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Zimmern - The Munchies

Meet the expert panelists

The Munchies nominees were chosen by a panel of culinary celebs including stars of blogs, podcasts, books, restaurants and even TV. Get to know the faces behind the food.

  • Andrew Zimmern
    Andrew Zimmern
    Chef, TV Personality and Host/Creator of Bizarre Foods, Writer and Teacher
    A chef, TV personality, writer and teacher, Andrew Zimmern is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable people in the food world. A three-time James Beard award winner, Zimmern is the creator, host and co-executive producer of Travel Channel’s "Bizarre Foods.” He’s a contributing editor at Food & Wine and Delta Sky magazines, and has written three books including his latest, Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild & Wonderful Foods. His food truck, Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen can be found in Minneapolis, where he lives with his wife Rishia and son Noah.
  • Aaron Sanchez
    Aarón Sánchez
    Chef/Partner of Paloma + Johnny Sánchez
    Aarón Sánchez is the chef/partner of Paloma in Stamford, CT and recently opened Johnny Sánchez, alongside friend and colleague Chef John Besh, in Baltimore, MD and New Orleans, LA.  Aarón is the co-star of Food Network’s hit series, Chopped, as well as the star of Cooking Channel's Taco Trip, FOX Life’s cooking series 3 Minutos con Aarón, and the travel-food series MOTOCHEFS.
  • Allen Salkin
    Allen Salkin
    Journalist & Author of "From Scratch: Inside the Food Network"
    A writer and video producer for many outlets, Allen Salkin delivers features about food, culture, and media—for one of them in the New York Times, the legendary chefs Ferran Adrià and José Andrés cooked him lunch in his apartment. As an investigative reporter, Salkin wrote articles on corrupt judges, emergency room ethics, and troubled cults. Salkin’s journalism has taken him to more than forty countries, from the Beijing Olympics to the snorkel wakes of “Doom Tourists” in the Galápagos. "From Scratch" is his second book.
  • Amy Thielen
    Amy Thielen
    Chef, Author & TV Host
    Amy Thielen is a chef, writer, and television personality. She is the author of the "The New Midwestern Table,” winner of the 2013 James Beard Book Award for American Cooking, the host of "Heartland Table" on Food Network, and is at work on her second book, a food memoir. A former New York City line cook, she moved back home to rural northern Minnesota in 2008 with her husband and young son.
  • Andrew Haley
    Andrew Haley
    Educator & Author
    Andrew P. Haley is an associate professor at The University of Southern Mississippi who studies the cultural history of eating and dining in the United States. Haley is the author of "Turning the Tables: American Restaurant Culture and the Rise of the Middle Class," the 2012 James Beard Award winner for Scholarship and Reference. He is currently working on a book that explores children’s culinary experiences in the 20th century.
  • Angie Dudley
    Angie Dudley
    Bakerella & Author of "Cake Pops"
    Angie Dudley is the creator of, a blog chronicling her adventures making fun and unique sweets. Dudley has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and her creations have been recognized in publications and websites like Betty Crocker, People, O, Entertainment Weekly, Woman's Day and more. Angie created the cake pop phenomenon and the fascination with these tiny treats led to her New York Times bestselling book, "Cake Pops", Cake Pops Kit and second book, "Cake Pops Holidays".
  • Arthur Bovino
    Arthur Bovino
    Executive Editor of The Daily Meal
    Expert restaurant, food media, and travel writer with strong opinions about pizza, bagels, and sushi who has mastered the art of pinning chefs against critics with his own rating system. Arthur works with Colman Andrews to content strategize for The Daily Meal, which has become one of the highest-trafficked food sites. A trained cook with experience reporting at The New York Times, Arthur has written for Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s, and Rough Guides, appeared on New York One and TODAY, and been consulted by Fox News and the AP for expertise.
  • Bill Esparza
    Bill Esparza
    Blogger/Writer, Los Angeles Magazine & TV Host
    Life on the road transformed this R and B saxophonist into an “accidental” Latin-American food expert. Bill’s blog, Street Gourmet LA, is the go to blog on Latin American cuisine and was named “best food blog” in Los Angeles by the LA Weekly (2011). Esparza has appeared with Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods and Border Check), Top Chef Masters, Mexican Made Easy with Marcela Valladolid, Sundance Channel’s Live/Lust, Huell Howser’s California Gold, and recently hosted his first show for the Travel Channel--Street Eats: USA. He’s currently signed with Magical Elves in a production deal for his own show.

