Talent Bios for the Williamsburg Taste Festival

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Learn more about the talented chefs, brewers, and more participating in this year's Williamsburg Taste Festival.


Chef Ika Zaken
La Tienda

Chef Brian Hines
Riverwalk Restaurant
& Water Street Grille

Chef Hartmut Handke
Waypoint Seafood
& Grill

Chef Hans J. Schadler (left)
Waypoint Seafood
& Grill

Chef Steve Perkins (right)
Waypoint Seafood
& Grill

Chef Troy Buckley
Amber Ox Public House

Brewer Greg Fleehart
Precarious Beer Project

Keith Roberts
Edwards Virginia
Smokehouse

Chef Steven Sowell

The Hound's Tale

Chef Travis Brust

Colonial Williamsburg

Chef Michael Kim

Umi Sushi

Tom Power
Fat Canary

Walter Easterbrook
Woodford Reserve

Patrick Evans-Hylton
Virginia Eats + Drinks

Geoff Logan

Alewerks Brewing
Company

Brewmaster
Jonathan Newman

Virginia Beer Co.

Brewmaster
Scott Kennedy

Brass Cannon
Brewing

Brewmaster
Austin Shawinsky

Billsburg Brewery

La Tienda

Chef Ika Zaken is the Executive Chef of La Tienda Tapas Bar & Market.  A Jerusalem, Israel native with Moroccan heritage, he was born into a colorful and rich culture of food and tradition.  His mother taught cooking classes at local trade school and his father was in international shipping.  Perhaps this is where his love of food and travel was first conceived. After his military service, he worked for a local butchery and delicatessen, learning the craft of cured and smoked meats. From there he set off for Europe to study French cuisine at L’Ecôle Supérieure de Cuisine Française-Ferrandi in Paris.  It was there that he met his wife, Molly, a native Virginian, also a student at the school. After an internship at the Château de La Chèvre d'Or in Eze in Provençe, he returned to Israel to hone his skills at leading establishments in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In 2002, he and Molly opened a restaurant in Antwerp, Belgium where they lived for 10 years and started a family. They eventually felt the call to return to Molly's home town of Williamsburg where Ika became Executive Chef of The Williamsburg Winery. In 2016, they met Tim and Jonathan Harris and both joined La Tienda where he has enjoyed discovering connections in Spanish food culture to those of his Moroccan roots. Last year, he traveled to Spain on a sort of pilgrimage of Paella where he learned the secrets of the traditional rice dish from local Paella gurus. He shares these secrets through monthly Paella classes at the tapas bar. When he is not at La Tienda, he can most likely be found underneath the hood of his '76 Fiat 124. 

Riverwalk Restaurant & Water Street Grille

For Riverwalk Restaurant and Water Street Grille’s Executive Chef Brian Hines, the world is quite literally his oyster. Chef Hines manages two waterfront restaurants in Historic Yorktown. Both are situated along the beautiful (and bountiful) York River where oysters, scallops, crabs, and rockfish are aplenty. They also happen to be his specialty! Brian has more than 20 years of culinary experience, and creating innovative features is his passion. He has established relationships with several of our area’s watermen and farmers to incorporate only the freshest, local ingredients into his menus. Chef Hines is a New York native. Before relocating to the Peninsula he received his culinary education at J. Sargeant Reynolds. Brian started as a dishwasher and worked his way up in the business, which may be why he takes such pride in his kitchens and his staff. He’s constantly challenging them to experiment with unique flavors and methods.  In his spare time, Brian enjoys live music festivals, and globe-trotting to find inspiration in different cultures and cuisines. 

Waypoint

Guest Chef Hartmut Handke, CMC, is a European-trained chef with more than 50 years of experience in various hotels, clubs, restaurants and resorts throughout the world. He is also a Certified Master Chef from the American Culinary Federation. 

