Cocktails & Castoffs 2017 Event Chefs

Chef Bios

Jennifer Hill Booker (Event Emcee):

Jen Booker

Chef Jennifer’s culinary path has not always been a linear one. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Tulsa before graduating first in her class; eighteen months later, with an Associate of Occupational Science from Oklahoma State Institute of Technology. Extensive travel while married to an United States Army Officer pushed Jennifer to blaze a trail that fit her unique situation-a female African American chef, living abroad; as a result Your Resident Gourmet was born. During her time living in Germany, Jennifer honed her culinary talents by providing cooking classes for both military and German families. She was also able to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Paris, where she once again graduated top of her class. Twenty years later Jennifer finds herself once again blazing culinary trails as she wears many culinary hats as chef, cookbook author of Field Peas to Foie Gras and Dinner Deja Vu, reality TV personality, culinary educator and business owner.

She is a Georgia Grown Executive Chef for the GA Department of Agriculture, the Culinary Explorer for the Georgia Department of Tourism and Travel, is the founder of Southern Divas of the New SouthTM Dinner Series, and currently sits on the James Beard Foundation Food Waste Advisory Council. Weaving her love of traditional Southern cuisine with her belief in incorporating healthy, seasonal foods and her classic French training, Chef Jennifer created a unique style of cooking that she termed Modern Southern Healthy Cuisine with a French Accent. Chef Jennifer shares this brand of cooking through her cooking segment ‘Chef Jenn to the Rescue’, on CBS46’s Atlanta Plugged In, with original recipes in such publications as Garden & Gun and Essence Magazine as well as her Food Network debut as a finalist on Cutthroat Kitchen.

Joey Ward (Gunshow):

Joey Joey Ward has found a lot of inspiration in the chefs he admires, particularly his grandfather, who was a cook in the United States Navy and was as a father figure for Joey. He has fond memories of spending his Saturday mornings tuning into the cooking shows that followed children’s cartoons on PBS. Shows such as “Yan Can Cook” and “The Galloping Gourmet” had him hooked, and he’s been turning his creativity into inspired culinary creations ever since. Originally from Powder Springs, Georgia, Joey graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in 2005 with an associate degree in culinary arts management. He began his career in the South as the sous chef at the St. Regis Atlanta but eventually left the hotel to work under Kevin Gillespie at Woodfire Grill. After two years of guidance under Chef Gillespie, he moved on to become the executive chef at H. Harper Station.

When Kevin left Woodfire Grill to open Gunshow, he immediately called on Joey to provide his keen eye for presentation and passion for creativity. Joey found Kevin’s new approach to the preparation of dishes and how they are served to be a breath of fresh air for the Atlanta restaurant scene and has never looked back. Beginning as a “kitchen dude” when Gunshow first opened in May 2013, Joey was soon promoted to chef de cuisine in January 2014 and moved into the executive chef role in December 2014. As the executive chef, Joey is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the restaurant, including both the kitchen and front of house. He is in charge of daily operations, so every part of the guest experience is funneled through him and his creative imagination. In his role, Joey strives to create more involved ways to include guests in an exciting dining experience.
During his tenure as executive chef, Eater included Gunshow in its annual “The National 38” list of places to eat in America in 2015 and 2016. He was the runner-up in the James Beard Foundation’s 3rd Annual Fish to Fork competition in 2016. He led the Gunshow team to first place victory at the JCT. Kitchen & Bar Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival in 2016 and won People’s Choice Best Tasting Dish award in 2014. In 2015, He was named Jezebel’s Best Rising-Star Chef and an Eater Young Guns semifinalist, and Zagat named him to its list of 30 Under 30 People Redefining the Hospitality Industry in 2014.

Linda Harrell (Cibo e Beve):

LindaChef Linda Harrell brings more than 25 years of excitement creating magnificent Italian cuisine to Cibo e Beve. Harrell received her culinary foundation and formal European training working with acclaimed Chef Daniel Yves Abid, a protégé of Alain Ducasse, at Kingsmill Resorts in Williamsburg, Virginia.

