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Participating Restaurants & Chef Bios


Chef David KaneBar Ferdinand

Chef David Kane

1030 North. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Chef David Kane has spent the past 16 years perfecting his craft by working in some of Philadelphia’s top restaurants, including Fork, Pif, Le Bec-Fin and Pumpkin. Chef Kane brings his passion, creativity and commitment to using local, sustainable and organic ingredients to Bar Ferdinand, where he has been the executive chef since February 2010.

Participating: Chef David Kane

Chef Mark HellyarBuddakan

Chef Mark Hellyar

325 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Chef Mark Hellyar began his career at Citronelle, a renowned eatery in Washington, DC. From there he took a position at Nora, the country’s first certified-organic restaurant, where he eventually became chef de cuisine. There, he developed an appreciation of seasonal ingredients and how to transform them into innovative menus. Hellyar made a drastic change—both philosophically and geographically—by relocating to England to work with renowned chef and molecular gastronomist Heston Blumenthal.
Upon returning to the states, a seamless fusion of all he had learned came together for his tenure as the founding chef de cuisine at the Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, DC, where he earned accolades for his creative approach to farm-to-table dining in a sophisticated setting. Chef Hellyar left the Blue Duck to fulfill a dream of working in Japan.

When Starr Restaurants came calling, Hellyar agreed to return to the states, to take his current position as executive chef at Buddakan, where he focuses on quality ingredients and exacting technique.

Participating: Chef Mark Hellyar

Anthony GoodwinButcher and Singer

Chef Anthony Goodwin

1500 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

It was when preparing family dinners with his grandparents that Chef Anthony Goodwin truly fell in love with food. Every weekend he would collect vegetables and fresh eggs from local farmers. This infatuation with quality, fresh ingredients has stayed with Goodwin throughout his career.

Chef Goodwin attended the Philadelphia Restaurant School, where he learned the importance of proper technique and execution. Shortly after graduating, he worked as a line cook at Chef Georges Perrier’s Brasserie Perrier, and was quickly promoted to sous chef and, subsequently, executive sous chef. After almost 5 years, Goodwin desired a change and moved to the modern Italian restaurant, Avenue B, and later served as chef de cuisine at Bliss for 5 years. During his tenure, Bliss was named “Best New Restaurant of 2004” by Esquire magazine.

In 2008, Goodwin joined Starr Restaurants’ Pod and in April 2010 became the executive chef of Butcher and Singer, another Starr Restaurant. Recently, Philadelphia magazine awarded Butcher and Singer the title of “Best Steakhouse of 2010.” 

Participating: Chef Anthony Goodwin

Jose Garces


Chef Jose Garces

707 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Since opening his first restaurant, Amada, in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as an enormous talent and one of the nation’s most gifted young chefs.  He has opened seven additional restaurants, in both Philadelphia and Chicago; authored a stunning cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, September 2008); won the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award 2009; appeared on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”; and won the most recent season of “The Next Iron Chef,” making him one of just six chefs in the country to hold the prestigious title of Iron Chef America. 

Garces’ Philadelphia restaurants form his eponymous Garces Restaurant Group.  He is the owner and executive chef of all seven, and each is counted among the city’s best. In October 2010, Garces opened JG Domestic, a restaurant and bar serving the finest artisanal food and drink, all sourced from the United States.   Future projects include Guapos Tacos, a roaming Mexican food truck, and Frohman’s Wursthaus, a fun beers-and-bratwursts joint.  

Participating: Chef Natalie Maronski

Walter StaibCity Tavern

Chef Walter Staib

138 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106-2897

Chef Walter Staib began his career at the age of four, peeling garlic in his uncle’s restaurant, Gasthaus Zum Buckenberg. He received formal training in Europe’s finest hotels and restaurants before making his American culinary début.

His entrepreneurial spirit led to the creation of Concepts By Staib, Ltd., a global restaurant management and hospitality consulting firm, which has launched more than 650 restaurants worldwide. Chef Staib is currently the driving force behind Philadelphia’s City Tavern Restaurant, a recreation of the city’s historic 18th century tavern. Currently, Chef Staib can be seen on PBS bringing the 18th century to life on his Emmy award winning “A Taste of History,” which explores America’s culinary beginnings at historic locales.

Chef Staib has earned numerous accolades, including the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole de la République Française and the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was also named the First Culinary Ambassador to the City of Philadelphia and the Culinary Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Participating: Chef Walter Staib

Chef DionicioEl Rey

Chef Dionicio Jimenez

2013 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

A native of Puebla, Mexico, Chef Dionicio Jimenez remains true to his roots, honing a unique style that combines the flavors of his mother’s kitchen with a highly trained modern twist. Jimenez launched his culinary career in Mexico City at La Vitrola, where he built his way up from a dishwasher to a cook to a sous chef. After relocating to Philadelphia, Jimenez spent 3 years at Philadelphia restaurant Chin Chin and served as sous chef at critically acclaimed restaurant Vetri for nearly 9 years. Eventually, Chef Jimenez was offered the coveted position of executive chef at Xochitl in 2007. 