Our Exquisite Chef and Restaurateur, Hans J. Schadler, CEC, AAC, has had an illustrious 45-year culinary career. He received his culinary training in Frankfurt, Germany and received his Doctorate of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University in providence, Rhode Island. Chef Schadler served as Chairman of the Resort Food Executive Committee (RFEC) for over two decades. His career can be highlighted by multiple accolades including cooking for several presidents of the United States and even being responsible for coordinating all meal functions during the Queen of England’s visitation to the Williamsburg Inn in 2007. Additionally, he has appeared on several television programs including the Today Show, Good Morning America, Great Chefs of the East series, the Farm to Tables series, and Family Holiday Table show. Although Chef Schadler planned on retiring after an incredible career filled with many accomplishments, his infinite passion for food and serving patrons motivated him to conquer a new endeavor. He decided to open a fine dining restaurant called Waypoint with his wife Liv and daughter Tina Schadler-Phillips. His idea was to incorporate a theme featuring a menu “where tradition intersects creativity”. Chef Schadlers impeccable talent for creating an elegant menu and atmosphere designed to meet any guest’s expectation proves to provide Waypoint the perfect ingredient to be successful.

It’s true what Chef Steve Perkins, CEC says. When you put your heart into your cooking, you can taste the love. Steve puts his heart, and a career filled with passion, into his dishes and serves as Waypoint Seafood & Grill’s Executive Chef. In many ways, being part of the Waypoint culinary family is like coming home for Chef Perkins, who has known Chef Hans Schadler for decades having worked for him at the Williamsburg Inn after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1987.

“I grew up with Chef,” Chef Perkins said. “I know his quality, know his expectations – it doesn’t matter if you’re cooking a hamburger or a dish for the queen. You must always bring integrity to cooking.”

Chef Perkins has served as Executive Chef in a number of establishments, including the Williamsburg Inn, The Jefferson Hotel, the Founders Inn, The Princess Anne County Cub and the Marriott Corporation. He most recently served as a member of the faculty at the Culinary Institute of Virginia, were he coached student culinary teams for the American Culinary Federation and San Pellegrino competitions.

If you really want to prove to Chef Perkins how well you know him, the next time you’re in Waypoint, ask him about his coffee cake! Rumor has it that before culinary school, while working at a diner, he was known to make the best coffee cake on the Jersey Turnpike!

Amber Ox Public House

Chef Troy Buckley leads the culinary team for the Amber Ox Public House. Chef Troy is a progressive, driven chef who prides himself of securing the seasons best ingredients for his menus. Chef Troy's food is edgy andprogressive, yet elegant and refined. He brings a new meaning to Soul Food.

Precarious Beer Project

Greg Fleehart has been brewing professionally for over nine years, both on the West Coast, and on the East coast for the last three years. He started as an impassioned homebrewer, and one year after starting brewing at home, he landed an entry level job at a beloved Pacific Northwest brewery. Ever since then he’s been focused on constant improvement of his craft and there is no place better to do that than Precarious Beer Project. He’s passionate about progressive lagers, exploring hop expressions in IPAs and DIPAs, Belgian styles, farmhouse interpretations, and bold, smooth dark beers. With the kitchen at Amber Ox Public house at his disposal, Greg is exploring culinary influences in beer, with interesting spices and ingredients, as well as finding inspiration from the constantly changing menu at the pub.

Edwards Virginia Smokehouse

A native Virginian, Keith Roberts joined the Edwards team in 2010 where he works closely with third-generation President & Cure Master Sam Edwards III to educate Americans on the company’s time-honored tradition of curing and smoking meats. As  the “Resident Hamevangelist”, his message is focused on preserving the rich history and heritage of local Virginia Foodways, as well as all the Commonwealth has to offer the culinary world. With over 40 years’ experience in the food service industry, he has found his true passion and enjoys nothing more than sharing his knowledge of The Great American Country Ham with charcuterie lovers across the country.

The Hound's Tale

A Virginia native who had returned to his home city of Williamsburg to open the Hound’s Tale, Chef Steven Sowell started out his culinary career working during college at Aromas’s Coffeehouse on Prince George Street.  He then went to join the elite at the Culinary Institute of America.  Steve graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts.  He went to work for the Tribeca Grill in New York City.  Steven then moved with the Executive Chef of the Tribeca Grill to open Halan Social in Stamford, Conneticut.  When the opportunity came about to move back and be part of this creation, he jumped a the chance to settle in Virginia.

Colonial Williamsburg

Travis Brust CEC is executive chef and food and beverage director of the Williamsburg Inn, where his innovative cuisine and events highlight creative pairings of fine wines and spirits with regional foods sourced to local purveyors. He became the historic hotel’s executive chef in March of 2011 at the age of just 29 and rose to his current role in September 2015, responsible for all restaurant and culinary operations including development of the Regency Room and Terrace Room menus. 

