Culinary Artists

Chef Charleen Badman

Chef Charleen Badman  

Chef Badman was born and raised in Tucson, where she found her calling at an early age. While attending high school, she started a program called FEAST — Food Education and Service Training. This was just the beginning for the girl who would continue to affect our way of eating and thinking about what we consume, all while becoming one of Arizona’s most influential female chefs in history.  

As chef and co-owner of award winning-restaurant FnB in Scottsdale, Charleen Badman is one of Arizona’s most celebrated chefs. A 2014, 2015, and 2016 James Beard Nominee for Best Chef of the Southwest, Chef Badman is known as the “veggie whisperer."  James Beard also selected one of her dishes as “Top 15 Dishes in the Country” in 2014. Her unfussy, yet boldly flavored menu changes seasonally, and sometimes even week to week, with tweaks based on what’s fresh from local farmers. 

FnB has won numerous prestigious awards, including the “Best New Restaurant” designation by every major Phoenix media outlet in 2010. That same year, Food & Wine magazine selected one of Badman’s dishes as a “Top Ten Dish." In 2013, Chef Charleen and co-owner Pavle Milic were inducted into The Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame as “Best Restaurateurs." Edible Phoenix awarded FnB with the “Local Hero” designation in 2011 and 2014. And Food & Wine recognized her cooking again in 2015 when they proclaimed FnB as “The Epicenter of Creative Arizona Cuisine ”. 

Chef Dean James Max

Chef Dean James Max 

 Chef Max’s food has been described as evoking the enthusiasm of a child, the wisdom of a professor, and the talent of an artist all rolled into one. As the President of DJM Restaurants, a company that specializes in concept development and ongoing management, he has been an established leader in the culinary world for many years now. 

Considered one of the industry’s foremost seafood provocateurs, it’s not surprising that he grew up on a small farm just minutes from the rich shores of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. In his cookbook “A Life by the Sea” he shares in his introduction, “My love of food is fed from the memories of the smells and tastes of my childhood.” 

 Chef Max’s passionate approach and talent has taken him from coast to coast, to Grand Cayman and most recently Harbour Island in the Bahamas. All locations where the local sourcing of fish and ingredients allow him to focus on his philosophy of balancing flavors to create simple, fresh vibrant dishes. 

 The list of awards, accolades, and board seats the chef has received and/or been honored with is as deep as the waters he fishes in. To name just a few he has received multiple James Beard nominations for Best Chef, King of American Seafood, and Best Chef of South Florida. 

Chef Ian Kleinman 

Kitchen magician Chef Ian Kleinman is a Colorado native who has been cooking in some of the state’s most beloved restaurants since he was a boy. The critically acclaimed chef and member of the Colorado Institute Hall of Fame has become a leader in the molecular gastronomy field, earning three invitations to cook at the James Beard House in New York.  

 Chef Kleinman is the owner and developer of The Inventing Room, a mobile catering company focused on food as entertainment; he refers to his food as "gastro-fun." His fabulous pop-up molecular doughnut shops have become a Denver underground sensation. His Willy Wonka-inspired dessert concept harnesses the power of liquid nitrogen to wow with flash frozen treats and outlandish snacks. It's no wonder he's come to be known as “The Wizard of Oohs and Aahs."  

 Kleinman will be bringing his “mobile lab” to this year’s festival to create fun for all ages. Sharing his love for the marriage of food and science is the chef’s passion. He's never bored — and never boring. Chef Kleinman has turned his life as a third-generation chef into a veritable phenomenon.  

Chef James Reaux

Chef James Reaux

For nearly 18 years, Chef James Reaux has thrived on a whirlwind of activity, fearlessly working, learning and spearheading numerous fine-dining establishments from Europe, Hawaii, and now to the South. A nationally-renowned chef; James Reaux has been a welcome newcomer to the mountains of Western North Carolina and North Georgia. Chef Reaux opened Murphy’s Chophouse, located in Downtown Murphy, North Carolina in 2009. James also owns and operates the following restaurants: The Chophouse of Hiawassee located in Hiawassee, GA The Chophouse of LaPrade's located on Lake Burton in Clayton, GA.

