The region’s best chefs come together for a weekend of amazing food, world-class wines & spirits, camaraderie, and more
Chef Sean Blomgren
The Lodge at Spruce Peak | Stowe, VT
Chef Sean Blomgren's passion for food and hospitality began early on, cooking holiday meals for his family in Lowell, Massachusetts. Driven by his passion for creating new dishes and the reaction from his family, at age 21 he enrolled in the famed Le Cordon Bleu. While on externship in Westchester, NY, Blomgren sought opportunities to further develop his own knowledge, taking monthly trips to Manhattan to experience the global food scene.
Blomgren's culinary repertoire flourished after graduating, first at the Five-Diamond Mandarin Oriental in Boston, MA where he was exposed to a vast array of different ingredients, techniques, and cultures. An opportunity arose to move to Colorado and assist in opening Chef's Club by Food & Wine in the St. Regis Aspen. This first-of-its-kind concept incorporated Food & Wine's Best New Chefs together on one menu. There, he also had the chance to work with Michelin-Starred chefs Mathieu Pacaud and Cyril Lignac of Paris, among other world-class chefs from around the country. He then went on to become Chef de Cuisine at the prestigious Kiawah Island Club on Kiawah Island, SC. This move really solidified his commitment to sourcing great products and presenting them with minimal intervention.
In 2015, Blomgren returned to the Mandarin Oriental group as Chef de Cuisine at the brand's iconic property in Washington, D.C. under the watchful eye of Chef Adam Tanner. Reconnecting with this globally-iconic brand allowed him to travel back to Japan and dive deeper into his love with Japanese cuisine.
The allure of the West once again lead Blomgren to accept his first Executive Chef role at the Madeline Hotel & Residences, Telluride, CO, the only Four-Diamond Full-Service resort in one of the most captivating towns in the world.
A true New Englander, Blomgren and wife Casey decided to return to the East Coast, specifically Stowe, Vermont to settle down and raise a family. He is currently the Executive Chef at the Lodge at Spruce Peak's Alpine Hall and Tipsy Trout restaurants. Upon arrival, he re-concepted all menus to focus on locallysourced and farm-driven cuisine, building relationships with local farmers and vendors.
Chef Cassie Piuma
Sarma, Somerville, Massachusetts
Cassie is a native of Duxbury, Massachusetts. She graduated from Johnson & Wales University where she met her husband and now business partner, Matthew Piuma. She honed her culinary skills at the acclaimed Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, and then moved back to Boston in 2002, where she worked at the French bistro, Sel de la Terre, and as a sausage maker for Barbara Lynch at the Butcher Shop. She spent the next 11 years with James Beard Award winning chef Ana Sortun at Oleana, learning the nuances of Middle Eastern cooking and working her way up the ranks. In 2013, Cassie opened her dream restaurant, Sarma, in Somerville where she cooks her version of modern Middle Eastern meze in a casual, upbeat, neighborhood setting. She was a James Beard Nominee for Best Chef: Northeast in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020.
Chef Emily Mingrone
Tavern on State | Provisions on State | Fair Haven Oyster Co. | New Haven, CT
Growing up with a chef for a father, Emily Mingrone was destined for a career in the kitchen. Her introduction to the culinary world began in her teens, while working for her father's catering business. There, she discovered her passion for food and the desire to create unforgettable experiences for clients, friends and family. Emily began her career working under Chef Denise Appel at Zinc Restaurant in New Haven, where she honed her skills and began thinking more creatively about food and hospitality.
From there, Emily became an apprentice at Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport so she could best learn the art of butchery, and moved forward with the company to open their flagship restaurant concept as the head chef of Craft Kitchen. From there, she moved on to South Norwalk to work with Matt Storch as Chef de Cuisine at Match Restaurant, and most recently she worked as Chef de Cuisine at Jesup Hall in Westport with Bill Taibe.
