Main Stage Chefs
2019 Kohler Food & Wine
Chef Maneet Chauhan is the founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee. Maneet is a recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network’s Chopped, and she sits on the panel of judges for Food Network’s Wedding Cake Championship. She has also written her own cookbook, Flavors of My World. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Chef Chauhan worked in some of the finest hotels in India before the start of her professional career in the States.
Heavily lauded by print and broadcast media in the United States and abroad, Chef Chauhan has been featured in publications such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, The Local Palate, Wine Enthusiast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Post, Times of India, The Telegraph and more. Her television appearances include The View (ABC), CBS This Morning’s: The Dish (CBS), Designing Spaces (Lifetime), Iron Chef and Next Iron Chef (Food Network).
Locally, Maneet was the 2016 Chairperson for March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction, and she was featured as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list, as well as Nashville Lifestyles Women in Business, which honored local women who are at the top of their industry.
She has worked as executive chef in successful ventures such as Vermilion in Chicago, which received accolades from Chicago magazine, Esquire, Time Out and Wine Enthusiast under her leadership.
Chauhan is the founding partner of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee, which includes restaurants Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Tànsuǒ and The Mockingbird. She is also the co-owner of Mantra Artisan Ales in Franklin, Tennessee.
A native of India, Chef Chauhan chose Nashville for her first namesake restaurant after being contacted by developer Moni Advani to come down to Music City for a visit. It was during her first trip that she fell in love with the city and its people and decided to stay.
The Music City chef is a passionate advocate for the March of Dimes and now lives in Franklin, Tenn., with her husband Vivek and their daughter Shagun, and son Karma.
Joe Flamm is executive chef of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia. Working alongside Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano, Chef Joe showcases his Midwestern and Italian heritages through Spiaggia’s tasting, bar and a la carte menus. The menus rotate seasonally and regionally and are inspired by the chefs' travels throughout Italy.
Growing up in a large Italian family on Chicago’s south side, Chef Joe fell in love with cooking at an early age while spending time in the kitchen with his Grandma Mary making homemade pasta, ravioli and pizza. It was this passion that led him to the Le Cordon Bleu of culinary arts, where he received his associate degree.
Prior to joining the Spiaggia team, Chef Joe worked alongside some of Chicago’s most prestigious chefs including Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat, Art Smith at Table Fifty-Two and Bill Kim at BellyQ and Urbanbelly. Chef Joe has also staged in some of Italy’s best kitchens including Glass Hostaria in Rome and Del Pescatore in Mantova, and he cooked for presidents, celebrities, the James Beard Foundation and more.
In his spare time, Chef Joe enjoys spending time with his wife and trying new restaurants. He is involved with Pilot Light, a Chicago charity which helps children make healthier choices by connecting the lessons they learn in the classrooms to the foods they eat on their lunch trays and beyond.
Chef Flamm recently announced he will take his passion and knowledge of Italian fare to open his own restaurant.
Jet Tila is a chef, culinary anthropologist, entrepreneur and Food Network star. Jet has roots deeply embedded in the industry and ones that significantly establish him firmly in the artform he is most passionate about: storytelling through food.
Born from the first Thai food family of Los Angeles, California—a family who established the first Thai markets and restaurants in the United States—Jet brings innovation and artistry into the traditional Thai food fold to create a signature style that is, at heart, his own.
As the inaugural Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine, a title and role entrusted to him by the Royal Thai Consul-General, Jet’s repertoire stretches far and wide. Along with a host of accolades and achievements, Jet’s television career is vast and includes being the new floor reporter on Iron Chef America, Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, Beat Bobby Flay, Guy’s Grocery Games and Today. Jet is a “Dream of Los Angeles” award recipient, a distinction given out annually by the mayor of Los Angeles.
Jet has also partnered with Wynn Resorts to open Wazuzu, a groundbreaking take on Pan-Asian dining, at the Encore Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip. Jet has also inspired and cultivated multiple concepts in partnership with the largest foodservice company in the world, Compass Group.
In order to build a foundation for his passion, Jet attended and completed his culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu, establishing a framework of classical French technique to elevate his extensive knowledge of Asian cooking.
