co., the largest importer of Périgord truffles from the Southern Hemisphere. http://truffleandwine.com.au/
Chef Kevin Sbraga
Chef Sbraga takes his no boundaries approach to cuisine to new heights at namesake Philadelphia restaurant Sbraga, and his Southern-inspired spot, The Fat Ham. In October 2011, Chef Sbraga debuted his eponymous restaurant along Center City’s lively Avenue of the Arts. His four-course prix-fixe menus change often and highlight his renowned modern American cuisine. An Esquire magazine “Best New Restaurant 2012” and one of Philadelphia magazine’s “Best Restaurants of 2013,” Sbraga continues to be considered one of the city’s favorite dining destinations. Located in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood, The Fat Ham is a pork-centric restaurant showcasing Chef Sbraga’s interpretation of Southern ingredients, cuisine, and culinary traditions. In 2010, Chef Sbraga was selected to be part of the cast of the Bravo’s “Top Chef” season seven where he took home the title of “Top Chef” during the finale in Singapore. www.sbragadining.com
Chef Yvan Mucharraz
Mucharraz has worked in some of the finest kitchens in the U.S. and Mexico. An alumi of The French Laundry, Mucharraz also 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. At Capella Pedregal, Mucharraz oversees culinary operations for the intimate fine dining hot spot Don Manuel’s, the stunning El Farallon, the Beach Club and Crudo’s. www.capellapedregal.com.