Meet the Chefs Behind the Mouthwatering Dishes at TASTE 2023

Meet the Chefs Behind the Mouthwatering Dishes at TASTE 2023


Meet the Chefs Behind the Mouthwatering Dishes at TASTE 2023


At TASTE 2023, you're invited to meet some of Chattanooga's finest chefs who create mouthwatering cuisine! Get to know who makes up some of Chattanooga's premier restaurants while exploring their culinary journeys!

At this outdoor food festival organized by parent volunteers from public elementary schools PS 150 and PS 234, an incredible variety of gourmet restaurants come together for this outdoor food fest, where all proceeds will go toward arts and enrichment programs.

Chris Williams

Chris Williams of Lucille's 1913 has long been providing exquisite Southeast Asian-influenced cuisine along with Texas-style smoked meats at Lucille's, helping raise thousands of dollars for those less fortunate through this endeavor.

Fund and implement numerous initiatives with the support of his loyal patrons to achieve his goal of operating an ethical restaurant. Over time, he created his own nonprofit organization to further his goals.

This year, he's eagerly looking forward to returning as one of TASTE 2023's head chefs and sharing some of his signature dishes to satisfy and entertain diners.

Chefs in Texas are enjoying an amazing moment! Last year, the James Beard Foundation recognized many Lone Star-born chefs. These incredible culinary artists have made great strides in their craft and continue the legacy of culinary excellence that already exists here.

At TASTE 2023, you're sure to experience delicious cuisine and vibrant cultures from across California - an event you will surely remember fondly for years to come. Don't miss it - join these talented chefs at TASTE 2023 and experience an unforgettable culinary adventure!

Curtis Stone of Moveable Feast with Relish joins two of Santa Fe's premier chefs on an exciting foodie expedition through Santa Fe's most unique and delectable dishes. Starting their adventure by visiting The Rooted Leaf and Celestial Bee - two exquisite honey producers with fresh produce; as well as visiting a Chimayo Chile Farm to learn how it's dried and ground before stopping off at another local farmer to witness his process first-hand.

Damien Brockway

Damien Brockway may be known for his fine dining expertise, but he's an exceptional chef who is known to make meat eaters gasp at any given moment. His innovative Texas barbecue goes beyond its classic trinity of brisket, pork ribs and sausage to provide an eye-opening glimpse into its African American origins and provide meat-eaters a feast unlike anything they have experienced.

Brockway opened Distant Relatives in East Austin in February. The menu provides contemporary African-American soul barbecue meals as well as drawing inspiration from his extensive genealogical and historical research into his family lineage.

Notable dishes at this event include smoked chicken covered in chili vinegar dip and Senegalese black-eyed pea salad. Their flavors harken back to African-influenced cuisine but also embody the hardwood smoke and spices characteristic of Central Texas.

Other highlights on the menu include green mango slaw, salad nebbe, and smoked lamb shoulder rubbed with an intricate spice blend that goes beyond salt-and-pepper rub typically found on Texas BBQ. Furthermore, an array of unique side dishes like burnt ends with black-eyed peas and tamarind molasses round off an impressive menu selection.

What makes Brockway's culinary philosophy stand out is its innovation and thoughtful execution, taking time to study African-American foodways before using that knowledge to craft truly original dishes for customers.

Brockway's is an extraordinary barbecue joint located in East Austin's Rosewood neighborhood and serves up mouth-watering dishes that celebrate African diaspora cuisine paired with international spices for an unforgettable dining experience. This outdoor dine-in restaurant stands out as being truly special - its outdoor dine-in option provides guests an outdoor dining experience like no other!

Christine Ha

Christine Ha is one of the most inspiring chefs we've met. Hailed for her courage as a blind chef and contributing to elevating Vietnamese cuisine in Houston with her modern restaurant Xin Chao near Washington Avenue, Christine continues to break boundaries with Vietnamese cuisine in Houston.

