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Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair Chefs

2013 Grand Tasting Chef Participants 

We are proud to announce the first of our 2013 Chefs! Check back often for new Chef updates. Please sign up for our Uncorked Newsletter or visit our Facebook Page for additional updates.
Please visit our talent page for a full list of our chefs!

Jeffrey Balfour

Chef:  Jeffrey Balfour

 Citrus at Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

Born and raised in Galveston, TX, Jeffery Balfour developed a love for his native cuisine and the freshest ingredients, all of which are evident in Citrus’ ever-changing menu. After realizing his culinary passion 15 years ago while studying at the University of Texas at Austin, Balfour switched gears ... read more

 Peng Looi

Chef:  Peng Looi

 August Moon Chinese Bistro & Asiatique

Chef Peng S. Looi’s life is as eclectic as the dishes he serves.   He was born and grew up in Ipoh, Malaysia before continuing his high school education in Manchester, England.   In 1981, Chef Looi came to the United States and earned his degree in civil engineering.   He soon realized his heart was with cooking not engineering... read more

Chef:  Brian McNamara

 Jasper The Woodlands

Executive Chef Brian O'Neill McNamara, age 36, born in Vicksburg Mississippi, and raised in Texas, grew up amazed by watching his Grandfather and Father cook cuisine of all tastes, textures and cultures. He makes it his passion to understand, create and pass down to others what he has learned... read more


Neal Cox

Chef:  Neal Cox

 Olivette at The Houstonian

Native Texan and lifelong Houstonian Neal Cox found his way into his first restaurant kitchen while studying Criminal Justice in college. Little did he know, what he saw and learned as a server and bartender would lead him to the culinary helm of some of his own hometown’s finest restaurants and earn him a growing reputation as one of the city’s... read more

Ricky Cruz - Chef

Chef:  Ricky Cruz

 Grotto Ristorante

Born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 16. As a kid he always enjoyed his mom’s home cooking. At that point he fell in love with food and dreamed of being a chef. As a high school student Chef Ricky started his career on the ground floor... read more

John Signorelli - Chef

Chef:  John Signorelli

 The Remington at The St. Regis Houston

A native of Colorado, Executive Chef John Signorelli is no stranger to fine cuisine, and arrived four years ago to help lead the talented and successful culinary team at The St. Regis Houston to interpret his passion for fresh, local and sustainable products with a true regional American influence reflected on The Remington Restaurant’s bespoke menus.... read more

Chef-Owners:  Shanna Horner O’Hea and Brian O’Hea

 The Kennebunk Inn and Academe Maine Brasserie & Tavern

Since 2003, Shanna and Brian have been the Chef-Owners of The Kennebunk Inn (Kennebunk, ME). Their 1799 property, with its 26 guest rooms and suites and a 100-seat restaurant, anchors Kennebunk’s Main Street. Shanna and Brian recreated the Inn’s restaurant as Academe Maine Brasserie and more

Chef Rebecca Masson

Chef:  Rebecca Masson 

 Fluff Bake Bar

As Owner and Pastry Chef of her own Fluff Bake Bar, Rebecca is also a highly sought consultant creating signature dessert menus for the top tier of Houston restaurants, including Stella Sola, Gravitas and Vic & Anthony’s. Affectionately known in Houston as “The Sugar Hooker,” Rebecca’s signature style creatively marries the tradition of French pastry more 

Chef Jovi

Chef:  Jovi Beiz

Born in the beautiful country of Lebanon, Chef Jovi Beiz was blessed to grow up in a place with lavish beaches, breathtaking mountains, historical cities with extravagant architecture, and of course, divine delicacies. Growing his love for food, he ventured away from home and found his way to France where he attended the world renowned culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu more.

Chef Randy Evans

Chef:  Randy Evans 


“Black-eyed peas, lady creamers, butter beans, zipper cream, purple hull, cream crowder peas…” Ask Chef Randy Evans what his favorite variety of peas is – or any other type of produce – and you receive a passionate, knowledgeable list. Taking deep and competitive pride in sourcing out the highest quality, fresh-from-the-earth product from more

Chef John Mockingbird

Chef: John Sheely 

 Mockingbird Bistro

HOUSTON…Compared to “an inside-the-park home run” by a discerning Houston restaurant critic, Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar on the edge of Houston’s tony River Oaks is operating at bases-loaded capacity every night. Owner/Executive Chef John Sheely, a 38-year veteran in the restaurant more

 Chef Cirkiel

Restaurateur and Chef Shawn Cirkiel

parkside, the backspace, olive & june

Widely recognized as one of Austin’s most creative restaurateurs, Chef Shawn Cirkiel has been impressing area foodies and critics alike since the early 2000s, when he gained the honor of Austin’s youngest five-star chef from the Austin American-Statesman. Cirkiel was the first to introduce Austin to the gastro pub more

Chef:  David Cordua

 Cordua Restaurants

Native Houstonian David Cordúa was raised around food. His work in the kitchen began at age fifteen at his family’s Américas restaurant starting as dishwasher and plantain peeler. After graduating from the University of Santa Clara with a degree in Finance, Cordúa moved to more.

