Executive Chef, Delmonico’s, NYC
For nearly a decade, Executive Chef Billy Oliva has helmed the iconic kitchens of Delmonico’s—America’s first formal restaurant and birthplace of classics such as the Delmonico Steak, Lobster Newburg, and Baked Alaska—continuing to advance its rich culinary legacy with his modern, seasonally-driven approach. Throughout his prolific career, Chef Billy has been recognized by some of the world’s most prestigious culinary institutions—from earning his first Michelin Bib Gourmand distinction in 2006 at age 31 to being named one of the country’s top chefs by Best Chefs America. His talents have also been highlighted by leading media outlets including CNN, CBS News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg, BBC, NPR, Cooking Channel, Food Network, The View and Business Insider.
Older than the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park, Delmonico’s opened in Manhattan’s Financial District in 1837 as the country’s first fine-dining restaurant, forever transforming the American dining experience as we know it today. Over the next 180 years, the revered birthplace of American classics such as the Delmonico Steak, Eggs Benedict, Baked Alaska, and Lobster Newburg has continued to define culinary excellence as the originator of countless culinary trends and “firsts,” including being the first U.S. restaurant to introduce farm-to-table cuisine, issue the first cookbook—Executive Chef Charles Ranhofer’sThe Epicurean—feature a printed á la carte menu, furnish a separate wine list, serve the hamburger, and even admit female diners independently. As one of the Ten Restaurants That Changed America, Delmonico’s is recognized as the blueprint for today’s $780 billion restaurant industry. Today, Delmonico’s endures as a celebrated New York City mainstay at its original location, 56 Beaver Street, New York, NY. www.delmonicosrestaurant.com
Owner of Bunker Vietnamese
For Chef Jimmy Tu, food is sacred. Always mindful of the power of food, he seeks to create a union of flavor, culture and nourishment that honor the experience of cooking and eating. As a New York City native from Queens, Chef Tu grew up with the influences of the city’s eclectic food scene, his father’s Chinese restaurant, and his family’s home cooking. Since leaving Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now known as the Institute of Culinary Education) in 1996, he has cooked in places such as the infamous Eleven Madison Park restaurant, the farm-to-table cafe in Nicole Farhi’s now-closed clothing store, Elizabeth Daniel in San Francisco, his own restaurant Bunker, and his own kitchen, cooking for his two young children. Bunker’s menu is comprised of authentic Vietnamese street food that’s made with love and the highest quality organic and local vegetables and free-range and grass-fed heritage meats. Having been featured in publications such as the Michelin guide, the New York Times, Food and Wine magazine, Bon Appétit, Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, Vice, and the Food Network, Chef Jimmy Tu’s food is celebrated by industry professionals and hungry customers alike.
Owner of Starr Restaurants
Relying on intuition, experience and a preternatural knack for knowing what people want before they want it; Stephen Starr has played a major role in transforming Philadelphia into one of the most vibrant food cities in America. His approach has its roots in the art of performance, but there’s more to it than dazzle alone.
“People need different scenes to keep things fresh,” says Starr, who’s earned “Restaurateur of the Year” accolades from both Bon Appétit and Zagat. “We all want to be the first to try something new.” Simply track the diversity of Starr’s growth for proof of how this philosophy informs every opportunity he pursues.
A lifelong devotee of music and pop culture, Starr began his career at 21 with Grand Mom Minnie’s, serving food by day and comedy by night. He next opened Stars, a cabaret that hosted then emerging acts like Jerry Seinfeld and Pat Benatar; and later Ripley Music Hall, graced by the likes of U2 and Bruce Springsteen. He founded The Concert Company to bring large-scale stadium acts, including Madonna, Lionel Richie and George Michael, to Philadelphia. Electric Factory Concerts purchased his business in 1990, giving Starr the opportunity to explore restaurants full-time.
