Bios of Our Guest Chefs – Only the Best For You!
Chef Alan Peterson of My Chef Alan, LLC
After spending 40 years in corporate life, Alan Peterson made a decision to retire and pursue his passion for cooking. However, he was sure that he did not want to be part of a restaurant, nor a large catering enterprise, so the Personal Chef business was perfect! Three years ago, after attending the United States Personal Chef Business Academy, Chef Alan secured his business license, joined the United States Personal Chef Association and launched My Chef Alan, LLC.
He preferred to rely on references and word of mouth more than advertising venues to help grow his business. Today, he could not be happier with how things have turned out, having established a returning base of clients and continual referrals, his reward is serving those who appreciate great food, the learning experience and express great satisfaction after a cooking session. MyChefAlan.com
Chef Cameron & Chef Taylor
After being trained in professional kitchens, the two wanted to bring their skills and talents to a more intimate level. That being, Cameron and Taylor wish to make any client’s event one to remember. Whether it is a menu they need to develop or one created by the client, they will make it happen.
- An Atlanta native starting working in the food industry at the age of fifteen
- Went on to work with Iron Chef Winner Kevin Rathbun in ATL and IRON CHEF Masahara Morimoto in PHL
- After falling in love with the food culture in Philadelphia he was asked by the executive chef to join the team of one of the best restaurants in the city, Talula’s Garden, a farm to table restaurant. During his time at Talula’s, Cameron formed a strong connection to the seasonality and sourcing of farm to table foods.
- A Philly native started working in the food industry at 18
- Attended the Culinary Institute of America
- Left the east coast to work in San Francisco. In San Francisco was drawn to working with seasonality and seafood.
- After coming back to Philadelphia she went on to cook at one of Stephen Starr’s hip new fish restaurants to further her passion in fish cookery.
- As she felt she needed more of a challenge, she went on to learn more farm to table at Talula’s garden.
Chef Cynthia Graubart
Cynthia Graubart, author of six books, including the James Beard Award winning Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, writes the “New Sunday Supper” column in Southern Living magazine, and shares her message of gaining confidence in the kitchen to groups large and small. She travels teaching cooking classes, both demonstration and participation, around the country, and appears on radio and television. Also a TV producer, she produced GPTV’s first nationally syndicated television series, “New Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree.” Her next book, Savor the South: Chicken from University of North Carolina Press will be released in 2016.
She is most recently the co-author of Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables (Gibbs-Smith 2015). Slow Cooking Double Dinners for Two (Gibbs-Smith 2014), a follow-up to Slow Cooking for Two: Basics, Techniques, and Recipes (Gibbs Smith, 2013) have captivated the slow cooker enthusiast. Her prior books include Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking (2013 James Beard Award) and the best-selling Southern Biscuits, both coauthored with Nathalie Dupree. Her first book was The One-Armed Cook: Quick and Easy Recipes, Smart Meal Plans, and Savvy Advice for New (and not-so-new) Moms. Based in Atlanta, Cynthia is passionate about food – from researching its origins, writing recipes, teaching technique, to bringing families together at the table. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and has spoken at its annual conference. She is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI) and has served on the board of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Visit her online at www.cynthiagraubart.com.
Chef Dan Porubiansky
Daniel Porubiansky has cooked in Atlanta’s finest restaurants for the last two decades: He worked with Guenter Seeger for twelve years, has been head chef at downtown Atlanta’s Bacchanalia, and other Quatrano and Harrison fine restaurants, for nine years, and in the mid-2000s he even briefly led the kitchen at the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. But Porubiansky felt ready to try a new direction. As executive chef and new partner of Woodstock’s Century House Tavern in the summer of 2013, Chef Dan can work just a few miles from his home where he lives with his wife and four children.
Executive Chef Darryl Start
Chef Darryl Start is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation (ACF). He currently holds the position of Executive Chef with Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. During the course of his career, he has worked as Executive Chef and Executive Sous Chef with the Marriott Corporation. Creating an Ice Sculpture of the Atlanta Skyline for the ACF National Convention was a noted highlight of his time with Marriott. Chef Start’s scope of experience also includes Resort Chef experience with the Walt Disney World Corporation.
Good Day Atlanta, the Food Network and Southern Living magazine have quoted Chef Start as an expert in the Culinary field.
