Mark Bohanan

Founder

Houston Street Charities


Mark Bohanan is the Executive Chef and Owner of Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood and founder of San Antonio Cocktail Conference. With a tremendous training background, a foundation in executive management in the food service and catering industry, and 13 years on Houston Street, Mark is recognized as one of the finest Executive Chefs in San Antonio, and has many awards to his name. But perhaps his greatest legacy is his contribution to children’s charities through Houston Street Charities. Mark is proud to tell you that children’s causes are important “because we have to care about the youngest and most vulnerable. Having my own child helped me understand that this is where my heart is, and where I want to concentrate our charitable giving. We’re going to make this our priority in every event we do.”

Sasha Petraske


When Sasha Petraske opened his first bar, Milk and Honey, on the lower east side, he brought a cocktail style and a bar etiquette that would go on to inspire bar professionals and engage the public for years to come.

Milk and Honey in 1999 was just the beginning. Sasha had a desire to instill the cocktail culture with a sense of sophistication. His cocktails were carefully and expertly crafted, reminiscent of a pre-Prohibition era. His role in this cocktail revival would help inspire others to open bars like this all over the world, and despite his early death in August 2015, Sasha will continue to be a remarkable force in our cocktail scene.

It was Sasha who said that he would help put together the first Cocktail Conference if it was about charitable giving. And so was born the San Antonio Cocktail Conference in January of 2012. With Sasha’s guidance, tutelage, and passion, the conference has continued to grow, and in his footsteps, it too has found an important place on the cocktail map. We will continue to embrace Sasha’s sense of style in all of our events and activities, and we will remain committed to our mission, Pouring our Hearts Out, supporting children’s charities each year.

Cheers, Mr. Petraske. You are missed every day.

Karina Martinez


Sarah Heard

Executive Chef / Owner

Foreign & Domestic


Sarah Heard grew up watching her mom and grandmother cook from scratch, developing a taste for food that is crafted, not produced. She entered the industry in high school by way of Red Lobster where she initially decided to pursue restaurant management, but was told by a line cook that “girls couldn’t handle the kitchen.” In defiance, Sarah immediately transferred to the kitchen where she did more than prove him wrong.

Sarah was hired a short time later as a banquet server at The Mansion at Judges Hill. She was moved to the kitchen quickly and promoted to Executive Sous Chef by the Owner, Lisa Weidemann, who remains her mentor to this day. She left The Mansion in 2012 to accept her first Executive Chef Job at the Winfield Inn.

In 2013, at the age of 24, she accepted the title of Banquet Chef at Shawn Cirkiel’s downtown destination, Parkside. Here she met her fellow chef, future business partner, and future love, Nathan Lemley.

Outside of work hours, Sarah enjoys gardening, raising chickens and goats for food, and teaching her 5 year old daughter to cook and respect nature. Sarah particularly enjoys working with young culinary students and mentors several young cooks in Austin.

One night, while talking shop with Ned Elliot of Foreign & Domestic, he mentioned selling the business. Sarah slept on it, and the next morning she called him and asked "Ok, how much?" She and Nathan were in business.

Jordan Corney

Bar Manager

Bohanan's


Jordan is the current Bar Manager of Bohanan's Bar & Restaurant and was fortunate enough to work with and learn from industry innovators like Matty Gee and the late Sasha Petraske. It was at Bohanan's that Sasha gave him the nickname "Sure Shot" for his consistent accuracy in executing cocktails. He's helped build and direct programs at Bohanan's, Juniper Tar, Peggy's on the Green and Pier 67 while appearing regularly on morning television shows in San Antonio to prepare and discuss cocktails, contributing to many local and national publications concerning all aspects of the industry along the way. In 2016 he won Patron's National Margarita of the Year Competition and achieved his life's goal of having his cocktail recipe used to create the world's most expensive doughnut. Jordan and his younger brother Jake both continue to lead San Antonio's bar industry in the right direction.

2018 SEMINARS

Ruben Aceves

Director of International Brand Development

Casa Herradura


Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Ruben Aceves has served as the Director of International Brand Development for Casa Herradura since 2000.

In this role, Ruben educates customers and consumers on Mexico's famous spirit and Casa Herradura's tequila portfolio through tastings, dinners, and Tequila Master Classes.

Rubens unofficial job title also includes historian for Casa Herradura. He is well-versed in the 140-year-old-history of the Hacienda of San Jose del Refugio, the homeplace of Casa Herradura, which hosts ore than 60,000 visitors a year.

Ruben is a proud native of Guadalajara, Mexico, and holds an MBA degree. He is fluent in English and brings a wealth of knowledge and vast experience to the Casa Herradura team.

Chris Carlson


Chris Carlson takes simple dishes and transforms them into culinary artistry with techniques honed at some of the finest restaurants in the country. As one of the city’s sleeping giants, he’s ready to burst onto San Antonio’s food scene and share his creativity and strong kitchen management skills at The Maverick.

“My career has a singular focus on quality and consistency, whether it’s inside or outside the kitchen,” he said. “It’s part of everything I do.”

A Chicago native who trained at Kendall College’s culinary program, Carlson worked with the internationally renowned culinary icon Charlie Trotter, MK and the James Beard-award winning Trio. Once he moved to San Antonio, Carlson teamed up with Andrew Weissman at Le Rêve, which Gourmet magazine proclaimed one of the top 10 restaurants in the country.

Carlson worked alongside Weissman — long regarded as one of the city’s finest chefs — for some 15 years including his time as chef de cuisine of The Sandbar, a critical favorite as the best seafood restaurant in the region. After The Sandbar, he garnered acclaim for his work heading the kitchen at Brigid restaurant and later set standards and trained the staff at rising star Edera Osteria Enoteca.

As a child, he watched Julia Child on television and still delights in the joys of classic cuisine. For Carlson, cooking great food is a matter of honing skills through lots of practice.

“People will say, ‘Oh you’re an artist.’ I have always looked at it as a craft. The reason I’m able to do something well is because I have done it over and over. No matter what you’re doing, it always comes down to proper technique.”

Carla Casariego


It doesn’t matter what you promise if you can’t deliver a consistent quality product. With a calm, insightful and data driven approach Carla Casariego has led operations and delivery teams for over 16 years. The numbers don’t lie and excuses don’t fly – things just have to get done and done right – and Carla never stops pushing for more efficient means to get better results, driving the bottom line and keeping customers happy drinking one of the worlds best vermouths!

Mark Swanholm

Vermouth Maker

Chaparral Vermouth


Our Vermouth Maker Mark Swanholm brings a lifetime of culinary, cocktail, entertainment and luxury product design experience to Chaparral Vermouth. In his career he has: starred in a TV cooking show, designed signature scents for a leading aromatherapy company, bartended in dive bars, and designed food products for major brands- all while building a successful business career in high technology. He is well known in the cocktail community – with first name relationships with some of the top bartenders in America.

