2017 Talent


 

James Briscione & Brooke Parkhurst

Who teaches the cooks to cook (and sip)? James Briscione and his wife, Brooke Parkhurst!

A culinary innovator and a two-time champion of Food Network’s Chopped, James is currently busy spearheading a new way to view ingredients. As Director of Culinary Development at The Institute of Culinary Education(ICE) he has worked with IBM on Chef Watson--a food-focused venture in computational creativity. He has spent the past three years studying the science behind flavor pairing, using the hidden patterns of flavor to revolutionize the way we eat. He is a featured speaker at this year’s TED conference in Warsaw, Poland, and his work has been showcased at SXSW and featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker,ABC, NBC and many more.

Brooke is a novelist (Belle in the Big Apple, Scriber 09’), cookbook author (Just Married & Cooking, Scribner 11’) and food blogger. She penned the online food column, Full Plate, for the New York Daily News and hosted the ABC digital food series, Eat & Greet. She also served as the lifestyle/cooking correspondent for Conde Nast’s debut web network. As a nationally recognized lifestyle expert and wine speaker she has recurring appearances and writing gigs with: Fox & Friends, PIX New York, People.com and Redbook.com

Together, James and Brooke teach a sell-out series of ‘Couples Cooking’classes at ICE and create once-in-a-lifetime culinary experiences for their clients in New York City, the Hamptons and Florida.

 
 

Chef Jim Smith

Jim Smith is the Executive Chef of the State of Alabama and Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. As the state chef, he has placed an emphasis on using the best local ingredients and has made strides to encourage support of local farmers and Alabama fishers. He uses his position as ambassador of food, to promote farmer’s markets and events that support Alabama food products. Smith is not only responsible for the daily preparation of food for the First Family, but he is also responsible for planning and preparing menus for events sponsored by the state.

In 2011 he was crowned the King of American Seafood by winning The Great American Seafood-Cook-Off and became the national spokesperson for Alabama Seafood, American Sustainable Seafood, Gulf Seafood and the NOAA. As the winner he traveled the country educating the Americans about the benefits of sustainable seafood. As Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, Chef Smith proudly participates in the great work being done to promote Alabama Seafood. Chef Smith is also a Chef Advocate for Wild American Shrimp.

Chef Smith represented himself and Alabama in the acclaimed Bravo television cooking competition show, Top Chef. With a top ten finish and great fan support he is proud of his competitive efforts and has high hopes for the future.

 
 

Peter D’Andrea from Fire at Wind Creek Casino

Peter D’Andrea has cooked for presidents, kings and renowned chef Julia Child’s 80th birthday party. Most recently he joined Wind Creek Hospitality as Corporate Executive Chef. D’Andrea brings over 30 years of experience in food and beverage to Atmore, Alabama and Wind Creek Hospitality. He spent years in New York restaurants and hotels training under some of the finest chefs, and cooking in Asia, the Middle East and other locations around the world. It’s been an incredible journey for an Italian kid from the Bronx, New York, where D’Andrea says “to us food was love.”

 
 

Chef Brody Olive from The Perdido Beach Resort

The Perdido Beach Resort is proud to welcome Chef Brody Olive as the new Executive Chef to lead our culinary team encompassing all food and beverage operations throughout the hotel’s four restaurants and multiple banquet facilities. Chef Olive brings to the resort an impressive background of training and accomplishments. He attended Johnson and Wales University, where he learned the culinary fundamentals. He began his career at Ocean Restaurant in Birmingham as the Sous Chef, studying under the owner and well known Chef George Reis. Ocean achieved many honors during Brody's tenure, including the AAA Four Diamond Award and Five Stars by Birmingham News. Brody then assisted with the opening of Ocean's sister restaurant, 26, known for its funky South Beach atmosphere and eclectic menu.

Prior to joining Voyagers at Perdido Beach Resort, Chef Olive had built a great reputation for his development of creative offerings at some of the premier restaurant venues in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area. He initially moved to the Gulf Coast to open Villaggio Grille, where he was Executive Chef and General Manager. At Villaggio Grille, he conceptualized a menu offering "new and old world cookery" with Italian, Mediterranean and low country fusion. In 2011, Brody opened Elli Bistro Zen Restaurant in Orange Beach as Executive Chef and General Manager, bringing a menu of Pacific Rim flavors to Gulf Seafood before moving to The Beach Club where he served as Executive Chef.

 
 
 

Chef Chris Sherrill from The Flora Bama Yacht Club

Chef Chris Sherrill was born and raised in Eufaula, Alabama. Chris knew at an early age that he wanted to cook. All throughout his time in Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout, Class of 1992), he honed his campfire and wild game cooking skills. In high school, the urge to cook was overwhelming and the thought of being a professional chef was equally inviting. In 1995, Chris entered The National High School Recipe contest sponsored by Johnson & Wales University. Chris' dish of Fruit Stuffed Quail with Orange Cranberry Sauce was Alabama's winning recipe! It also awarded Chris a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC. During his time at Johnson & Wales, Chris gained the knowledge he needed to bring his talents to the table.

2017 proves to be another fantastic year for Chef Chris! He has been honored with several Culinary Ambassador Titles including World Food Championship, Certified Angus Beef and Alabama’s Monroe Sausage. He has just returned Cape Verde Africa to serve as a Chef Ambassador helping promote that countries rich agricultural and seafood resources.

