Cook for a cause and join us for an interactive culinary lesson with a pro!
We are excited to present our Serving Up Smiles at Home series. We are bringing chefs and mixologists into your kitchen to give you a virtual hands-on lesson in creating delicious, signature dishes and cocktails. The chefs and mixologists will guide you through each recipe step-by-step and answer your questions live! All you need to bring is the ingredients. All classes are free thanks to our generous sponsors, GFP Real Estate and Signature Bank! Classes will begin on Thursday, June 25th and run through the summer.
Below you can learn about each class and register to receive the ingredients and Zoom link. Continue to check back often, as more classes will be added.
Wednesday, September 30th
6:00 P.M. EST
Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Ellen’s on Front
On the menu: Chicken Fried Rice
Wednesday, October 7th
6:00 P.M. EST
Chef, Hell’s Kitchen Season 11
On the menu: Wild Mushroom and Asiago Truffle Risotto
Wednesday, September 23rd
6:00 P.M. EST
Executive Chef, Facebook NY
On the menu: Pork and Beef with Cabbage Dumplings
Wednesday, September 16th
6:00 P.M. EST
The Capital Grille
On the menu: Beerducation: a lesson on beer and its history!
Wednesday, September 9th
Baker & Owner, Christy’s Rum Cakes
On the menu: Grand Marnier Soufflè with Orange Crème Anglaise
Wednesday, September 2nd
Corporate Executive Pastry Chef, 50 Eggs Hospitality Group
On the menu: Mixed Berry Cobbler with Brown Sugar Oat Crumble and Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Wednesday, August 26th
Executive Chef, Post & Beam, alongside Revel Spirits for cocktails
On the menu: Roasted Vegetable Collard Wrap along with summer cocktails from Revel Spirits
Wednesday, August 19th
Chef and Owner, Rooted Hospitality Group
On the menu: Fennel Salad and Pan Seared Bronzini with Parsnip Purée and a Balsamic Reduction
Wednesday, August 12th
Pastry Chef, Bleu Chocolat
On the menu: Tiramisu
Wednesday, August 5th
Mixologist, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
On the menu: Bacon Wrapped Figs with a Blood Orange Martini, Sparkling Pink Lemon Drop, and Cucumber-Basil Gimlet
Wednesday, July 29th
General Manager, Revel Spirits
On the menu: En Mi Casa, Revel Siesta, Avila Old Fashioned
Wednesday, July 22nd
Chef and Restaurateur, David Burke Hospitality Management
On the menu: Poached Chicken with Ratatouille Orzo Ragout
Wednesday, July 15th
Chef/Partner, Tao Group
On the menu: The Five Families: Pasta al Filetto di Pomodoro, Amatriciana, Arrabbiata, a la Vodka, Boscaiola
Wednesday, July 8th
Sous Chef, Red Rooster Harlem
On the menu: Heirloom Tomato Salad, Whole Roasted Snapper Fish, and Peach Foster
Wednesday, July 1st
Mixologist, The Capital Grille
On the menu: Delicious Summer Cocktails
Thursday, June 25th
Chef, CEO/Chef at NY Catering Company
On the menu: Chicken Picatta
About our Chefs and Mixologists
NY Catering Service
Chef and CEO
Chef Chris is the Founder and CEO of Culinary Bad Boy Productions and NY Catering Service, a New York based catering service. Influenced by his family’s heritage, which ranges from Argentinean, Italian and French, Chef Chris began his culinary career at The French Culinary Institute in 2009, where he became classically trained in French and Italian cuisines. Chef Chris since then has trained all over the world and loves creating unique, beautiful, dishes that pair perfectly with selected wines or mixology cocktails
Chef Chris has cooked in several acclaimed NYC restaurants such as Celsius at Bryant Park, World Yacht, North River, to mention a few, and cooks for notables such as Puff Daddy, Chaka Khan, Jason Kidd and Orlando Magic. His reputation and clientele continues to grow with every dinner, event or specialized experience.