Trevor Schneider

Reyka Vodka Ambassador

William Grant & Sons, Inc


With a passion for creating innovative cocktails and a dynamic personality, Trevor Schneider has been traveling throughout the country to share the inventive nature of Iceland’s Reyka Vodka. As the National Reyka Vodka Brand Ambassador, Trevor is the ultimate educator and expert on this truly charmingly offbeat vodka.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Trevor graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Information Technology. He played baseball into his 20’s, worked in the pharmaceutical industry, and has even been a high school substitute teacher. But his true passion has always been in hospitality and entertainment. Trevor moved to New York City to pursue modeling and acting while working his way up from a server, to bartender, to bar manager, and to event liaison at iconic establishments such as GoldBar and Sweetwater Social in New York City.

Trevor is an avid urban farmer. Also known as the “Cocktail Ninja”, Trevor grows everything from herbs to exotic fruit which often turn into ingredients and homemade syrups for his Reyka Vodka cocktails. True to Reyka’s Icelandic roots, Trevor is quite an ice fanatic, and explores new ways to serve up refreshing, cold cocktails using ice in its many variations.

With an extensive background in bartending and hospitality, experimenting with cocktails is a part of Trevor’s life. In his current role, as Reyka Vodka’s National Brand Ambassador, his main focus is traveling the country to educate, train, and entertain the masses, all in an effort to share the quirky story and inventive history of Reyka Vodka.

2018 SEMINARS

Johanna Corman


Johanna is the quintessential late bloomer. She worked her way through restaurant jobs in her twenties. Received her college degree, got married, and had two kids in her thirties, started teaching elementary school in her forties and spawned the idea for Vena's Fizz House when she turned fifty. She is now the creator of over twenty liquid alchemy products - with more up her sleeves - and pinches herself every morning as she drives into work. She loves her staff, their creativity, and adores their enthusiasm. She thinks this is the job that will finally stick. She and her husband Steve (The Bitterest Man in the World) still cannot believe that they own their own business, let alone a bar, and are loving every second of it!

Mitch Bechard

Brand Ambassador

Glenfiddich


Hailing originally from Edinburgh, Glenfiddich brand ambassador Mitch Bechard fell in love with the Scotch Whisky industry at a young, albeit legal, age and has been pursuing that passion ever since. Born in Scotland, Mitch was fortunate enough to spend his youth traveling the globe with his family, during which time he developed the kind of wanderlust that would become a central part of his career. Initially beginning his career as breath odor evaluator at Colgate Oral Care Edinburgh, it was here that Mitch perfected his nosing talents, inspecting the minty effectiveness of toothpaste and mouthwash products on halitosis (bad breath) reduction.

From eradicating morning breath, mouth fuzz and that overbearing garlic cheese fries scent, it wasn’t long before Mitch turned his attention (and nose) to whisky when he landed a job as the whisky ambassador in the UK for the Diageo portfolio of whiskies. Able to focus his attentions on his love of Single Malt Scotches, his move took him to the US, to join William Grant & Sons as the Glenfiddich Ambassador; the world’s most awarded Single Malt Scotch whisky. During his 4 years in this position he works within the on- and off-premise to introduce new marques to whisky enthusiasts, and continues to share his love for single malts with consumers, whether they are new to the spirit or loyal Scotch drinkers.

In addition to being a self proclaimed whisky geek, Mitch enjoys golf, tennis, snowboarding, paddleboarding and most importantly spending time with his wife and 7 year old daughter.

Brett McCoy D’Arcy

Brand Ambassador

Jameson


Brett McCoy D'Arcy found his way to being a Jameson brand ambassador while working behind the bar in Ireland.

Having held numerous bartending positions while pursuing his studies in Drama and German at University College Cork, he learned about the role from another Jameson ambassador and the rest is history. His experience spans a variety of hospitality environments including small Irish country pubs, nightclubs, and a rooftop cocktail bar in the heart of Cork city. Brett continued to tend bar upon graduation in 2014, furthering his knowledge of spirits and the hospitality industry. Keen to travel and expand on his experience outside of Ireland, Brett landed the role of a lifetime as a Jameson Brand Ambassador in Berlin upon securing the Jameson Graduate Program.

Brett's natural affinity for collaboration and being in front of an audience positioned him well as he engaged with bartenders and consumers, educating on the Jameson brand and the Irish Whiskey category. Having spent a successful year in Berlin, the chance arose to move to the USA, and work in one of its most exciting and diverse markets, Texas.

2018 SEMINARS

Alejandro Santa-Cruz

Founding Partner

Wahaka Mezcal


Mr. Santa-Cruz is a Founding Partner of Wahaka Mezcal, an artisanal, organic, small batch mezcal produced in San Dionisio Ocotepec, Oaxaca. This mezcal is handcrafted by Alberto "Beto" Morales, a fifth generation Zapotec master distiller, and has received numerous industry awards, medals and recognitions. After four years in the market, Wahaka Mezcal is now positioned as one of the leading brands in the category in both the United States and Mexico, with recent exports to Hong Kong and Australia. Wahaka Mezcal also takes great strides in giving back to the community of San Dionisio through its social programs and to the land through the sustainability and reforestation of wild agaves.

Eduardo Belaunzarán

Managing Partner

Wahaka Mezcal


Eduardo was born in Mexico City and his passion for Mezcal and Tequila brought him down the Agave path at a young age. His passion for Wines grew during his 20 years living in Paris, France. Now based in America NW, Lalo is an experienced importer of Mexican libations, always looking to share his appreciation for his craft in three different languages—Spanish, English and French.

Eduardo, known to his friends as 'Lalo', is the enthusiastic Agave specialist, Managing Partner of Wahaka Mezcal, Back Alley Imports and Oenophile with a passion for promoting knowledge and understanding of these unique and complex libations made for generations in Mexico. He is a charismatic speaker, event organizer and successful entrepreneur, serving clients from the best-rated restaurants to smaller up-and-coming ones. He is a highly sought-after speaker and trainer, teaching workshops on Mexican spirits. Lalo’s products are present at different restaurants and cocktail bars all around America’s great cities.

​Bryan Masamitsu Parsons

Bartender


Bryan Masamitsu Parsons is a professional bartender and sake sommelier from Austin, TX. With 17 years in hospitality, Bryan began specializing in craft cocktails and Japanese spirits in 2015, leading him to earn a Certified Sake Professional (CSP) certification from the Sake Education Council (SEC) as well as focusing on Japanese Shochu and Whisky.

As a half-Japanese American, Bryan has been passionately involved in the Austin Asian food and bar scene. Bryan helped rebuild the bar program at Soto Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar in 2015, then moved on to help open for Kemuri Tatsu-ya (#8 "Best New Restaurant in America" Bon Appetit baby!) as bartender and sake sommelier in 2016. Bryan has also built drink menus for Asian pop-up bar events, provides sake and shochu education to numerous restaurants, and runs the Austin Sake Social Meetups to provide public awareness & education for Japanese spirits. Most recently, Bryan rejoined the Soto team to build a brand new bar program for the new South Lamar location of Soto Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar.

2018 SEMINARS

Charlie Moore

Event Manager

Gorilla Cinema


Charlie has an eclectic past. He's owned comic shops, ran WRFL 88.1 FM, traveled and did press work for the unlimited hydroplane racing series, and even owned a comic convention. He started podcasting in 2008, doing 300 episodes of the Related Recap podcast for Comic Related. In 2012, he began co-hosting the Charlie Tonic Hour and in 2016 he joined friends in a new adventure projecting wonder as an event manager for Gorilla Cinema, a company that owns and runs bars in Cincinnati, Oh. 

