Mary Giuliani, Author, Party and Lifestyle expert, founder and CEO of Mary Giuliani Catering has appeared on The Barefoot Contessa, The Chew, The Today Show, Good Morning America and is a regularly featured guest on The Rachael Ray Show. Mary’s first book, “The Cocktail Party (Eat, Drink, Play, Recover)” premiered in 2015. Her second book, “Tiny Hot Dogs and Other True Stories” was released in April 2019. A graduate of Georgetown University, Mary resides in New York City with her husband and daughter Gala.
Jess Tom is all about telling stories — whether that is by penning a novel, learning about different cuisines and family traditions, or tinkering in her home kitchen. As a food novelist and television personality, she brings her storytelling skills to her cooking, and her extensive food knowledge to her writing.
She is the author of the critically acclaimed Food Whore: A Novel of Dining & Deceit (William Morrow/ HarperCollins), called “the Devil Wears Prada for foodies” by the NY Post, and praised for its mouthwatering, true-to-life, and compulsively readable writing. Food Whore has been published in seven different languages.
In 2018, Jess won season 14 of Food Network Star, the first contestant to earn the title after returning to the competition through Star Salvation, and the first novelist to ever compete. She separated herself from the pack by bringing her evocative wordsmithing to every culinary challenge, and was lauded for her “incredible knack for describing food” while also showcasing her approachable international cooking.
Jess learned to cook from her food-obsessed multicultural family. Her mother is from Madagascar, her father is from China, and she has family living around the world in France, Norway, and the Caribbean. Prior to becoming a novelist and television personality, Jess worked in food marketing, collaborating with restaurants, food trucks, nightclubs, and city-wide culinary initiatives. Her cooking is influenced by her family, travels, and never-ending curiosity about people and the food they hold most dear.
Jess’s work has been featured in Eater, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Popsugar, and the New York Times. She graduated Yale University with a degree in English literature and a concentration in fiction writing, studying under Amy Bloom. In her spare time, Jess is an advanced yogi and her Instagram is often peppered with arm balances and backbends along with her culinary creations. She was born in NYC and lives in Princeton, NJ with her husband and dog.
Chef David Rose was raised with a very diverse and curious palate. He was born in New Jersey to Jamaican parents that were professional chefs. Chef David’s culinary interest led him to enroll at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts College (Tucker, GA), where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Living in Atlanta for more than a decade, Chef Rose finds inspiration in his surroundings and identifies as a Southern chef. He creatively reinterprets classic Southern fare by incorporating the refinement of his French culinary training, his signature bold flavors, and the occasional flair from his family’s Jamaican recipes.
Chef Rose is a Food Network/TV personality and serves as a national brand ambassador for Nissan USA, Big Green Egg, and Davidoff/ Camacho Cigars. As a Big Green Egg Ambassador, Chef David is a huge grill aficionado – whenever he can, he incorporates grilled and smoked components to his dishes. Additionally, Chef David is the founder and creator of the TLC Experience (Tastings • Libations • Cigars), where he partners with spirits and cigar companies to create extraordinary, one-of-a=kind dining experiences.
Last year, Rose appeared as a finalist on Food Network Star (Season 13), cooking head-to-head with Bobby Flay and receiving praise from Giada de Laurentiis. Chef David Rose regularly appears as a guest chef on The Steve Harvey Show, Food Network, Hallmark Home & Family, Pickler & Ben, HLN, Sisters Circle Live, Fox & Friends, local morning shows across the country, and as a celebrity chef judge for the CBS Chef’s Classic.
Bill Taibe is the driving force behind The Whelk and Kawa Ni, both located on the Saugatuck River, in Westport.
The Whelk opened in 2012 and immediately received an “Excellent” rating from the NY Times, “Superior-Extraordinary”, Connecticut Magazine. “Best New Restaurant-2013” and “Best Seafood-2013”, by Connecticut Magazine. Most recently, in 2016, The Whelk was awarded Best of the Gold Coast, “Most Creative Menu”, and Best of Westport, “Best Seafood” by Moffly Media.
Kawa Ni, a Japanese Izakaya, opened in September of 2014. Kawa Ni has quickly gained the same notoriety as his other restaurants by receiving Best of the Gold Coast, “Best Japanese”, in 2016.
Both restaurants are guided by Taibe’s belief in sourcing the best possible ingredients and supporting our local farms and community.
Chef Taibe was named a James Beard-Best Chefs in America: Northeast Semi-finalist in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
His success has led to appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, the Today Show and Moveable Feast. He is featured in Harvest to Heat Cookbook, which highlights the relationship between the top chefs of our country and the farmers with which they work.
