Dedicated SIN since 2006 from DE to SC, FL, and NOLA for the last 10 years. Bartending at some of the classiest craft cocktail bars, swanky fine-dining establishments, oldest local neighborhood watering holes, and private and charitable events. Chappy is humbled to be a part of this community and tries her hardest to continue to challenge herself and give back to the community. You can find her slinging cocktails behind the bar at Mid-City Yacht Club.
James Clesi started CLESI’S as a “pop-up” in 2013 boiling his signature crawfish and serving his family’s famous jambalaya to the masses at bars and venues across the city. Since then, with the help of his brother Carlo and sister Sonya, CLESI’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & CATERING has become one the premier sources of AWARD-WINNING seafood and spirits New Orleans has to offer! With his restaurant located at 4323 Bienville Street and private event space, CLESI’S AT BOTTINELLI located at 139 Bottinelli Place.
Eric Cook is a combat veteran who served six years in the United States Marine Corps. With training from the John Folse Culinary Institute, he began his culinary career at Brennan’s in the French Quarter where he studied under Chef Mike Roussel. Soon after, Cook joined the team at Commander’s Palace as Sous Chef and Chef de Partie. In 2018, Cook opened his first restaurant in New Orleans, Gris-Gris, which since has received many awards and praise from both locals and visitors from across the globe. After three successful years, he opened his second restaurant, Saint John, in 2021 in the French Quarter, and most recently expanded Gris-Gris with a grab-and-go retail shop next door, Gris-Gris to Go Go. He also has plans for a third restaurant in 2024. Cook has appeared on many local and national-based television shows including Top Chef New Orleans, Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, Off the Menu, and After Hours with Daniel Boulud. He has received many awards and accolades for his restaurants and individual awards including inclusion in ADORE NOLA’s 2021 A-List. Cook is the founder and President of the First to Fight Foundation, a 501(c) nonprofit, charitable organization founded by combat veterans to give support to military veterans and their families, and has been an active volunteer for organizations such as Wounded Warriors, The Legacy Foundation, Disposable Heroes Project, We Heart Veterans, The American Red Cross and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Bryan Dias is the host and executive producer of the popular New Orleans based podcast, The NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias. The show explores the world of drink, food, and culture in New Orleans and beyond. He is also the president of the Raising Spirits Society, the charitable organizer and beneficiary of the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, supporting young adults in the hospitality industry. Additionally, Bryan is the executive producer of the Nitty Grits Podcast Network, the official podcast network of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and the National Food and Beverage Foundation.
Derek honed his skills working for Southern Eagle for 12 years before founding his own line of spirits. Who Dat Vodka and Bourbon can be found in bars and restaurants around the city. Derek also donates his time and spirits to many fundraisers around New Orleans and helps produce the popular Po Boy Fest coming up in November.
Richard Dubas took Top 8 in Bourbon Fest 2023 cocktail competition, second place in Malort cocktail contest 2023, and first place in Kreme de Pink Cocktail Contest 2023. He is also a cocktail YouTuber and blogger Gnome's Tavern, wrote e-book "Gnome's Tavern Volume 1," and stand-up comedian.
Mitch Gibbs is a radio personality on WODT and WGSO New Orleans and currently hosts a weekly podcast recorded live at Drago’s downtown location inside the Hilton. Mitch loves all things sports.
Born in southwest Louisiana, this Florida-college graduate moved to the New Orleans area, then started a motorcycle customization and repair business. Known by his family and friends as a true “foodie,” he’ll go to great lengths to get his latest craving or cocktail.
Originally from Texas, Tank was raised on tacos. Since moving to New Orleans in 2000, Tank feels the local taco scene’s biggest shortcoming is the lack of breakfast tacos. Though he doesn’t expect Top Taco to feature breakfast tacos, he does have strong feelings about your more “standard” tacos and looks forward to trying all the tacos he can while leaving no bite unjudged.