Chef Darryl Start has extensive experience with training students, judging competitions and culinary presentations with recognition as “Most Entertaining Chef for Taste of Atlanta”.
Chef Inger Smith
Inger Hoovestol Smith is a talented chef, consultant and culinary instructor with over 30 years experience in the food industry focusing on sports nutrition, health and fitness. She is founder and owner of Peak Performance Nutrition Management, as well as ProCrave, a specialty meal company. Originally from Houston, Texas, Inger managed the popular cooking school Le Panier for many years, where she also taught healthy cooking classes and had the privilege of working alongside such notable chefs as Guliano Bugiali, Marcella Hazan, Nick Malgieri and Joanne Weir. She was the co-founder and executive chef of Smart Meals, Inc. one of the first performance based, pre-packaged meal companies in the United States. After relocating to Georgia, along with her husband, Chris, Chef Smith owned and operated Inger’s Fine Foods, a small restaurant in Rabun County from 2001-2008. At Inger’s, she developed a reputation for many key recipes such as her famous Toasted Pecan Chicken Salad, which most of her clients still eat today. Smith, who has had the unique opportunity to work in the music and film industry, is sought after by celebrity clients, including Jennifer Aniston, who must stay healthy and fit. Inger specializes in managing the dietary needs of professional and elite athletes. She is a Chef Consultant for the Atlanta Falcons where she guides and provides meals for players. Inger is the private chef for NFL MVP Matt Ryan and for the past 5 years, the #1 Golfer in the World, Dustin Johnson as well as others who are dedicated to fueling their bodies with high quality nutritionally sound ingredients.
Master Mixologist Jessie Harmon
Jessie Harmon was in her third year of studies at Georgia State when she first stepped behind a bar. After initially making a handful of mediocre cocktails, she became determined to perfect her craft. Eventually her cocktail hobby became her passion and landed herself a job at a well known and established craft cocktail lounge in the heart of Atlanta. Armed with knowledge and well versed in the art classic and contemporary drinks, she was recruited to lead a bar program of her own and began teaching at an innovative culinary studio in West Midtown. She is delighted to bring her passion and knowledge to you, so pull up a bar stool and an open mind to her next cocktail class at Leaning Ladder! Cheers!
Chef Larry Esposito
Larry Esposito was born into a restaurant family and found himself working the salad station in his father’s Italian restaurant at the age of ten. He worked his way through college as a cook in California wine country and continued working in restaurants after graduation. Larry opened his first restaurant at the age of 28 in his hometown in New Jersey. After two years the restaurant received 3 ½ stars from the local press.
Larry then moved his family to Atlanta, Georgia where he opened restaurants and consulted in the industry. He landed the top chef job with Sfuzzi restaurant Corp. Then, Fratelli di Napoli restaurants began achieving accolades and exposure to the local media again. Larry’s career then took him to the consulting side of restaurants again with many successful dining concepts. Now Larry has found a home with Sysco Foods Corp as a sales consultant to his territory of restaurateurs in Cobb and Cherokee county.
Chef Mary Schultz
After working for many years in various office positions, Mary decided in 2008 to pursue her passion for cooking. She returned to school and earned her Culinary Degree at Chattahoochee Technical College. While in school, Mary interned with several Chefs at their establishments. Upon graduation in 2011, she was accepted for a position at the Culinary Department at the college. Mary loves that every day, not only does she get to do what she loves, but can teach and watch other students achieve their goals as they pursue their passion for cooking. When not at school, Mary teaches individuals, caters small events, offers her services as a personal chef and bakes desserts for a local restaurant.
Chef Megan McCarthy
Chef Megan is a healthy lifestyle consultant and chef teaching you how to prepare
and incorporate fresh and delicious foods into your everyday eating lifestyle. Her creative culinary experience and enthusiasm brings healthy foods to life while putting you at ease in the kitchen. She is the Edible Garden Chef at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and creates recipes focusing on simple, fast and fresh ways to enjoy the local and seasonal edible abundance. Chef Megan recently had fresh recipes featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Edible Atlanta as well as on Lifetime’s, The Balancing Act. For her current recipes and classes go to healthyeating101.com.