Chef:  Kelly Liken

 Restaurant Kelly Liken 

One of Colorado’s most promising and influential young chefs, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her mother was an outstanding cook, constantly exploring new recipes and seeking out fresh products at the local farmers market, which led Kelly to develop her love for more


Chef:  Michael Cordua

 Cordua Restaurants

Michael Cordúa, one of Texas’ most respected and celebrated restaurateurs, is owner and executive chef at seven award-winning Houston-area restaurants, including Amazón Grill, Américas Post Oak, Américas Woodlands, Américas River Oaks, Artista, Churrascos River Oaks and Churrascos Westchase. Churrascos Sugar more

Chef Ronnie Killen

Chef:  Ronnie Killen

 Killen Steakhouse

Executive Chef Ronnie Killen began cooking at the age of eight and never looked back. He owned his first restaurant; Killen’s Kountry BBQ by 23 and opened Killen’s Sports Café five years later. While working part time in a fine more.

Chef Jett Hurapan

Chef:  Junnajet "Jett" Hurapan

 Blu Restaurant & Lounge

After nearly three years at the helm of award-winning Uptown Houston landmark, Gigi’s Asian Bistro, Junnajet “Jett” Hurapan has landed at new Sugar Land Town Square restaurant and lounge, Blu, as executive chef/owner.  Encompassing an airy and more.

Chef Cunninghame West 

Chef: Cunnighame West

Hotel Derek

The son of an artist and an English Professor, Chef Cunninghame West was born in the lush, picturesque Appalachian countryside of Southwest Virginia. He started his culinary career at age 16 working in the kitchens of Mountain Lake Hotel... read more.


 Chef Philippe Schmit

 Chef: Philippe Schmit

Chef Philippe Schmit served as Executive Chef and Partner at bistro moderne in Houston, where he was hailed as one of the city’s most innovative and talented chefs since his arrival in 2004... read more.

Chef Efisios

Chef: Efisios Farris

Born in 1960 on the island of Sardegna in Orosei, Efisio Farris graduated from A. Manieri Rome with degrees in design and architecture. After managing exclusive resorts in Italy, Efisio oversaw the construction of hotels, villas, offices and shopping centers for I.T.I., the second largest developer in Costa Smerelda... read more.

Chef Kim Kringlie 

Chef: Kim Kringlie

The Dakota Restaurant

Chef Kim Kringlie began his culinary career at the age of 15 in his hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota. From there, his accomplishments stretch geographically from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Louisiana. Chef Kringlie trained under his mentor, Austrian Chef Peter Letiner, as executive sous-chef at The Inn at Jackson Hole in Teton Village... read more.

Peter Lafour 

Chef: Peter Laufer

Intercontinental Hotel Houston

Executive Chef Peter Laufer received his first culinary experience growing up in Munich, Germany where he began his culinary journey at the Hotel Bauer in Munich. Here he completed a three-year apprenticeship before going on to take a position... read more.

Danny Trace 

Chef: Danny Trace

Kitchen wizardry is a dominant gene in Danny Trace’s DNA: He’s as comfortable preparing four-star meals in the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants as his father was in the family kitchen and his grandfather and uncle behind military stovetops.. read more.

Jonathan Gelman 

Chef: Jonathan Gelman


For over five years as the Driskill's Executive Chef, Gelman has a Passion for Farming, Artisan Craftsman, Local Resources; Gelman has risen to the top of Austin's Culinary scene... read more.

Maurizio Ferrarese 

Chef: Maurizio Ferrarese


Maurizio Ferrarese picked the right time to cook Italian at Four Seasons Hotel Houston. The Executive Chef of Quattro and its wine bar, Vinoteca Quattro arrived in the Space City in summer 2010 expecting a slow culinary scene and was happily surprised... read more.

 Anita Jaisinghani

Chef: Anita Jaisinghani


Anita Jaisinghani, of North Indian Sindhi descent, was born and raised in Gujarat, India, migrated to Canada in 1982 with an undergraduate degree in Microbiology and worked towards her Masters in Edmonton, Canada. She moved to the US in 1990, pursued her long time passion for food... read more.

Jean-Philippe Gaston

Chef: Jean-Philippe Gaston

Haven Restaurant

Jean-Philippe Gaston currently serves as Sous-Chef at the award-winning Haven restaurant in Houston. Born in Paris and having spent his youth living and traveling the world to... read more.

Chef Jon Hebert 

Chef: Jon Hebert

Houston City Club

Chef Hebert was born in New Orleans to your typical food-centric family.  He worked in several restaurants to help pay for... read more.

Chef Grant Gordon

Chef: Grant Gordon

Tony's of Houston

Chef Gordon was born and raised in Houston, Texas and went to Memorial High School. After graduating he moved on... read more.

 chef robert del grand

 Chef: Robert Del Grand

 frederic perrier

 Chef: Frederic Perrier

Frédéric Perrier, a native of Lyon, France, first apprenticed at the age of fifteen under Georges Blanc, the renowned chef-owner of the eponymous restaurant in Vonnas... read more.

chef michael cheek

Chef: Michael Cheek

Michael Cheek has been cooking in the restaurant industry since he was 15 years old. Michael was born in Houston, TX... read more.

Chef Renato DiPirro

Chef: Renato DiPirro

Even if De Pirro wasn't a chef, given his strong Italian heritage and family customs, he has fond memories of creating long-lasting traditions with his mother and grandmother in the kitchen of their Tuscany home... read more.

christy rost

Chef: Christy Rost

Christy Rost's expertise in cooking, decorating, and celebrating home and family was first featured on national public television in the fall of 2009 on PBS stations and Create TV with the premiere of the one-hour Thanksgiving production A Home for Christy Rost:  Thanksgiving.  The Thanksgiving program has enjoyed great success since its premiere in 2009, reaching more than 86 percent of the country, on 338 stations in 43 states in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012... read more.

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