Along with his education at Le Cordon Bleu, Jet also completed an intensive study program at the California Sushi Academy. Predominantly cooking within Thai and Chinese cuisines, Jet’s cooking represents the neighborhood he grew up in Los Angeles.
Jet published the award-winning book 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: Discover a New World of Flavors in Authentic Recipes. The book covers Jet’s experience of culinary tradition and its rediscovery from a kid growing up in Los Angeles. in a Thai and Chinese family to becoming a prominent chef and restaurant owner. Most recently, Jet released his latest book, 101 Epic Dishes: Recipes That Teach You How to Make the Classics Even More Delicious.
When it comes to the seamless marriage of bold personal style and top-shelf expertise, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian occupies a unique place in the culinary world. For more than 30 years, Geoffrey’s uncompromising attention to detail, from the kitchen to the front-of-house, has reshaped how Americans from coast-to-coast entertain, eat and feel when they sit together around a table.
Geoffrey’s rise to culinary prominence began at Le Cirque, where he worked his way up from a pastry cook to second-in-command under Chef Alain Sailhac, and then throughout a series of apprenticeships at some of the most iconic and celebrated restaurants across Western Europe.
In 1987 he took his first turn as executive chef at the legendary 21 Club. The following year he became the executive chef of 44 at the Royalton Hotel, creating one of the buzziest, most exciting dining rooms in modern New York history. Geoffrey became executive chef of Patroon in 1997, receiving his first coveted three-star review from The New York Times.
In 2001 Zakarian opened his first restaurant, Town, marking the first complete expression of his culinary and decorative vision. Instantly becoming one of Manhattan’s most sought-after reservations, Town earned Geoffrey his second three-star review. Next, he opened Country, a restaurant that paired his passion for food and wine with his innate sense of hospitality, grace and old-world elegance. Country not only garnered him a third three-star review from The New York Times, it was also awarded a Michelin Star.
In the ensuing years, Zakarian expanded his fine-dining empire to include outposts in South Florida, Atlantic City, Sonoma and Doha, Qatar. He also continued to build on his well-established reputation in New York City, reimagining midtown power dining for the twenty-first century with the opening of both The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel and The National at The Benjamin Hotel.
When he’s not at work in his own restaurants, Zakarian is focused on bringing his unique vision directly into the homes of food enthusiasts everywhere, as a Food Network television star (The Kitchen, Chopped, Iron Chef America), as an author (Town/Country, 2006; My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients, 2014) and the creator of his own line of gourmet foods and culinary tools for the home cook.
As his portfolio of projects continues to grow, everything that bears Zakarian’s name reflects his unwavering commitment to authenticity, design, quality and his stated mission –to inspire, teach and share the art of living well.
Jack Bishop is the chief creative officer of America’s Test Kitchen. Jack was part of the original team that started America’s Test Kitchen, beginning with the launch of Cook’s Illustrated in 1993. Jack directed the launch of Cook’s Country magazine in 2005 and the building of the company’s book publishing division. He is the tasting lab expert on America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. Jack leads the creative teams working on the company’s television shows, podcasts, videos, magazines, books and online cooking school. Jack is the author of several cookbooks including Vegetables Every Day and The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook.
Bridget Lancaster is an executive editorial director for America’s Test Kitchen. Bridget is also known to millions of fans as a host of the America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country television shows. Bridget hosts and produces Proof, a new podcast from America’s Test Kitchen that focuses on food curiosities. She began working as a test cook for Cook’s Illustrated in 1998, and she was also part of the launch team and led the recipe development for Cook's Country magazine. Bridget served as lead instructor for America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School and coauthored the cookbook Cooking At Home with Bridget and Julia. She was inducted into the prestigious Disciples d'Escoffier culinary society in 2018.
Julia Collin Davison
Julia Collin Davison is an executive editorial director for America’s Test Kitchen. Julie is also host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country and is an original cast member of both shows, which are two of the highest-rated instructional cooking shows on television. Julia began working as a test cook for Cook’s Illustrated in 1999 and led recipe development for America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks for more than a decade. Julia is a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show, Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family, and QVC and has appeared on Fox & Friends and Today. She graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 1996, received an Augie Award from The Culinary Institute of America, and she was inducted into the prestigious Disciples d'Escoffier culinary society in 2018.