Robin Selden is the Managing Partner & Executive Chef of Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning. They are the” it” caterer of Connecticut for nearly 38 years, orchestrating premier parties and weddings throughout the tri-state area; cooking for commanding companies, countless celebrities, and political dignitaries including 3 former US Presidents. They have offices and operations in Stamford & Greenwich Connecticut as well as an office, kitchen and venue in New York City. Robin is the current ICA President and was named their Chef of the Year at Catersource this year. Selden spearheads the company’s Marketing and Public Relations platform and is featured monthly on 5 food blogs as well as countless magazines. She is the “cheer captain” of Marcia Selden Catering and is constantly finding new ways to train, motivate and inspire their team. Her motto is “It’s never good enough!” She strives to push the envelope and her staff in every way to make them the best that they can be. She sits on three non-for profit boards including The American Cancer Society and sits on the Advisory Board of two National Magazines. Robin was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Connecticut. She calls Stamford her home and currently resides there with her husband Michael, 13 year old twins Max & Maggie and her PBGV “canine kid” Sam.
Born & raised in Westport, CT, Matt Storch is partner and executive chef at Match in South Norwalk, CT and a partner at The Chelsea in Fairfield, CT.
Traveling around the globe as a child inspired his eclectic taste in food and ignited his passion for cooking. Matt graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and spent several formative years with Chef Todd English at several of the celebrated chefs restaurants, including his first and most famous restaurant, Olives in Boston.
Matt settled back home at the age of 22, joining Match restaurant soon after the restaurant opened, helping it to garner its first of many awards with his ‘New American’ approach rooted in classic French and Italian techniques, heavily influenced by the Asian continent. Match recently reopened this year after a complete renovation, with the help of a new partner Susan McConnell. The restaurant, reimagined and inspired to deliver a more diverse menu, and a new cocktail program, has taken the South Norwalk scene by storm all over again.
While his most indelible dining and cooking experiences are cooking at the James Beard House in New York City, and dining at El Bulli in its last open season, his favorite job is father to twin boys and devoted husband.
With a style firmly in the ‘New American’ category. Classic French and Italian techniques applied to global flavors especially the Asian flavors and the concept of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors on your tongue with every bite. I cook seasonally, sourcing the best ingredients from the most ‘loving’ suppliers. I am always out eating and looking for the best product to spark ideas and a new flavor combination.
Debra Ponzek graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1984. After cooking in top New Jersey restaurants, Debra was hired by Drew Nieporent as sous chef at the then fledgling Montrachet. Ten months later, Debra was promoted to Chef, a position she held for seven years and where she earned three consecutive three-star reviews from the New York Times.
Debra’s cooking quickly received wide acclaim in culinary circles. At the age of 28, she was selected one of the “Ten Best New American Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine. In 1990, Debra was named “Chef of the Year” by the Chefs of America Association, and a year later was the recipient of the coveted “Rising Chef of the Year” award by the James Beard Foundation. Debra was also the first American to receive the prestigious “Moreau Award” for culinary excellence from the Frederick Wildman and Sons Company.
Debra left Montrachet in June 1994 to move to Connecticut with her husband to open Aux Délices, a gourmet prepared food shop, café and catering business in Greenwich, Connecticut. Aux Délices Events, a full-service catering and event planning division, handles parties of all sizes, from corporate galas, fancy balls, grand openings and fund raisers to weddings, and private dinner parties. A second retail store was opened in downtown Greenwich in the fall of 2000. In 2004 a store was opened in Darien, Ct and in 2012 a store was opened in Westport Ct.
Debra’s first cookbook, French Food, American Accent: Debra Ponzek’s Spirited Cuisine, was published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, in the Spring of 1996. Her second book, The Summer House Cookbook, was released in May 2003 to glowing reviews (“However gloomy or rainy the weather, a peek into ‘The Summer House Cookbook’…is like a ray of sunshine.” – Barbara Albright, Associated Press). Her third book The Family Kitchen was published in 2006 by Clarkson Potter. Her most recent book The Dinnertime Survival Cookbookwas published by Running press in 2013.
Debra Ponzek has been the subject of articles in the New York Times, Redbook, Ladies’ Home Journal, Fine Cooking, Elle, Metropolitan Home, Nation’s Restaurant News, Greenwich Magazine, Victoria Magazine, Food & Wine, Parenting, O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as numerous local and regional magazines and newspapers. Debra’s television credits include appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show, The Food Network with Sarah Moulton, PBS, Lifetime Televisionand others.
She previously hosted a weekly radio show along with her colleague Lynn Manheim on 1490 WGCH in Greenwich called Two Hungry Women.