Chef Chris is a brand ambassador for Gotham Steel and can be seen on QVC. He often appears on networks such as CNN, NBC, Dr. Oz, Fox & Friends, Martha Stewart Radio, the Daily Connection, Better TV and The Daily. His culinary competitions include Food Network Season 7 (Finalist), Chopped All Stars, and MTV’s House of Food, which he has also hosted. Chef Chris has been featured in ZAGAT, Manhattan Magazine and among several other publications. Each year Chef Nirschel participates in the Food Network’s Annual Food & Wine Festival in New York, Atlantic City, and Miami.
Now Chef has unique clients from various marketing, public relations, management and concierge companies allowing every aspect of creativity to ensue. There is nothing NY Catering Service and Chef Chris Nirschel cannot do.
After nearly three decades in the kitchens of the most esteemed restaurants in the world, Ralph Scamardella serves as Partner and Chef of TAO Group, overseeing all chefs and concepts in New York (TAO Uptown, TAO Downtown, LAVO Italian Restaurant, food & beverage at Dream Downtown and Dream Midtown, and food & beverage at Moxy Times Square including Legasea, a seafood brasserie); Las Vegas (TAO Asian Bistro at The Venetian, TAO Beach and LAVO Italian Restaurant at The Palazzo); and Los Angeles (TAO, Luchini, and food & beverage at Dream Los Angeles).
As the son of Italian immigrants, Scamardella developed an affinity for cooking with fresh ingredients early on, enjoying seasonal produce as staples in the family’s cooking within their Brooklyn kitchen.
Scamardella began his studies at New York City’s Technology Institute, learning to master the business of hotel and restaurant management while simultaneously building his culinary skills at The Plaza Hotel’s French restaurant. He then moved on to hone his skills with one of the world’s true master chefs, working under mentor Daniel Boulud at Polo Restaurant.
Paving the way to distinction early, he received a two-star rating from The New York Times at Vanessa’s restaurant, where he served as Executive Chef. Scamardella went on to have a large hand in the success of the opening and driving concept behind Carmine’s, as chef and partner. After nearly 15 years and several successful projects, he left the kitchen to consult for restaurants such as The Strip House, Harrah’s Casino, and Cessca.
Upon joining TAO Group in 2007 as Corporate Executive Chef and Partner, Scamardella opened LAVO Italian Restaurant and TAO Beach in Las Vegas. He then went on to open LAVO Italian Restaurant in New York, as well as TAO Downtown in Chelsea, Bodega Negra at Dream Downtown, The Rickey and Fishbowl at Dream Midtown, the Los Angeles locations of TAO and new brand, Luchini as well as Legasea and Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square. In 2018, Scamardella helped open LAVO Singapore, atop the iconic Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. TAO Group’s most recent U.S. expansion introduced TAO Asian Bistro & Nightclub to Chicago, in September 2018.
Chef Tiana Gee
Sous Chef/Private Chef/TV Personality
Chef Tiana Gee is a Los Angeles native who knew from childhood that her enthusiasm for food would be her calling in life. Chef Tiana took cooking and baking classes from a young age beginning in middle school and throughout high school. In high school, she was able to compete for culinary scholarships with the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). After completing the competition she graduated with a few scholarships to various culinary programs. Chef Tiana has worked at some notable restaurants in the Los Angeles area and developed a skill set that led her to New York City to become a Sous Chef at the world-renowned Red Rooster in Harlem owned by Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson.
Chef Tiana has a channel on YouTube called Cookin’ With Tee where she demonstrates recipes and techniques for viewers so that they can cook delicious meals in the comfort of their own home. Known in the industry for her sharp skills and charismatic personality, Chef Tiana is being courted for several cooking shows across the country.
Chef and Restaurateur, David Burke Hospitality Management
Fueled by passion, grit, and a knack for artful innovation, David Burke is one of the best known and most respected chefs in modern American cuisine.
Considered a leading pioneer in American cooking, Burke, a New Jersey native, is also recognized internationally for his revolutionary techniques, exceptional skills, successful restaurant empire, and his many TV appearances. In the parlance of today’s celebrity-driven culture, he is a rock star of the culinary world.