You can follow him on twitter, Instagram and almost all other forms of social media via @charlierambles.

2018 SEMINARS

Ginny Tonic


Ginny is a Cincinnati native and proud of it. Bourbon is her drink of choice but she honestly enjoys all aspects of drinking. The way it brings people together, the way it combines art, science, and culture, the way a nice drink at the end of the day can make the world seem so much better than it did a few minutes before. She is the co-host of The Charlie Tonic Hour podcast and writes for Bourbon & Banter and occasionally other outlets. Ginny is also the Southern Ohio Sales Manager for Middle West Spirits and a tour guide for New Riff Distilling. 

You can follow her on twitter via @ginnytoniccincy and on Instagram via @ginnyntonic.

2018 SEMINARS

Karah Carmack


If you've enjoyed one of the thousands of cocktails served during San Antonio Cocktail Conference, raise a glass to Karah Carmack. With Karah at the helm, more than 40 bartenders from across the country (across the world!) descend upon San Antonio each year to produce hundreds of liters worth of fresh citrus juices and syrups for every event and seminar. We're proud to call her ours - she's played a pivotal role since the Conference's inception and is well known throughout the country's cocktail scene. (Be sure to ask Karah to tell you about the Taco Team!)

Jacob Trevino

CEO

Gorilla Cinema


Jacob Trevino, Founder and CEO of Gorilla Cinema Presents: creator of The Overlook Lodge and The Video Archive, has specialized in bar consulting and developing cocktail programs for the past 14 years.

Armed with that varied background, he’s been able to bring new and innovative ideas to the Ohio market- the first being The Overlook Lodge, a bar inspired by the iconic lodge in the immortal classic movie "The Shining.: The bar has been featured by MTV, USA Today [TOP 50 New Bars in America 2016], Playboy Magazine[TOP 50 BARS IN AMERICA 2016] and The New York Times as well as many best of local and regional lists. The sister bar to the Overlook, is the Tarantino inspired, Video Archive. By taking the idea of a traditional speakeasy and turning it on it's head, Mr. Trevino has gained pressed nationally and internationally by being featured by such publications ad LAD BIBLE, INSIDER TARVEL, CONDE NAST and BON APPETIT magazine. He believes that craft cocktails alone aren’t enough to differentiate. By freshening up the [old and overdone] idea of the craft cocktail and mixing it with interesting settings and unique immersive experiences, Mr Trevino is hoping to elevate and bring magic to the bar community. 

2018 SEMINARS

Sam Halhuli

Huhu's Ginger Brew


Sam Halhuli was raised in the Pacific Northwest, attending high school in Seattle and graduating Magna Cum Laude from Western Washington University. At 25, directionless and crying on the phone with his mother, he was asked what he wanted to do with his life and blurted out, “I want to own a bar!”

Over the next 11 years Sam eked out employment as a bartender, and through necessity and later passion fell into craft and classic cocktails. But while his love for cocktails bloomed, dive bars always felt more like home. He found professional success, fostering superlatives for the bars where he worked and earningCascadia Weekly’s “Best Bartender” in 2010.

After a move to New Orleans in 2012, Sam started Huhu’s Ginger Brew, a small-scale fresh ginger beer company that became a local favorite at well-known bars like The Avenue Pub, Twelve Mile Limit, and Markey’s Bar. Sam sold Huhu’s and returned to the Northwest in 2016 to open The Mule Tavern, which brought together his personal experiences and passions: a dive bar decorated with thrift store bric-a-brac, serving a range of Mule Variations and simple but well executed cocktails. In its first year the bar has been named Best Hidden Gem (Volcano), Best Washington Dive Bar (Mentalfloss), and one of “20 Essential Tacoma bars” (Eater Seattle).

2018 SEMINARS

T. Cole Newton

A Round with Steve and Cole


Born and raised in Washington, DC, T. Cole Newton graduated from Humboldt State University with honors in 2006, earning a BA in History. From there he moved to New Orleans, enrolling with AmeriCorps to volunteer full-time in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. After his service year, Cole found his first full-time bartending job at Commander’s Palace, culinary alma mater of Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Cole developed a knack for bartending and hospitality, and in 2008 he developed and implemented the cocktail program as a founding staff member of the newly opened uptown bistro Coquette.

Inspired by that experience, Cole opened his celebrated Mid City cocktail dive Twelve Mile Limit in 2010. Among other honors, Twelve Mile Limit has been named as one of the top ten bars in New Orleans by the New Orleans Times-Picayune every year that list has been published. In addition to operating his own bar, Cole has consulted on bar programs at a range of venues including the restaurant Square Root, the Orpheum Theater, and the Troubadour Hotel. He has also appeared on the Sundance Channel’s Beyond the Bar series and is a fixture of cocktail competitions, having represented the United States at the International Bar Summit competition in Bordeaux, France, in 2014.

Cole’s writing on bar ownership can be found on the Tales of the Cocktail website and at his tumblr blog Big Fat Cocktails, and he hosts a podcast with fellow veteran bartender Steve Yamada called A Round With Steve and Cole. Cole also enjoys skiing and horror movie-themed board games, and he recently beat Super Mario Bros. 3 for the first time without using a warp whistle.

2018 SEMINARS

David T. Denney


David is an attorney whose firm counsels restaurants, bars, and other members of the hospitality community. He earned his J.D. from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, and is a member of both the Texas and Tennessee State Bars.

David and his team focus the majority of their practice on matters including the formation, purchase and sale of business entities; private equity transactions; commercial leases and real estate transactions; trademark protection; employment matters; beverage alcohol licensing; and franchising. The firm also defends its clients in various types of civil litigation.

David’s professional commitment to the food and beverage community is highlighted by his industry-wide involvement, including:

- GREATER DALLAS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION Board of Directors, 2013-present; Executive Committee 2015-present; President-elect, 2020-21.

- Speaker: 2009-2017 HOSPITALITY LAW CONFERENCES; 2016 Food Business Law continuing legal education; 2015 Legal Issues in the Texas Hospitality Industry continuing legal education; 2015 Dallas Startup Week; 2015 San Antonio Cocktail Conference; 2013-2014 NIGHTCLUB AND BAR Convention & Trade Show; 2013-2014 HOSPITALITY FINANCE & TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS Conference; 2011 CLUB MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA Conference, 2011 RESORT HOTEL ASSOCIATION Conference, 2009 MEXICAN RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION Conference, 2009 FS/TEC Conference and 2008 DINEAMERICA Conference.

- David is a frequent contributor to Restaurant Startup & Growth Magazine, and has had articles featured in QSR Magazine, Nightclub & Bar Magazine, In the Mix Magazine, Food Safety Solutions, the CMAA Newsletter and various HospitalityLawyer.com newsletters.

- David is an adjunct professor and member of the Professional Advisory Committee for the INTERNATIONAL CULINARY SCHOOL AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF DALLAS.

David is also a Member of the NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION and the GLOBAL ALLIANCE OF HOSPITALITY ATTORNEYS.