    Esparza has also written for the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, OC Weekly’s Tijuana Si!(OC Press Award for Best Food Blog 2013), has contributed to the LA Weekly food section and has curated numerous L.A. events including his own festival-Tacolandia.
  • Brady Lowe
    Brady Lowe
    Taste Network CEO, Founder of Cochon 555
    Brady Lowe is a respected authority of fine wine and artisan cheese who has been producing exceptional food events since 2003. Lowe is the first to unite chef and farmer in a culinary competition to spark a national conversation surrounding heritage breed pigs. Now a food educator, Lowe is passionate about reaching individuals with a social conscience to support a responsible community of local chefs, butchers, winemakers and farmers through his Cochon 555 Tour.
  • Bryce Gilmore
    Bryce Gilmore
    Chef/Partner of Barley Swine and Odd Duck
    Bryce Gilmore opened his first restaurant, Barley Swine, in 2010 and his second restaurant, Odd Duck, in 2013 in Austin, TX. Gilmore and his partners are committed to knowing where each and every ingredient is sourced. His proudest accomplishment is supporting local farms and giving them the opportunity to grow as his business continues to expand. Gilmore and his restaurants have received much acclaim including Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef 2011, GQ Best New Restaurant 2013 (Barley Swine) and James Beard Foundation Award Nominee for Best Chef Southwest in 2013 and 2014. 

    Photo credit: Jody Horton
  • Caryl Chinn
    Caryl Chinn
    Vice President of Culinary Events, Octagon
    Caryl Chinn is the VP of Culinary Events at Octagon. For nearly 20 years, she has been producing special events with celebrity chefs – first as the special events director for Bon Appétit magazine, and later for clients such as the Food Network, the New York Yankees and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. She is on the Advisory Board of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Los Angeles, and is on the Culinary Council for the Food Bank For New York City.

    Photo credit: Steven Freeman
  • Clarissa Wei
    Clarissa Wei
    Food Writer
    Clarissa Wei is a food writer specializing in Chinese food. She has a food column at KCET and contributes to the LA Times and LA Weekly, among other publications. Wei appeared on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern in 2013, where she took him to a handful of her favorite Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles. She has also been featured on CBS Los Angeles, the Associated Press, and the Huffington Post for her Chinese food expertise. 
  • Daniel Klein
    Daniel Klein
    Filmmaker and Chef of The Perennial Plate
    Daniel Klein trained as a chef at some of the world’s top restaurants before perusing a career in film and TV. Along with his wife Mirra, he produces The Perennial Plate: a 2013 and 2014 James Beard Award winning documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating around the world. They are currently filming and editing a new show for PBS. 
  • Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
    Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
    Restaurant/Wine Critic, Food Writer & Host of "Off the Menu"
    One of the most award-winning of food writers, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl works for Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, and contributes to Food & Wine, Saveur, and Bon Appetit magazines. As the creator and host of the weekly radio show, Off the Menu, she talks to the world’s most interesting food and drink personalities. Her book "Drink This: Wine Made Simple" actually makes wine simple. So far she has won 5 James Beard Awards for her food and wine writing, out of 11 nominations.
  • Donald Link
    Donald Link
    Executive Chef and CEO Link Restaurant Group
    Recognized as one of New Orleans’ preeminent chefs, Chef Link has peppered the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans with several restaurants including: Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher and Pêche Seafood Grill. Chef Link earned the James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South, and his first cookbook -- Real Cajun garnered their top award for Best American Cookbook.

    Photo credit: Chris Granger
  • Eden Grinspan
    Eden Grinshpan
    Food Personality and TV Host for Eden Eats, Log On & Eat With Eden Grinshpan
    Eden Grinshpan is a television personality and cook best known for her Cooking Channel shows Eden Eats and Log On and Eat with Eden Grinshpan. Eden was also selected to Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in 2014, and is a guest host on the current season of VH1 Big Morning Buzz with Nick Lachey.
  • Edward Lee
    Edward Lee
    Chef/Owner 610 Magnolia and MilkWood
    Chef/Owner of 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio & MilkWood in Louisville, KY. Author of Smoke & Pickles by Artisan Books. Host of Mind of a Chef, Season 3 and proud collaborator of Jefferson’s Reserve: Chef’s Collaboration Blend Bourbon.
  • Erin Byers Murray
    Erin Byers Murray
    Food Writer; Author; Managing Editor, Nashville Lifestyles
    Nashville-based food writer Erin Byers Murray is the author of Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm and co-author of The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes. As the managing editor at Nashville Lifestyles, she writes regularly about Nashville’s food, culture, and people.

