Marc Murphy is the Chef and Owner of Benchmarc Restaurants and Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy. He is a judge on Food Network’s top-rated shows, Chopped and Chopped Junior and has appeared on Guy’s Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay and the Rachael Ray show among others. He is the also the author of Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking.
David Burtka is a chef, caterer and award-winning actor who released his first cookbook, Life is a Party, on April 16, 2019. The book is a spinoff from his 2016 Food Network special, Life’s a Party with David Burtka, which won a Telly Award and 1st Prize at the New York Film and TV Awards. The cookbook will showcase his expertise in preparing delicious recipes and celebrating a variety of occasions with guests. Burtka earned a BFA from the University of Michigan and studied at the William Esper Studios in New York. This talented Le Cordon Bleu chef is a firm believer in sustainable food fresh from the farmer’s market, butcher, or garden to the table. David Burtka gained valuable experience training under Mario Batali at the award-winning Babbo ristorante in NY, award-winning pastry chef and author Gina De Palma, as well as Iron Chef Cat Cora and the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller. David and his catering company Gourmet M.D. had the pleasure of preparing meals for some of Hollywood’s elite like “Mad Men’s” John Hamm and Christina Hendricks, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, “Glee’s” Jane Lynch, “How I Met Your Mother’s” Cobie Smulders, Sarah Silverman, Elton John, Katy Perry, Elon Musk, and has even made pizza for Oprah. He has been seen in cooking segments on “Barefoot Contessa,” “E! News,” “Home Made Simple,” “Rachael Ray,” “The Kitchen,” “Celebrity Dish,” “The Fablife,” and “The Chew.” He has been a guest judge on shows such as “Beat Bobby Flay,” “Top Chef Masters” “Rupaul’s Drag Race” and “Iron Chef.” His recipes have been featured in People Magazine, Us Weekly, Food Network Magazine, and Food and Wine Magazine.
Burtka was most recently seen starring as Brian Howard in David Hyde Pierce’s musical comedy It Shoulda Been You at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. He has also been seen in the Broadway production of Edward Albee’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia and Sam Mendes’ production of Gypsy, for which he garnered a Fred Astaire Award nomination for his portrayal of Tulsa. Previously, he earned the Clarence Derwent Award for his role as The Boy in the American premiere of Edward Albee’s The Play About the Baby. Burtka starred in the World Premiere of the musical The Opposite of Sex in San Francisco, later reprising his role at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. He has appeared regionally at The Hollywood Bowl, Alley Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, and the Weston Playhouse. Additionally, David’s one man show Burtka, David played a sold out engagement in November 2014 at 54 Below. His film credits include Dance-Off, Annie and the Gypsy, Regrets Only, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and Hollywood Ending, under the direction of Woody Allen. Perhaps best known to television audiences for his recurring role on “How I Met Your Mother,” Burtka appeared on Ryan Murphy’s award-winning FX horror anthology, “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” Most recently, he was seen on Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Burtka recently produced the relaunch of Wigstock, the outdoor drag festival and legendary annual event that dominated drag culture from 1985 until 2003. His producing credits also include CBS’s “The Night Shift” pilot. David grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan, and earned a BFA from the University of Michigan before studying at the William Esper Studios in New York. David lives in New York with his husband, Neil Patrick Harris, and their twin children, Gideon and Harper.
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.
Christian is currently living the dream. His restaurant, Fortina, represents the beloved Italian culture that surrounded him growing up, combined with the love of rustic, wholesome, seasonal (yet whimsical) cooking that is the best part of the chef he is as an adult. He has recently appeared as a judge on both Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. Additionally, he is the winner of Season 14 of Food Network Star and has been seen on such shows as: Thanksgiving Challenge, Guys Grocery Games, Bit Club, and Family Food Showdown.
NEWS ANCHOR, “TODAY”, CO-HOST OF 3rd HOUR, TODAY AND ANCHOR ON MSNBC LIVE
Craig Melvin is a news anchor on NBC News’ “TODAY,” a co-host of 3rdHour TODAY, an anchor on MSNBC Live, and a host of “Dateline.” His breaking news coverage and reporting appears across all NBC News and MSNBC platforms.
Melvin has covered a wide-range of news events, including several Republican and Democratic National Conventions and three presidential inaugurations. His coverage of politics has included notable interviews with former President Bill Clinton, Former Vice President Joe Biden, Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Secretaries of State John Kerry, Mike Pompeo and Condoleezza Rice. He has also covered tragic mass shootings across the country for the network, including Dallas and Orlando in 2016; Charleston, South Carolina in 2015; the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. in 2013; and Sandy Hook in 2012. Melvin reported extensively on police involved shootings and subsequent protests in Baltimore, Maryland in 2015 and Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
In addition, he covered the 2016 death of Muhammad Ali and the 2016 EgyptAir MS804 crash. He has also covered two Olympic Games and six Super Bowls – most recently, the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta.
Prior to joining NBC News and MSNBC in July 2011, Melvin was a weekend anchor for WRC, NBC’s owned-and-operated station in Washington, DC. Before that, Melvin earned acclaim as an evening news anchor at WIS in Columbia, South Carolina where he was named “Best Anchor” by the South Carolina Broadcaster’s Association and awarded two Emmy Awards.
Melvin is a graduate of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina where he serves on the board of trustees. He is an active member in several charities, including the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Melvin lives in Connecticut with his wife, awarding winning sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak, who is a Fox Sports host and the host of the podcast “Players.” They have a son and daughter.
Melvin is on Twitter at @craigmelvin.
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.
Chef Armando sanchez was born in Mexico City into a large family who struggled to make ends meet. In search of a better life for himself and his family, he ventured into the US in 1995, landing a job washing dishes at a Queens, New York diner. It was here thatArmando‘s love for cooking was born, starting out by making staff meals and eventually landing a position as a line cook.
By the early 2000s, this motivated and hungry chef began earning his kitchen cred in such West Village hot spots as China Grill and ultimately, Chow Bar under the direction of Chef Peter Klein. Chef Armando would hone his skills here over the next 9 years, working tirelessly to learn new techniques, develope recipes, and grow into a style all his own. His passion and knowledge for Asian cuisine would only inspire him to explore other food cultures and over a one year sabatical, Chef Armando worked in Mexican, French, and Italian kitchens throughout the city.
In 2010, Chef Armando re-united with Klein at CB5 Restaurant Group‘sConnecticut flagship restaurant, Lolita Cocina & Tequilla Bar in Greenwich, and its sister restaurant, Red Lulu in South Norwalk. Upon leaving CB5 in 2012, Chef Armando headed back to New York where his culinary career took him in the direction of American, sustainable farm-to-table cuisine while in the kitchen of the ground-breaking Foragers Table in Chelsea.
In 2015 Chef Armando reconnected with former CB5 management, Rob Moss and Dave Studwell, and joined the team at Washington Prime in South Norwalk. Chef Armando centers the Washington Prime menu around American classics with innovative twists, a peak into the global influences and experiences that are a part of this talented chef’s history.