2018 SEMINARS

Omar Yeefoon

Shoals Sound & Service


For a decade and a half, Omar YeeFoon has been a student, teacher and mentor of the bar industry in Dallas, TX. Specializing in a simplistic yet nuanced approach to cocktail creation and service, he has left his touch on many notable bar programs throughout the city and beyond from managing award-winning bars such as The Cedars Social, The People’s Last Stand and Smyth, to consulting privately, to taking up duties with spirits startup, The 86 Company as their first Brand Ambassador/Market Manager in Texas. His path has recently taken him back behind the bar, though, opening Shoals Sound & Service, in the Fall of 2017.

2018 SEMINARS

Cody Goldstein

Muddling Memories


Cody Goldstein, has been at the helm of New York City's innovative cocktail scene for the past five years. Nominated as one of 2015's Best Bartenders by Timeout New York, Cody has created a unique and fully-immersed cocktail experience behind the bar. He has curated cocktail bars for various high profile clients such as John Varvatos, LinkedIn, Fuji Film, Google, InStyle, The New York Knicks, Global Citizens Festival, to name a few. Cody is also an award winning bartender with various competitions naming his cocktails the best of the best such as Espolon Cocktail Fights, Food and Wine’s Bloody Mary Challenge, and Starr Rum’s Global Citizens Competition.

As the Founder of Muddling Memories, a beverage and branding management firm, Cody's previous residencies behind the bar include The Nuaa and Redfarm UWS, as well as development the cocktail programs for The Fat Monk, Farmhouse Hospitality, Upholstery Store, NYLO’s "Midwinter Night’s Dream" Holiday Pop-Up, and Mathews in Jersey City. He has been featured on both television and radio including: FOX’s Good Day Live, SiriusXM Radio, with his recipes being published in national media outlets such as New York Daily News, Town & Country, Robb Report Vices, Huffington Post, and numerous local coverage by Timeout, Eater, Thrillist’s “Bartender Tales” and many more. Various brands have also pinned Cody as as a spokesperson / ambassador including Maestro Dobel Tequila and Montauk Rum.

In addition to creating unique recipes and experiences, Cody's work has been published in multiple books, the first being HICKORY DAIQUIRI DOCK: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist, published in 2014 by Running Press and his second, GONE WITH THE GIN: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist, released in 2016.

Handles: Instagram: @muddlingmemories, Twitter: @muddlingmem

2018 SEMINARS

Charlie Moore

Brand Ambassador

Woodford Reserve


Charlie Moore has been involved in the bar and restaurant community in Dallas for over 15 years as a bartender, consultant, and brand ambassador. He has been a part several renowned bar programs in the city, served as Vice President of the North Texas USBG chapter, attended countless cocktail weeks and festivals across the country as a guest, speaker, and mixologist. Most recently Charlie parlayed his successes behind the bar and passion for whiskey into a position as a Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve.

Amanda Elder

Bar Manager

Skurnik Wines & Spirit


After several years of pub-bartending while pursuing degrees in Art History and Graphic Design, Amanda Elder joined the opening team of cocktail den, Pouring Ribbons, and subsequently also began bartending at agave haven, Mayahuel. As former Creative Director at Pouring Ribbons, Amanda was responsible for designing the bar’s initial thematic menus (Route 66, Silk Road, Moody Authors) as well as organizing Pouring Ribbons 80’s Night, a monthly reimagining of classic drinks from the 1980’s. In the last year, she has been a part of the bar teams at both Leyenda in Carroll Gardens, and Donna in Williamsburg, and has recently joined the spirits team of importer Skurnik Wines & Spirits as the in-house bar manager at their headquarters in Manhattan. Amanda continues to freelance in hospitality design.

2018 SEMINARS

Rachel DelRocco

Freelance Writer, Tasting Coordinator

Wine & Spirits Magazine


Rachel DelRocco is a New Jersey native who has gained 15 years in the hospitality industry in New York, Austin, and Houston, Texas as a manager, bartender, and sommelier.

Her cocktails have been featured in the Austin-American Statesman, Tribeza, and Whole Food’s Dark Rye online magazine. She became the beverage director at Qui Austin and earned a national Eater Young Gun award in 2015 for her wine program. She also received the title of Best Sommelier at the 2016 TexSom conference.

She is now based in the New York-area working as a Tasting Coordinator for Wine & Spirits magazine. She is also a freelance writer focusing on wine, spirits, travel, food, and social issues in the restaurant industry. Her work can be found at racheldelrocco.com.

Jason Horn


Jason Horn has been writing about food and drinks for more than 10 years, including stints on staff at Cooking Light and Liquor.com. He's currently a freelance drink and food writer for outlets including Playboy, The Daily Beast, Garden & Gun and HGTV.com. He's yet to find a cocktail he doesn't like, though he is especially partial to Negronis and Presbyterians. He grew up in Chicago, attended college in New Orleans, lived for many years in Birmingham, Ala., and now resides in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @messyepicure.

Chris Tunstall

A Bar Above


Chris Tunstall’s passion for mixology, oddly enough, began in a casino on a craps table in Vegas. Captured by the excitement of the most electrifying game in Vegas, he was somewhat disappointed when a move to Northern California took him far from the glittering lights and fast-paced lifestyle. Within a short time, he found himself home again in the Napa nightlife, having found a position as a bartender at an upscale hotel. The excitement of the bar also gave Chris an opportunity to find a new passion – mixology and cocktail creation.

Chris quickly found himself in leadership positions, managing beverage programs at some of the most highly regarded restaurants in the Bay Area including the General’s Daughter, the Girl and the Fig and most recently the Wayfare Tavern.

Inspired by the growing mixology culture and his own experience learning cocktail design “from scratch”, Chris founded A Bar Above.com in early 2013 to help train bartenders and enthusiasts on the latest, cutting edge techniques that are making their way through the beverage industry. In April 2014 Chris achieved one of his biggest professional dreams and released the “Mixology Certification Program,” a comprehensive training program teaching people how to create their own signature cocktails.

Chris currently works full time on A Bar Above, continuing to create educational materials and work in a consulting role with bars, restaurants, spirits brands and manufacturers.

Francisco Terrazas

Mezcal Vago / Paranubes Rum


Francisco Terrazas starting bartending in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona. From there, he chased a girl out to Austin, Texas where he was behind the bar at FINO Restaurant for almost three years. He then became the General Manager at Bobby Heugel’s The Pastry War, steering that ship for almost two years. He has spent the last two years travelling the country as a member of the Mezcal Vago/Paranubes Rum family, preaching agave and aguardiente and sharing it with the congregation. He has spent the last year based in Oaxaca as Operations Manager for both projects. 

2018 SEMINARS

Emma Janzen

Digital Content Editor

Imbibe Magazine


Emma Janzen is the digital content editor at Imbibe Magazine and author of "Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World's Ultimate Artisanal Spirit." She lives in Chicago (by way of Austin) with her husband and two tuxedo cats. 

2018 SEMINARS

Donny Clutterbuck


Donny spent years in clubs, dives, and cocktail bars in addition to launching the Pour Cost App and co-founding the USBG Rochester, NY chapter. His daily life consists of finding problems he might be qualified to fix, building amateur furniture with minimal tools, and bringing his wife coffee and snacks at work. He hopes every day is the best day of your life.

