Co-Chairs
Chef Kevin Rathbun  |  RATHBUN'S

"One of the Top New Restaurants in the United States", "One of the Best Steakhouses in America", "Best Overall Restaurant in Atlanta". These are just a few of the phrases critics have used to describe Kevin Rathbun's phenomenal and award winning restaurants. After 30 years in the restaurant business working and learning from other great chefs and restaurateurs such as Bradley Ogden, Emeril Legasse and Stephen Pyles, in 2004 Kevin Rathbun opened his namesake restaurant, Rathbun's, then Krog Bar (2005), Kevin Rathbun Steak (2007) and the newest addition to his fleet KR SteakBar (2013). In February 2008 Kevin and his brother, fellow chef Kent Rathbun, defeated Chef Bobby Flay for the Iron Chef America Elk Cook-off. Since opening his very first restaurant Kevin has received accolades from publications such as Creative Loafing, Details Magazine, Gayot Online, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, has been featured on shows like The Early Show, TODAY SHOW, Good Morning America, CNN and Food Network, and print media such as Food & Wine, Wall Street Journal, O the Oprah Magazine and Southern Living. No matter the venue Kevin continues to be a pivotal and driving force in the local and national restaurant scene.

Chef Gerry Klaskala  |  ARIA

Gerry Klaskala is the chef and owner of Aria, the award-winning Buckhead restaurant known for its modern take on fine American cuisine. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and is the co-owner of Canoe, one of Atlanta's most celebrated dining establishments located on the Chattahoochee River. Prior to his time at Aria and Canoe, Klaskala served as the executive chef at The Buckhead Diner and also spent 10 years in the culinary division of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Boston and Savannah. His top-notch, sophisticated cuisine has been featured in highly acclaimed publications like Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Esquire, Food & Wine, The New York Times, Southern Living, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Zagat. Klaskala frequently donates his time to culinary events to benefit organizations such as the Atlanta Community Food Bank, American Cancer Society, Georgia Organics, High Museum of Art, Open Hand and Share Our Strength.

Main Event
Chef Shaun Doty  |  THE FEDERAL

Chef Shaun Doty's career has spanned the globe, but his passion lies in creating simply prepared contemporary fare in Atlanta. His extensive culinary experience is the driving force behind his newest concepts, Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy, fast-casual chicken restaurants featuring local free-range and pastured chicken.

In May 2010, Doty founded YEAH! BURGER, an eco-friendly eatery serving customizable burger combinations in Atlanta's West Midtown and Virginia-Highland neighborhoods. Two years later, he sold his interest in YEAH! Burger to partner with Lance Gummere to open Bantam + Biddy at Ansley Mall in October 2012. The restaurant serves a mixture of regional, free-range pastured chickens. In July, Doty opened Chick-a-Biddy in Atlantic Station, a modern diner with farm-fresh chicken, creative cocktails and fresh-pressed juices and smoothies. Both Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy offer a number of gluten-free items as well as dishes that can easily be modified for guests with other food allergies.

When he's not in the kitchen, Doty is actively involved in fundraising for causes relating to Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. He is a member of several local organizations and charities, including Southern Foodways Alliance, Wholesome Wave, Project Open Hand, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Georgia Organics and Georgians for Pastured Poultry. Doty also serves on the advisory council of the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.

Chef Gary Donlick  |  BISTRO NIKO

As a Buckhead Life Restaurant Group native, Executive Chef Gary Donlick's classic French training and passion for time-honored cooking techniques continually molds the creative menu of Bistro Niko. After graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Donlick worked closely with French Master Chef Girard Vulien for five years. After, Donlick moved to Atlanta and started working for Buckhead Life at Chops Lobster Bar, Pano's and Paul's and 103 West before his career at Bistro Niko. Donlick's passion for French food stems from the long history of culinary techniques being integrated into French culture. He describes his personal style as classic French charm with a modern Parisian Twist, using more American ingredients. Donlick participates in many civic and charitable events as part of his commitment to the industry and the community. He and his wife, Kim, reside in Alpharetta with their eight-year-old daughter, Katelynn. In his leisure time he enjoys organic gardening and managing a family horse farm in Athens, GA.

Chefs Jonathan and Justin Fox  |  FOX BROS. BBQ

Growing up in Texas, pitmasters and twin brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox were inspired by the open sky, the Texas heat and the Southwestern spice. Though not professionally trained, the identical twin brothers developed an early passion for cooking, testing recipes on family and friends. In high school, while their peers were hosting keg parties, the Fox brothers were inviting their friends over for seated dinners.