She now has planted roots in New Haven, where she has lived and worked for many years. She opened her first restaurant, Tavern on State in 2019, Provisions on State, a whole animal butcher shop in 2020, and Fair Haven Oyster Co. in 2022. Throughout all of these experiences, Emily's philosophy remains the same: source fresh and responsibly raised ingredients, treat them simply and with respect, season it well, and you'll have a great meal. Mingrone's deliberate, straightforward approach to cuisine avoids over manipulation. She focuses on flavors vs. technique, allowing ingredients take center stage. From a perfectly grilled sardine, to a crispy, pulled-pork like tete de cochon, to a lamb sausage with eggplant relish, refined classics become soul satisfying comfort food in her hands. Mingrone was named "Best Chef of the Year 2021" in the Connecticut Restaurant Association Awards, and has appeared on the Food Network's Chopped and Guy's Grocery Games.
Chef Kwasi Kwaa
Comfort Kitchen | Boston, Massachusetts
Ghanaian-born chef Kwasi Kwaa has over a decade of experience in Boston's restaurants and large-scale catering. In 2016, he launched The Chop Bar pop-up, drawing inspiration from the street food of his childhood in Ghana. In 2019, Kwaa joined Comfort Kitchen as chef partner, to open a new cafe and restaurant cafe in Dorchester. Despite pandemic delays, Comfort Kitchen operated as a pop-up around the city while gaining a local following and accolades including Eater Boston's Best New Pop-up and Boston Magazine's Top 50 Restaurants in Boston. In January 2023, Comfort Kitchen opened as a permanent brick-and-mortar location, where Kwaa collaborates with the culinary team to create dishes that celebrate the flavors and ingredients of the African diaspora connected from Asia to the Americas through the spice trade.
Chef Will Myska
Ore Nell's Barbecue | Kittery, Maine
Will Myska, chef/owner of the new Ore Nell's Barbecue in Kittery, Maine, is as masterful a pitmaster as he is at whipping up homemade banana pudding. This Houston native is bringing down-home Texas hospitality to the Maine/NH border. Just open a few months, Ore Nell's Barbecue is already earning regional acclaim for its authentic Texas bbq, with such honors as "Hottest Restaurants in Maine"/Eater Maine and "Best New Restaurants 2018"/NH Magazine, and more.
Inspired by his grandmother Ore Nell, Myska smokes top quality meats, fish and vegetables low and slow over oak wood using traditional Central Texas cooking methods. Growing up outside of Houston, Myska learned how to cook in his grandmother's kitchen. "My grandmother would always prepare amazing meals with gumbo, tamale casserole, fresh cucumber and tomato salads and buttermilk pies. Everyone would help - from peeling the potatoes to washing the produce. And then of course sitting down together at the table to dig in. Everything she cooked was full of love and flavor — that's what I am trying to do here at Ore Nell's."
At 19 years old Myska moved from Texas to New England and enrolled in the Atlantic Culinary Academy at McIntosh College. While in school he worked with Chef Evan Hennessey at The Dunaway Restaurant, Portsmouth, NH -highly regarded for its farm to table cooking set in historic Strawbery Banke. Myska was on the opening team for Chef Hennessey's Stages at One Washington, cooking at the James Beard House and earning #1 Hottest New Restaurant by NH Magazine. Next he worked at Portsmouth's popular Ristorante Massimo and then at the award-winning Vida Cantina where he learned the art of butchery and how to run a kitchen under the stewardship of Chef/Owner David Vargas. "Chef Dave taught me how to manage not only food but the people you work with" says Myska. The partnership flourished and together they opened Ore Nell's Barbecue with restaurateur Jay McSharry.
Ore Nell's Barbecue is Myska's first restaurant, and he is digging deep into his Texas grandmother's inspiration and recipe box. "My dear Ore Nell is in her early 90's living in Houston and I just want to make her proud" shares Myska. "I think she would like this place."