With more than two decades of expertise and ardent enthusiasm behind her, Harrell has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and was featured on the national ABC-TV show, “Eat & Greet.” She has been featured in numerous periodicals such as Gourmet Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Flavors, and Atlanta Magazine. She is a member of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and actively participates in demonstrations and benefits throughout Atlanta. Currently, Harrell resides in Atlanta and is partner and Executive Chef to Cibo e Beve Italian Kitchen and Bar in Sandy Springs.

Maurietta Amos (Good Sugar):

MauriettaChef Maurietta Amos is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City (DBA International Culinary Center). She also holds a degree in Marketing and worked in the fields of Human Resources and Marketing. Starting out in the culinary industry as a pastry chef, she has worked in the South of France, New York City, and Atlanta with and for some of the best chefs in the industry. She has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad to bring the best the world has to offer into the kitchen. She now splits her time on the savory and sweet side kitchen working with private clients. She has worked behind the scenes at major cooking festivals for a wide variety of well-known names in the culinary field. She is focused on teaching her clients the art of flavor and food appreciation. Chef Amos has multiple nutrition certifications that enable her adapt her cooking style and teaching techniques to perfectly compliment any dietary needs.

Chef Amos is the owner of Good Sugar (a dessert catering company) and is in the process of launching a new venture called “The UnforgEdible Kitchen” where she consults and teaches life-style based cooking, and styles food for photo shoots.

Savannah Sasser (Hampton + Hudson):

Savannah Chef Savannah Sasser is a Pittsburgh culinary native, but returned to her Southern roots as she helms the kitchen at Hampton + Hudson. Previously, Savannah helped transform the kitchen at Twain's as the executive chef. Savannah received her culinary foundation and formal French training from Le Cordon Bleu, and has worked under Chef Jacky Francois, a classical trained French chef overseeing the historic Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh. In 2010, Savannah returned to Georgia and began work at The Grape as the Executive Sous Chef, before becoming part of the team at Twain’s in November 2011.

As a former vegetarian and dedicated supporter of the local food scene, Savannah strives to partner with local farms, promoting the importance of buying local and sourcing sustainable product, incorporating local product as a major factor on the Hampton + Hudson's menu. She frequently sources from area butchers, cheesemakers, bakeries, farmers and more, and has joined with Global Growers, helping to create opportunities in sustainable farming in Georgia. Additionally, Savannah has partnered with a local vegan cheesemaker to make the menu more approachable for guests with vegetarian and vegan diets.

In the last five years, Savannah has established herself among the top female chefs in Atlanta, becoming a member of the class of 2015 La dames d’Escoffier International, Atlanta Chapter, and recently had the honor of cooking at the James Beard House in NYC as part of a “Georgia Grown” dinner among the area’s top culinary and beverage talent. Additional cooking accolades include 2016 Georgia Grown Chef, and being part of top events including Sunday Supper South, Decatur’s Dinner Party and more.

Seth Freedman (PeachDish):

Seth Chef Seth Freedman has served as PeachDish’s Culinary Director since 2014, developing Southern-inspired recipes each week using the highest quality locally sourced ingredients. A fifth-generation Georgian, born and raised in Atlanta, Freedman’s career in cooking spans two decades. After learning to love cooking in his mother’s, grandmother’s and uncle’s kitchens, he began his culinary career by working as a young teenager in several of Atlanta’s best kitchens. In 1999, he graduated first in his class from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America. He stayed on with the Hyde Park, New York, cooking school as a kitchen fellow in its on-campus, farm-to-table restaurant, American Bounty. Freedman later returned to Atlanta, and in 2004 he earned a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality at Georgia State University. During his time there, he worked as a floor manager with Atlantic Wine, one of Atlanta’s top wine retailers, and honed his understanding and appreciation for food and wine pairings.

His culinary adventures have taken him around the globe and into some of the world’s best kitchens. He has cooked with Oceana, March and Tabla in New York City and the Four Seasons and Star Provisions at Bacchanalia in Atlanta, later he was proprietor of Forage & Flame, a personalized culinary services company that offered everything from in-home dining to large celebrations to private cooking classes. In 2016, Seth was awarded the honorary title of Georgia Grown Executive Chef, by Governor Nathan Deal, and was afforded the opportunity to prepare a course in a Georgia Grown dinner at the James Beard House in New York City.