    Photo credit: Adam DeTour
  • Gavin Kaysen
    Gavin Kaysen
    Chef and Owner of Spoon and Stable
    Gavin is a James Beard Rising Star Chef, and a talent who has recently brought his work home to Minneapolis to open his first restaurant. He is a Food & Wine best new chef winner and coach for team USA at the Bocuse d’or, his goal is to help maintain and mentor young chefs around the country.
  • Georgia Pellgrini
    Georgia Pellegrini
    Chef, Author and Outdoor Adventurer
    Georgia Pellegrini has made it her mission to help women tap into their modern day pioneer spirit.  Georgia is the author of multiple books, including Food Heroes [2010], Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time [2012], and Modern Pioneering: More than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life [2014].  Georgia is also the creator of Adventure Getaways, where women can take three day trips that include a combination of outdoor activities like horseback riding, clay shooting, fly fishing, hunting for birds, chef-prepared meals, cooking classes, and more.
  • Gerald Craft
    Gerard Craft
    Chef and Owner of Niche Food Group
    Chef Gerard Craft is the executive chef and owner of Niche Food Group in St. Louis, Missouri. Chef Craft’s restaurants include: Niche, his flagship modern Midwest restaurant, Taste by Niche, a modern speakeasy, Brasserie by Niche, a classic French bistro, and Pastaria, his approachable Italian concept.  Chef Craft’s creative yet simple food has earned him recognition as a Food & Wine Best New Chef, Inc. magazine’s “Star Entrepreneurs under 30” as well as a five-time James Beard Foundation Finalist for Best Chef: Midwest. 
  • Ingrid Hoffman
    Ingrid Hoffmann
    Celebrity Chef, TV Host & Author of "Latin D'Lite"
    Ingrid Hoffmann, host of “Top Chef Estrellas” (Telemundo) and creator of "Delicioso" (Univision) and "Simply Delicioso" (Cooking Channel), has become arguably the foremost Latin authority on cooking and lifestyle. Her Delicioso brand has become one of the most recognizable, trusted, and entertaining food brands for Hispanic America. Ingrid's dishes are everyday, easy and delicious with a Latin twist influenced by all of Latin America and Spain. Her latest cookbook, “Latin D'Lite” features more than 150 Latin recipes, all with Ingrid's signature touches but with a healthy twist. Following in that same line, Ingrid is launching a packaged goods line “Cocina by Ingrid Hoffmann” which will be available early 2015 on HSN.
  • Jeni Britton Bauer
    Jeni Britton Bauer
    Founder & Creative Director, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
    Jeni Britton Bauer has made ice creams from scratch for more than 15 years. Since opening Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio in 2002, she continues to build ice creams from the ground up with 15 scoop shops from Chicago to Atlanta, pints, ice cream sandwiches, and sauces in more than 1,000 grocers coast-to-coast, and a national home-delivery business at In 2012, Jeni won the James Beard Award for her cookbook, "Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home" (Artisan, 2011) and her latest book, "Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts" is due on shelves this Summer.
  • Jenn Louis
    Jenn Louis
    Chef and Author
    Chef Jenn Louis is the driving force behind the critically acclaimed Portland, Ore., restaurants Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern, and Culinary Artistry, one the city’s most sought-after full-service catering companies. Known for her purposeful and fun approach to both food and life, Jenn’s been honored as a Food & Wine magazine “Best New Chef” in 2012, and was most recently a cast member on the fifth season of the popular Bravo TV show, “Top Chef Masters.”
  • Jen Jansinski
    Jennifer Jasinski
    Chef/Owner in Denver, Colorado
    Chef/owner of award-winning restaurants in Denver with business partner Beth Gruitch including Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall and her newest, Stoic & Genuine in Denver’s Historic Union Station. Chef Jen was awarded the James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southwest and was a finalist on Top Chef Masters in 2013. Winner of Denver Cochon 555 in 2014.