Under his leadership the Inn has introduced special dining events such as Virginia Wine and Moonlight, a four-course dinner served on the Inn’s terrace under the full moon; Smoke and Spirits, offering fine cigars, smoked meats and cheeses accompanied by scotches, bourbons and cognacs; and Art of Fine Food and Spirits, a cooking demonstration and tasting of the perfect culinary accompaniments to cocktails made with vodka, gin, bourbon and scotch. 

Brust’s enthusiasm and engaging style drive the popular chef’s garden tour and tastings that culminate at Colonial Williamsburg’s Taste Studio demonstration kitchen. His personal favorite program, Sips with Chefs, combines fine barrel aged spirits with fun food pairings and great conversation. 

Brust excels in the preparation of such classics as rack of lamb and chateaubriand. In October 2012 he led a Williamsburg Inn culinary team in the preparation and presentation of a six-course Regency Room-inspired reception and dinner at the James Beard House in New York. In April 2003, Brust was one of the first four chefs to complete and pass the Pro Chef Level One exam administered by the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. 

Brust is a recipient of the 2013 Chef of the Year award from the Virginia Chefs Association and in 2012 placed first in the World Food Championships’ inaugural World Chefs Challenge in Las Vegas. He received the Johnson & Wales University Grand Award for Professionalism in 2003 and in 2004 was named Chapter Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation’s Northern New Hampshire chapter. He has received multiple gold and silver medals in state and regional culinary competitions and is an ACF Certified Executive Chef.

Brust joined the Inn’s culinary staff in 2002 during an apprenticeship working as a cook in night production. He became lead line cook in 2004 was named sous chef in 2005. He was promoted to executive sous chef in 2008 and chef du cuisine in 2009. He is committed to the Colonial Williamsburg’s chef apprenticeship program and counts as his greatest accomplishment the success of culinary students he has mentored and trained in the profession. 

Brust’s career began as a teenager washing pots in a small fine dining restaurant in Mongaup Valley, New York, when the appetizer cook broke his leg. He was asked to step in and discovered his passion for cooking – and he has been in the kitchen ever since. He earned his culinary certification from the Balsams Apprenticeship Program in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, and his associate’s degree in culinary arts from New Hampshire Community Technical College in Berlin. His career grew during apprenticeships and internships in nearly every kitchen position at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch; Russini’s Restaurant in Forestburg, New York; the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin; the Gasparilla Inn in Gasparilla, Florida; the Jupiter Island Club in Jupiter Island, Florida and the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Brust is president of the Resort Food Executive Committee, which seats 30 of the top resort chefs in the nation, and chairman of the Virginia Chefs Association’s Culinary Apprenticeship Board. 

Umi Sushi

Michael Kim has 40 years experience in the restaurant business.  He brings great talent to Yorktown in his feature dishes such as sushi rolls, sash-mi, bulgogi and Chicken teriyaki.  You will be impressed by his talent.  Stop by for sake or Japanese wine with your favorite dish!

Fat Canary

Thomas Power knows from experience what success in the restaurant business requires. He was raised in Williamsburg and worked in two of the Power family businesses: The Cheese Shop and Trellis Restaurant.

Growing up around these businesses, Thomas was drawn to the culinary aspects and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.   He traveled  over the next 18 years and worked with world-class chefs at Commanders Palace in New Orleans, several Ritz Carlton’s in California and Hawaii, and Nicolina’s by Roy Yamaguchi in Maui. Tom’s initial steps home began in the Outer Banks of North Carolina at the Blue Point and Ocean Boulevard restaurants where he co-owned and operated restaurants with his friend Sam McGann and cousin, John Power.

In 2003, Thomas returned to Williamsburg and joined his parents Tom Sr. and Mary Ellen Sr., and sisters Cathy and Mary Ellen Jr. to open Fat Canary and to relocate the established Cheese Shop and Wine Cellar.  In 2017 Fat Canary was #11 Best Fine Dining in America by TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice.  In 2016 and 2013 Fat Canary was awarded Top 100 Best Restaurants in America as voted by Opentable Diners.  Every year since opening in 2003 Fat Canary has been awarded AAA’s Four Diamond.    