Michael Gulotta graduated from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and joined the newly opened Restaurant August. Gulotta took leave to train in the Italian Riviera and Germany’s Black Forest. After Katrina, Michael helped rebuild and assist with August’s re-opening and was named Chef de Cuisine in 2007. Gulotta's first restaurant, MOPHO, opened in January 2014, known for Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine utilizing the Louisiana pantry. MOPHO was nominated for America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit Magazine and named Restaurant of the Year by New Orleans Magazine. In 2017, his team opened Maypop in the CBD further pushing the concept of blending the Mekong delta with the Mississippi delta. Named a Top 5 Best New Restaurant by The Times-Picayune, a Best New Restaurant by New Orleans Magazine, and a New Orleans top 20 restaurant by Condé Nast Traveler. In 2018, Michael helped start the Fair Kitchens movement, along with the Unilever Foods global team, focusing on improving kitchen culture across the world. A second MOPHO location opened in 2019 in the new Louis Armstrong Airport. Michael was also a finalist for The James Beard Awards Best Chef South in 2020 and a semifinalist every year from 2015 to 2019. His latest project, TANA, will be a move back into fine dining, focusing on his New Orleans Sicilian heritage as well as his training in northern Italy.
Meredith has been in the service industry for 25 years and can currently be found behind the bar at House of Blues and slinging her own tacos at a pop up every Wednesday at Three Legged Dog.
Emily Hingle is a Louisiana native who loves experiencing the unique culture of New Orleans every day through food, drinks, and especially music. She has been with Where Y’at Magazine since 2009.
Owner Star Craft nola, managing partner Café Amelie - has been exacting classic and creating contemporary cocktail recipes for over 20 years. A founding member and past President of the New Orleans Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG), Star also served the bartending community as a Chair of the USBG National Charity Foundation Board. She has worked with some of the greatest bartenders, spirits, distributors, and patrons on the planet. Star contributes to several online and print publications, has served as a judge for many esteemed cocktail competitions and is also a blind tasting judge for spirits competitions.
Dana Honn is chef/owner of Carmo and Café Cour, both of which are focused on high-quality local ingredients, sustainability, and affordability. For over 15 years, he has been an advocate for ocean and coastal conservation and restoration, and for the use of sustainably-sourced seafood. As a passionate supporter of local farmers and fishers, he is also the founder of Tropical Foodways Institute, launched in 2013 with the primary function of acting as a conduit for research, education, and resources relating to the cuisine and culture of the tropics, its history and preservation. Most recently, he has been busy in the creation and and launch of a new project entitled, "Origins: Amazon," in conjunction with Carmo and the recently-formed BioCultural Institute. He is a member of the Audubon GULF Chef’s Council, Slow Food Chef’s Alliance, American Culinary Federation, and Chef’s Collaborative. As an educator, he has also conducted classes and cooking demonstrations for fellow chefs via NOCHI, the James Beard Foundation, Southern Food & Beverage Museum, and was the adjunct professor for the launch of the Restaurant and Catering Management program at Dillard University.
Kappa opened her first diner over 22 years ago on Magazine Street. She moved on from Slim Goody's, but now owns Little Horn's in the Marigny neighborhood.
Brian Kern is a man about town with a passion for parades and parties. Brian currently reigns as the Captain of the Krewe of Boo, the annual Halloween Parade that has become a big attraction on the fall calendar in New Orleans since it’s inception back in 2008. Brian proudly fought for, and won, his krewes’ right to parade this Mardi Gras season.
Rachel Krol has been in the industry for fifteen years, mostly as a bartender at Muriel’s in the French Quarter. She recently took a position with the House of Blues. In her spare time, she enjoy spending time with her daughter.
Chef Duke is chef and owner popular Metairie restaurant Dab's Bistro and former chef/owner of Cafe Giovanni for 27 years in the French Quarter. Chef Duke was recently awarded fan-favorite meatball in a charity event in New Orleans.
Bio coming soon.
Lundeen is Petcetera’s pet pastry chef and baker. She is the lead designer for NOLA Bitch Couture, a doggy style design house, making creative apparel, accessories and toys for pets and people. Lundeen dedicates her spare time to charity and animal rescue, including Bad toThe Bone: Rescued on The Runway, a feast of food and fashion in which dogs from local rescues strut the catwalk in hopes of finding homes.
Andrew Marin writes about food and cocktails for Where Y’at Magazine. He is a former chef and bartender and has judged Top Taco every year it's been held. Follow him @ndrewmarin on instagram for photos and live story updates from the festival.