    Photo credit: Thomas Cooper
  • Jennifer Cole
    Jennifer V. Cole
    Deputy Editor of Southern Living
    Mississippi-born Jennifer V. Cole is Deputy Editor for Southern Living magazine. Previously she was an editor at Travel + Leisure. She’s climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, ridden elephants through the jungles of Thailand, and made it her mission to eat her way around the world. Cole regularly speaks about Southern food at conferences and events across the country and is a cornbread-loving member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. She is the founding editor and producer of the Southern Living “Biscuits & Jam” music series. Her work has been recognized by min, Folio, and the Society of American Travel Writers. Cole speaks French, German, and Italian—and enough Dutch to get in trouble. She takes her bourbon neat.
  • John Besh
    John Besh
    Restauranteur, Author and Philanthropist
    John Besh is a chef and native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his ten restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, public activities and through The John Besh Foundation, he aims to preserve and promote ingredients, techniques, and heritage. Besh's cookbooks, My New Orleans and My Family Table, were each recognized with an IACP Award. His third cookbook, “Cooking From The Heart,” was published in Fall 2013. He hosts two national public television cooking shows based on the books.
  • Jordana Rothman
    Jordana Rothman
    Food & Drink Writer
    Jordana Rothman is a veteran of Time Out New York, where she held the reins as the magazine’s Food & Drink editor for six years. She’s a respected member of the national food writing community and a frequent contributor to print and digital publications such as Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, New York Magazine, Cherry Bombe, MadFeed, Grub Street and Conde Nast Traveler. She is a seasoned speaker and panelist at food conferences including Schrager's NYC Wine & Food Festival and Taste Talks.

    Most recently Jordana co-authored her first book with chef Alex Stupak of New York's Empellón restaurants. Tacos: Recipes + Provocations will be released Fall 2015 under Clarkson Potter.

    Photo credit: Daniel Krieger
  • Judy Joo
    Judy Joo
    Chef & Host of Korean Food Made Simple
    Inspired by her Korean roots, Judy hosts the Cooking Channel series, "Korean Food Made Simple" and launched her first restaurant, Jinjuu, highlighting her unique Korean-American flare, in London in January, 2015. She served as the Executive Chef at the Playboy Club London until summer 2014 and will publish her first cookbook later this year.