Marta Sobiesiak


Amanda Thomas


Penelope Roussetzki


Jillian Oliveras


Elliott Mizuki


Kamran Mir


Jessica Mili


Kat Maningo


Dylan Macleod


Ariel Lawrence


Scott Kitsmiller


Carolyn Kao


Sarah “Town” Kane


Marlowe Johnson


Nicholas Ivarra


Cesar Guzman


Jacklyn Giddens


Timothy Garso


Katie DuBois


Nate Dobson


Luke Danner


Clairessa Chaput


Jonathan Chang


Amber Bruce


Kyle Browning


Cameron Brown


Jim Bonofede


Michael Barton


Alison Hillard


Aldo Ceja


Chester Watson


Jonathan Smolensky


Thomas Sannito


Amanda Carto


Kirk Doyle

Chef

Cover 3


Chef Kirk was born and raised in Galveston, Texas. He grew up in the family kitchen where BBQs, southern cooking, and holidays were a big deal. With his first restaurant experiences, Kirk took a real interest in cooking and quickly found he had a natural knack for it (he likens his experiences to "Goodwill Cooking").

During his career with Z' Tejas, Chef Kirk trained under the infamous Mr. Jack Gilmore and had the pleasure of working alongside Doug Young and Matt Dodson. Eight years later Chef Kirk was ready for a change and eager to focus on creating his own menus so he made the move to Troon Golf Club in California. Four years later he received a call from Matt Dodson with an offer to return to Austin and invitation to come home to Cover 3.

Throughout his career, Chef Kirk has earned recognition for his abilities to get food costs in line, maintain recipe and quality standards, and (believe it or not) elevate team member morale. During his tenure with Z’ Tejas, Kirk received recognition as Chef of the Year, Chef Trainer of the Year, and Team Member of the Year. He also received recognition from the Travis County Sheriff’s Department for his generous community involvement.

Chef Kirk is passionate about a scratch kitchen and dedicated to serving only the best dishes. His culinary creativity allows him to be adventurous with ingredients while skillfully maintaining a well-balanced medley of flavors. His early beginnings in the family kitchen combined with his professional training prepared him to be a master of coastal and creole dishes. Join us for one of our awesome wine dinners and you’ll get to experience Chef Kirk’s unmatched capabilities. His favorite menu items include the Buffalo Chicken Sliders and the Chop House Burger, topped with a fried egg.

He is favorably unmarried with two furry children – Kahlua, a black lab, and Porter, a Catahoula. Kirk is an all around man; his hobbies include golf, hunting, fishing, and hanging out with his dogs. Oh, and of course… Cooking!

Jennifer White

Brindles Awesome Ice Cream


Originally from Southern California, Jennifer has spent a majority of her culinary years in Texas. From baking at a young age to owning a custom cake business in Austin, TX, Jennifer is no stranger to satisfying a sweet tooth. After relocating back to San Antonio from a time traveling with her family’s hospitality management company taking over resort properties as Director of Food & Beverage Sales, Jennifer met her now husband Jeff White. The couple was later presented with an opportunity to purchase Brindles Ice Cream in San Antonio, TX. Since then, Jennifer focuses a majority of their time creating untraditional ice cream flavors, developing wholesale relationships with local chefs and restaurateurs’. She is also looking forward to expanding Brindles Ice Cream shops around San Antonio, TX for all to enjoy.

Tim Rattray

Executive Chef / Owner

The​​Granary​​ ‘Cue​​ & Brew


To Chef Tim Rattray, food is a lifestyle that resembles his roots. Rattray has never viewed food as mere sustenance; eating has always been an experience to him. Raised by a family where mealtime meant precious time spent together, Rattray still finds dish inspiration from his childhood memories of food.

Rattray, a native San Antonian, spent a large part of his childhood living across the pond, in England. This experience nurtured his culinary curiosity from early on, and he appreciated the regional culinary differences in the cultures and traditions found in both the U.S. and England. Rattray eventually returned to Texas and earned his bachelor’s degree in entomology from Texas A&M University. Post-college life saw him on a stint in sales until he ultimately decided to join the culinary world. Rattray, never known to take shortcuts or do anything halfway, took a leap of faith, deserted the sales industry, and never looked back.

Entering the hospitality game fashionably late, his homegrown background and passion for fare made him a strong addition to his already established peers. Rattray landed roles in renowned restaurants across the nation, including San Antonio at Bruce Auden’s Biga on the Banks, Andrew Weissman’s Restaurant, Le Reve, Osteria Il Sogno, and The Sandbar. Knowing the importance of learning from culinary talents in other cities, Rattray staged kitchens throughout the U.S., including Le Cirque and Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin in New York, Schwa and Rick Bayless’ Xoco in Chicago, and Salt & Time, Kocurek Family Artisanal Charcuterie, and Tyson Cole’s Uchi in Austin.

Under the tutelage of inspiring chefs, notable kitchens, and overall support from his father Buddy, Rattray was finally ready to conceptualize his own eatery, The Granary ‘Cue & Brew, in 2012. Since then, The Granary has made its mark in Texas and across the nation as a restaurant that bridges the gap between traditional Central Texas pit-style barbecue and incredibly inventive, chef-driven cuisine. The Granary’s lunch menu offers traditional Texas barbecue with sliced-to-order smoked meats, seasonal sides, and a ‘sauce your own meat’ mentality. Rattray curates a dinner menu composed of plates that combine flavors and ingredients through the elements of smoke and live fire. Rattray’s creativity, commitment to excellence, and use of humanely raised meats has added a fresh take to the Texas barbecue

scene. Like his professional mentors, Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, David Chang, and Sean Brock, Rattray aspires to leave an acclaimed culinary mark on his city of San Antonio. The Granary has been named one of Texas Monthly’s top 50 barbecue joints in Texas twice, has been called “the future of barbecue” by Esquire, and one of the “changing faces of Texas barbecue” by Food and Wine.

When Rattray is not minding the pit, he spends time with his wife, Nicole, and their two Welsh Corgis, Maggie and Toby. He also enjoys reading, opera, and playing music, namely the guitar, bass, and trumpet.

Kristina Zhao

Sichaun House


Having grown up in her father’s grocery store, Asia Market, and around his delicious cooking, Kristina Zhao discovered her love for food as a child. That passion grew as she visited eateries across the world and learned to cook herself. She would often call her father with cooking questions, experiment with different ingredients, and host dinner parties to share her food creations with friends and family. Food always brought people together, and she loved that.

The San Antonio native graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and had been living and working in Dallas when her father announced that he would be opening a restaurant. Afforded the opportunity to be closer to home, follow in the footsteps of her entrepreneur father, and pursue her passion, Kristina moved back to San Antonio shortly after to help expand her family’s business into the unfamiliar restaurant industry and open the doors at Sichuan House, a small and now beloved eatery,

Kristina and her family are proud to embrace their heritage. Together with their team, they are delighted to share the traditions and flavors from their Sichuan roots and invite their San Antonio family to eat Chinese and savor Sichuan.