 
 

Donny Rouse

Donny Rouse grew up in the grocery business founded by his grandfather, Anthony J. Rouse, Sr.. For years he worked in his family’s stores after class, and on weekends and holidays. Following his graduation from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Donny stepped into a management role at Rouses, working side by side with his father, Donald, and uncle, Tommy. As Rouses real estate specialist, Donny was called upon to help plan Rouses’ acquisition of A&P’s Southern Division, which doubled the company’s size overnight, and to oversee the company’s purchase of stores and shopping centers throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Lower Alabama. Since becoming Managing Partner in late 2010, Donny has focused on increasing his company’s fresh, organic and gourmet offerings while spearheaded new developments, including the company’s first locations in downtown New Orleans, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Ponchatoula and Mobile, Alabama. Under Donny’s direction, Rouses recently acquired LeBlanc’s Food Stores, which included nine locations in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area. Rouses is now one of the largest independent grocers in the United States. It has repeatedly been voted “Best Supermarket” and “Best Place to Work,” by local, regional and national publications and organizations. In 2016, Donny assumed his new role as CEO of his family’s 56-year-old company. He and his wife, Kara, have two daughters and a son. He is a licensed pilot and avid hunter and fisherman.

 
 

Pete Blohme AKA "Panini Pete"

Panini Pete began working in restaurants at the age of fourteen while growing up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The business immediately got into his “blood” and the journey began. Fortunately an early job working at the Fifteen Street Fisheries for industry legend Mike Hurst helped pave the way to bigger opportunities. “He introduced me to the idea of making a professional career of the restaurant industry, and suggested I attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY.” Mike Hurst would be a frequent counselor & mentor over the next 20 years.

Pete has been Owner and Chef of Panini Pete’s Café since its inception in 2006! Pete’s commitment to “Put Real Food in his Food” and his Never Met a Stanger approach to Hospitality has launched this concept to new heights, currently operating 5 units in 3 states. Pete has also opened Sunset Pointe in Fairhope, Alabama. Sunset Pointe is an award-winning waterfront seafood restaurant with farm to table local gulf seafood, local produce, and a mixology bar. It was voted one of Alabama’s hottest new restaurants shortly after opening in 2015.

 
 

Kelly Finley

Kelly Finley is a 17 year news veteran and mom of 2. Her career has crisscrossed the globe as Finley lived and worked overseas in Tirana, Albania and Brussels, Belgium. She also anchored and reported news on television and radio airwaves in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Kelly’s television career began in Yuma, Arizona, then Billings, Montana, San Diego, California was next, followed by Kansas City, Missouri and Mobile, Alabama. Kelly made her home here in Mobile, in 2013. Finley proudly served as the first civilian Family Readiness Officer in the United States Marine Corps (MWSG-37). Finley was the direct liaison between the colonel and four squadrons of Marines, sailors and their families (19,000+) and was responsible for leading four squadron Family Readiness Officers, as well. Kelly looks forward to bringing her extensive media experience and public service to the FM Talk 106.5 team and listeners. Kelly Finley is also the director of communications and public relations for the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail, is a proud board member of the Mobile Baykeeper, Prichard Preparatory School, the H. Roger Williams Boys and Girls Club of Alabama and is a member of the Women’s Business Alliance. Ms. Finley and her children enjoy volunteering at their church, City Hope. Kelly is a graduate of Wayne State University and holds her B.A. in Radio/Television.

 
 

Maggie Lacey

Maggie Lacey grew up in Point Clear, Alabama and received her BA from Vanderbilt University, graduating cum laude with a double major in Spanish and Art History. Before joining MB staff, she was the Manager of the Windmill Market in downtown Fairhope for 6 years, a restaurant and retail facility built around sustainability and the local food movement. She puts on annual farm to table dinners in Baldwin County where local farms, chefs and wine experts come together to feed and educate more than 100 people about the local food movement. She ran a CSA subscription program feeding almost 100 families from more than 60 local farms, She was a Mobile Bay Magazine 40 under 40 in 2012 and was named an MB foodie in that same year.

Her experience is varied but always has a focus on culture, art and lifestyle- she has worked in the New York fashion industry for shoe designer, Hollywould, and started and ran a store in Palm Beach, FL. She has been a buyer for a high-end womens boutique in Fairhope, and was the director of Marketing and Special Events for the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, and owned her own online retail boutique named Cerulean. Maggie is an avid horsewoman and spends her time on the bay with husband Ric, and their two daughters.

 
 

Andy Chapman

Eat Y’all (EatYall.com) was founded in 2012 thru a year-long series of Chef’s Table dinners hosted by Andy and Marianna Chapman, Mississippians who had a heaping plate of food media opportunity shoved in front of them in 2009 when Andy’s spontaneously created Twitter account @eatjxn turned into a wildly successful food concierge service called Eat Jackson (EatJackson.com), based in their home state’s capitol city of Jackson.

Today, this husband and wife team operates Eat Y'all, where they connect chefs and discerning eaters to the most inspiring Southern grown and made products using events, digital media and personal relationships. They also own and operate The Mississippi List (MississippiList.com) that touts the best places to eat, stay and play across their home state.