Chef D Marquez, has 43 years of professional culinary experience cooking, instructing, and leading as Executive Chef with several major hotel resorts, fine dining restaurants, country clubs and health- care groups in the southeastern region of Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Chef D was the former Chef and Owner of a successful Southwestern cuisine restaurant in downtown Ocean Springs, MS named "Chile Poblano". He is proficient in many cuisines such as World Fusion, Pan-Asian, and Classical French, Central and South American, Italian and Regional American Foods. Chef D is currently the Hispanic Brands Specialist with Performance Food Service New Orleans. His responsibility is to develop and consult with restaurants, muti-unit groups and new prospects with technology, trends, concepts, and food products offered by Performance Food Service
Malik is the host of the local talk show, "Great Day Louisiana," on WWL-TV in New Orleans. The show features everything that makes Louisiana great! From food, to cocktails & events, you can learn how to live your best life by watching the show! Malik has also interviewed several celebrities from Halle Berry to Tyler Perry and Kevin James. Malik was born in New Orleans, but moved to San Antonio, Texas when he was 9 years old, so he likes to say he is NOLA made and Texas raised! Prior to WWL, Malik worked in San Angelo, Texas as a morning anchor, reporter & weatherman. When Malik is not at work, you can find him at a local festival eating, enjoying live music or at home catching up on his very full DVR!
Leroy Mitchell was born and raised in Metairie, LA. On any given Sunday, Leroy can be found antagonizing opposing players at the Superdome dressed in black and gold with a giant whistle attached to his head. When he’s not dressed as the most recognizable Saint Supafan, he can be found holding court at Galatoire’s every Friday after a long work week at Heartland Payment Services. No one loves a great cocktail more than the Whistle Monsta.
Jason is the first and only Master Mezcalier in Louisiana. He is a current owner of Espiritu in the Warehouse District and has conducted many mezcal and tequila tastings as well as agave educational events in New Orleans. In addition, he created and often hosts the "Mezcal Society", a club of agave spirit fans that meet at Espiritu on Thursday nights.
Hugo Montero was born an raised in Mexico City, has been in Nola around 34 years, a truly renaissance man has been working as a educator, journalist, radio newscaster, visual artist and producer, and owns popular Casa Borrega Taqueria and Mezcaleria and has been a judge for eclectic events, like tequila and mezcal competitions, as well an International Beauty Pageant.
Born and raised in Washington, DC, T. Cole Newton moved to New Orleans in 2006 to volunteer with AmeriCorps. After his service year, Cole took a bartending job at Commander’s Palace. In 2008, he developed and implemented the cocktail program at the Uptown bistro Coquette. Inspired by that experience, Cole opened his Mid City cocktail dive Twelve Mile Limit in 2010. Twelve Mile Limit was chosen as the Best Bar in New Orleans by The Manual in 2017. Cole’s second bar, the Domino, opened in 2019 on St. Claude Avenue in the New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood. Cole’s book, Cocktail Dive Bar: Real Drinks, Fake History, and Questionable Advice From New Orleans’s Twelve Mile Limit (Running Press, 2021), recounts his experience as a young bar owner in the Crescent City with classic and original recipes, humorous and insightful essays. “The book is knowledgeable but not pretentious, entertaining but not distracting—Newton's writing is almost as good as the drinks. Almost,” writes Nathan Matisse in Ars Technica. In addition to his work in bars, Cole is President and Board Chair of the United States Bartending Guild and the Board Secretary of the New Orleans Women and Children’s Shelter.
Jammer Orintas, Co-Owner of Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, discovered his passion for food at an early age. In addition to operating 5 pizza restaurants in the Metro area, he is a self proclaimed taco expert. Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza has been recognized by The Gambit, New Orleans Magazine and The Times-Picyanue as one of the best pizza joints in the city.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Jessica loves all the food, drinks, and festivals Louisiana has to offer. She worked at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen for 8 years before moving into a business development role at Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends in 2009.
New Orleans native and service industry vet of over 15 years. Food is not only a passion but therapy and Ronnie loves the language. He is currently a server and bartender at both Zasu & Piece of Meat.
Woody is the proprietor of the eponymously named Woody’s Fish Tacos, a fixture on the New Orleans Festival Circuit for several years. Currently enjoying retirement with his new Nepalese sidekick, Rin Poche, he’s excited to make a rare public appearance in support of this “Juan”derful event.