Founded in 1995 by Stephen Starr, Philadelphia-based STARR Restaurants is one of the largest multi-concept restaurant companies in the country, with 33 to-date. Philadelphia restaurants include Buddakan, Morimoto, The Continental, Barclay Prime, Continental Mid-Town, Fette Sau, El Vez, Jones, Alma de Cuba, Pod, Parc, The Dandelion, Talula’s Garden, Talula’s Daily, Butcher and Singer, Pizzeria Stella, El Rey, Granite Hill, il Pittore, and Serpico. Outposts of Morimoto and Buddakan are located in New York’s thriving Meatpacking District; Caffé Storico resides in the New-York Historical Society. El Vez recently opened in Battery Park City and newcomer Upland is on Park Ave South. Buddakan and The Continental opened in the Pier Shops at Caesars, Atlantic City in 2006, and the company traveled south to Florida with Steak 954 at the W Hotel Fort Lauderdale in 2009, Makoto in the Bal Harbour Shops in 2011 and Verde in the Perez Art Museum Miami in 2013. Washington D.C. also welcomed the critically acclaimed restaurant Le Diplomate in 2013. Several new spots are in the pipeline for 2015 including a Continental in Miami.
Stephen Starr and Simon Powles founded the Starr Restaurants Catering Group and Stephen STARR Events in 2008. The restaurant group’s full-service catering and special events division includes clients such as the New York Botanical Gardens, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New York Historical Society, the Rubin Museum Art in New York and the Grounds of Sculpture in Hamilton N.J. With delectable cuisine, stellar service, hip music and cool settings, Stephen STARR Events brings the experiences of the widely successful Starr Restaurants to the world of special events.
With more than 25 years in the hospitality and entertainment industries, Starr likens the experience of dining out to that of attending a theater production, where the players, props, backdrops, lighting and rapport are integral components of an overall dramatic effect. When this atmospheric drama is paired with edgy, delicious cuisine, dining out at a STARR Restaurant becomes entertainment for all of the senses.
Owner of the Social Company NYC
Jason Atherton started out working alongside great chefs including Pierre Koffmann, Marco Pierre White, Nico Ladenis and Ferran Adria at el Bulli, before joining the Gordon Ramsay Group in 2001. After launching ‘Maze’ in London and overseeing the opening of five more ‘Maze’ restaurants globally, Jason left Gordon Ramsay Holdings to launch his own restaurant company, Jason Atherton restaurants.
His flagship restaurant, ‘Pollen Street Social’, opened in April 2011 in Mayfair and was awarded a coveted Michelin star within just six months of opening. It was awarded 4 A4 Rosettes by the AA Guide, named The Good Food Guide’s ‘Best New Restaurant’ and hailed the sixth best restaurant in the UK. Jason was awarded ‘Chef Of The Year’ by ‘Caterer and Hotelkeeper’, which for a chef, Jason has likened to winning an Oscar.
At the end of 2011 Jason opened tapas bar ‘Esquina’ in Chinatown, Singapore to great acclaim. Jason went on to launch his second restaurant in Singapore, ‘Pollen’ in June 2012 and also ‘The Library’ bar. ‘22 Ships’ was launched in Hong Kong in late 2012, which took the Asian dining scene by storm. Following on from the huge success of his first Hong Kong restaurant, Jason opened a second named ‘Ham and Sherry’. Next came the launch of ‘Social Commune’ in Shanghai, which Jason launched in the trendy district of Shanghai French Concession. It has already been voted best new restaurant in Shanghai by Time Out.
In 2013 Jason launched three new restaurants in London. His second Mayfair restaurant ‘Little Social’ opened in March to great critical acclaim. Shortly after, Jason opened ‘Social Eating House’ in Soho on Poland Street, with head chef Paul Hood. ‘Social Eating House’ became Jason’s second Michelin starred restaurant.
In the autumn of 2013, at the height of Fashion week, Jason launched Berners Tavern that is located in The London EDITION Hotel in London’s Fitzrovia, the all day dining affair seats up to 140 covers with a contemporary British menu set within a grand dining room.