Chef Colt Taylor
The Essex Restaurant | Los Charros Cantina | Old Storybrook, MA | Bradford, CT
Chef Colt Taylor's culinary career was inspired by his family and their love and respect for quality, local ingredients, and tradition. After graduating from the University of Vermont, Colt enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America to explore his passion. After some time traveling through Europe, Colt returned to the U.S. and worked alongside some of the country's best-known chefs including Alfred Portale and Eric Ripert.
His first Executive Chef role was in 2011 at the famous One if by Land, Two if by Sea in New York's historic Greenwich Village; by 2014, the restaurant was awarded its first ever Michelin star under Chef Taylor's guidance.
Since returning home to Connecticut, Chef Taylor has opened The Essex, an upscale modern american bistro in his hometown of Old Saybrook, and Los Charros Cantina, a modern Mexican restaurant in Branford, CT. Both have received a bevvy of accolades, from best new restaurant and best restaurant to six years of wine spectator awards.
Chef Taylor and his wife Katharine were married at Spruce Peak, and as new parents of twins, they are excited to return the Green Mountains as a family.
Chef Tatiana Rosana
Para Maria | Boston, MA
A first-generation Cuban-American, Chef Tatiana Rosana grew up in Miami in a traditional Cuban family where food always took center stage. It is these traditions that pushed Chef Rosana to pursue a career in the culinary industry. Today, Chef Rosana heads Outlook Kitchen, Lookout Rooftop and Bar as well as The Envoy Hotel's in-room dining as the Executive Chef. Inspired by her wife's Korean heritage, her own Cuban background, French training and New England experience, Chef Rosana is guided by her curiosity and openness to new cuisines. Since joining the team at The Envoy Hotel, she has competed on various nationally televised cooking competitions including Food Network's Beat Bobby Flay, Chopped and Chopped Champions Tournament winning twice and earning the title of two-time Chopped Champion. When she's not in the restaurant she is sharing her dishes on her Instagram (@chef.tatiana), and spending time with her wife, Alexis and their son, Arlo.
Chef Tracy Chang
PAGU | Cambridge, MA
Tracy Chang is the chef/owner of PAGU restaurant in Cambridge, MA. She is a Boston College alum, with a B.S. in Finance. She holds certificates in pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. She trained with three star Michelin chef Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain, and worked on his television programming, RobinFood, communications and public relations. She has been a teaching fellow and guest lecturer at the Harvard Science & Cooking Program, founded by Chef Ferran Adria. Prior to PAGU, she founded a pop-up restaurant, Guchi's Midnight Ramen and hosted events with restaurants, startups, nonprofits, and universities. She is an alum of the James Beard Foundation Bootcamp for Policy & Change, James Beard Foundation Womens' Entrepreneurship Leadership Program, a 2020 James Beard Best Chef Northeast semifinalist and 2023 James Beard Outstanding Restaurant nominee. She is also a 2020 Star Chefs Rising Stars Game Changer. Chang has presented at the CIA World of Flavor in Napa, Science and Cooking World Congress in Barcelona as well as to tech and pharmaceutical companies including Takeda, Google, Facebook and Microsoft. She has made appearances on Chronicle, Food Network, WBUR, and National Public Radio (NPR).
During Covid-19, she co-founded two nonprofit initiatives, Off Their Plate (OTP) and Project Restore Us (PRU) to provide essential worker communities with food and groceries. OTP expanded to 12 cities nationwide, raised $12+million, and restored $5+million for essential hospitality workers. The standard operating procedures (SOPs) she created for her restaurant PAGU, as well as for Off Their Plate, have been compiled into a comprehensive guide by the James Beard Foundation, World Central Kitchen and the Aspen Institute.
Project Restore Us employs restaurant essential workers to pack groceries for essential worker families in high covid, low income neighborhoods of Boston. The groceries are safely delivered to each home with a network of volunteer drivers. To date, PRU has delivered over 800,000+ lbs of food to 8000+ households and restored 8000+ shift hours. Chang's work with both organizations has garnered her international recognition (the Basque Culinary Center named her the top 10 nominees of the Basque Culinary World Prize) and invitation to the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.