The Super Saints Fan Mr. Everythang helps to keep the Who Dat Nation Motivated in the Dome and everywhere he goes. A transplant to New Orleans in March 2005, he quickly fell in love with Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Your NOLA Saints & Pelicans, and “Everything” that New Orleans has to offer.
Matt Ray is one of the Experience Team Leads of the Sazerac House, an interactive cocktail museum located in downtown New Orleans. Matt has worked in hospitality for over twenty years, from Walt Disney World to local James Beard winner "Cure". He left the industry at one point to teach at a local high school, but returned to the hospitality industry with his education experience in tow. He was featured in Imbibe Magazine's "Imbibe 75: The People and Places That Will Shape the Way You Drink in 2022" for his work at the Sazerac House.
Chef Jas Rogers is a culinary virtuoso with a passion for flavors that knows no bounds. Former owner of the vegan concept Coalesce Goods, she is renowned for her innovative creations and impeccable palate when it comes to vegan/vegetarian cuisine. Chef Jas has been featured in GQ Magazine, New Orleans Magazine, The Gambit, and countless other publications. Currently, she’s feeding the taste buds of many with her sauce and seasoning brand, Saucexdat.
Ms. Schumacher arrived in NOLA originally from Southern California. She has made New Orleans her permanent home since 1984. Ms Schumacher produced food service events for the Olympics, Super Bowls, Microsoft and Ford Motor Company to mention a few. Her passion is the restaurant business. She owns and operates Slim Goodies Diner on historic Magazine Street in New Orleans, which features an eclectic blend of the traditional American Diner fare paired with the Creole influences of Louisiana.
Owner and chef Jason Seither spent his early life on the Bayou (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayou) cooking with his mother and boiling crawfish with his father. Seither’s Seafood in New Orleans uses the best local, traditional ingredients while Jason incorporates his own wild flair into his meals. Jason's also a huge music fan and his restaurant hosts nightly gigs for local musicians on the patio. You can catch Jason and Seither's Seafood on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri.
Amy is a chef, author, and owner of Langlois Catering, named one of the “Best Cooking Schools Around the World,” by Travel + Leisure. She can also be found rallying the troupes to provide aid to disaster victims in Louisiana and around the gulf. She was also named a “Southern of the Year” by Southern Living Magazine.
Liza started her IG food blog _ForkItOver_ to spread her love of all things food and drink in New Orleans (and beyond!). As a connoisseur of deliciousness, and with 14 years of experience in the industry, she is always excited to try places new and old. Follow along on Instagram @_forkitover_ for more!
Scott “Sparky” Sparks aka NOLA’s King of Tailgating” is the quintessential southern gentleman known for his off-the-hook tailgates and frequent appearances on local TV plus the Food Network & Amazon Prime.
Brand ambassador for DuNord social spirits. He is the founder of Victory and the New Orleans Drink Lab. He is dedicated to teaching the history, as well as the art of cocktail making.
Aaron is the lead singer and founder of Honey Island Swamp Band. The swamp rock band was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and has gone on to win numerous New Orleans music awards and has produced five acclaimed full-length albums since 2006. Currently, the band is at work on their 6th record and back on the road touring live music venues nationwide.
Creative professional, author, and food lover who now calls New Orleans home! Directs and designs visuals, marketing, and graphic voice for print and online content at the Crescent City's leading lifestyle and entertainment magazine. Experiencing food in his past foodie towns including Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; New York, NY, and Portland, ME; Robert has a passion for the flavorful fun of Louisiana culinary innovation and creativity.
Form Responses 1 Zeller is a lifelong New Orleanian, graduated from Archbishop Shaw High School and the University of New Orleans with a BS in Management. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Army (1992-1996). Zeller founded the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival in 2006 as a way to revitalize a neighborhood in peril following Hurricane Katrina. This grassroots community festival has become one of New Orleans signature events, drawing thousands of locals and visitors to a once devastated neighborhood. In 2007, Gambit Weekly recognized him as one of New Orleans’ “Forty under Forty” for his work on the venture. In 2015, Zeller was acknowledged with a proclamation from the City of New Orleans for producing an economically and environmentally sustainable festival. His projects have been covered by local, national, and international media, including the Discovery Channel, EARTH X TV, HBO, New York Times, Offbeat Magazine, The Weather Channel, and Tegna Corporation.