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Kristin Sollenne

August 26, 2014

Raised in California, Kristin Sollenne first discovered her love of cooking by creating fresh, wholesome spins on classic Italian dishes to help her parents attain their weight-loss goals while still enabling them to enjoy their favorite foods.

These days, as a rising culinary star and Food Network guest judge, Chef Sollenne oversees the five kitchens of the New York City Restaurant Group’s Bocca Di Bacco locations. A 2013 honoree of Zagat’s Top 30 Under 30, Sollenne’s cooking philosphy focuses on crafting simple, farm-to-table Southern Italian cuisine featuring nutritious ingredients and bold flavors. As the executive chef and culinary director of the expanding Bocca Di Bacco chain, Sollenne workes with each location’s chefs on healthy cooking techniques and manages the training program. READ MORE

Authors, Chefs, Restaurateurs

Hugh Acheson

August 11, 2014

Raised in 1971 in Ottawa as the youngest of four children, chef and restaurateur Hugh Acheson got his start in the food industry at the age of 15, when he took an after-school job as a dishwasher at Ottawa’s Bank Street Café. After moving to Montreal to attend Concordia University — where he studied political philosophy until he dropped out to work in Italian restaurants — Acheson returned to Ottawa and began working at the iconic Café Henri Burger. Here, Acheson learned about French cuisine and wine under chef Rob McDonald. In the late ’90s, Acheson and his wife journeyed south, to her hometown of Athens, Georgia, where Acheson became the head chef and manager at the Last Resort Grill.

After a period in San Francisco, during which he helped chef Gary Danko open his namesake establishment, Acheson returned to Athens and opened his first restaurant, Five & Ten, which forged together the beauty of the South with the flavors of Europe. In 2002, based upon the success of his restaurant, Acheson was named one of the best new chefs in the United States by Food & Wine magazine. He has since opened four additional restaurants, including his most recent venture, The Florence in Savannah, Georgia. Featuring unique takes on classic Italian dishes and an extensive wine list, The Florence has received rave reviews since opening their doors in late June. READ MORE

Authors, Chefs

Paul Kirk

July 15, 2014

In the world of barbecue, few men have accomplished more than Kansas City’s renowned Baron of BBQ, Paul Kirk. The recipient of over 530 cooking and barbecue awards, Kirk has won seven world championships, including the prestigious American Royal Open, the world’s largest barbecue contest.

Kirk, who has been barbecuing since the 1980s, was named the Chef of the Year by the Greater Kansas City ACF Chapter in 1990 and is a member of the KCBS Barbecue Hall of Fame. He prides himself on his ability to concoct a recipe on the spot, never test it and still win any contest.

In 1997, Kirk released his first book, Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops and Salsas (now in its 19th printing), and his most recent publication, America’s Best BBQ – Homestyle: What the Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards, was released in 2013. In addition, he has written numerous articles for publications such as the KCBS Bull Sheet, The National Barbecue News, The Goat Gap Gazette, Fine Cooking and Chili Pepper Magazine. He and his barbecue have appeared on the Today Show, The Discovery Channel, CBS This Morning, E!’s Talk Soup and Tony Bourdain’s In Search Of. READ MORE


Danushka Lysek

June 3, 2014

Private chef Danushka Lysek grew up in Canada to Czech parents and, at a young age, developed a love of cooking. After graduating from the Culinary Arts program of the renowned Le Cordon Bleu school in 2006 — and subsequently realizing that working in the restaurant business was not for her — she became a private chef in Los Angeles.

In 2010, Danushka appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, which she won. In 2012, she returned to the Food Network and competed on Chopped and, in 2013, was a contestant on season nine of Food Network Star.

Danushka currently lives in New York, where she continues to cook unique and inventive farm-to-table cuisine with seasonal influences.

When did you first realize you enjoyed cooking, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career? READ MORE