The city’s big food and wine extravaganza is a delicious way to breeze into Spring
This year’s Boca Bacchanal at the Resort March 6 and 7 promises to be another sell-out, with the theme of “wine country.” New activities include a pop-up gallery and a painting demonstration by the nation’s premier painter of wine, Thomas Arvid, and a “Red-Carpet Touch-Up Station” by Bloomingdale’s that will offer complimentary cosmetic applications and products for sale. Luxury jeweler Yvel-USA will host a pop-up jewelry store joining returning retailers Crown Wine & Spirits, Flint & Flame (chef-quality knives and cutlery) and Parks Luxury Sporting Goods.
THIS YEAR’S CHEFS
JOHN THOMAS, executive chef, Sub-Culture Group, West Palm Beach
Chef John Thomas is at the helm of West Palm’s Sassafras, the newest venture from restaurateur Rodney Mayo’s Sub-Culture Group, following stints at 32 East under Chef Nick Morfogen (whom he followed at 32 when Morfogen stepped down) and Buccan under Clay Conley. He was also executive chef of Delray’s now-closed Tryst. Thomas is dedicated to creating modern Southern cuisine with a bit of a twist. He is also passionate about delivering high-quality food, featuring items from both the West Palm Beach GreenMarket and local farms, to put his own spin on classic dishes for his diners.
AMY MEHRTENS, Chef de Cuisine, Copper Vine, New Orleans
Mehrtens received her associate degree in Social Sciences from North Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia, and followed that with an associate degree in Occupational Studies, Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. She is also a certified introductory sommelier.
Mehrtens has more than 10 years of experience in the service industry, including sous chef at Commander’s Palace and interim executive chef at Café Adelaide.
TIM NICKEY, Corporate Chef, Kapow! Noodle Bar, Boca Raton
In 2002, Chef Nickey became the executive chef at Morton’s Steakhouse in Boca Raton, followed by the executive sous chef for Abe & Louie’s Steakhouse. He joined China Grill Management in July 2007 as executive sous chef of China Grill South Beach and was promoted to executive chef of China Grill, Dragon Sushi & Kobe Club Miami. He later became executive chef of La Gorce Country Club Miami Beach, and in 2015 joined forces again with Jeffrey Chodorow and opened the hot spot Komodo Downtown Miami. Currently, Nickey is the corporate chef for Kapow! Noodle Bar with locations in Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.
RALPH FERNANDEZ, Culinary Director, Rex Gryphon Group
Chef Ralph Fernandez brings more than 30 years of corporate food and hospitality experience to Rex Gryphon Restaurant Group, serving modern American cuisine based on classic techniques with new and old world flavors. Fernandez’s career spans positions for the Four Seasons (Houston), The Pierre Hotel (New York City), Garden City Hotel (5-Diamond/4-Star), Harrah’s Philadelphia (a division of Caesar’s Entertainment Corp.) and California Café restaurant group. He also led the Fearless Restaurant Group (a 12-year tenure with iconic Philadelphia landmark Moshulu Restaurant, White Dog Cafes, Louie Louie, Autograph Brasserie), Trinity Hospitality Group, Forage American Brasserie and Denim American Bistro.
SHANNA AND BRIAN O’HEA, Chef-Owners, Academe Brasserie and The Kennebunk Inn, Kennebunk, Maine
The O’Heas have gained international recognition by participating in cooking programs around the world including the Walt Disney World Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and Holland America Cruise Line. Shanna has appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” and won on “Rewrapped.”
Academe’s signature lobster pot pie has been featured in O magazine as one of Gayle King’s favorites, on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise,” and on Travel + Leisure’s Holiday Gift Guide.
NATHAN DUENSING, Executive Chef, Marsh House, Nashville
Since graduating from culinary school in St. Louis more than 10 years ago, Duensing has worked in kitchens all over the country including St. Louis, Chicago and most recently in Nashville as the Executive Chef at Marsh House restaurant in the Gulch Neighborhood of Nashville. An adopted native, Nathan is especially close with the local farmers and collaborates with them while developing his menus.
Restaurants that had signed on as of press time:
- Capital Grille
- City Fish Market
- Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar
- J&D Cakes
- Just Salad
- Loch Bar
- The Melting Pot
- Morton’s The Steakhouse
- Pat’s Wine Bar & Grill
- Potions in Motion
- Raw Juce
- The Rebel House
- Rex Baron
- Ruth’s Chris
- Sammy J’s
Vitners that had signed on as of press time:
- A to Z Wineworks
- Bocelli Family Vineyards
- Bodegas Callia
- Castello di Verrazzano
- Chateau de Berne Estate
- Francis Tannahill
- Invivo Wines
- JP Chenet France
- Rex Hill
- Santa Margherita
- KATIE GRIESBECK, National Sales & Marketing Director, Cakebread Cellars, Rutherford, Calif.
- ANTHONY TRUCHARD, Truchard Vineyards, Carneros Napa, Calif.
- TIM DUNCAN, Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars, Napa Valley, Calif.
- JOHN SCHULZ, National Sales Manager/Western Region, Flora Springs, Napa, Calif.
- ANITA CORREAS, Export Manager, Montes and Kaiken, Santa Cruz, Chile, and Mendoza, Argentina, respectively
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