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the munchies food awards

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, Author & Host/Creator of "Bizarre Foods"
    A chef, TV personality, food writer and teacher, Andrew Zimmern is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable people in the food world. As the creator, host and co-executive producer of Travel Channel’s "Bizarre Foods", he travels the globe exploring food in its own terroir. Zimmern won the James Beard Award for Best Television Personality/Host in 2013 and 2010, and in 2012 he won the Beard Award for Best Television Program On Location.
  • Allen Salkin
    Allen Salkin
    Journalist & Author of "From Scratch: Inside the Food Network"
    A journalist for many publications, Allen Salkin writes 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.
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
    Co-founder, Food52
    Amanda Hesser is an entrepreneur and best-selling author. She is a co-founder of Food52, which won the James Beard Awards’ Publication of the Year, and she's been named one of the 50 most influential women in food by Gourmet. Before Food52, Hesser was a reporter at the New York Times, and the food editor at the Times Magazine. She wrote the award-winning books, "Cooking for Mr. Latte and The Cook and the Gardener," and edited the essay collection, "Eat, Memory." Her last book, a Times bestseller and the winner of a James Beard award, is "The Essential New York Times Cookbook". Hesser is a trustee of Awesome Food, and is an adviser to The Spence Group.
  • Amy Thielen
    Amy Thielen
    Chef, Author & TV Host
    Amy Thielen is the author of "The New Midwestern Table", the host of "Heartland Table" on Food Network, and a James Beard award-winning food writer. A former New York City line cook, she moved back home to northern Minnesota in 2008 with her husband and young son. She can be found at
  • Andrew Carmellini
    Andrew Carmellini
    Chef & Author
    Andrew Carmellini is the James Beard Award-winning chef and owner behind some of Manhattan’s most beloved restaurants including Lafayette, The Dutch, Locanda Verde & Joe’s Pub.
  • 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.
  • Andy Ricker
    Andy Ricker
    Chef/Owner, Pok Pok Restaurants
    Andy Ricker first visited Thailand as a backpacker in 1987. Since then, he has spent several months each year traveling, eating, cooking and studying the food culture in Thailand and neighboring countries. Andy is now the owner and James Beard Award winning chef/owner behind Pok Pok, Pok Pok Noi, Sen Yai Noodles and Whiskey Soda Lounge in Portland, OR, as well as Pok Pok Ny, Pok Pok Phat Thai, and Whiskey Soda Lounge Ny in New York. He also produces a line of drinking vinegars called Pok Pok Som. In 2013 his New York Times best selling cookbook, "Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand" was published.
  • 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, 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
    CEO, Taste Network & Founder, 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.
  • 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 most recently 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.
  • Clarissa Wei
    Clarissa Wei
    Food Writer & Assistant Producer, KCET
    Clarissa Wei is a food writer specializing in Chinese food and an assistant web producer at KCET. She also regularly contributes to the LA Times, LA Weekly, Time Out Los Angeles, 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.

    Wei leads Chinese food tours in Los Angeles and is the co-founder of Xian Wei, an underground Chinese dinner series in San Pedro.
  • Colman Andrews
    Colman Andrews
    Editorial Director,
    An internationally known food writer and editor, Colman Andrews is editorial director of He was the co-founder and an editor-in-chief of Saveur, and is the author of eight books, including "Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food," "The Taste of America," and the forthcoming culinary memoir "My Usual Table." He is the winner of eight James Beard Awards, including Cookbook of the Year in 2010 for “The Country Cooking of Ireland.”
  • 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.
  • Dean McDermott
    Dean McDermott
    Actor & The Gourmet Dad
    Dean McDermott, actor, television personality and 'Gourmet Dad,' opened his home to America during the six seasons of the hit show "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood," along with wife Tori Spelling. Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 2013, McDermott returned to his hometown to host the hit Food Network Canada show, "Chopped Canada." He appears regularly on a variety of daytime talk and entertainment shows, is a regular contributor to and is concentrating on growing his Gourmet Dad brand.
    Recently, Dean finished production on Tori & Dean: Cabin Fever, a series that follows Tori and Dean and their four kids while they renovate an Ontario lakeside cottage into their dream vacation home. Show is set to air on CMT and HGTV in Spring 2014. Dean keeps family, food and fun his primary focus and is currently working on his first cook book, which will be released next year in time for Father's Day.
  • Eddie Huang
    Eddie Huang
    Chef, TV Personality & Owner, BaoHaus
    Eddie Huang is a writer, chef, entrepreneur and TV personality based in New York. He is best known as the chef and owner of Baohaus, a New York City restaurant which has received critical acclaim and widespread coverage. While other chefs have stayed in the kitchen, Eddie is as prolific outside as he is inside the kitchen, including his blog, Fresh Off the Boat, and his recently published memoir with the same title. Eddie also writes for Complex magazine and is a frequent contributor to

