12 International chef hit Nigeria for GTCO Food & Drink Festival 2023
Written By Dedeigbo Ayodeji Samson
Posted By Town Crier News Nigeria
Published By Fitness Network Communications
Chef Miller Peartree,known as the “Queen of Repurposed” is a Bronx-based,world-renowned chef, and restaurateur who has spent the last decade perfecting her craft. It wasnt until she entered her first baking contest that she realized her baking (and now culinary) talent would evolve into a successful and innovative culinary enterprise. Millie has a knack for creating unconventional tasting menus and experintal activations using well known products not often considered as cooking ingredients. With the ability to cook for a substantial number of consumers, her talent lend themselves welk to on-site activatio demos, tastings sampling and branding opportunities. She has worked with some of the nation and world’s most widely recognized brands and celebrities including MLB, Rolex, PepsiCo, Jay-Z & Beyonce, MTV, Delta Air lines, NY Mets, Alicia Keys, Dole, Band-aid and many more
Four times finalist for James Beard “Best Chef:South”; Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” season 13 “Fan Favourite;” and author of The New York Times’ “Best Cookbooks of Fall,”Chasing the Gator- Isaac Toups & the New Cajun Cooking, Chef Isaac To ups exemplifies the new guard of Cajun chefs and is Chef/Owner of Toups Meatery in New Orleans. Bor and raised in Rayne, Louisiana – the heart of Cajun country – Toups is known for his “born and braised” culinary style.
His unique combination of childhood roots, heavily influenced by both grandmothers, along with honing his skills in some of New Orleans’ most acclaimed restaurant including a decade of fine dining experience in Emerald Lagasse’s New Orleans kitchens gives Chef Isaac Toups a cutting -edge style that is unrivaled. He is also the recipient of the Avenue Magazine “Activist of the Year 2022” award and the 2022 Calvin Johnson Food Justice Advocate Award.
For those who don’t know, what would you describe Cajun food as?
Before you describe Cajun food,you need to know about Cajun culture. I am 100 percent Cajun and grew up in a land of swamps,trees,bayous and forests. Cajun are resourceful and cook from the land. So Cajun food started from what was available
As for Cajun food, the basics of Cajun cooking typically start with a roux (fat & flour). From there you can make a stew, a gumbo, sauce and more. Then we add flavor – Cajun trinity (onion,bell pepper and celery), cayenne, hot sauce, creole mustard, pepper – things that pack a punch to whatever you are cooking. Add some protein and fresh veggies to that and that’s basically the essence of Cajun food.
What sort of flavors are expressed in it?
Garlic, black and white pepper, rich stocks and as mentioned above – Cajun trinity, cayenne, hot sauce, creole mustard, pepper things that pack a punch to whatever you are cooking.
You worked under Chef Emeril Lagasse, how was that experience and what experiences and techniques did you pick up working under such a great chef in the industry?
When i first started working for Emeril, i was just a fry cook. But he taught me so many things, not just about cooking but about how to interact with customers, running a business. Working for him definitely prepared me to open my own restaurant.
What was the decision that led you to opening your own restaurant after more than a decade?
After working for Emeril in fine dining for years, i felt like it was the time to branch out on my own and use what i learned from him to create a restaurant that combines my Cajun roots with the modern techniques i had learned. Of course, you can learn “in theory” how to operate, but not until you actually do it yourself, do you really understand it. It’s a lot of trial and error.
Your family have lived in Louisiana for over 300 years, how do you feel this heritage has reflected in the crafts of your techniques, tastes and ingredients?
I come from both Prairie Cajun and Coastal Cajun people and believe it or not, they are different in the sense of the resources of food they each have. My mama was a Prairie Cajun and grew up in a land-locked part of Louisiana. So I learned a lot about pigs, hunting, growing vegetables and a ton of rice from that side of the family. My daddy’s side of the family were Coastal Cajun, so fishing, crabbing and pulling out whatever we could from water played a big role. Combination the two really informed the Cajun cooking i do today, plus i like to add my own little spin to tradition.
Your are also big on hunting and fishing your own produce, what difference do you feel adds to what you create in the kitchen?
Hunting and fishing were an integral part of my Cajun upbringing. It puts you closer to the land. You get a real sense of contact with your surroundings. If you kill the animal yourself you are less likely to waste or ruin it. From cooking the ducks we shoot it grandmother making couvillion with a fish she caught, Cajun are people of the land.
Your meals are Cajun inspired with new flavors, how is the experimentation working for you ?
Growing up steeped in Cajun
Born into a southern italian family which prized the craft of artisanal food, Francesco Mazzei opened restaurants for others around the world before building his own. Famous for accessible dishes, beautifully excited with exquisite flavored, he is a long-time champion of his home region’s specialities and is now Chef Patron at Sartorius in Savile Row.
As ambassador for the citrus fruit.
‘Bergamot’ and the spicy sausage ‘Nduga’, both of which are produced in Southern Italy, he is credited with single-handedly bringing the latter to the restaurants and dinner tables of Britain.
Since 2007, he has appeared frequently on BBC shows including ‘Saturday Kitchen’ and ‘Masterchef’ and is a regular at ‘Taste of London festival’ opportunities he uses to introduce creative applications of Calabrian ingredients to a wider audience,such as his Filets of wild board marinated in liquorice, bergamot and chili.