“食在中国,味在四川" (shi zai zhong guo wei zai si chuan):

China is the place for food, but Sichuan is the place for flavor. Hailed as one of the eight culinary traditions of China, Sichuan cuisine is served worldwide and continues to grow in popularity. Home-style food from Sichuan, a province in Southwest China, is most renowned for its “mala” fiery hot and mouth-numbingly spicy flavors; however, the famous culinary tradition is far more intricate.

“一菜一格,百菜百味” (yi cai yi ge, bai cai bai wei):

Each dish has a unique signature. A hundred dishes have a hundred flavors.

Sichuan cookery is characterized by the skillful combination of spices and ingredients with masterful cooking techniques to achieve a harmonious symphony of complex flavors within each dish. Boasting more than 5000 documented recipes, 56 cooking techniques, and at least 23 formally defined flavor profiles, Sichuan culinary arts is legendary for diversity and sophistication.

Jian Li, a Sichuan native, is the Executive Chef at Sichuan House. He trained to be a Sichuan chef at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, but began his culinary journey as a child helping and learning alongside his parents in their bakery and noodle shop. With more than 25 years of experience, the passionate and mastery industry veteran now incorporates his heritage and history in leading his culinary team and into the menu at Sichuan House.

Hitish Nathani

Owner & Operator

Bombay Salsa Co.


The son of a restaurant owner and grandson of a restaurant manager, Hitish saw culinary passion all of his life. Despite entering into a successful career in biochemistry, he never strayed from his passion for food, working nights and weekends just to fill his culinary fix. Eventually that passion led him to create the Bombay Salsa Company, a fusion of traditional Indian and Latin American flavors with a modern twist. When not in the kitchen, Hitish enjoys travelling, listening to good music, and supporting the San Antonio Spurs.

Johnny Hernandez

Founder, President

True Flavors Inc.


Chef Johnny Hernandez is a celebrated chef, entrepreneur, and founder and President of Grupo La Gloria and True Flavors Inc.. He is one of the premier Mexican cuisine chefs in the United States and a recognized authority on Mexican cuisine and culture.

Chef Hernandez first garnered notoriety as a rising star on the culinary scene in 2010 with the launch of his acclaimed flagship concept, La Gloria. His culinary ventures have since expanded to become Grupo La Gloria, a diverse and growing portfolio of signature restaurants and culinary projects.

Chef Hernandez was born and raised in a community of first-generation Mexican-American families and grew up surrounded by the foods and traditions of interior Mexico that made their way across the border. Encouraged by his father to become a chef, he attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York. Johnny began his career at a number of exclusive resort destinations, including the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, California. Upon returning to San Antonio in 1994, he opened his first venture, True Flavors Catering which earned national recognition for catering excellence.

The most profound influence on Chef Hernandez’s culinary style has been his extensive travels throughout Mexico. His time spent exploring the cultural nuances of each region’s art, agricultural, and street foods has shaped his vision to create authentic and accessible interior Mexican cuisine for American diners. His mission is to celebrate and preserve traditional Mexican food, ingredients and techniques. This mission serves as the guiding principle for creating unique dining experiences that reflect the rich and diverse flavors and culture of Mexico.

Chef Hernandez has received acclaim in publications such as Texas Monthly, Bon Appetit, Poder, Saveur, Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Magazine, Garden and Gun, NBC Latino, Tasting Table and Southern Living. He has been featured as a guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and has appeared on the Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food and Simply Ming, as well as Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Food Paradise. In 2016, Chef Hernandez showcased his culinary expertise and the flavors of Mexico at the White House as Guest Chef for President Barack Obama.

Chef Hernandez’s culinary ventures and projects include:

- With four locations in San Antonio, Tx. and Las Vegas, Nv., La Gloria celebrates the rich and delicious street foods found across the diverse regions of interior Mexico.

- The Fruteria y Botanero by Chef Johnny Hernandez offers fresh fruit, smoothies, tortas and tostadas by day, then transforms into a contemporary botanero by night.

- El Machito specializes in mesquite grilled meats prepared in the style of the carne asadas of northern Mexico and the campestre style of Guadalajara.

- MEXIco launched with two United Kingdom locations in 2016 features real, honest, home-cooked style food, inspired by authentic Mexican recipes handed down through generations. Dishes represent the diverse flavors and styles of the vibrant regions of Mexico, with some exciting new dishes thrown in for good measure.

- Located in the scenic Texas Hill Country on the grounds of the Tejas Rodeo, Tejas Steakhouse & Saloon honors the diversity of Texas cuisine by combining steakhouse classics with the flavors of interior Mexican. The menu also features select Texas whiskey and bourbons.

- Villa Rica (opening September 2017) celebrates the fresh seafood and flavors of coastal Mexico and Peru. The menu includes ceviches, a raw bar, and an eclectic variety of seafood tacos that will be the hallmark of this new seafood concept. The drink menu will feature unique twists on classic cocktails with fresh muddled fruits and a creative variety of mojitos, caipirinhas and pisco sours.

- Burgerteca (opening September 2017) reimagines the classic American hamburger and our signature burgers are inspired by the cooking traditions and regional flavors of Mexico. An extensive list of rum cocktails and local craft beers will be featured, as well as an onsite ice cream shop serving house made nieves (ice cream), paletas (popsicles), and raspas (shaved ice).

Private Event Venues

- Casa Hernan is a private event space located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the venue evokes the grandeur of historic haciendas of Merida, Mexico.

- Western Sky is a special events venue nestled in the Texas Hill Country on the grounds of Tejas Rodeo in Bulverde, Texas. Guests of this private event venue can experience a true Texas celebration with its dance hall and Western chic décor.

In Development

- Tortilleria La Gloria reflects Chef Hernandez’s commitment to traditional culinary practices. The molino provides the fresh corn products made from locally grown, non-GMO corn for each of his establishments in the San Antonio area.

- Chef Hernandez’s newest development Pakal, is a direct trade import organization that employs responsible and fair business practices to source the highest quality Latin American cacao. Pakal seeks to rehabilitate and restore the Cacao market in the Central American region.

Philanthropy and Accolades

In 2014, Chef Hernandez founded Kitchen Campus in memory of his father, Johnny Hernandez, Sr. who inspired him to pursue his culinary dreams. Kitchen Campus is a non-profit organization that encourages middle and high school students to pursue the culinary arts as a path to financial success. Students learn about food, nutrition, cooking, community involvement and leadership while exploring careers in the culinary industry.

Chef Hernandez established the City of San Antonio’s Culinary Task Force in 2015. Partnering with the City of San Antonio, Chef Hernandez and the task force members highlight current food and beverage endeavors to help establish San Antonio as a renowned culinary destination. Johnny also serves on many corporate and non-profit boards including the Alumni Board and Entrepreneurial Advisory Board of the Culinary Institute of America, the St. Philip’s College Culinary Advisory Board, and the University of Houston Hospitality College.

Chef Hernandez has acted as spokesperson and consultant to McCormick Spice Company, Aguacates of Mexico, the National Pork Board and The Culinary Institute of America. He was recognized by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the Top 50 Influential Hispanics , one of the Top 5 Hispanic Chefs in America by Siempre Mujer magazine and awarded the “San Pasqual Award of Culinary Excellence” by the New World Wine and Food Festival. In 2014, he was awarded the “Con Corazón” award from the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau for his continued work to spotlight San Antonio as a culinary leader and destination.