2014 has been a big year with early back to back openings in May, firstly of the grand Gatsby-esque ‘City Social’ atop the 24th floor of Tower 42, with its 360 degree views across the City of London, and followed closely by ‘Aberdeen Street Social’ in Hong Kong – a third collaboration with Yenn Wong’s JIA Group – bringing modern British cuisine to Hong Kong.
2014 also saw the release of a new cookbook, Social Suppers, commissioned by Absolute Press and published by Bloomsbury, with a second book Social Sweets released in June 2015.
In May 2015 Jason opened his first stateside restaurant The Clocktower, an all-day dining space set within the New York EDITION Hotel on Madison Avenue. This was followed swiftly by Social Wine & Tapas in London’s Marylebone – a casual tapas bar and wine shop overseen by Jason’s long-term executive sommelier Laure Patry. In September, Jason opened hisfirst ‘Social’ restaurant in Dubai,Marina Social, a stunning waterside restaurant within the new Intercontinental Dubai Marina.
Projects in 2016 include the recently launched Kensington Street Social within The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney; Sosharu, a Japanese restaurant in Clerkenwell opening in March; and an Italian restaurant in Victoria’s new Nova complex.
Jason is married to Irha Atherton who works alongside him as co-director at The Social Company. Irha also runs the head office in Soho, London. Jason and Irha have two daughters and the family live in South West London.
Chef David Bouley
Executive Chef at Bouley, NYC
David Bouley was born and raised near Storrs, Connecticut. Life on his grandparents’ farm made a lasting impact on David. Inspired by their French heritage, he developed an appreciation for cooking healthful meals using carefully prepared fresh ingredients.
David worked in restaurants from an early age, spending time in Cape Cod, Sante Fe, and eventually France and Switzerland. After studying at the Sorbonne, he had the opportunity to work with some of Europe’s most acclaimed chefs, including Roger Vergé, Paul Bocuse, Joel Robuchon, Gaston Lenôtre, and Frédy Giradet. Having gained that experience, David returned to work in some of New York’s leading restaurants of the time, such as Le Cirque, Le Périgord, and La Côte Basque. He also spent time working as sous chef in a San Francisco restaurant opened by Roger Vergé.
From there, David became chef of Montrachet restaurant when it opened in TriBeCa in 1985. The restaurant quickly drew attention and earned a three-star review in The New York Times. In 1987 David opened his own restaurant, Bouley, in TriBeCa. Bouley quickly became known as the most notable dining experience in New York and set a new standard for fine dining in America. Among many accolades, Bouley earned a four-star review in The New York Times and received The James Beard Foundation awards for Best Restaurant and Best Chef. From 1991 through its close in 1996, Bouley received the number one ranking in both food and popularity in the Zagat Survey of New York City Restaurants. Bouley has the distinction of being the first restaurant in the Zagat Guide to achieve a food rating of 29 (out of a possible 30).
Chef Bouley continues to focus on health and nutrient density at his newest restaurant concept, Bouley at Home, as well as his private event venues Bouley Test Kitchen and Bouley Botanical. In his words, “Bouley at Home, is our new concept of a dining experience: full of participate, sensual excitement and education.” Bouley at Home features chef counter seats serving as both the kitchen and modern dining space with fully equipped domestic home appliances. In addition to serving full tasting menus and a la carte options, Bouley also offers cooking class demonstrations. Pure, nutrient-dense ingredients form the building blocks of a wholesome kitchen, empowering professional and home cooks to create clean, delectable dishes on a daily basis. Our private event venues, Bouley Test Kitchen and Bouley Botanical, also “operate as educational centers where we regularly have leaders in their fields present an hour lecture sharing their success followed by a tasting menu corresponding to their presentation.” Chef David Bouley is focused on teaching people how to execute his “building blocks” while enjoying the powers of food matched to its wine.