Culinary Tent 2016

Chefs in the Culinary Tent presented lots of great ideas for cooking with mushrooms.

Scenes from 2016’s Demonstrations

Meet 2016’s Chefs

jennifer daskevichThis year’s Celebrity Chef is World Food Champion Jennifer Daskevich. As a competitive cook, lawyer, restaurant owner, wine sommelier, award winning food photographer and budding foodie entrepreneur – Jennifer’s life is more than just “A Little Gourmet Everyday” – it’s a full sprint living buffet.

In addition to multiple TV appearances, now as a recurring featured local Tampa Food Personality on NBC Affiliate WFLA, and her winning role in FYI’s Original Series “World Food Championships”, Jennifer competes and wins major competitions regularly. She is the 2013 World Sandwich Champion, and the 2015 Chevron Game Day Chef of the Year (crowned this year at the Rose Bowl), amongst many wins. Learn more at Sandwich American’s website.

Christina Verelli  is a perennial favorite at the Mushroom Festival. She’s won the amateur mushroom cook-off winner a couple of times and shared her cooking tips after winning the Pillsbury Bake-Off and being crowned Food Network’s All-Star Academy runner-up. She is now an on air guest for KitchenAid on QVC. Check out her website and blog.

macgregor mannMacGregor Mann is owner and head chef at Junto, in Chadds Ford, Pa. It is a modern farmhouse BYOB showcasing food grown and produced in the Tri-State Area, and especially the fertile Brandywine Valley.  The cuisine at Junto exhibits influences from the Lenni Lenape and Susquehannock Native Americans, as well as the Swiss and German settlers of Pennsylvania. Chef Mann’s Pennsylvania roots have fused beautifully with his cutting edge techniques and international influences to provide you with an experience showcasing local artisans and fresh native ingredients in a truly modern farmhouse meal. Learn more at his website.

robbiejesterChef Robbie Jester has made his stamp on many Delaware restaurants from the Hotel DuPont to Toscana and is now head chef at the reinvented Stone Balloon Ale House. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America where he graduated with high honors.

Jester’s talents have not gone unnoticed; he was one of a handful of chefs chosen for Maryland Governor O’Malley’s 2009, 2010 and 2011 Buy Local Challenges, and for Chefs by the Bay in 2010 and 2011. Chef Robbie was featured on Food Network show Guy’s Grocery Games in November 2015 and is slated to compete on several other TV programs in 2016. Learn more at The Stone Balloon’s website.

john moellerChef John Moeller, a native of Lancaster Pa.  is now the owner of State of Affairs Catering.He has spent the past 30 years traveling and working in areas from New England to the Burgundy region of France, including 14 years at the White House serving three First Families and their guests. His book is called, Dining at the White House. Learn more here.

natalies fine foodsNatalie Jenks is a personal chef and caterer.  Her bright green food truck is a staple in the Kennett Square area. She enjoys working with clients to create a personalized menu whether its for a family dinner or a wedding reception for 150. Check out her website.

Scenes from the 2015 Culinary Tent

Saturday, September 12

Scenes from Sunday, September 13

Meet the Chefs

fabio bioFabio Viviani, Chef/Culinary Personality/Restaurateur/Cookbook Author
Chef Fabio started his culinary career working in a bakery in Florence, Italy at the age of 11. By 27, he was a successful restauranteur in Italy but decided to make a change, moving to Moorpark, California where he opened Cafe Firenze
He rose to celebrity chef fame as a contestant on Top Chef, receiving the Fan Favorite award for his charming ways. He now makes appearances on QVC, Good Morning America, The Talk, The Chew, and Ellen.
Today, Chef Fabio owns restaurants in California, Chicago and Miami. He has his own line of ceramic cookware, Signature Series Aeternum Evolution and just launched the Fabio Viviani Wine Collection. Chef Fabio is the author of three cookbooks: Café Firenze Cookbook, Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, and Fabio’s American Home Kitchen.
Learn more about Fabio Viviani at his website, where you can subscribe to his free magazine, Fabio’s Magazine.

lisa keysLisa Keys, “Chopped” Champion, Kennett Square home cook
Lisa Keys is a Food Network CHOPPED Champion and multi-national award winning home cook. Her most recent win was grand prize at the National Festival of Breads celebrating the Kansas Wheat industry. She has been a judge for the Mushroom Festival Amateur Appetizer cook-off and is looking forward to sharing her CHOPPED experience adding mushrooms to the mystery basket. Lisa lives in KSQ. Check out her blog: Good Grief Cook.


amyChef Amy Falkenstein, Vetri Foundation
When I was younger, my favorite days were the ones that I spent time in the kitchen with my mother, Brenda. I would stand on our wooden chairs alongside her and help to make dinner almost every night.

We would go to the library and borrow cooking videos, I’d watch them, record the recipe, then spend an entire Saturday trying to perfect the dish we saw on the screen. The day we made a soufflé, we must have spent the entire weekend trying to make it just right.

When it was time to go to college, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life in a kitchen, and applied to Johnson & Wales University in Providence Rode Island. I graduated with my Bachelors in the Science of Culinary Nutrition in 2011. After spending 8 years climbing the ladder in fine dining restaurants, I chose to switch gears and move into improving the way our children eat in school with the Vetri Foundation for Children, located in Philadelphia. I find each and every day to be more rewarding than the previous and look forward to changing the face of school lunch. Learn more about Chef Amy and the Vetri Foundation


mavrajChef Jack Mavraj, La Verona Italian Restaurant
Since coming to Kennett Square about three years ago, Jack Mavraj, chef and owner of La Verona Italian Restaurant had made a reputation for his northern Italian cuisine. Mushrooms are a part of the menu from the Kennett Square martini to their mushroom gratin and spinach and mushroom ravioli. Check out LaVerona’s website!

brian bioBrian Duffy, Chef/Clinary Personality/Restaurant Consultant   Chef Brian Duffy grew up learning about food and cooking from his big Irish-Italian Family in Philadephia, Pa. He trained at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia and worked under James Beard Award winning Chef Jean Marie LaCroix at The Four Seasons before venturing out with a partnership and opening Kristophers. Here he refined his style, calling it New Celtic, a refined, modernized take on Irish pub foods.
For the TV series Bar Rescue, Chef Duffy travels the country reforming bars and restaurants. He makes an annual appearance on the Today Show’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Cook-Off and can be seen on various shows on the DIY Network, HGTV, NBC, and Fine Living Network. Chef Duffy will return as a judge for the second time on Food TV’s Network’s Beat Bobby Flay.
As a restaurant consultant, Chef Duffy works to give restaurants across the country new facelifts and updated menus. He is also working on a modern gastropub cookbook.
Learn more about Brian Duffy at his website.


barry 1Barry Sexton, Opinionated Palate Catering, Philadelphia
Chef Barry E. Sexton is an accomplished chef, food stylist, food consultant and a motivational speaker with his creative talents and training, A Philadelphia native, Chef Barry has successfully acquired over 30 years experience in the culinary arts. The Philadelphia Art Institute graduate always believed that great food is a combination of bold tastes, textures and color. Learn more about Chef Barry!

For 18 years, Chef Barry Sexton has been the driving force and visionary of the Opinionated Palate Catering service.For several years, this award-winning chef has participated in many food shows, where he collaborated with other Food Network chefs. In addition, he was featured on the popular Food Network Show, Dinner Impossible starring Robert Irvine.

Chef Sexton has taken on a new culinary challenge. A personal journey that explores the body, mind, and the desire for healthier living and food choices. His new approach is to explore ways to boost flavors and cut calories.

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