In April 2010, Jimenez paired up with award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr and became executive chef at a new Mexican hot spot, El Rey.  Jimenez continues to enamor patrons at El Rey with his exceptional recipes inspired by his roots.  Critics and diners alike have flocked to El Rey, with Esquire magazine’s John Mariani revealing that he “wouldn’t change a thing about Chef Dionico Jimenez’ mama’s home cooking.”

Participating: Chef Dionicio Jimenez

John VallarioGrandma's Grotto

Chef John Vallario

986 Easton Rd, Horsham PA, 19044

Chef John Vallario began his culinary career at a young age, working in his uncle’s pizza restaurant, L&B Spumoni Gardens, in Brooklyn, NY.
At age 18, he opened his first food establishment, a luncheonette serving lunch and dinner. In 1984, he opened his first Pizza Cafe, Miami Slice, and added Michael’s Café, a fine dining establishment, 6 years later. In 2005, Chef Vallario relocated to Pennsylvania and opened Grandma’s Grotto, an Italian restaurant offering dine-in, catering, carry-out, and delivery.
John's interest in preparing gluten-free food started with a few customer requests. In addition to his regular menu, he now offers an all-inclusive gluten-free menu filled with Italian specialties. The latest accommodation is the “Gluten-Free Shop,” a store housed right in the restaurant, which offers frozen gluten-free entrees, appetizers, desserts and more.

Participating: Chef John Vallario

Jerome SweeneyJack Kramer's Catering

Chef Jerome Seeney

4217 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Chef Jerome Seeney has been working his craft for 26 years. Presently at Philadelphia corporate caterer Jack Kramer’s Catering, Chef Seeney has worked for several area restaurants and participated in local culinary events.  He has also been a culinary contributor to several charitable fundraising events sponsored by local churches and organizations and has had recipes published in Philadelphia Flavor

Jerome started his cooking career as a chef’s apprentice for a small Mexican restaurant in Old City, Philadelphia. As his skills improved, he went on to be chef, kitchen manager of two national restaurant locations in Philadelphia and one in Secaucus, NJ. He continued on to become associated chef with the Philadelphia Fish Company and later joined the team at Jack Kramer’s, where he’s been performing culinary magic for the past 16 years. 

Chef Seeney has a passion for the beauty of the ingredients he uses in his recipes and is tirelessly focused on staying current with the latest culinary trends.

Participating: Chef Jerome Seeney

Georges PerrierLe Bec-Fin

Chef Georges Perrier

1523 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Originally from Lyon, France, Chef Georges Perrier began his accomplished cu­linary career at age 14, under the tutelage of France’s finest chefs. Chef Perrier arrived in Philadelphia in 1967 and opened his world-renowned restaurant, Le Bec-Fin, 3 years later.

Though it has changed locations within the city, Le Bec-Fin has become a Philadelphia institution, earning a 5-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide for 23 years standing. The restaurant continues to garner top honors in prestigious publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire and Wine Spectator magazines.

Chef Perrier received a prestigious James Beard Award in 1998, and most recently earned the Academiciens de l'Annee, the high honor presented by the Academie Culinaire de France. 

Chef Perrier will present a food demonstration at 3 p.m. in the Drexel Education Center at Appetite for Awareness.

Brian WilsonLe Castagne

Chef Brian Wilson

1920 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

After graduating from Johnson and Wales University with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors Degree in Food Service Management, Chef Brian Wilson partnered with the Philadelphia Sena Family to bring new life to their restaurant, Panorama, and later became executive chef at the Sena Family’s Le Castagne in Philadelphia. 

Chef Wilson’s reinvention of Le Castagne has earned him many prestigious recognitions, including a 2006 Best of Philly award for his pasta. Brian Wilson additionally won the Calibut Chocolate Dessert Competition for his Three Chocolate, Chocolate Mousse Dessert.

Chef Wilson has appeared as a guest chef on Fox’s Morning Show, CN8 and The 10 Show Philadelphia.  In addition, he acted as a chef judge for the Garry Maddox BBQ Challenge.

Participating: Chef Brian Wilson

L'OCA BistroL'OCA Bistro

2025 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130

L'OCA is a 46-seat, intimate BYOB in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood (across the street from the historic Eastern State Penitentiary).  For 4 years, L'OCA has been providing its guests with passionate service and inspired food.  Chef-owner Luca Garutti, a native of Lake Garda, Italy, serves up delicious, modern twists on authentic Northern Italian food.  Luca grew up in a restaurant, where his parents were the chef-owners.  Raised on the principles of the Slow Food movement in his native Italy, he sources only the finest ingredients available.  Come find out why our Papperdelle with Goose Ragu was awarded “Best of Philly” Pasta of the Year (Philadelphia Magazine).  If you know what Italian food is supposed to taste like, you’ll love L’Oca.  Honestly.  We’re open seven days a week, and offer sidewalk dining when the weather is nice.  We take reservations and can accommodate parties up to 60.  We look forward to serving you your next great meal!

Participating: Chef Luca Garuitti

Robert SaionzMain Line Pizza

Chef Robert Saionz


Chef Robert Saionz graduated from Temple University in 1987 with a degree in Finance. Following college, he worked as a financial analyst for nearly 4 years, but decided the corporate world wasn’t for him.

