An old friend of Taste of the Nation Toledo, Chef Seth Bixby Daugherty has been a lifelong student of food. Raised in upstate New York, Daugherty's mother was a pastry chef and frequently sold baked products to local restaurants. Not surprisingly, Daugherty pursued a culinary degree after high school, taking cooking classes at Cobleskill Technical College and subsequently enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).
While attending CIA, Daugherty enhanced his education with an internship at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington D.C. After graduation, Daugherty returned to the Four Seasons to complete a three-year apprenticeship with Chef William Douglas McNeill. His relationship with the Four Seasons earned him a position in New York City as an opening sous chef for the Four Seasons Hotel, located on 57th and Madison. During his time in New York, Daugherty also had the opportunity to work at LeBernardin, gaining experience in every station of the kitchen, including pastry.
After leaving New York, Daugherty moved to Colorado to open Paul's Creekside Grill in the Hotel at The Inn at Silvercreek and then to Minneapolis where he worked as the executive chef at D'Amico Cucina for three years. Daugherty is currently the executive chef at the Le Meridien Hotel in Minneapolis where his culinary influence can be seen in the hotel's restaurant Cosmos, which has Asian-inspired fare. Since the opening of the hotel, Daugherty has, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "set a new local standard for gastronomic extravagance."
Daugherty is very active participating in events and dinners for both Share Our Strength and The James Beard Foundation. Most recently, Daugherty hosted a Friends of James Beard Benefit at Cosmos in June, 2004.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Monique Barbeau moved to New York City and held positions at three four-star restaurants, The Quilted Giraffe, Le Bernardin and Chanterelle. In 1992, Chef Barbeau was named as the Executive Chef of Fullers in the Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers after a month long intensive search of more than 200 candidates from all over the country. In 1994, Chef Barbeau won Best Chef of the Pacific Northwest for the 1994 James Beard Awards. Fullers was ranked as the #1 restaurant in Seattle in a 1996 Gourmet readers survey. After more than six years in the kitchen at Fullers, Chef Barbeau is now the restaurant's consultant and a member of the Seattle Central Community College faculty.
Michael Ginor is co-founder, co-owner, and President of Hudson Valley Foie Gras and New York State Foie Gras, the most comprehensive Foie Gras producer in the world. Michael, with his partner Izzy Yanay, modernized the ancient delicacy known to Pharos and kings by utilizing the hi-tech and scientifically advanced production techniques of the twentieth century. No longer defined by individual farming efforts, and given to a chancy game of guess and hope, production is now a unified, controlled and consistent operation based on nature, nurturing, and computer technology. It is a closed, independent production system where the duck and the egg are bred and processed, where both come first .
Michael was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1963. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and holds an MBA from New York University. After four years on Wall Street as a Senior Vice-President with David Lerner Associates (at 23, the youngest in the history of the firm), he decided to take a revolutionary step: having been born to Israeli expatriates living in America, in 1988 Michael chose to join the Israeli Defense Forces. He served as a Captain in the Gaza Strip, as a patrol commander and as the Israeli Defense Forces spokesman. It was in Israel that Michael discovered the potential of modern-age Foie Gras processing and the possibilities of total and comprehensive production. Michael aggressively pursued his dream by establishing what is today the major Foie Gras producer in the world. By 1998, the company distributed its moulard duck products through a network of 75 domestic distributors extending throughout the United States, and beyond to Argentina, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Venezuela.
Hudson Valley Foie Gras has received the 1993 Gold Merit Award from Chefs in America and the 1996 Award for Excellence from The James Beard Foundation. In 1996, Hudson Valley received the Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and the 1998 Award of Excellence from the American Tasting Institute. Michael has served as Honorary Event Chairman for the Spinazzola Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Fund. In May 1996, Michael received the first Olive Branch Award from the Jewish National Fund for humanitarian and professional achievements. He was honored with the 1997 Angel Award from The James Beard Foundation for dedication, contribution and foresight and in 1998, Michael received the American Master Taster Award from the American Tasting Institute. Both Michael and Izzy Yanay were inducted into the James Beard Foundation 2001 Who's Who of Food and Beverage.