    Eddie travels seamlessly between worlds with an uncanny ability to find stories and champion the issues that need to be heard, with a perspective that guarantees to surprise, entertain and inspire.
  • Fuchsia Dunlop
    Fuchsia Dunlop
    Cook & Writer
    Fuchsia Dunlop is an internationally recognized expert on Chinese food. She is the author of four books on Chinese cuisine, and has won two James Beard awards for her food journalism. She was the first Westerner to train as a chef at cooking school in Sichuan, China, and now consults for the Barshu restaurant group in London.
  • Gerard Ford Craft
    Gerard Ford Craft
    Executive Chef & Owner, Niche Restaurant
    Chef Gerard Craft is the executive chef and owner of Craft Restaurants, Ltd. in St. Louis, Missouri. After opening Niche in 2005 at the age of 25, Chef Craft has extended his restaurant group to include Taste by Niche, a modern speakeasy, Brasserie by Niche, a classic French bistro, and his latest approachable Italian concept, Pastaria.

    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 four-time James Beard Foundation Finalist for Best Chef: Midwest.

    Craft and his wife, Susan, live in the Parkview neighborhood of St. Louis with their two daughters.
  • Hugh Acheson
    Hugh Acheson
    Chef & Author
    Canadian chef in the South. Owner of Empire State South, 5&10, the National, the Florence, and Cinco y Diez. 2012 James Beard winner for Best Chef Southeast and Best American Cookbook. Judge on Top Chef and all-round enjoyable human.
  • Ingrid Hoffman
    Ingrid Hoffmann
    Celebrity chef, TV Host & Author of "Latin D'Lite"
    Ingrid Hoffmann, host of "Delicioso" on Univision and "Simply Delicioso" on the Cooking Channel, has become arguably the foremost Latin authority on cooking and lifestyle, and her Delicioso brand has become one of the most recognizable, trusted, and entertaining food brands for Hispanic America. Ingrid's dishes are 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.
  • Jeannie Mai
    Jeannie Mai
    Co-Host, "The Real" Talk Show
    Jeannie Mai is best known as the host of Style Network’s two-time Emmy Award-nominated makeover series “How Do I Look?” and is also recognized for her fashion segments on NBC’s “Today.” She appears frequently as a fashion correspondent and contributor on "Insider,” "Wendy Williams," “E! News,” and CBS’ “The Doctors” and has hosted the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Miss Universe Pageants. Most recently, Mai can now be seen as the co-host of the brand new Fox talk show “The Real.”
  • 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.
  • Jennifer Cole
    Jennifer V. Cole
    Deputy Editor, Southern Living
    Jennifer V. Cole is Deputy Editor for Southern Living magazine. 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 is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. She regularly speaks about Southern food at events across the country. 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. She takes her bourbon neat.
  • Jenn Louis
    Jenn Louis
    Chef/Owner, Lincoln & Sunshine Tavern
    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.”
  • Joel Stein
    Joel Stein
    Columnist, Time Magazine
    Joel Stein grew up in Edison, NJ, went to Stanford, and in 1997, became a staff writer for TIME. In 1998, he began writing his sophomoric humor column that now appears in the magazine every week. He's also written fourteen cover stories for TIME, and has contributed to The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, Details, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Wired, Real Simple, Sunset, Elle, Los Angeles, and many more. He has appeared as a talking head on any TV show that asks him, taught a class in humor writing at Princeton and wrote a weekly column for the back page of Entertainment Weekly and the opinion section of the Los Angeles Times. His book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, was published in 2012.
  • Jonathon Sawyer
    Jonathon Sawyer