Woodford Reserve

Walter Easterbrook, Woodford Reserve ambassador for NYC, started his career in hospitality in NYC over 20 years ago, and he knows the business from top to bottom. Having started out bartending in a multitude of restaurants and high volume corporate establishments, Walt’s quick ascent soon led him to opening and managing bars and to planning and launching a wide array of selective events both in the US and abroad. Walt first discovered his passion for the hospitality industry in college. Shortly after graduation, he put his experience to the test in New York City, where he quickly built an impressive resume and went on to help open the The Bowery Hotel. For 10 years he ran the cocktail program for world famous hotel. Through his various experiences, Walt has honed his skills, embraced the world of "mixology” and perfected his craft of using new liquors and fresh ingredients to create signature cocktails.

These days, you’ll find Walt reveling in the details and expertise it takes to craft meaningful moments for all – from creating signature cocktails, to shaping the space and guiding the service to ultimately deliver just the right experience.

Virginia Eats + Drinks

Patrick Evans-Hylton is a Johnson & Wales-trained chef and an award-winning food journalist, covering tasty trends since 1995 in print, broadcast and electronic media. He is publisher of Virginia Eats + Drinks. Evans-Hylton is a cookbook author (Popcorn, Dishing Up Virginia, Nuts), food historian, and a media awards judge for the prestigious James Beard Awards. He runs a cooking and wine school and teaches a number of food media-related classes. 

Each Friday from 6-7 p.m., he hosts The Virginia Eats + Drinks Show on AM 790 WNIS in Coastal Virginia and simulcast nationwide. On the second and fourth Monday of each month he reports on food on Coast Live at 10 a.m. on WTKR TV-3 (CBS)

Evans-Hylton cooks and writes in his Chesapeake Bay kitchen in Virginia Beach.

Find more information about Evans-Hylton and his endeavors at www.VirginiaEatsAndDrinks.com.

Alewerks Brewing Company

Born and raised in southern Delaware, Geoff Logan was raised on scrapple, blue crabs and bad FM radio. After university and a prolonged stint in the music business with the band Rainmarket, Geoff settled in Williamsburg, a then quiet town with forgotten craft beer heritage.
 
After hanging up the guitar, Geoff signed on with Alewerks Brewing Company in 2007 (then known as Williamsburg Alewerks) redirecting a fervor for music into a zeal for craft beer. Donning a litany of figurative hats, Geoff scrubbed the steel, hawked the ales, and manned the bar all the while studying the art and science of brewing. Upon meriting accreditation from the American Brewers Guild. Geoff was swiftly designated Alewerks’ Brewmaster, a duty he has maintained for the last decade.
 
As the author of Alewerks' vision, Geoff remains steadfastly committed to authentic, balanced flavors that reward the craft beer drinker. With more than two dozen styles brewed annually, his expertise is on display everywhere that Alewerks can be found.

Virginia Beer Co.

A 2006 graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, Brewmaster Jonathan Newman began his professional brewing career at Jackalope Brewing Company in Nashville, TN. In late 2011 he accepted a position brewing for SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta, GA. While there, Jonathan was one of a handful of brewers behind numerous Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup winning beers. Jonathan graduated from the American Brewers Guild "Intensive Brewing Science & Engineering" program in December 2013 and later joined the team at The Virginia Beer Company as Brewmaster in August 2014. On the rare occasion he's away from the brewery and not thinking about beer, Jonathan spends his free time chasing live music, hiking and camping whenever possible, and hanging with his dog, Cassidy. 

Brass Cannon Brewing

Scott Kennedy - Founder, Brewmaster at Brass Cannon Brewing is originally from Northern Virginia.  Scott worked at a homebrew shop and spent several years teaching people how to homebrew and is still a member of two area homebrewing clubs.  He has been brewing professionally at Brass Cannon Brewing for six years now.  Scott loves malty ales, but enjoys just about every beer there is.  In his spare time he enjoys gaming and hiking.

Billsburg Brewery

Billsburg Beer’s Brewmaster – Austin Shawinsky.  Based out of Iowa, married a Girl from Wisconsin.  Addicted to “The Office” and the Billsburg dog Brewer (Milwaukee Brewers, his wife got him before they met, quite the coincidence).  Favorite Beer:  A fine Pilsner – Favorite Soda:  Barq’s, it has bite!  Currently an avid Golfer and Curler (the sport with the stones and the brooms.)  Living life one fermentation at a time!

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