Celebration Weekend 2012 Featured Presenters
Since the first Johnny Garlic’s, Fieri has gone on to create a culinary empire as a popular TV host, chef of six acclaimed restaurants, and New York Times’ best-selling cookbook author. In 2006, Fieri premiered his first show, Guy's Big Bite, on Food Network. Today, this “culinary rock star” also hosts top-rated Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and guest judges on Next Food Network Star. He also collaborates with Rachael Ray in the star-studded competition series, Rachael Vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off, which premiered January 1, 2012 on Food Network.
Fieri attended University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management.
Pura joined Taste Catering & Event Planning as Executive Pastry Chef in Spring 2007, and is currently consulting for them while focusing most of his attention on their new retail pastry venture, Tout Sweet Pâtisserie. Scheduled to open in San Francisco’s Union Square later this spring, Tout Sweet will infuse traditional American flavors and extensive French technique with a young, fresh perspective.
But this is just the beginning. The winner and fan favorite of the first season of BRAVO’s Top Chef Just Desserts aims to expand nationally, as well as into China and Japan. And he’s at work on his first cookbook, Sweet Alchemy for Chronicle Books, due out in 2013.
Moving on to a much smaller venture, Chef Ayers realized a long-standing dream by opening Calafia Café & Market A-Go-Go in Palo Alto in 2009. A community favorite among vegetarians and organic fanatics, Calafia is the embodiment of Ayers’ belief that everyone should be able to eat delicious, innovative, fast cuisine that is healthful, good for the community, and good for the earth.
Chef Ayers spreads Calafia’s “slow food served fast” message in other ways. As a consultant to high-tech companies eager to replicate the Google model, he creates corporate cafeterias, hires chefs, and develops employee-dining programs. As the author of Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef that Fed Google (DK Publishing, 2008), he shares the same quick-fix, productivity-boosting meals that have enamored diners at his restaurant, among them the late Steve Jobs. And as a philanthropist, Chef Ayers continues to serve on the board of and support such charities as Rock the Earth and Adolescent Counseling Services.
An accredited landscape designer and gardener, Hassan owns and operates his own landscape design and installation firm in Sacramento. Since 2008, he has hosted DIY Network’s Yard Crashers and collaborated on many landscape and construction projects across the country. Each week, his engaging personality, his love of everything green, and his amazing backyard transformations charm millions of viewers. Hassan has also served as a guest contributor for the CBS Early Show, NBC’s Today Show, and HGTV Magazine. The East Bay native currently resides in Sacramento with his family.
Wade graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering and became certified in residential construction while working as a structural engineer at a homebuilding firm.
He gained fame and recognition as the contractor on HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block, and this year launched his own program, Elbow Room, also on HGTV. On it, Wade rescues families whose houses no longer suit them. In each episode, he updates and customizes their homes with smart, eye-popping results.
Wade also shares insights with people across the country through his Chip’s Tips column. Homeowners, contractors, and designers can email their outdoor project questions to ChipsTips@oldcastle.com and a new batch of answers will be posted quarterly on the Belgard Hardscapes’ blog.
A self-described home décor and garden enthusiast, Wicker is happiest when surrounded by beautiful fabrics and furnishings, abundant plants and flowers, and friends and family.
After a stint with Chef Todd English at Olives Restaurant in Charlestown, Bazirgan boomeranged back to Lynch in 1998 for the opening of No. 9 Park in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill. Serving as her chef de cuisine, he meticulously crafted seven- to nine-course seasonal tasting menus and helped her win the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Northeast” in 2003.
Bazirgan then headed west to San Francisco, where he worked first at Elisabeth Daniel and then at the acclaimed Baraka in Potrero Hill. At Baraka, he successfully married his French sensibilities to the restaurant’s Moroccan and Spanish flavors and earned a nod as one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2005 “Rising Star Chefs.”
A stint as Executive Chef at Chez Papa Resto in Mint Plaza gave Bazirgan a chance to show off his flair for la cuisine Provençale, and to earn his second three star–rating from the Chronicle. Now as Executive Chef for Fifth Floor Restaurant, he has finessed New American cuisine with Mediterranean influences, and elevated the restaurant to a coveted 3.5 star review and a spot on the Chronicle’s ‘Top 100 Best Restaurants in the Bay Area’ list.