During and after college, Chef Robert delivered pizza for a local family-owned restaurant. He enjoyed the job, earned extra money, and the owners became his second family. He aspired to be his own boss and own a business.  

Chef Robert approached the restaurant owners and learned the pizza business from the ground up. He and his wife purchased Main Line Pizza, Inc in Wayne, PA. They fell in love with the neighborhood and their customers, and have been there for 17 years and counting.

Participating: Chef Robert Saionz

Chef Ron ReidThe Palm

Chef Ronald Reid

200 South Broad Street at Walnut at The Bellevue Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Chef Ronald Reid built the foundation of his career while studying culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI. In 1990, he was chosen for the role of executive chef for Cavanaugh’s Restaurant in Turnersville, NJ, where he supervised the entire culinary department. In 1997, Ronald assumed the position of line cook for Philadelphia’s acclaimed Striped Bass, where he catered to upscale clientele and worked to maintain the restaurant’s reputation as one of the finest in the city. From there, Ronald explored Mediterranean cuisine as executive chef of the 16th Street Bar & Grill in Philadelphia for one year, before joining the Palm Restaurant Group in 2004. Ronald’s specialty is fusing traditional steakhouse cuisine with the bounty of fresh local seafood from the Atlantic Ocean, which works perfectly with The Palm’s new fish menu.

Participating: Chef Ron Reid

Pasta Pomodoro

Pasta Pomodoro

Chef Pasquale Masters

Eagle Plaza, Route 561, Voorhees, NJ

Pasquale Masters, the chef and owner of Pasta Pomodoro, is no stranger to dietary restrictions. The 27-year restaurant and hospitality veteran has a 5-year-old son who has numerous fatal food allergies and strives to help those with multiple food allergies and celiac disease so they can dine out with family and friends and enjoy themselves without the worry. Prior to establishing his restaurant, Masters spent 22 years as chef and general manager of several restaurants and institutions throughout the area. Pasquale offers a wide range of services from family-friendly dining to pharmaceutical luncheon deliveries and on- and off-premise catering. He specializes in gluten-free, macro and heart-healthy meals. After winning the 2007 NFCA Gluten-Free Cooking Spree, Masters established a national clientele base, as well as several customers from abroad, and his business is still growing!

Participating: Chef Pasquale Masters

Michael YeamansRouge

Chef Michael Yeamans

205 S. 18th St, Philadelphia PA 19103

Soon after graduating from Johnson and Wales culinary school in 1992, Chef Michael Yeamans came to Philadelphia to work at the venerable Striped Bass. It was there that he honed his culinary skills. After 5 years at the Striped Bass, Chef Yeamans was offered the position of executive chef of Rouge in 1999. It was here that he excelled by putting his passion for French classics with a new twist on the dazzling parkside menu and the influence can still, to this day, be seen at Rouge.  After a 5-year stint as the executive chef of Devils Alley, the year 2010 marks Chef Yeamans’ return to Rouge as executive chef.

Participating: Chef Michael Yeamans

Eric Paraskevasterra

Chef Eric Paraskevas

243 S. Camac St. (lower level), Philadelphia, PA 19107

Born in State College, PA, Chef Eric Paraskevas moved to Philadelphia at age 20 to attend The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. After graduating, Chef Paraskevas became chef de cuisine at Lolita, and from there, took a position as executive chef at Slate Restaurant. Currently at terra restaurant, Chef Paraskevas has the opportunity to further develop his style of cuisine and introduce diners to unique flavor combinations. He has participated in several community events, including The Red Ball, Flavors of Philly, dinner demos with Celebrity Kitchens and Fosters, and NFCA’s Appetite for Awareness. Chef Paraskevas enjoys captivating and entertaining audiences during his cooking demonstrations.

Participating: Chef Eric Paraskevas

Zahav Zahav

Chef Michael Solomonov

237 St. James Place, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Chef Michael Solomonov showcases modern Israeli cuisine at his restaurant, Zahav.  Since opening in May 2008, the restaurants has received rave reviews including:  Philadelphia magazine - 50 Top Restaurants - #1 Zahav (May 2009);  Conde Nast Traveler - 50 Hot Tables in the World (May 2009);  Travel + Leisure -50 Best New U.S. Restaurants (May 2009);  Food & Wine -10 Best New Restaurant Dishes (December 2008);  and Esquire – Best New Restaurants (November 2008).  Chef Solomonov was recently named as a 2010 finalist for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.  

Prior to heading the kitchen at Zahav, Solomonov was the Executive Chef at Marigold Kitchen in West Philadelphia. During his 2-year tenure, Solomonov was picked as one of the country’s “Rising Star Chefs 2007” by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine and was named “Best Chef 2006” by Philadelphia magazine.

Before joining Marigold Kitchen, Solomonov worked in several of Philadelphia’s top kitchens.

Participating: Chef Michael Solomonov

Other participating restaurants (More to come!)

  • Drexelbrook Catering
  • Feast Your Eyes Catering
  • Melograno


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