Chang resides in the Boston area with her husband, two young children, and black pug, Pearl. Her favorite pastimes are cooking with her kids and for her 99 year old mentor, Marvin Gilmore.
Chef Matt Ginn
Evo Kitchen + Bar | Portland, ME
Matt Ginn is the executive chef of Evo Kitchen + Bar, a seasonally focused restaurant from Prentice Hospitality Group (Twelve, Chebeague Island Inn, 58 Culinary) in the heart of Portland, ME that serves Mediterranean-inspired fare highlighted with Maine ingredients.
A native to the state of Maine, Matt's interest in food was born in his hometown of Cape Elizabeth, where his first job was picking strawberries for a local farm, before going on to work in local grocery stores and restaurants throughout high school and college. Matt returned to Maine in 2007 and took a position at Five Fifty-Five, where his love for hospitality and fine dining developed.
After moving through the ranks at Five Fifty-Five, Matt moved to Boston and started working as a Sous Chef at Harvest in Harvard Square, working for award-winning Chef Mary Dumont who taught him the importance of cooking with ingredients that are high quality, seasonal and locally sourced. From there, he moved on to L'Espalier, the highly lauded Back Bay restaurant from James Beard award-winning chef Frank McClelland. In this role, Matt's culinary philosophy evolved as McClelland taught him the significance of refined technique, even on the simplest of dishes, leaving an impact that continues to carry on throughout his career.
Matt's Portland homecoming in 2013 brought him back to Five Fifty-Five as the Chef de Cuisine, working alongside acclaimed chef Steve Corry to help the restaurant reach its full potential. Matt curated farm-to-table tasting menus that earned them four-and-a-half stars from Portland Press Herald. After this role, he moved into his current position at Evo and has been there ever since.
Both in his personal and professional life, Matt strives to create food that is honest and speaks for itself with outstanding ingredients that require minimal intervention. Matt's culinary philosophy is guided by the seasons and the region, which has allowed him to cultivate long-standing, meaningful relationships with local Maine farmers. This shines through on Evo's menu, which he thoughtfully curates and rotates daily. Additionally, Matt is also the executive chef of Chebeague Island Inn, the farm-to-table restaurant on Maine's coast that focuses on the state's micro seasons, where he oversees the menu and restaurant operations. At both Evo and Chebeague, Matt strives to create a work environment that supports the growth and development of his employees.
Above all, Matt cherishes the tight-knit community he has in Maine and considers it to be central to the success he has had throughout his career. Throughout his career, Ginn has been awarded Maine Lobster Chef of the Year, cooked at the James Beard House, and won Chopped twice. When Matt is not at Evo or Chebeague, he loves to spend time with and cook for his Wife and two children, and enjoys Maine through outdoor sports, such as mountain biking and trail running.
Chef Richard Chen
Red 8 | Everett, Ma
Only Michelin Star Chef for Chinese Cuisine in North America
US-based, Taiwan-born, Chef Richard Chen began his career in 1986 as the chef at the La Vista International Hotel, also formerly known as the Marriott World Trade Center. After strengthening his culinary skills in New York and Chicago, Chef Chen became the executive chef at Wing Leilocated inside Wynn Las Vegas. During his time in Las Vegas, he helped Wing Lei earn a Michelin star for two years in a row, positioning them as the only Chinese restaurant in North American to receive this honor and awarding Chef Chen his Michelin Star status.
Chef Kevin Des Chenes
Private Chef | Newport, RI
"Top Chef" by Las Vegas Food & Wine
Winner of "Top Celebrity Chef Showdown"
"A Taste of New England is a spectacular event in a glorious setting. The best chefs from various parts of New England converge at Spruce Peak for a celebration of Food, Wine & Spirits. I am honored to be among those invited for this amazing gathering. The culinary collaboration, complete with spot on wine pairings is second to none. I am now forever a fan of the "Spruce Life"!"