He joined Incanto as executive chef in 2002 and his innovative interpretations of rustic Italian fare promptly earned the restaurant its first 3-star San Francisco Chronicle review. Since then, Cosentino has gained national acclaim as a leading proponent of offal cookery. His gutsy approach stems from a belief that no part of an animal slaughtered for food should go to waste. From beef tendon to duck tongue to fish spine, he has demonstrated that the “fifth quarter” offers an untapped array of flavors and textures—and can make for elegant, mouthwatering dishes.
In addition to serving as Incanto’s executive chef, Cosentino is co-creator of Boccalone, an artisanal salumeria. He was a contestan on the first season of the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef America, and can now be seen on the network’s Chefs vs. City show. He has also worked with local company, Cordarounds, to design a pair of “gluttony pants.” In his spare time, Cosentino enjoys mountain biking around Northern California and spending time with his family.
Douglas also runs a retail bakery, Dahlia Bakery; a biscuit sandwich bar, Serious Biscuit; a catering business, Tom Douglas’ Catering and Events; and an event space, Palace Ballroom.
Douglas’ culinary savoir-faire extends far beyond downtown Seattle and the South Lake Union neighborhood, however. He is the author of four cookbooks: Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen (Morrow, 2001); Tom’s Big Dinners (Morrow, 2003); I Love Crab Cakes (Morrow, 2006); and The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, due out this fall. In addition, his specialty food line, including Rub with Love spice rubs, and barbecue and teriyaki sauces, is sold nationwide.
Purviance has appeared on top national television shows including Today, The Early Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, and The Oprah Winfrey Show—as well as on PBS, CNN, the History Channel, and the Food Network. As a regular contributor to national newspapers and magazines, he has helped millions of people grill like professionals. Purviance is also certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and has judged many prestigious grilling competitions, including the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
Purviance lives in Sacramento with his wife and three children. He cooks almost every day on at least one of his six grills.
Growing up as he did in a family of chefs, food retailers, and cooks, it was natural for Anderson to pursue a professional career in cooking by attending the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduation, he focused on the newly emerging American cuisine, working at Campton Place Hotel, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Postrio, and The Cypress Club. In his role as corporate executive chef for Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., Anderson developed several signature items and opened many new properties. As owner of the widely recognized Black Crow Grill and Taproom and The Rawbar Restaurant and Sushi, in Chico, California, he garnered further accolades. He also took an active role in the food community there, teaching and training students, interns, and novice home cooks.
In his current role as Executive Chef for Safeway, Anderson educates consumers about the company’s Ingredients for Life campaign, as well as how best to use its Private Label items. He is always eager to share his extensive culinary knowledge in order to help consumers create better home-cooked meals and is proud to showcase products at special events, such as this one.
Wilson has been featured in Daily Candy, Taste of Home, Bust, and Sunset. She is also the co-founder and producer of HomeFries Media, an online platform for food and lifestyle audio and video podcasts.
In between time at Sunset, Johnson has worked as a freelance writer, editor, and recipe developer for magazines and cookbooks, contributing to publications such as British House & Garden, Safeway’s Every Season, Weber’s Charcoal Grilling, and Weber’s Way to Grill. She has also worked in catering and at restaurants, and has taught cooking to children of all ages. At home in Palo Alto she enjoys growing her own food and cooking with her husband and twin teenage boys.
After an internship at Mattson and Company, one of the foremost food product development companies in the country, Dean landed at Sunset. Here, she manages the test kitchen, answers reader questions, and writes recipes. She lives in San Jose and spends her free time cooking, singing, and playing the guitar. Dean has her master’s in nutrition from San Jose State University and is currently teaching food culture and hunger and environmental nutrition classes there.
Along the way, Brenzel appeared regularly on TV gardening programs, including the Grow-It series for HGTV, House Doctor for ABC-7 in San Francisco, and The Victory Garden for public television (for which she served one season as West Coast hostess). She has lectured on gardening topics in Alaska (aboard the cruise ship Crystal Symphony), Hawaii, and at garden shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Boston. In 2000, Brenzel’s passion for Hawaii’s native and endemic plants, which she wrote about in the magazine, earned her an Environmental Journalism Fellowship at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Lawai, Kaua’i. In 2007, she received The American Horticultural Society's Horticultural Communication Award. This ninth edition of the New Western Garden Book is her fourth as the book's editor.