It wasn't until Jonathan moved to Atlanta in early 1998 that he began taking his hobby more seriously. Justin followed shortly after, joining his brother in Atlanta in 2000. Frustrated with what they perceived as a lack of good, Texas-style barbecue in Atlanta, Jonathan and Justin began to experiment with making their own through a "trial and error" approach. After many failed kitchen experiments, they decided to unveil their barbecue to their friends and neighbors at a friendly backyard gathering. The successful party became an annual event, growing larger each year, until they were cooking for more than 200 people. In 2004 the brothers were introduced to Dan & Beau Nolen and Mike Reeves of Smith's Olde Bar. The Fox brothers went from barbecuing in the parking lot of Smith's to having their own menu at the legendary venue, eventually cooking seven days a week. Even without a brick and mortar place of their own, the Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q began creating a lot of buzz in Atlanta - even being named runner up for "Best Overall Bar-B-Q" in the city by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It was around this time that Jonathan was laid off from his corporate day job. This turned out to be a blessing and the brothers teamed up with Reeves and the Nolens to take their catering gig to the next level and open a restaurant of their own.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q was opened in 2007 and rapidly became a staple for Atlanta natives and out of town visitors. The restaurant has been featured on The Weather Channel, TLC, Fox News, and The Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives". It has earned top spots on national barbecue rankings from top publications including Eater, USA Today, Southern Living, and Maxim Magazine. In 2014 and 2015, Jonathan and Justin were invited to bring their 'cue to the big city as guest chefs at the prestigious James Beard House. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is the "Official Barbecue of the Atlanta Falcons" and, in 2015, they began serving barbecue to fans inside the Georgia Dome.

Chef Chris Hall  |  LOCAL THREE

Chris is both chef and managing partner at Local Three, which is why he has the least hair of the three partners. A self-taught cook, Chris worked in kitchens from Philadelphia's Le Bec Fin to Atlanta's Canoe and 4th & Swift. He grew up around the corner on Peachtree Battle Avenue and thus really is a local. Chris now lives in Smyrna with his wife Julie, who you'll see in the restaurant frequently. An avid Georgia Tech fan, Hall considers home game Saturdays religious ceremonies.

Chef Peter Kaiser  |  KAISER'S CHOPHOUSE

Chef Peter Kaiser has been part of the Atlanta dining scene for over 30 years, working at some of the top rated restaurant groups and with the best chefs in the city. Growing up in Liechtenstein, Kaiser grew up with strong ties to the food community, with his family owning a popular cafe and grocery. It was natural for Kaiser to carry on a passion for the culinary arts.

In 2017, Kaiser is fulfilling the lifelong dream of opening a restaurant with his own namesake, Kaiser's Chophouse, in collaboration with friend of over 20 years and esteemed chef, Kevin Rathbun. Located in the heart of Sandy Springs, the restaurant focuses on sourcing the highest quality and freshest ingredients served to guests in a luxurious, yet comfortable environment. At Kaiser's Chophouse, guests can expect to indulge in a delicious meal prepared with superior ingredients and receive hospitality from a service team that goes above and beyond to make guests feel welcome and comfortable. Kaiser's culinary expertise has led to numerous television and radio appearances. He is an active volunteer with local food non-profits like Project Open Hand, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Meals on Wheels. In his free time, Kaiser enjoys running, hiking, kayaking and being outdoors. He enjoys quality time with his wife, Valerie, and their two grown children, daughter Danielle and son Christian.

Chef Matthew Ridgway  |  COOKS & SOLIDERS

Matthew Ridgway brings more than 22 years of experience in the culinary industry to his role as executive chef at Cooks & Soldiers. From working in fine dining restaurants across the U.S. and France to running his own charcuterie business, Ridgway boasts an extensive background and unique perspective to the team.

After training at Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., Ridgway started his career at The Fountain Room in Philadelphia's Four Seasons Hotel, where was mentored by chef Jean-Marie Lacroix. Under Lacroix's guidance, he rose through the ranks to become chef de cuisine and chef de restaurant at Lacroix at The Rittenhouse Hotel, named Esquire's "Restaurant of the Year." In 2001, Lacroix sent Ridgway to France to hone his skills at George V, a three Michelin star restaurant in Paris and Le Relais Sainte-Victoire in Aix-en-Provence. Ridgway returned to the U.S. to work under James Beard Award winning chef Joel Antunes at Joel Restaurant in Atlanta and as chef de cuisine at New York's acclaimed Oak Room.

In 2009, Ridgway founded PorcSalt, a small charcuterie business focused on producing local, sustainable and artisanal products from pasture-raised duck. Ridgway went on to become owner and chef of The Pass, a neo-French "roadhouse" in Rosemont, N.J., which opened to critical acclaim from The New York Times and was quickly and consistently recognized as one of the state's finest restaurants.

Ridgway returned to Atlanta in 2015 and became executive chef of Gypsy Kitchen and Southern Gentleman, located at The Shops at Buckhead Atlanta. In August 2017, he returned to his upscale, fine dining roots at Cooks & Soldiers. In his spare time, Ridgway enjoys exploring new flavors, ingredients and techniques. He currently resides in southwest Atlanta.