Freedman is also a respected figure in food and wellness education, having served as chef and program director for Seeds of Nutrition, one of Atlanta’s original Farm-to-School programs. He remains active in Georgia’s Farm-to-School movement. He also continues to support the education and outreach efforts of Atlanta’s nonprofit Community Farmers Markets, where he served as market chef from 2010 to 2013.

Tiffanie Barriere (Avion):

TiffanieTiffanie is an active member of Atlanta’s dynamic cocktail scene and is often known by her nickname “The Drinking Coach” due to her passion for and knowledge of spirits and their history. Previous secretary of the Atlanta chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, she is frequently in cocktail challenge events and festivals around Atlanta and the Southeast. Tiffanie Barriere who’s family is from the country sides of south central Louisiana who now calls Atlanta home, has previously overseen and operated the award-winning beverage program at One Flew South 2009-2016 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Under Tiffanie’s creative direction, One Flew South was hailed as one of the best airport bars in the world by press outlets such as Esquire, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and more. Under Tiffanie's direction, One Flew South was named "Best Airport Bar in the World" at Tales of the Cocktail in 2014. Barriere’s background and training included the Bar Smarts program and mentoring from the late Chef Ria Pell, Chef Duane Nutter and her family. Her latest projects included working with Avion, her own female marketing team Drinking with the Girls, Southern Twist a traveling pop and progressive dinners thru out Atlanta. Smiles, charity work, and providing great service are indeed the intentions in her every pour along with education on the craft and culture of cocktails.

Zachary Meloy (Better Half):

ZachWith an upbringing that placed a heavy emphasis on food – from family vacations, to summer camps, to mornings at the DMV, Zachary Meloy always made a mental note of what he’d eaten each day as a child. While attending Johnson & Wales in Denver, Zach worked with award-winning chef Frank Stitt at Bottega, and ultimately landed on a culinary career after graduating with degrees in both Spanish and ceramics. Zach then spent close to five years living, traveling, eating, and studying in Central America. Seeing the shared ingredients he’d once thought specific to his home in the South, he became fascinated with the natural overlaps between the Latin and Southern American kitchens. After working alongside chefs Kevin Taylor and Sean Yontz in Denver, and Gerry Klaskala and Jay Swift in Atlanta, Zach successfully established his own style of cooking that can be traced back to his roots in Southern and Latin cuisine, while elevating them with creative flavor combinations and expressive presentations. In 2011, in an effort to build a groundswell behind their own food, he and his wife Cristina started PushStart Kitchen, an underground supper club, in a rented art studio at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. In the space, tucked away in a 130 year old factory, they served private, prix fixe meals to members of their modern speakeasy focusing on their favorite elements of their Latin-Southern cuisine.
During their almost three years in business, PushStart Kitchen garnered local, regional and national recognition, a membership list of over 5,200 members and had been featured on several television programs including TBS’ program Trends With Benefits and Food Network’s Chopped. After feeding 100+ guests per week through the supper club, they decided to bring their passion to a new brick and mortar space, and Better Half was born. Now, Better Half continues to focus on the blurring of lines between cultures while providing a creative menu in an intimate and casual space.

Zeb Stevenson (Watershed):

Zeb Over the years, executive chef Zeb Stevenson has risen through the culinary ranks to establish himself in Atlanta. Here at Watershed, he exerts a passion for experimental, ingredient-driven cooking, with a nod to soulful Southern cuisine in every dish.

Stevenson got his start as sous chef at the renowned Dick & Harry’s restaurant in Roswell, where he honed his technical skills of butchery, charcuterie, pastry and sauce work. He then advanced his career as executive sous chef and opening Spice Market at the W Atlanta Midtown Hotel, while training under acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. This experience led Stevenson to become chef de cuisine at The Livingston, where he collaborated with chef Gary Mennie and was quickly promoted to executive chef. During his tenure at The Livingston, he won Food Network’s “Chopped” cooking competition and opened Proof + Provision speakeasy, which became an immediate success.