Chef Steve DiFillippo
Davio's | Boston, MA
Massachusetts Restaurant Hall of Fame
2014 Restaurateur of the Year
Steve DiFillippo is the consummate restaurateur. With his award-winning Davio's brand firmly established in Boston's Back Bay, Foxborough, Chestnut Hill, Lynnfield, Braintree, Boston Seaport, Logan Airport, Atlanta, King of Prussia and The Colony, TX, DiFillippo has tackled the modern Italian restaurant. DiFillippo's reach continues to expand as his locations continue to garner critical acclaim and destination status.
Chef Brendan Vesey
Botanica Restaurant & Gin Bar | Portsmouth, NH
Steel Chef 2020, NH Food Bank, Champion
Best New Restaurant, NH Magazine
"Spruce Peak is a top-notch destination in one of the most beautiful places in all of New England. To experience the natural beauty with all the amenities and hospitality was an experience I won't forget."
Chef Douglass Willliams
Mida Boston | Mida Newton
It is an extraordinarily challenging time to be a chef in the kitchen, and somehow Chef Douglass Williams continues to inspire and bring people to the table.
Honored by the James Beard Foundation as a nominee for OUTSTANDING CHEF in the country, one of highest honors in the culinary world, Williams is known for his bright smile, generous hospitality and creative talent in the kitchen.
Already a Best New Chef, Food & Wine Magazine honoree and Best of Boston,Best Chef General Excellence, Boston Magazine - the nomination by the James Beard Foundation recognizes Williams' talent and leadership in the culinary world on a national level.
"For our team to still be standing together and for this community to have supported us through such difficult times, that is what I am most grateful for" says Williams. "When I learned about this honor I immediately shared it with my teams at MIDA South End, MIDA Newton and APIZZA -because it means we are doing something right. We hopefully have provided a safe and delicious haven to people in as many ways as we could imagine." Williams kept his award-winning restaurant MIDA South End running and feeding the community, while opening two more restaurants: MIDA Newton and APIZZA Boston during the pandemic.
In perpetual motion, you will find Williams on the line leading his teams at MIDA South End, the brand new MIDA Newton, or at the lively new APIZZAin Boston's Hub Hall. Known for his deft technique with hand-made pasta, a spirit of generous hospitality, and a smile that lights up the room, Williamsis committed to making a difference in the kitchen and the community.
Diagnosed with Crohn's disease as a teenager, Williams' path took a left turn, as he learned how to heal himself through food. His journey brought him from his hometown of Atlantic City, NJ to culinary school and then to traveling the world learning from the best. From Thailand to Paris, New YorkCity to Boston, he worked and staged at some of the best restaurants, including Radius and Coppa/Boston, Corton/NYC and Akarme/Paris.
While cooking at Coppa, Williams would cycle down Mass Ave where the South End meets Roxbury, and all he saw was opportunity - for change and the chance to create something meaningful. At the corner of Tremont Street and Mass. Ave., he created his first restaurant, MIDA South End, a neighborhood restaurant inspired by the simplicity of classic Italian culinary traditions. MIDA is one of the city's favorite restaurants, earning top honors for "Best Restaurants in Boston" and "Best Pasta" and is a must-visit when in Boston.
In June 2021, Williams opened his second restaurant, MIDA Newton, just outside of Boston, in a beautiful new space with the same soft glow of MIDA South End. The space is double the size of the original MIDA, with just more to love. In the new restaurant, Douglass prepares not only his famous hand-made pastas, but also a whole new selection of New Haven inspired pizza.
Boston Magazine honored Williams as one of Boston's Top Influencers in 2022. Williams shares, "To be a Black chef/owner here in Boston is an honor and a responsibility I take very seriously. I am fortunate to have successful restaurants, an incredible team and supportive community. I have things to say and share; I try to do it every night through delicious and beautiful dishes at MIDA. And by giving my time and energy to the neighborhood and those around me. I put my passion for story-telling and teaching to use by building bridges in the community through food and conversation. I truly believe the world can come together over a delicious bowl of pasta."