    Chef/Owner, The Greenhouse Tavern, NoodleCat, Tavern Vinegar Co, Sawyer's Street Frites & SeeSaw Pretzel Shoppe
    Chef Jonathon Sawyer is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts with four restaurants in Cleveland including his flagship, The Greenhouse Tavern, a French and seasonally inspired gastropub and Noodlecat, a mash-up noodlehouse. Chef Jonathon Sawyer has made several national television appearances including Iron Chef America, Dinner Impossible, Unique Eats, and Best Thing I Ever Ate and was also honored as a recipient of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef award in 2010. When Jonathon is not in the kitchen he is surrounded by his family, his wife Amelia, son Catcher, daughter Louisiana, dogs Potato and Vito, and chickens Acorn, Bunny, Ginger, Trout, Bear & Squid.
  • 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, Grub Street and Conde Nast Traveler.
  • Kristen Olson
    Kristen Olson
    Senior Food Editor, Betty Crocker Kitchens
    Kristen takes DIY to a new level - from hobby beekeeping and ice cream making to crafting 30 unique flavors of marshmallows. For her Bacon of the Month Club, Kristen mailed bacon-infused creations (think beer and bacon caramels) to friends across the country. Kristen hosts "Kitchen Counter Intelligence", a video series full of how-tos and smart shortcuts for home cooks. Kristen has a bachelor's in food and nutrition from the University of Minnesota.
  • Laura Werlin
    Laura Werlin
    Cheese Author & Edu-tainer
    Considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on cheese, Laura Werlin has written six books on the subject, garnered a James Beard award along the way, and is a sought-after speaker, writer, teacher, and TV and radio guest on all things cheese as well as cheese and wine pairing.
  • 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 released the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook (Clarkson Potter) in November 2010. His second cookbook, "Fried & True" (Clarkson Potter), will be released in 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.
  • Merril Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
    Co-founder, Food 52
    Merrill Stubbs is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of She grew up in New York City and after graduating from Brown University with a degree in Comparative Literature, she honed her cooking skills at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Later, she interned in the test kitchen at Cook's Illustrated, worked with Joanne Chang and Flour and was a private chef and cooking instructor. Merrill met her Food52 co-founder Amanda Hesser when she signed on to help research and test recipes for "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." She has written for T Living, Edible Brooklyn and Body+Soul, and she was the food editor at Herb Quarterly.
  • Michael Ruhlman
    Michael Ruhlman
    One of the foremost writers in the country about food, cooking, and the work of the professional chef.
  • Michelle Bernstein
    Michelle Bernstein
    Chef, Restaurateur & Host of “Check Please! South Florida”
    Since drawing the national spotlight in the mid 1990’s, Chef Michelle Bernstein has remained one of the region’s most well-respected and successful chefs/restaurateurs. A Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent, this passionate culinaire has dazzled diners and critics alike with her sublime cuisine and a personality as bright and vibrant as the Florida sun. “My food isn’t heavy handed or unnecessarily complicated,” says Bernstein, a James Beard Award winner (Best Chef South 2008) and author of Cuisine a Latina (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008). “You don’t need heavy handed technique and over the top presentations to make a dish work. It’s about amazing ingredients, layered flavors and simplicity. My style of cooking is inspired by my own food memories and it’s the simple, soulful cooking that stays that I remember from my travels. I cook the food I love and I think that love translates to the diners.”