    Photo credit: Judy Joo
  • Justin Warner
    Justin Warner
    Chef and Author of THE LAWS OF COOKING (and how to break them)
    Justin Warner began his career in hospitality at the age of 15.  He intentionally failed at dishwashing to be transferred to the position of busboy.  He kept chasing jobs and climbing the hospitality ladder to become a captain at Danny Meyer's The Modern.  Here he met his future business partners, who would go on to help Justin create Do or Dine, a unique and hip joint in Brooklyn.  Here he assumed the role of chef, receiving critical acclaim from the New York Times and Michelin.  Shortly after opening Do or Dine, Justin won season 8 of Food Network Star, and has since hosted programs and appeared as an expert panelist.  Justin's first cookbook will be printed by Flatiron Books in Fall of 2015, THE LAWS OF COOKING (and how to break them).  
  • Katie Chin
    Katie Chin
    Chef, Cookbook Author, Food Blogger and You Tuber
    Katie Chin, cookbook author, television chef and food blogger ( has a passion for Asian food and believes the very best Asian cooking can be achieved in a real home kitchen by real people on real schedules. She has been featured in Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Real Simple and Family Circle. Her numerous appearances on television include Today, Cooking Channel’s Food(ography) and Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Last year, she was a featured celebrity chef at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
  • Kristen Olson
    Kristen Olson
    Senior Food Editor, The Kitchens of General Mills
    Kristen Olson is the ultimate do-it-yourselfer — from personal pursuits like her food blog, vegetable gardening and hobby beekeeping to creating buzz-worthy recipes for consumers to make at home. Since joining General Mills in 2007, Olson has worked on behalf of such brands as Betty Crocker, Big G cereals and Yoplait. She has been featured on national media including the Today Show, Access Hollywood, The Talk, ABC Family and Fox & Friends, as well as numerous how-to videos. Some of her favorite food ideas reflect her sense of adventure, experimentation and fun, including "surprise inside" Peeps cupcakes and gender reveal cakes.
  • Lee Brian Schrager
    Lee Brian Schrager
    VP of Corporate Communications & National Events, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
    Lee Brian Schrager is the Vice President of Corporate Communications & National Events for Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. He is widely recognized for his creation of both the Food Network South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals and is the author of “The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter, November 2010) and “Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America's Best Fried Chicken and Sides” (Clarkson Potter, May 2014). Schrager studied at the Culinary Institute of America and at the School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University. He is a regular contributor for Ocean Drive magazine, serves as the Chief Lifestyle Advisor for Gilt City, as well as a current member of the Board of Trustees for the Pérez Art Museum Miami and Board of Directors for the Food Bank For New York City.
  • Martie Duncan
    Martie Duncan
    Cook, Food Writer, Food Network Star
    Martie Duncan is Chief Party Thrower at Runner-up on Season 8 of Food Network Star, Martie was named ‘Fan Favorite’ for the 10th anniversary edition of the show. A passionate cook, food writer, party/wedding expert and Alabama girl, Martie’s how-to videos and recipes are found on, and the new food channel on She spends much of her time on the road, appearing at culinary shows, charity events, and food festivals as organizer, host, and emcee.
  • Pat LaFrieda
    Pat LaFrieda
    Chief Executive Officer, Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors
    Pat LaFrieda represents the third generation of meat purveyors and butchers in the family-owned LaFrieda business, which began over 90 years ago in New York City’s meatpacking district. Today, LaFrieda Meats is NYC’s go-to meat supplier, found on menus in and around NYC and a favorite of the world’s top chefs.
  • Raghavan Iyer
    Raghavan Iyer
    Author, Consultant, Spokesperson, TV and Online Media Personality
    Emmy winning host of PBS' Asian Flavors, executive producer and host of PBS' Indian Cooking Unfolded (under production), Raghavan is an internationally renowned culinary teacher and author of many award-winning cookbooks, including 660 Curries. He is the current President of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
  • Randy Fisher
    Randy Fisher
    President & Founding Partner, CREaM
    Taking on the most challenging food-centric events in the business, Randy and Team CREaM have gained a sterling reputation for executing best-in-class culinary happenings throughout the nation. CREaM, an acronym for Culinary Related Entertainment and Marketing, has partnered with the food industry's brightest stars and most skilled chefs to produce large-scale specialty events with multi-faceted marketing platforms.
  • Rudy Maxa
    Rudy Maxa
    Exec Producer/Host, “”Rudy Maxa’s World” on Radio & Public TV
    Contributing editor, National Geographic Traveler; exec producer/host, 91 episodes of “Rudy Maxa’s World” on public television & host of “RMW,” weekend travel radio show on 170 news/talk stations in the US.
  • Sean Brock
    Sean Brock
    Executive Chef and Partner of Four Restaurants
    Sean Brock is executive chef and partner of four restaurants: McCrady’s, Husk, and Minero in Charleston, South Carolina and Husk in Nashville, Tennessee. His cookbook, Heritage (Artisan, October 21, 2014) is a New York Times Bestseller. Brock won the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Southeast, in 2010; he was a finalist for Outstanding Chef in 2013 and 2014. His TV resume includes Iron Chef America and hosting season 2 of the Emmy Award-winning The Mind of a Chef. Raised in rural Virginia, he is passionate about preserving and restoring heirloom ingredients. He divides his time between Charleston and Nashville.
  • The Lee Brothers
    The Lee Bros.
    Cookbook Authors, Founders of Cookbook Boot Camp
    Matt Lee and Ted Lee are widely credited with bringing a richer understanding of southern cooking into the mainstream. Their cookbooks The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, and The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen have together garnered a total of six James Beard and IACP Awards. They are commentators for Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats and Contributing Editors at Travel + Leisure Magazine.
  • Tim Love
    Tim Love
    Chef, Restaurateur and Co-host of CNBC’s Restaurant Startup
    Texas chef Tim Love is known as much for his freewheeling personality as his signature urban western cuisine. Chef/owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Love Shack, Queenie’s Steakhouse, a founding partner of the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, committed philanthropist, sole hospitality provider at Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and official chef of Austin City Limits, his inspired and innovative dishes have earned critical and popular acclaim. In addition to his culinary skills, Love possesses a savvy business mind and serves as host of CNBC’s newest show Restaurant Startup, where he and co-host Joe Bastianich vie against each other to invest their own money in restaurant concepts they believe will make them millions. His charm and southern hospitality are always on display, whether it's at his restaurants, on television, or at culinary events and cultural festivals around the world. Most recently, Love announced that he will open a second location of his flagship restaurant Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas.
  • Willie Degel
    Willie Degel
    Restaurateur, Host of Restaurant Stakeout
    As the straight-talking host of Food Network’s Restaurant Stakeout, owner of a successful restaurant empire, luxury home developer & dedicated family man - Willie Degel is never living life in the slow lane. He’s a successful restaurateur, having opened Uncle Jack's Steakhouse, "The Best Steakhouse in New York City", and Jack's Shack All-Natural Organic Eatery. He was nominated for the Ernst & Young award and was one of Crain's "Forty under Forty" as one of New York's rising stars.

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