Born in Prachuap Khiri Khan providence and raised in Bangkok, Chef Jutumas “Som” Theantae is a culinary powerhouse who channels her fine are background to craft profound gastronomic creations that need no introduction. Co-founder and executive chef of famed fine-dining establishment, Karmakamet Conveyance, Chef Som uses the restaurant as a platform to convey experiences, letting her fare inspire the senses in order to transport guests to faraway places. Karmakamet Conveyance takes a whimsical approach with dishes based on memories and places.
Jessica Craig is an executive pastry chef at NYC restaurant, L’Artusi. With over 20 years of professional pastry experience under her belt, Craig was born and raised in Long Island and belongs to a huge Jamaican family with six sisters and four brothers. She has been drawn to the kitchen since childhood. When it came time for college, Craig earned degrees in culinary arts and hospitality management from the New York institute of Technology. The renowned chef has been cooking her whole adult life. About five and a half years of Craig’s experience is from kitchen in the Hamptons. It was during that time that Craig found her first mentor in pastry chef, Molly Harding. Inspiration for Craig’s desserts comes from travel,dining out and stroller through the farmers market to see what’s available and in season. Sha has the most experience with Italian, Mediterranean, French,and American cuisines.
Kelvin Bludso is an American chef,restaurateur,and television personality. He was born in Compton, California and is the owner of ‘Bludso’s Bar and Que’. The original location was found in his hometown of Compton before closing in 2016.
Bludso now owns restaurants in Hollywood, Banc of California Stadium and Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. As a reality TV personality, Bludso has been on shows like ‘Bar Rescue’ and ‘Fire Masters’. In 2020, Bludso served as a judge on the Netflix series ‘The American Barbecue Showdown’.
Born and raised in New Orleans, LA.,Chef Natasha A. Butler used her special cooking talents and sold food until she was able to find a job. Seasons of Louisiana, her catering company, was born by chance because a friend of Natasha needed help with cooking for an event, which turned into more requests for her delicious food; and now, Chef Natasha is in business.
In 2012, Natasha’s best friend, Deadra Thomas Despenza, became her business partner and joined the business as the Co-owner and Business Manager, and Seasons truly began to thrive.
Chef Natasha has worked for some of the best chefs in New Orleans’ restaurants, including Restaurant Revolution and The Bombay Club, where she received all her Culinary Training.
Chef Natasha’s main goal is to implement flavor, freshness, and lots of love into every meal. Her determination and learning skills have made her the Powerhouse that she is today.
Romy Gill is one of the few female Indian chef/owners in the UK, having opened ‘Romy’s Kitchens’ Restaurant in September 2013 in Thornbury. She has since been nominated as a BBC Bristol Food Hero, shortlisted for an Asian Women of Achievement Award, was one of five women listed in the inaugural Bristol and Bath Business Awards in the ‘Woman of the Hear’ category, was nominated in three categories in the Bristol Good Food Awards, and as ‘Best Newcomer’ in The British Curry Awards 2014. Tom Parker Bowles listed Romy among his top ‘fabulous female chefs in the UK’ in the Daily Mail and this year she has become an ambassador for Bristol 2015 European Green Capital.
Romy demonstrates her cooking at festivals both in the UK and abroad, including the Foodies, Abergavenny and Dartmouth Food Festivals,Grand Designs exhibitions and at food and cultural festivals in Abuse Dhabi, the Varli Food Festival New York and elsewhere
Raphael Duntoye is an award-winning Chef based in London. He was previously Chef Patron of the global restaurant,La Petite Maison,and Cheif Director at The Arts Club on Dover Street. He changed career in 1995, from engineer to cook,joining Butlers What Chef School.
His career has spanned from working and training with Pierre Koffman at three-Michelin star La Tante Claire to becoming executive sous chef at Sketch in Mayfair and senior sous-chef at Zuma, in London’s Knightsbridge, before becoming chef-patron for La Petite Maison.
He has been featured on numerous cooking shows and he loves taking his food lovers through the Epicurean realm of cooking.
August DeWindt is the Founder of John’s Juice and Co-owner of Fluffy’s NYC, based out of Brooklyn’s most popular food market, Smorgasburg. Her brands can be found at all the major music festivals on the east coast every year such as GovBall, AfroPunk, and Firefly. Her businesses have been featured in various publications such as Eater, Food & Wine, Buzzfeed, and Business Insider.
Due to COVID-19, her businesses were on pause for a while. With more free time than ever, she started a food blog on Tiktok with one goal in mind to help people cooking at home. She wanted to make cooking fun and non-intimidating. To do this, her blog focuses on easy recipes and hacks that can be replicated at home with everyday ingredients at an affordable price. With consistency and quality contest she gree her following to over 3 million followers in 6 months.
Aneesh Popat is a self-taught chocolatier in London with a degree in Mathematics and background in Philosophy. He fell in love with chocolate due to its unique qualities and has dedicated himself to perfecting his skills, constantly learning and researching the industry. He was inspired by his grandmother, a master cock who fuses Eastern flavors with chocolate. With guidance from a MOF Chocolatier and support from the industry, Aneesh continues to strive for excellence in his craft.
Iré Hassan-odukale is the co-founder and Managing Director of Ikoyi, the micro-seasonal fine dining restaurant which serves global interpretations of West African cuisine around British micro-seasonlity:vegetables slowly grown for flavor, suitable line-caught fish, and aged native beef. Iré’s kitchen serves guests an interpretation of produce in its optimal state, harnessing as much flavour as possible while respecting the true nature of the ingredient. The foundation for his restaurant’s menu is a vast collection of spice with a focus on sub-Saharan West Africa, which it has sourced with utmost care since opening.