    These days, Bernstein is busier than ever. Beyond successful restaurants, Michy’s and Crumb on Parchment, and her own family (she and husband/partner David Martinez recently became parents), Bernstein dedicates time to Common Threads an after-school program for underprivileged kids and regularly appears on an array of national TV shows, from Top Chef to Good Morning America. In addition, she is part of the Lexus Culinary Masters, a brand ambassador for Crisco, and is a member of the Macy’s Culinary Council and the LEAN CUISINE® Culinary Roundtable.
  • 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, 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.
  • Paul Disbrowe
    Paula Disbrowe
    Writer, Cookbook Author & Contributing Editor, Southern Living
    Paula Disbrowe is a writer, cookbook author, and contributing editor at Southern Living magazine. Most of her career has been devoted to writing about food and travel. Her stories have taken her to vanilla plantations in French Polynesia, single malt distilleries in Scotland, olive groves in Spain, and salmon boats in Alaska. Her work has appeared in The New York Times (Dining Section and Sunday Magazine), Food & Wine, Health, Delta Sky, and Cooking Light, among other major publications, and she previously served as the food editor of Restaurant Business magazine.

    Disbrowe has written four cookbooks. Her first book, “Cowgirl Cuisine,” chronicles the adventure of leaving New York City to cook on a ranch in The Texas Hill Country. She has co-written three other cookbooks, “Crescent City Cooking” with Susan Spicer, the chef at Bayona restaurant in New Orleans; The New York Times bestseller “Down Home with the Neelys” with Food Network stars Pat and Gina Neely; and “Real Cajun” with Donald Link, the acclaimed chef of Herbsaint and Cochon restaurants in New Orleans, which won the prestigious 2010 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook.

    She also served as the General Manager of Feather Down Farm Days, and launched the Europe-based farm stay concept to the U.S. market, and worked at Cowgirl Chef at Hart & Hind Fitness Ranch. She lives in Austin, Texas.
  • 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
  • Sean Brock
    Sean Brock
    Executive Chef/Partner
    Chef Sean Brock attended Johnson & Wales University and worked in acclaimed restaurants throughout the South before accepting a position with the Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG) as executive chef at McCrady’s in Charleston in 2006. In 2010 Brock opened Husk, also in Charleston and named “Best New Restaurant in America” by Bon Appétit in 2011, followed by Husk Nashville in 2013. Husk is a celebration of Southern ingredients, only serving food that is indigenous to the South, with an emphasis on the ingredients and the people who grow them. Brock has been nominated for several James Beard Awards, winning “Best Chef Southeast” in 2010, and was nominated for the “Outstanding Chef” award in 2013. Brock is featured in season two of “The Mind of a Chef” on PBS and is currently working on a cookbook due out in 2014.
  • Steven Brown Tilia
    Steven Brown
    Partner/Executive Culinary Director, Tilia
    Steven Brown has been called "one of the biggest cooking talents this town has ever produced". He has spent the past 20 years building his estimable resume as executive chef at Levain and Porter & Frye as well as stints in New York City, and Modena, Italy at the S. Pellegrino rated Francescana. Today he creates delightful cuisine at Tilia in the cozy Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis.
  • Suvir Saran
    Suvir Saran
    Chef/Owner, American Masala
    Viewing the kitchen as both a culinary and spiritual haven, New Delhi-born Top Chef Master Suvir Saran has nurtured a lifelong passion for the traditional flavors of Indian cooking. A respected culinary authority, Saran is Chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and travels extensively to teach audiences ranging from home cooks and fellow chefs to physicians and nutritionists.

    Saran has penned three cookbooks: "Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes" (Clarkson Potter, 2004) with Stephanie Lyness; "American Masala: 125 New Classics from My Home Kitchen" (Clarkson Potter, 2007) with Raquel Pelzel; and "Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country" (Chronicle Books, 2011) with Charlie Burd and Raquel Pelzel. Masala Farm was a James Beard Award finalist for Best American Cookbook for 2011. His recipes have been featured in publications such as Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Departures, InStyle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, as well as many others. He has been a featured judge on Food Network’s Next Iron Chef and Iron Chef. In Spring 2011, Saran was a break out star on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.

    Saran is now working with business partner, Paresh Ghelani, to open a new restaurant concept around farm to table dining in San Francisco in Spring 2014.

    When he is not on the road, Saran joins partner Charlie Burd in caring for American Masala Farm, a nineteenth-century farm set on sixty-eight acres of rolling land in upstate New York.
  • Willie Degel
    Willie Degel
    Restaurateur, Steak Doctor & 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.