In addition to these accolades, Chef Reaux has been recognized by some of American’s most renowned culinary institutions. He had numerous awards through the American Culinary Federation of which he is certified. He is honored to have been selected in the year 2000, Best Hotel Chef’s and in 2003 James Beard Centennial Honoree at the prestigious James Beard House.

He is also affiliated with the La Chaine des Rotisseurs. He was ranked one of Florida’s top 5 chefs. The Reaux Family has fallen in love with the mountains and people of this region. James became particularly interested in the influence of the Cherokee Indian history of the area and is combining the flavor of that history into his design, menus and presentations.

Chef Reaux moved to the Hayesville-Hiawassee area from South Florida, where, in his role as Executive Chef, he oversaw the entire culinary operation for the Boca Raton Resort & Club. He joined the Resort and Club in 1995 after serving at a number of luxury, seaside resorts including Century Plaza Hotel and Towers in Los Angeles, California, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii and the Westin Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Other previous culinary positions include tenures at the Plaza Hotel in New York, Victoria Jung-Frau in Interlaken, Switzerland and the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.

Chef Nathan Dirnberger

Chef Nathan Dirnberger

Chef Nathan Dirnberger is the President and CEO of the American Culinary Federation Pikes Peak Chapter. Chef Nate has been privileged to work with celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, world class chefs, and business people all over the world. He is the Co-Founder of Pineapple Republic and a member of Class 13 of the Colorado Agriculture Leadership Program. An award winning chef, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur Nate is proud to be a part of Telluride Wine Festival.

Chef Jason Nauert

Chef Jason Nauert

Jason has over 30 years of butchering experience with an emphasis on wild game. Jason is also responsible for developing the U.S. Army Special Forces Field Butchering Course. Jason is on the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chapter Board of Directors and teaches the only ACF Certificate Butcher Course. Jason is known in the Celebrity Chef circles as one of the best butchers in the country and the guy to watch out for.

Jason is constantly moving forward in the culinary development of butchering working to create better ways of butchering and cooking. Jason is working hard to bring the butchers and chefs together through education and networking to ensure professional advancements for the chefs and butchers along with ensuring everyone is getting the best possible products and services. If you have never met Jason or seen him in action, watching Jason is an event in of its-self with his great personality and ability to teach the beginner and the professional you can develop new skills and knowledge when you butcher your next animal. Look for Jason to be building a new Butcher Shop & Restaurant Concept this coming year along with his coast to coast appearances and events.


Mike Sullivan Benovia

Mike Sullivan - Winemaker at Benovia

Mike Sullivan has crafted exceptional wines on the Sonoma Coast since 1987, and has a long track record of excellence.  As a winemaker, Mike listens. He listens to the vineyards; he listens to what the grapes are saying; he listens to nature unfolding each year, and he listens to the wine during fermentation. He listens to what is needed and strives to make the wine his senses tell him is there. He does not follow a standard recipe for each wine, but instead really listens -- and most importantly, understands -- what is needed to bring everything together.

Randall Watkins Laurel Glen

Randall Watkins - Winemaker at Laurel Glenn

Winemaker Randall Watkins grew up on a vineyard in the foothills of Taylor Mountain in Sonoma County. After receiving his bachelor's degree from UC Davis, he worked briefly for a management consulting firm in San Francisco before feeling the call of wine country. He went to work in cellars and labs in Sonoma County and in Chile, rising to assistant winemaker at S. Anderson Vineyards in Napa. Randall then returned to UC Davis for a master's degree in enology. He went on to produce  highly regarded wines at Moon Mountain Vineyard as Winemaker and General Manager before coming to Laurel Glen Vineyard in 2011.