At just 26, Burke’s kitchen mastery won him the executive chef position of New York City’s legendary River Cafe. While there, he became the first American ever to win the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur, cementing his reputation as a leading international chef. He subsequently won Japan’s Nippon Award for Excellence, the Robert Mondavi Award of Excellence, and two nominations for James Beard Best Chef. Burke was also awarded a coveted three-star New York Times review for the River Café and later became a familiar guest on TV’s Top Chef.
Looking for fresh opportunities, Burke eventually set his sights on a new goal – restaurant ownership. He opened many with the founder of the iconic Smith & Wollensky steakhouse brand and later formed a hospitality company with partners, which owned and operated numerous award-winning restaurants around the country. It was during this period he gained U.S. patents for several innovations, including his famous Himalayan salt aging process for beef. Always progressing, Burke created his own company, David Burke Group, with several sub-companies including DB Global and David Burke Hospitality Management, which owns and manages, licenses, and consults with restaurants, hotels, clubs, and schools.
Burke is the author of two cookbooks, Cooking With David Burke, and David Burke’s New American Classics.
Chef Burke’s honors and awards are too numerous to catalog but include such notable recognition as:
- Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur. The only American to win this honor
- Japan’s Nippon Award of Excellence
- Robert Mondavi Award of Excellence
- Culinary Art Institute’s August Escoffier Award
- James Beard Foundation Who’s Who in Culinary Arts
- Nation’s Restaurant News awarded him with the Menu Masters Award
- New Jersey Red Cross Clara Barton Humanitarian of the Year
- James Beard Foundation Best Chef New York
Time Out New York Best Culinary Prankster
Pastry Chef Erika Cline
Pastry Chef, Bleu Chocolat
Over the past 25+ years, celebrated pastry chef Erika Cline has crafted some of the country’s most scrumptious desserts and chocolates. Erika’s grand career started in Detroit Michigan as a pastry cook under the countries first Master Chef Milos. From there, Chef Cline passion for the culinary arts spanned the countryside including renowned places like The Peabody Hotel Memphis Tennessee and Ponte Vedra Country Club in Jacksonville Florida. In July 2012, Erika opened and developed the chocolate program for Graycliff Chocolatier in Nassau Bahamas. Also in the fall of 2012, Erika became one of a select few celebrity chefs to spokesperson “Sunday Dinner Chefs” for Publix Supermarkets showcasing holiday entrees and desserts for the holiday season. Throughout the years, Chef Cline showcased her culinary talents as one of the main attractions to Black EXPO located in several cities across the southeast United States and also Epcot Food and Wine in Orlando, Florida. Cline was one of the original 2010 cheftestants on Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts. She won three competitions while receiving great acclaims about her cookies and tequila bombs by the top chef judges. She has been featured in the Huffington Post, the Pastry Arts Magazine, Afar Travel Magazine, Black Enterprise, and others. Chef Erika has made numerous television cooking appearances and has served as a judge for the Food Network’s Rock N Roll Pastry Challenge.
In 2008, as a devotee of the pastry arts Chef Erika created a non-profit organization entitled Culinary Wonders USA. Culinary Wonders USA’s mission is to introduce, share, and cultivate the culinary arts to minorities. As president of CWUSA, Chef Erika believes that mentoring, scholarships, and volunteerism is a great avenue for providing direction in the culinary world. While living the life of pastries across the country and Caribbean, she has supported various charity events such as The Kidney Foundation (Memphis Tennessee), Sulzbacher Center & Rhoda L. Martin Cultural Heritage Center (Jacksonville, Florida), Food as Art, the United Negro College Fund (Seattle Washington) where she has raised over $36,000 over the last 5 years by auctioning her desserts for the beloved charity, The Service Board (Seattle Washington) and Minority Chef Summit 2014 (Nassau Bahamas) (Port au Prince, Haiti 2015) and (Tortola BVI 2017).