Ha suffered from Neuromyelitis Optica at age 28, leading her to learn cooking all over again after becoming blind. Although not planned as a career choice at first, when an audition for MasterChef came her way while attending University of Houston she decided to audition.

Since then, she's traveled all around the world hosting pop-ups and cooking demos - as well as publishing her debut cookbook: Recipes from My Home Kitchen which became a New York Times Bestseller.

Ha is also an advocate for those living with neurological disorders like NMOSD and their care partners, working in partnership with several foundations to launch her initiative called "NMOSD Won't Stop Me."

Ha's goal in opening The Blind Goat in downtown Houston was to provide her guests with an elevated, modern take on Vietnamese street food. All her delectable dishes - such as her MasterChef winning dish Braised Pork & Crispy Rice or Five Fungi Congee with Jasmine Rice Soup and Texas BBQ Fried Rice are prepared using local and fresh ingredients.

Ha revolutionized queso by using dried shrimp hot sauce and wonton chips instead of cheese for her creations, and by opening The Blind Goat in Spring Branch she is expanding her brand to even more Houstonians.

She also hosts Dish City, a podcast which showcases the vibrant food culture in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Perfect for listening on public transit or while walking around your city!

TJ Nguyen

Culinary history is rich with tales that inspire chefs at TASTE 2023, from family recipes to creative new dishes on the menu, each chef shares an intense passion for food that they wish to share with others through cooking and sharing it.

Chefs have the skill and training to recognize both sound and smell when creating meals, which is why it's crucial to taste all ingredients throughout the recipe-creating process so as to guarantee each dish has just the right amount of flavor.

That is why we appreciate TASTE 2023 chefs so much: each has his or her own signature style of cooking to craft meals that are unforgettable and flavorful. These culinary experts bring unique flair to their creations, adding their personal signature flair.

Chef Izzat Hussain of Al Aziza restaurant excels at creating meals sans water to assist his patrons with staying hydrated and healthy, in line with Unani practice - a Hindu system of holistic health which emphasizes eating foods which are easy to digest.

He crafts dishes that are both healthy and appealing to a wide audience, especially those with special needs. For instance, he uses coconut milk in his soups and incorporates herbs known to have healing powers into his rice dishes.

Other chefs are committed to featuring local ingredients and giving back to their communities, like Robyn Almodovar whose mother commuted two hours each way into Manhattan where she learned the value of slow-cooked meals.

Since then, she has opened Palate Party food truck that features only locally sourced, organic ingredients; inspired by her upbringing in Eltingville, NY. Palate Party has since been featured at several prestigious kitchens and competitions such as Food Network Challenge.

David Vracko

Chef David Vracko from Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, NH draws his culinary inspiration from New England cuisines. He prides himself on using seasonal produce and locally-sourced ingredients in his cooking.

His dishes are full of flavor, taking guests on an extraordinary culinary adventure. He blends traditional French cuisine with Asian influences from Cambodia, Thailand and Laos for unique and tasty combinations that leave guests wanting more.

He is also an enthusiastic proponent of Portsmouth's local food community and works closely with the New Hampshire Farm Bureau to bring farmers, ranchers and growers into Portsmouth.

When not cooking or planning his next culinary endeavor, he enjoys spending time with his family - reading books, watching movies and listening to music are some of his favourite pastimes.

Over his career in restaurant management, he has won multiple accolades - including a James Beard Award - for his contributions to Houston's culinary scene. Additionally, he founded both Houston Food Bank and Southern Smoke Charity Events that have generated over $1 Million for local charities.

Since then, he has been featured in various publications and television programs such as Food Network's "Chopped," Seafood Showdown and Top Chef Masters.

Experienced chef who has worked at some of Houston's premier restaurants, known for his modern American cuisine that blends Asian, Mexican and Spanish influences - his speciality being seafood dishes such as grilled seafood tacos and enchiladas with an irresistibly fresh flair.

The chef believes that successful cooking lies in finding balance and emphasizing flavors within each dish, reflecting his love of ingredients and their origins, while at the same time striving to make each dish reflective of his personal style.

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