Chef Hernandez is currently working on his first book where he will share the beautifully vivid cultural journey that has shaped the foods of his restaurants.

Bruce Auden

Chef/Owner

Biga on the Banks


James Beard Award Nominee for “Best Chef | Southwest” 2000 – 2011

Bruce Auden, a native North Londoner, is well known for his adventuresome, original and creative menus. Recognized early in his career as one to watch among the new rising stars of regional cuisine, Auden brought a worldly fusion of influences to his brand of nouvelle American cuisine. One reviewer declared Auden’s dishes “extraordinary creations that play havoc with tradition.” His pitch-perfect style brings a lighthearted touch to serious gastronomy, earning his restaurants a loyal fan base of foodies and non-foodies alike for over twenty-five years.

Biga on the Banks

When Biga’s enthusiastic audience finally outgrew its limited table space, Auden teamed with business partners Peter Selig, Perny Shea, and Don Thomas to open the premiere contemporary-regional fine dining restaurant on the River Walk.

Since launching to rave reviews in 2000, accolades for Chef Auden and Biga on the Banks have consistently emanated from tastemakers such as Texas Monthly, Gourmet, and other high profile publications. Biga maintains the highest Zagat rating of any fine dining restaurant on the River Walk. And, Chef Auden has been honored with multiple nominations to the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef / Southwest Award, including the most recent in 2011.

“Old” Biga and LocuStreet Bakery

In 1991, Auden opened his first chef-owned restaurant, Restaurant Biga. Wife and artisan bread baker Debra Auden launched LocuStreet Bakery in the same cozy location, contributing to a happy culinary marriage of the high-toned and the rustic. In its first year, Biga earned a spot on Esquire’s “Best Bars and Restaurants” list. Nation’s Restaurant News named Biga to its“Fine Dining Hall of Fame,” 1996. At the peak of its popularity, luminaries of the cooking world Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child and others were guests.

Polo’s at the Fairmount

In 1985, Auden moved from Houston to the San Antonio market and promptly put the Fairmont Hotel’s restaurant, Polo’s, on the culinary map, serving “the most provocative food in the city” (Texas Monthly, 1987). Honors and awards for the ambitious new restaurant kept coming, including a spot on Esquire Magazine’s “Best Bars and Restaurants” list in 1991.

Still “six foot one and whippet-thin,” as pegged by Patricia Sharpe of Texas Monthly in 1987, Chef Auden maintains his chops (and his fighting weight) by pouring his creative energy into Biga on the Banks. Chef Auden and wife Debra have four beautiful children and live, garden, and raise various pets at the edge of the Hill Country in Fischer, Texas.

Opened in 2000, Biga on the Banks is the premiere contemporary-regional fine dining restaurant on the San Antonio River Walk. Perfectly situated near downtown’s upscale hotels and entertainment venues, Biga offers patrons sweeping views of a quiet, cypress-shaded bend in the River. Contemporary chic interiors offer a relaxed ambience, the perfect showcase for Chef/Owner Bruce Auden’s award-winning New American cuisine.

Chef Auden is joined on the management team by Biga partner Perny Shea. Ms. Shea is Director of Special Events, and leads Biga’s private dining team. She brings her warm personal style and strong management expertise to the party, helping to make Biga the preferred private dining destination on the River Walk for corporate events, wedding celebrations, and special occasions.

Biga Culinary Team

Bruce Auden, Chef/Owner
Martin Stembera, Chef de Cuisine, Partner
Amy Delbridge, Pastry Chef

Tim McDiarmid

The Good Kind


The Good Kind, led by Tim McDiarmid of Tim the Girl culinary company, is a modern market providing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items perfect for dining in or taking home. The Good Kind also specializes in large and small-scale catering and weekly meal delivery. While Tim the Girl culinary company continues with its bespoke event planning, The Good Kind builds on Tim the Girl’s vision of providing a broader base of the San Antonio commu-nity with food that is clean, nourishing, sustainable and delicious.

With fewer people having time to cook healthy meals at home, McDiarmid spotted a need in San Antonio for food that is both sustainable for the consumer and the environment — tasty food that can be enjoyed not just on a special occasion, but rather every day. Ingredients for all of The Good Kind’s menus are locally sourced whenever possible and responsibly grown. With options for dining-in, taking-out and delivery, she envisions a place where healthy food is accessible and presented in its most natural and delicious state: simple and enjoyable. It’s The Good Kind of food you can enjoy daily.

Located in The Historic Pearl, The Good Kind offers a new concept to San Antonio while also showcasing an environment that reflects its food: balanced, clean, modern and straightforward. The Good Kind collaborated with Clayton & Little Architects and Doris Palmeros designs.

Johnny Iuzinni


Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s interest in the pastry arts began at age seventeen when he started working at The River Café in Brooklyn, New York. Although his primary focus at the restaurant was in savory, Johnny frequently visited the pastry kitchen to marvel as Pastry Chef Eric Gouteyron piped chocolate butterflies. As Johnny’s fascination with pastry grew, he began assisting Chef Eric after completing his regular shifts in the kitchen. Johnny eventually moved to pastry full-time, cementing his desire to pursue a career as a pastry chef.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Johnny joined the pastry department of the original Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and eventually became Pastry Chef François Payard’s right-hand man.

Johnny traveled to Europe in 1998 where he apprenticed in some of France’s finest pâtisseries, including the famed Ladurée in Paris. He also completed an intensive two-week chocolate course at L’Ecole DGF du Chocolat et Patisserie.

In the fall of 1998, Johnny returned to New York for the debut of Café Boulud and then moved to the 65th Street location of the new Daniel for its opening. Johnny was named Executive Pastry Sous Chef for the new restaurant and held that position for the next two years under Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Haas. During that time, Comité Colbert named Johnny one of the “Emerging Young Artists of 2000.” In 2001 Chef Daniel Boulud promoted Johnny to Executive Pastry Chef. In May 2002, Chef/Owner Jean Georges Vongerichten named Johnny the Executive Pastry Chef at his famed four-star namesake, Restaurant Jean Georges, as well as its café, Nougatine. In addition, Johnny also oversaw the pastry program for the opening of Perry Street from 2005-2006, which earned three stars from the New York Times. During that same year, Restaurant Jean Georges earned its most prestigious award to date, three Michelin stars. It was one of only four restaurants in New York City to receive this honor. In this position, Johnny was recognized with numerous awardsincluding “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine and “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Art and Design Magazine. In May 2006, The James Beard Foundation awarded Johnny “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” and Forbes.com identified Johnny as one of the ten most influential chefs working in America.

Johnny’s first cookbook, Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets From a Four-Star Pastry Chef, was published December 30, 2008. Through beautiful photography and easy-to-follow recipes, this book enables trained chefs and home cooks alike to explore Johnny’s use of single ingredients as primary inspiration for the dessert quartets featured on his seasonal menus at Jean Georges.

Johnny has been a featured guest and judge on numerous television shows including Martha Stewart, Top Chef, Today in NY, Paula’s Party, Today Show, Good Morning America, Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, Beat Bobby Flay, and Sugar Showdown. He was the head judge of Bravo’s culinary competition series “Top Chef Just Desserts” for two seasons. He was co-judge with Mary Berry in ABC’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show”, based on the popular “The Great British Bake-Off”. Johnny will reprise his role as co-judge on the upcoming season (December 2016) of “The Great American Baking Show”.