In 2015, Chef Erika opened a chocolate boutique named Bleu Chocolat. In the fall of 2017 Hurricane Irma destroyed her home and business, Chef Erika is rebuilding her chocolate brand in Jacksonville Florida. As a James Beard alumnus and has been a featured chef at the James Beard House for the West Indies dinner 2017 and 2018 for an all-women chef dinner. In May of 2018 Chef Erika was a featured chef at the James Beard Awards gala in Chicago Illinois. Erika recently closed Bleu Chocolat Café in the neighborhood Springfield (Jacksonville Fl.) which was named one of Jacksonville’s Top 50 restaurants of 2019. Chef Erika Cline’s long-standing motto is “A day is never good without chocolate”; is the trademark of an accomplished pastry chef and talented
Chef David Hersh
Chef and Owner, Rooted Hospitality Group (RHG)
Chef and owner of Rooted Hospitality Group (RHG, or Rooted), David Hersh, emerged on the restaurant scene in Hampton Bays, NY, when the company opened its first location, RUMBA, in 2010. Two years later, RHG acquired one of the most beautiful properties in the same area, injected its vision, and brought the property back to life. Cowfish opened in 2012, also in Hampton Bays, NY. Beginning in 2014, RHG acquired a property in Patchogue, NY, on the revitalized downtown Main Street, where they renovated and reconstructed a one-story restaurant into a tri-level space that includes the only rooftop dining terrace in the area. RHUM, sister restaurant to RUMBA, opened its doors in 2016. Other projects include AVO TACO, a unique fast-casual hybrid, located in New Hyde Park, NY, and now opening in New Orleans, LA, along with Flora, its newest dining experience, set to open summer 2020 in Westhampton Beach, NY.
Founded in 2009 by David and Rachel Hersh, Rooted Hospitality Group began with a dream to create a gathering place that paired sun, soft sand, and refreshing breezes with good drinks, chef-driven food, and great company, creating some of Long Island‘s most beloved restaurants and bars which all offer the company’s signature warmth and hospitality. It has grown to include some of the top restaurants on Long Island (and beyond!), and has earned countless awards, including Best Waterfront Restaurant, Best Dining Experience, Best Taco, Best Cocktail, and so much more.
Corporate Executive Pastry Chef, 50 Eggs Hospitality Group
As Corporate Executive Pastry Chef at 50 Eggs Hospitality Group which includes CHICA (Miami, Las Vegas), Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Singapore, and forthcoming locations in Dallas and DC), and Spritz Restaurant & Bar at The Venetian Las Vegas, Jessica Scott shares her passion for creative and over-the-top desserts across multiple concepts and menus. Staying true to the 50 Eggs mission, Jessica is pushing the boundaries with her innovative desserts, bringing a refined yet approachable style to the pastry program across all 50 Eggs brands.
With a relentless commitment to balancing flavor and eclectic presentations, Jessica has a reputation for being a true innovator among her pastry chef peers. Hailing from San Diego, California, she developed her passion for the sweet and savory at an early age. Trained at The Art Institute of California, she served as the executive pastry chef at Puesto, an award-winning Mexican artisanal kitchen & bar, from 2015 to 2018, and stole the spotlight when her “Churro Éclair” became a viral sensation overnight. Before joining the 50 Eggs team, Jessica served as the executive corporate pastry chef at Barton G. where she was responsible for conceptualizing and developing new desserts for all locations across the U.S.
Naturally competitive, Jessica has always seized the opportunity to express her creativity through her work and challenge those around her. She was awarded the prestigious Jeune Professional Award from the L’Academie de Gastronomie Brillat-Savarin and The Chaine des Rotisseurs Foundation for her whimsical approach to pastry arts. In 2007, she was chosen to be part of the Denver FIVE, an exclusive team of top chefs focused on pop-up dinners. Together, the team drew rave reviews at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, which led to an exclusive invitation to produce a featured dinner at the esteemed James Beard House in New York City. Her list of accolades and impressive achievements in the pastry world continued in 2016 when she won the “Best for Last” Best Dessert Award at the annual
Hotel del Coronado Grand Chef Throwdown followed by a 2017 win at the Food Network’s Dessert Games. Jessica was also a finalist in the Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship, and in 2018, she won the “Best Design” at San Diego’s annual Creations in Chocolate Event.