While Hudson Valley Foie Gras is the bedrock of Michael's pursuits, since 1990, Michael has dedicated his time to the many facets of the culinary world, including product development, creating and organizing gourmet and charitable events, workshops and demonstrations. All is geared to the enhancement of good taste, good deeds and good cheer. Thus, Hudson Valley Foie Gras is committed to and is associated with: The James Beard Foundation, where Michael serves as a member of the National advisory Board, The Culinary Institute of America, New England Culinary Institute, Meals on Wheels, Share Our Strength, The Robert Mondavi Master Chefs Program, The Television Food Network, The Masters of Food and Wine, Taste of the Hudson Valley Festival, The Zurich Food & Wine Festival; among numerous others.
In addition to Michael's commitment to Hudson Valley, he is also part of Culinary Brainwaves. As the founder, Michael plays the part of a consultant to the gourmet food industry. He is currently working with Rio Suite Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas; Hyatt International; The Regent Group; The Four Seasons Group; Shangri-La Sheraton International; Inter-Continental and the Disney Corporation. In 1994, he inaugurated the Food and Wine Festivals for Club-Med International.
Moreover, Michael organizes culinary events and festivals worldwide. By bringing together celebrated American chefs and local chefs, Michael helps to create an intercultural culinary exchange program which introduces American concepts and ideas to world markets. Recently, such events have been organized in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Great Britain, Finland, Hong Kong, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand, just to name a few!
When not traipsing around the world, cooking up a storm, or just spreading the foie gras gospel, Michael finds time to contribute food articles to such stellar publications as Food Arts Magazine; The James Beard Magazine; Art Culinaire; Seattle's Coffee & Cuisine; Singapore's Cuisine Scene and Great Britain's Great Hospitality. He has completed his first cookbook, the internationally acclaimed Foie Gras A Passion, published in September, 1999. The 300-page comprehensive reference book accompanied by 84 recipes from renowned chefs worldwide received the prestigious 1999 Prix la Mazille for best international cookbook of the year from the International Cookbook Revue in Versailles.
Michael's culinary involvement has also forayed into the retail gift market. Michael is no stranger to leaving an imprint, in this case through his Culinary Brainstorms, a company which conceives, produces and markets chefs' signature creations.
Winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic 1999”, Jeffrey Buben is the chef and owner of two prestigious restaurants in Washington, D.C., Vidalia and Bistro Bis. Vidalia has garnered both local and national recognition with its regional American cooking delivered with Southern hospitality since it opened in the spring of 1993. Recently renovated, Vidalia was awarded three stars in October 2003 from the Washington Post food critic, Tom Sietsma. Since 1994 to 2004, Vidalia has annually been awarded “four stars” by the Washingtonian Magazine in its “Top 100” list and has been the recipient of the prestigious DiRona award by the Distinguished Restaurants of North America each year since 1996. The restaurant’s wine program has received the “Award of Excellence” from The Wine Spectator and has been honored by Robert M. Parker of The Wine Advocate as one of his “Most Memorable Meals.” Vidalia was acknowledged by Bon Appétit as one of the “Best New Restaurants of 1993.”
The fall of 1998 heralded the arrival of Buben’s second restaurant, “Bis” located at the new Hotel George on Capitol Hill. Bis features creative contemporary French bistro cooking with updated renditions of classic fare. Bis was voted one of “Washington’s Best New Restaurants to Watch” by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999 and has been included in the magazine’s “Top 100 Restaurants” since 2002. Bis was included in the Phyllis Richman’s “1999 Top Fifty Favorite Restaurants” in the Washington Post and was listed in Tom Sietsma’s favorite restaurant list in the Post’s Fall Dining Guide for 2000 and 2001. Recent awards include AOL’s City’s Best 2004 for Power Lunches.
Jeffrey Buben is a 1978 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and currently serves on the school’s alumni board of directors. With over 20 years in the industry, he has worked in such notable restaurants as The Sign of the Dove, Le Cygne and Le Chantilly in New York and at several distinguished hotels including The Four Seasons, The Mayflower and The Hotel Pierre. Voted “Chef of the Year” in 1996 by The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), Jeffrey has worked hard to contribute to organizations dedicated to hunger relief, AIDS and homelessness such as Share Our Strength’s Chef’s Alliance and Food & Friends.
Jeffrey is a partner with his wife Sallie in the Fully-Baked Restaurant Group, which owns and manages Vidalia Restaurant and Bistro Bis in Washington, D.C. The Bubens have been nominated in 1998 and 1999 as “Restaurateurs of the Year” by the RAMW and live in Fairfax Station, Virginia. They have three children, Sarah 23, Alex 19 and Mac 13, two dogs and a parrot.