THE 2024 Culinary Masters


Friday Gala
Executive Chef and Owner, Crown Shy, SAGA


James Kent is executive chef and owner of Crown Shy and SAGA restaurants, both located in the landmark Art Deco building at 70 Pine Street in New York’s Financial District. Crown Shy, the first of those restaurants, opened in March 2019. Just six months later, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. SAGA, a fine-dining restaurant in the tiered spire of the building, opened in August of 2021. In October 2022, SAGA was awarded two Michelin stars. One floor above SAGA is Overstory, a cocktail bar ranked 17 on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars.


Friday Gala & Cooking Class
Chef & Proprietor of Le B.


Chef Angie Mar is renowned for her vision and unequivocally “downtown” interpretation of fine dining. Her commitment to quality, ingenuity and pursuit of perfection in food and hospitality have earned her countless accolades. While her name became synonymous with the love of meat and game from her tenure as Executive Chef & Proprietor of The Beatrice Inn, she has spent the majority of her life finding new ways to fall in love with food.  


Friday Gala
Chef and Owner of Lysée


Pastry chef Eunji Lee was born in South Korea and fulfilled a lifelong dream of studying pastry arts when she moved to France in 2006. In 2016, she became the Executive Pastry Chef of Jungsik, the two Michelin star Korean restaurant in NYC, before leaving to open her own pastry boutique, Lysée in 2022. Eunji was named one of La Liste’s Pastry Talents of 2023 and a 2024 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef.



Friday Gala
Senior Executive Chef at Soho Garden Dubai


Currently the Senior Executive Chef at Soho Garden Dubai, Chef Pol Garcia has created three different gastronomic concepts and oversees six different restaurants for the
group. Prior to joining Soho Garden Dubai, Pol was a partner, Executive Chef, and Owner of his own restaurant brand called La Maruja, a quality Spanish tapas bar in Shanghai and Koh Tao, Thailand. Chef Garcia is a co-founder of Foodlab, a consulting and gastronomic events company founded in 2009.



Culinary Masters Cookout
Owner & Executive Chef of Pizzana

Daniele Uditi is the Naples-born and LA-based master pizzaiolo and chef at Pizzana, a Neo-Neaopolitan pizzeria. He has cultivated a signature “slow dough,” meticulously prepared with a blend of imported Italian flours, and quickly garnered a dedicated following including actor Chris O’Donnell. At Pizzana, Daniele shares his distinct interpretation of a Naples classic with a menu that finds inspiration from the local Los Angeles markets, as well as the traditions of his native Italy. Since opening Pizzana in 2017, Daniele’s prized pies have garnered critical accolades including a place on the Los Angeles Times’ “101 Best Restaurants” list.


Friday Gala
Co-Founders & Chefs of Kasama


In 2020, Chicago-native Tim Flores and New Orleans-native Genie Kwon co-founded their restaurant Kasama, meaning "together" in Tagalog. It is a reflection of both their culinary backgrounds as a bakery and restaurant that serves modern Filipino food. Kasama has earned a Michelin star, making it the first Filipino restaurant in the world to be awarded the accolade. In 2022 Kasama was a James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant and in 2023 they won the James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes award.


Culinary Masters Cookout
Co-Owner/Pitmaster of Heritage Barbecue


Daniel Castillo spent 7 years as a corporate chef for Whole Foods Market before discovering his all-consuming love for craft barbecue, which led to an apprenticeship at the acclaimed Brett’s Backyard BBQ in Texas – which led to him quitting his day job to pursue BBQ 24/7. With his wife Brenda’s support, the two began launching BBQ pop-ups in their family backyards and then pop-ups with local breweries in and around Orange County before opening their first brick & mortar location, Heritage Barbecue, in August of 2020 in the idyllic town of San Juan Capistrano, California.


Culinary Masters Cookout
Chef/Owner of Nixta Taqueria


Hailing from Austin, Texas, Nixta is not a typical taqueria. It treads a line between the super-traditional (they make their own masa & tortillas using heirloom corn from Mexico) and the unconventional (you don't see many taquerias where duck confit stands in for carnitas). Owners, Sara Mardanbigi and Chef Edgar Rico, a James Beard Award winner and TIME100 recipient, aim to transform the landscape of what Mexican-American cuisine can be by providing imaginative creations that are steeped in technique, history, and a maíz revolution.


Culinary Masters Cookout
Director of Culinary Operations at The Resort at Pelican Hill


Chef Kyung Carroll, born in Seoul, South Korea, is the esteemed Director of Culinary Operations at the Resort at Pelican Hill. His culinary journey began in high school, under the mentorship of a retired Walt Disney World Chef and Culinary Institute of America graduate. His career highlights include a transformative stint at Google as a regional chef, and a unique experience at a Pomona property on a 6-acre farm. At The Resort at Pelican Hill, Chef Carroll focuses on seasonal, local ingredients, striving to create memorable dining experiences. He values simplicity in cooking and aims to keep the food waste to a minimum. He is also committed to giving back to his community, participating in various charitable events and fostering a network of local chefs to discuss industry trends and support local activities.


Culinary Masters Cookout
Chef at The Resort at Pelican Hill


Chef Zack describes The Resort at Pelican Hill as a taste of Italy transplanted to the sunny coast of Newport Beach. Passionate about showcasing California’s natural abundance, Chef Zack enjoys collaborating with the Resort’s Culinary Director to plan seasonal menus that highlight the very best local products while embracing the Italian heritage the elegantly defines Pelican Hill. His favorite dish, the Cavatelli Pasta at Pelican Grill, is a beautiful example of his culinary aesthetic: simple ingredients of the highest quality elegantly prepared and endlessly delicious.


Sunday Brunch
Consulting Chef of Lugano Privé


Chef Michelle Bernstein, James Beard Award winner, Best Chef South 2008, and cookbook author of Cuisine a Latina is a Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent. Bernstein cooks food inspired by her culinary memories and travels. With her husband and partner, David Martinez, the chef owns/operates MBC - Michelle Bernstein Catering Company and a family of restaurants including: Miami Beach cocktail bar, Sweet Liberty, Café la Trova, and La Cañita located in Bayside Marketplace. Bernstein currently hosts two television shows: Check, Please! South Florida (PBS) and the Emmy-award winning production SoFlo Taste (Channel 10). Bernstein began the Florida chapter of Common Threads and sits on their board. She has also partnered with American Express to create the menu for the Centurion Lounge at Miami International Airport (MIA) and is a Lexus Culinary Master.

Previous Culinary Masters

Thomas Keller  |  Daniel Boulud  |  Nancy Silverton  |  Michael Mina  |  Dominique Creen  |  Philip Tessier  |  Suzuanne Goin  |  Ming Tsai

And many more culinary legends through the years!