When she’s not inventing the next mind-blowing dessert, Jessica is an active voice in the local community. She shares her experiences as a female chef, mentors young cooks, and teaches baking skills to the public.
Executive Chef, Facebook NY
I was raised in Chicago, where my parents owned a Chinese restaurant called House of Fortune. Worked every facet of the restaurant you can imagine, not thinking too much of it, just helping out the family biz. Fast forward to 2001, I just graduated from Rutgers University and took the first job I landed…..being a Stockbroker in NYC. While I was doing this, I found myself cooking a lot after work… making Chicken and Broccoli, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Nutella Crepes, basically everything I can remember growing up in my parent’s restaurant and eating my grandmother’s home cooking. After about 4 years of brokerage life, I took a 180 and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute for a part-time 9-month program, this would allow me to get my foot in the door for my next career.
My first NYC restaurant job was at En Japanese Brasserie, where I not only learned how to hustle and cook Japanese Pub fare, I discovered a new comradery in the kitchen that I never realized back in the House of Fortune days or ever in work life.
It was a great starting point, and then I started really getting deep into who’s who in the NY restaurant scene and went to work on the line for the late Gray Kunz at Cafe Gray in the Time Warner Center. There I truly learned the “elements of taste” through his fine-tuned marriage of global flavors.
The next stop was Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. I worked through all the stations as a tournament in what would be a flavor profile I would develop as my own – Asian Centric. I went onto Southgate at the Essex House after 2 years with the Asiate family. At Southgate, I would meet Chef Nate Eckhaus, who’d end up changing my life years later.
Soo…..8 years out of college, 4 years out of culinary school…I decided to open up my own restaurant called Eton in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The menu was simple, Dumplings & Hawaiian Shave Ice in the warm months and Dumplings & Hand-Pulled Noodles in the cold months. I got to fill the dumplings with whatever I wanted, cause it was mine. We made classic dumplings and also experimental ones like beet and goat cheese to ginger scallion crab cake dumplings. Eton had a lot of accolades from NY Times to Time Out NY and soon we opened 2 more locations in Brooklyn, came out with a line of frozen dumplings that were sold in the freezer aisle of grocery stores in NYC. Also created a smaller venture called “Big Bao” that started in the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasbord, which sold fist-sized steamed buns filled with everything from BBQ Pork to Spiced Pumpkin Custard. Things were great, except in the home front.
I needed a better work-life balance, all this was impossible to operate because I was the one executing each aspect of my business. Just when I lost all passion in my business and calling it quits, I reached out to Nate to see what he was doing. He told me that he was opening up the first cafe for Facebook in NY. I was interested in working with him again and seeing what this new culinary adventure would bring.
About 6 years to the present, I’d moved from a Kitchen Manager to Sous Chef, to Executive Sous, to Cafe Chef, to Executive Chef, and now Area Chef for my building in NYC. I oversee 5 different concepts that serve our FB employees breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The most incredible part of this journey is that I can enjoy my personal life to a point I thought I’d never been able to reach and hit professional achievements I thought would take forever to accomplish.
Executive Chef & Co-Owner, Ellen’s on Front
Jennie Werts is an award-winning chef and graduate of the International Culinary Center (Formerly the French Culinary Institute). She began her career in kitchens on the North Fork of Long Island, working summers during college. She has since held senior positions working with chefs including Tom Valenti at Ouest and Richard Sandoval at Zengo, where she served as Chef de Cuisine. She recently served as Chef de Cuisine and founder of Wolfert’sRoost in Irvington, NY, experiencing the process of opening a restaurant, from kitchen and menu design to the front of house management. Through Jennie’s work, Wolfort’s Roost was awarded Best New Restaurant in Westchester County (link). In the summer of 2017, Jennie opened a pop-up restaurant at the Drossos Motel snack bar, Jennie’s at Drossos, which continues to operate seasonally. In 2019, Jennie opened Ellen’s on Front, a year-round restaurant in Greenport, serving her specialty, elevated comfort food, taking American classics to the next level through innovative cross-cultural twists using fresh and local ingredients.