Novella Carpenter is an urban farmer and journalist based in Oakland, California. She is also a truck driver, a biodiesel station owner, and a biologist by training. Her work has appeared on Salon.com, in Mother Jones, Food & Wine, and elsewhere.
Willow Rosenthal, Founder, City Slicker Farms, Garden Teacher, Berkeley Rose School
Willow Rosenthal is the founder of City Slicker Farm in Oakland, California. She serves on the City Slicker Farms Board, teaches adults and children about urban gardening, and consults with various groups to implement urban farming strategies.
Chapman is perpetually invested in envisioning things in new way, in using relationship and circumstance to showcase the spectacular nature of both the ordinary and extraordinary. Her approach is personal and her eye for combining living things in arresting color combinations is impeccable. Her work has been featured in publications such as Sunset, California Home + Design, and Brides.
As a marketing client manager at the Sports Basement–Bryant Street location, Ian Ballentine manages the triathlon, swim, and run channels for the company and just loves her job! She swam for San Jose State University and recently transitioned into doing triathlons. She competed in her first Half-Ironman last year and has her sights set on a full Ironman in 2013. When not working at the Basement, Ballentine enjoys volunteering at the SPCA and being outside, challenging herself. She lives life with passion and embraces every single day!
Prior to working at the Sports Basement, Danielle Gellis spent five years as a backpacking guide and outdoor educator for children and adults. Among her favorite trips are a 14-day backpacking trip through the Sierras; a 7-day canoe trip down the Colorado River; and a thorough exploration of the Joshua Tree Wilderness. Gellis is the queen of “glamping” at Sports Basement, a title she attributes to the 3 years she spent camping at the Burning Man festival. She can whip up some delicious backcountry meals and, when not working, enjoys costume parties, reading, and hiking.
She is a board member of the U. C. Santa Cruz Friends for the Farm & Garden, which is committed to promoting community outreach, education, and organic agricultural practices on California's Central Coast. Freed was raised in Sonoma County, received her B.A. in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Oregon, and currently lives in Santa Cruz’s Upper West Side neighborhood.
Prinzing’s feature stories on architecture and design appear regularly in the Home section of the Los Angeles Times. She also contributes to Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design, Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Cottages & Bungalows, Metropolitan Home, Landscape Architecture, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Old House Interiors, flower, Romantic Homes, and others. Prinzing co-founded greatgardenspeakers.com and serves as president of the Garden Writers Association.
With Greenhouse Design Studio, Laurie worked to create a company that provided beautiful, affordable, and sustainable products for the home. She believes in buying products that are handcrafted in small batches; in giving vintage items new life; in using sustainable materials; and in engaging with socially responsible companies that give back to their communities, all while generating as little waste as possible.
When not working in her home office, Laurie is out sharing good food with good friends, and enjoying her children while they are still young.
In their designs, the Meyers love to mix natural and contemporary styles, and they rely mostly on succulents and other drought-tolerant plants. They try to use as many reclaimed and repurposed materials as possible.
The Meyers are passionate about sharing their garden and design knowledge with the community; they offer weekly classes and DIY workshops at their nursery.
ACME’s motto, “Party. Rinse. Repeat,” is born out of Keyani and Fulker’s mission to throw a no-trash party. You can forget hauling out a huge wastebin after one of their bashes because all of their party products are designed to be reusable, recyclable, and sustainable. They are made by local artisans and craftspeople who care about what they are producing.
You’ve heard of the Slow Food Movement? Well, ACME Party in a Box invites you to join what they’re calling the Slow Party Movement, where you can experience easy, earth-friendly celebrations you’ll be proud of.
Life went on. He got married. He had kids. He wanted to share his longstanding love of camping with this family. However, the annual kindergarten campout demonstrated that camping with small children in a tent was not what he (or rather, his wife) had dreamed of. So, he combined his NASA experience with his love of the outdoors and created a lightweight, compact, and flexible environment in which to travel and explore the world.
The result is Cricket.