Lisa Ciolino

Lise Ciolino - Montemaggiore Owner/Winemaker

At the tender age of 16, Lise tasted her epiphany wine: a Chapoutier Hermitage, perhaps the gold-standard for Syrah. This wine would redirect her life—although she didn’t realize it at the time. Fast forward two decades when Lise and her newlywed husband started making Syrah from their 55 acre mountainside estate in Sonoma County.  They embraced Biodynamics, a method of farming beyond organic, which creates wines with an exceptional sense of place. Today, Rhône-style wines and Syrah in particular remain Lise’s passion.  Due to its sensitivity to terroir, Syrah embraces a fascinating and delicious spectrum of styles, emerging from particular growing conditions and cultivation techniques.

Tres Gotting

Tres Goetting - Biale Winemaker

Tres Goetting is a 30 year veteran Napa Valley enologist and viticulturalist who has already made his mark and fine reputation at a few Napa Valley wineries but looks to Biale as his career moment in the spotlight. Tres first paid his dues as a teenaged “cellar rat” in 1987. Then following college and armed with a razor-sharp palate, took steady steps to move up – hand-crafting wines at three touted Napa Valley grower/producers. Now he has stepped up again to find his ideal niche at Biale.

Tres first worked at a small family winery in his hometown of Napa then went off to college to major in agricultural science and forestry with minors in Environmental Ethics and Music at Cal State University at Humboldt. After college Tres realized that, rather that the forest, Napa Valley and winemaking was where he really wanted to be and he rose from the cellar to assistant winemaker at St. Clement Vineyards in St. Helena where developed his keen wine sense and where he was immersed in every aspect of wine production from grapes to glass.

Before Biale, Tres was with the highly-respected Krupp Brothers Winery/Stagecoach Vineyards . Prior to Krupp Brothers, Tres worked in all aspects of winemaking as associate winemaker at Ladera Vineyards from 2004 to 2010 where he gained career experience working with estate vineyards and closely managing his staff to transition the fruit from vine, to barrel, to bottle. Tres works in harmony with Biale’s vineyards guru, Bob Biale, to co-manage and fully understand the intricacies of each of Biale’s vineyards – hands on. Unleashing the full potential and ultimate expression of each unique vineyardis the winery’s goal which is why winemaking at Biale is such an ideal situation for Tres.



Tim Hanni

Tim Hanni

One of the first two Americans to earn the title Master of Wine, he is hailed by the WSJ as "The Wine Anti-Snob". Tim is on a quest to discover the fundamental elements that shape our taste preferences, and to understand, embrace, and cultivate the interest of all wine consumers, not just a select few.

Wayne Belding

Wayne Belding, MS

Originally trained as a geologist, Wayne Belding found his way from the oil fields to the vineyards. He began in the retail wine business, became an award-winning sommelier in Denver, and in 1990 became the 13th American to pass the Master Sommelier examination. He has served as Education Chairman and Chairman of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has been a wine teacher and competition judge both nationally and internationally for over 20 years. From 1986 - 2010, he was an owner of The Boulder Wine Merchant in Colorado.

He is the author of a book for wine consumers entitled “Diving Into Wine”. He currently teaches and examines at all levels of the Master Sommelier program, writes and teaches for consumer and business groups, and continues to seek out distinctive and delightful wines to share with others.

Chris Sawyer

Chris Sawyer

An internationally-renowned sommelier, wine journalist, wine judge, consultant, and public speaker, Christopher Sawyer travels the world following trends in wine and participating as a judge in international wine competitions, and has been featured in a wide array of national media, including USAToday, MSN, NBC, ABC, CNN, Redbook, Maxim, National Geographic Traveler, Esquire and The Hollywood Reporter.

Already legendary in the industry for his encyclopedic wine knowledge and rich wine world relationships around the globe, Sawyer has been a personal sommelier for an array of luminaries and aficionados, from the Getty Family to the Gorbachevs, as well as for Oscar-winning director and chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, John Lasseter.

In 2014, Sawyer was named the Best Sommelier of Sonoma County by Bohemian Magazine, and is the recipient of many more prestigious awards and industry honors. In addition to serving as the Head Sommelier at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction this weekend; Sawyer will be the exclusive Artisan Series Sommelier at Food Network in Concert held in Chicago on September 20th.