Chef Melissa Pelkey-Hass
Melissa was born with a whisk in her hand. Over the years, her love for cooking and competition has been carefully crafted into an award-winning obsession. Melissa uses her culinary skills to compete in cooking and recipe competitions locally and nationwide. Her craft has earned over 320 State Fair Blue Ribbons, 160 Red Ribbons and titles of Spam Grand Champion, Fleishman’s Yeast Baking Champion, Hidden Valley Ranch Recipe Winner, KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce Recipe Winner, Eagle Condensed Milk Bar Cookie Champion, Kayro Syrup Dessert Recipe Winner, the Lexington Collard Green Queen, the Lexington County Peach Festival Cooking Competition Winner for multiple years, and most recently, Chicago Cutlery’s “The Cut” Sandwich National Grand Champion. She has had over 100 recipes published in national publications such as Taste of Home, Southern Living, Epicures and Healthy Cooking books and magazines. Melissa writes a blog called The Front Porch Gourmet, blending recipes with Southern humor. She likes to share all types of recipes from “New York Classy to Southern and Sassy”. When asked why she feels the need to share her passion for cooking with others. She simply replies, “Because life is too short to eat ugly food.” To learn more about Melissa, visit her blog at www.thefrontporchgourmet.wordpress.com.
Roberta Attanasio, PhD
Roberta is a biomedical scientist and university professor. In addition to teaching in her area of scientific expertise at the undergraduate and graduate level, she teaches an undergraduate women leadership class. She holds a Women in Leadership certificate from Cornell University, is a senior editor for one of the journals of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, is a board member of the Green Chamber of the South, and mentors young entrepreneurs. She is dedicated to raising awareness of issues related to the persistence of the gender gap, and to find collaborative solutions to close this gap. She speaks about these issues to a variety of audiences, with the goal of promoting the advancement of women into leadership roles while encouraging them to develop a personal leadership strategy.
Chef Rafih Benjelloun
For more than forty years Chef Rafih Benjelloun has been passionate about cooking and learning about Moroccan cuisine. Originally from Fez, Morocco, his education started at an early age learning his family’s recipes and how to make them. Since moving to the U.S. he has made it a mission to educate Americans about Moroccan cuisine and culture. In the world’s cultures, cuisine is inextricably linked to the culture. Tracing the path of the Silk Road which starts in the Far East as it passes through Morocco, is an amazing story of how food and culture are linked across countries and continents.
It is Chef Rafih’ goal to give you a taste of the culture of Morocco and the country’s culture through his beloved restaurant, The Imperial Fez, in Atlanta, Georgia. Rafih and his wife Rita have owned and operated the Buckhead restaurant for over 25 years. Customers return from all over the U.S. and a number of countries around the world to this popular destination for Moroccan cuisine and culture. Their ties to the community over the years have given Rafih and Rita a wonderful presence and an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many people through charity, education and food.
Sunisa was born and raised in Thailand. She uses Thai foods, simple yet fully flavored with fresh produce and products as actually used in Thailand and she is an instructor with Thai Cuisine in her soul. She is a Personal Chef, food blogger and cooking instructor that was born and raised in Bangkok. Growing up Sunisa was surrounded by family who loved to cook and was active in her mom’s catering business where she learned to craft exceptional Thai food favorites. She grew and early on managed success in education and business, all the while, passionately traveling, seeing the world and always exploring different cuisines. Settling in Woodstock life became happy as a wife and mother. With her family’s recipes and her True Thai Culinary soul, her passion has blossomed into cooking classes and a delightful blog, “Modern Thai Food” (modernthaifood.blogspot.com). She teaches cooking at Cook’s Warehouse, Buford Hwy Farmer market and has served as a personal chef. For the love of the food she still loves to discover new flavors to make the food more exciting. Now she is ready for the new chapter of cooking. It’s the Asian fusion. She’s bringing ingredients from the west and blends it with Asian cuisine to make exceptional foods. Please come to join the new journey of her food at Leaning ladder cooking class. You can also find her blogging about her life as a mom, chef & wife at www.mamaafter10.com.
Chef Suzy & Chef Clark Neal
Suzy & Clark Neal are home chefs, Big Green Egg aficionados and the dynamic duo behind Unicoi Preserves, a Georgia Grown company with original recipes for gourmet jellies and jam. Based in north Georgia wine country, in the small art community of Sautee-Nacoochee, the Neals are outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for local food. Surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest, mountains, wineries and farms inspires the Neals to support local agriculture and business. Cooking with seasonal and local ingredients makes for tasty meals – fresh ingredients just taste better. unicoipreserves.com