Chef Eddie Hernandez  |  TAQUERIA DEL SOL

Eddie Hernandez was born in Monterey, Mexico. As a child, Eddie learned to cook from his grandmother in her restaurants in Mexico. At age 16, he moved to the United States to pursue his dreams of becoming a famous drummer. After deciding it was not the life he wanted to live, he moved to Atlanta in 1989 and found work at a Mexican restaurant south of Atlanta.

He quickly made his mark in the kitchen, laying the groundwork for his business partnership with Taqueria del Sol CEO Mike Klank. They opened the first Taqueria del Sol on Atlanta's Westside in 2000, creating a menu inspired by Hernandez's native country and Klank's experiences in the American Southwest. Along the way, Hernandez was introduced to traditional Southern ingredients.

Today, Eddie's spicy Turnip Greens, Memphis Pork Barbecue Tacos, and Blue Plate Specials draw crowds stretching to the sidewalks at three locations in Atlanta and their newest venue in Athens. These recipes have garnered him recognition in publications including Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Forbes and many others. He and Klank have been named semi-finalists in the James Beard Foundation Awards for Excellence's Outstanding Restaurateur category for three years in a row.

For more information on chef Eddie and Taqueria del Sol, visit taqueriadelsol.com. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


Chefs Fuyuhiko and Lisa Ito  |  UMI

With more than 28 years of culinary experience in both traditional Japanese and classic French restaurants, Tokyo-born chef and partner Fuyuhiko Ito leads the culinary team at Umi, a new sushi concept located in Atlanta's bustling Buckhead neighborhood. Umi embraces Ito's heritage along with his unwavering passion for high quality ingredients and offers a diverse menu with international influences and both classic and progressive approaches to Asian fare.

Ito began his restaurant career at the age of 17 at Chateau Lion in Tokyo where he handled fresh fish from the Tsukiji Fish Market daily. Over the next several years, Ito worked under master chef Kono in the United States and a top Yakitori chef at Toriyoshi in Nishiazabu, Tokyo. Throughout his culinary profession, Ito developed a great passion for his knives. Each day, he carefully fine tunes each to maintain its maximum performance by using at least three different grit sharpening stones. In addition, Ito only uses non-oxidizing knives enabling him to avoid oxidation while cutting the finest sushi ingredients, creating a new standard in sushi cuisine.

In 2007, Ito met his wife and Umi pastry chef, Lisa Ito. The couple now lives together in Roswell, Georgia, with their six children.

Chef Philippe Haddad  |  CAPE DUTCH

Philippe Haddad brings 37 years of global, culinary and hospitality experience to Cape Dutch and the Company, offering his innovative cooking techniques and recipe creations along with his life-of-the party character and passion for food and wine.

Prior to joining the Cape Dutch team, Haddad starred as guest consulting chef of a different concept from restaurateur Justin Anthony, Yebo, for the restaurant's Sunday brunch series, in addition to leading the kitchen at F&B Atlanta as executive chef for three years. A Bruges, Belgium native, Haddad began his culinary journey as a teenager, when he exhibited more than a passing interest in the culinary arts. At a young age, Haddad was accepted to the most renowned hotel institute in Belgium, Hotel School Ter Duinen after enrolling in a preliminary cooking school at age 14. Haddad's passion and elite training allowed him to find work in a myriad of regions and countries such as Belgium, the south of France, the United Kingdom, Bermuda, the West Indies, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United States. Along the way, Haddad gained insight into the many customs and cultures that surround each country’s culinary traditions.

Nightcap


Lauren Fernandez and
Kay Lynne Mitchell
  |  CHICKEN SALAD CHICK

Lauren and Kay Lynne are affectionately known as the "Atlanta Chicks" of Chicken Salad Chick, each owning and operating restaurants independently in the Atlanta area. Lauren is the president and co-founder of Origin Development Group, with Chicken Salad Chick locations in Buckhead, Alpharetta, Roswell, Kennesaw and Peachtree City. She has also expanded into Augusta and Athens with plans to double her footprint in Georgia. For Lauren, being a "Chick" is an opportunity to serve and lead others, and she catapulted Chicken Salad Chick into the hearts and appetites of Atlantans with a heart for quality southern fare. A passionate advocate for the fight against hunger, Lauren serves on the advisory board for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. If forced to choose a favorite menu item, Lauren is partial to the outstanding pimento cheese.

Kay Lynne owns the Chicken Salad Chick in Marietta. For Kay Lynn, being a "Chick" is a family affair. She is the aunt of Chicken Salad Chick's co-founder, Stacy Brown, and her restaurant has become a favorite in East Cobb. But you won't just find Kay Lynne in her restaurant, you'll also find her name as one of the popular flavors of chicken salad on the menu. With her fire-cracker personality and fiery red hair, she was the inspiration for Kickin' Kay Lynne, a chicken salad made with a bold combination of buffalo sauce, jalapenos, bacon, ranch, cheese and sriracha. As Stacy puts it "Kay Lynne has a way of lighting up a room and making everyone in it feel just wonderful!"

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