Since leaving Restaurant Jean Georges, Johnny has started his own pastry consulting company, aptly named Sugar Fueled Inc. In addition to participating in numerous charity events and initiatives, Johnny is a Chef Ambassador for Family Reach Foundation. Johnny is also a member of the Macy’s Culinary Council and is a LM100 member of Le Méridien Hotels. As a LM100 member Johnny has partnered with Le Méridien Hotels on a global éclair program and is creating seasonal éclair recipes for the hotels and being featured in a video series, inspired by his travels through various Le Méridien destinations. His highly anticipated second book Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking was published in September 2014. Johnny is currently furthering his dream of building a bean-to-bar chocolate factory & coffee roaster under one roof in the Catskill Region of New York State.

Gary B Elliott MD


I am a practicing anesthesiologist. For pleasure, I have for 35 years enjoyed creating cocktails and entertaining on a variety of scales, from casual events for a few, to hosting grand, formal social affairs for hundreds of guests. I am a Drinkwire contributor for Liquor.com and have hosted Mixology Monday. I have a web site dedicated to home entertaining, both advanced and beginner; for those experienced at food and drink adventures for friends and family at home and for those wanting to learn how to get started. I currently plan and work events as well as guest bartend in San Antonio and Dallas.

2018 SEMINARS

Elizabeth Johnson

Pharm Table


From 2008-2014, Elizabeth served as a Latin Cuisines Specialist/Chef Instructor of The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio.

In December 2014, Elizabeth launched her version of Food 2.0. - Pharm Table. It is a synonym for culinary medicine, "food as medicine". It redefines health food and promotes anti-inflammatory cooking. Elizabeth utilizes her background in world cuisines as well as her understanding of plants and herbs and their anti-inflammatory effects.

At the end of the day, she believes all disease is fueled by imbalance in the body, and her approach to cooking is fueled by the desire to bring the body back into balance. Elizabeth hopes to be a resource for all people looking to eat better and feel better.

Pharm Table was named one of the "Top 10 New Restaurants in San Antonio" in 2015, "2016 Best Restaurant for Special Diets" and the "Healthiest Organic Food Restaurant in San Antonio" by USA Today.

Jeff Axline

Food & Beverage Director, Executive Chef

Hotel Contessa


Jeff Axline is the food & beverage director and executive chef for Hotel Contessa. An award-winning chef who has been featured in numerous Texas-based publications, Jeff Axline was previously executive chef for Hotel Zaza, located in the Houston Museum District of Houston, Texas. He held the dual roles of founder and executive chef for the Brooklyn Athletic Club, a casual start-up restaurant located in the trendy section of Houston. As well, Axline has served as executive chef for Lakeway Resort and Spa, located in Austin, Texas.

In addition, Axline Jeff Axline is a graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, School of Culinary Arts. He resides in San Antonio, Texas

Tom Richter


Founder and chief formulist Tom Richter (called Tommer by his dad, hence Tomr’s) was first a Broadway actor. Understandably, an acting career lends itself to lots of bartending gigs. Tom found himself “behind the stick” in some of New York City’s finest and most creative bars and through the years he has earned high praise for his talents behind the bar. He writes a beverage feature for Edible New Jersey Magazine and is a graduate of the prestigious B.A.R. program.

Richter had an epiphany while mixing his gazillionth gin and tonic. The flavor of the expensive gin the customer ordered was all but destroyed by the fructose sugar and synthetic quinine based tonic. He went home that night and immediately started tinkering with recipes and in 2007 he had his formula. Richter began serving it at the bar he was working and customers loved it, so much that were soon buying bottles to take home. Bartenders and Bar Managers heard about a unique tonic being made by a guy named Tom. They began inundating Richter with orders so they could serve it at their bars. And a business was born.

2018 SEMINARS

Steve Corman


A native New Englander, Steve has traveled the world, been to thirty countries, has lived on two islands in Maine, and was a public school teacher for nineteen years (gifted resource for mathematics). He is married to Johanna and has two children. He has recently found himself co-owner of Vena's Fizz House and is the lead "liquid alchemist." Steve is an avid IPA beer drinker who never used a bitter in his life before Vena's was born. He is known as the Bitter King and loves ANYTHING BITTER. He brings an unparalleled depth of knowledge about bitters and a captivating presence to the liquid scene. He is engaging, informative, and loves to share new ways of approaching liquids not seen in mixology before.

2018 SEMINARS

Misty Kalkofen

Tequila Interchange Project


Misty Kalkofen first stepped behind the bar while studying theology at Harvard Divinity School. She credits local music legend Brother Cleve with cementing her interest in classic cocktails the day he presented her with a bottle of Old Overholt rye and dubbed her his protege.

Upon completing her degree in 1998, Kalkofen realized what most excited her about the Bible was the passage where Jesus turns water into wine. Shortly thereafter, she joined the opening staff of the B-Side Lounge, the first bar in the city to focus on classic cocktails and vintage spirits. Since then Kalkofen has honed her craft in Boston’s best bars including Green Street, Brick & Mortar and Barbara Lynch’s award winning Drink.

In 2007, Kalkofen founded the Boston chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail, fulfilling her desire to “cocktail for a cause.”Rooted in the belief that everyone loves a good drink, people like to do good things, and broads can accomplish anything, the ladies of LUPEC have raised over $40,000 for local Boston women's charities by throwing the best parties in town.

In 2010, Kalkofen became a founding member of the Tequila Interchange Project, a Mexico and US based not for profit consumer advocacy group comprised of bartenders, educators and academics focused on agave education and the preservation of sustainable, traditional and quality practices in the agave distilled spirits industries. In April 2013, Kalkofen joined the family of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal as the East Coast Juez. Through her work with Del Maguey and as a board member of the Tequila Interchange Project, Kalkofen has been able to share her love for the history, heritage, and culture of Mexico's noble agave spirits.

Misty Kalkofen has been featured in Bon Appetit, Imbibe, Food & Wine Cocktail editions, Wine Enthusiast, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Tasting Panel, Wine & Spirits, and more. Kalkofen was nominated for American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail 2011 and International Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail 2012 and 2013. She is a graduate of the rigorous BAR program and continues to minister to cocktail communities nationwide through active involvement in the BARSmarts regional programming. Kalkofen has spent the past twenty years honing her craft and her palate and has earned a reputation as one of Boston's foremost authorities on cocktail history and culture. Cultivating a spirit of camaraderie among cocktail lovers (while showing everyone a really good time in the process) is Misty’s mission across the many communities she touches.

2018 SEMINARS

Kiowa Bryan

National Brand Manager

Spiribam Fine R(h)um Specialists


Kiowa Bryan hails from Vermont originally where she took her first job in hospitality nearly 20 years ago. It was in Los Angeles, while behind the bar at The Eveleigh, that she first tasted a Ti’Punch and realized her intended career path advocating for the education of all things Rhum Agricole and French Caribbean. She was the first ambassador of Rhum Agricole in the US and currently is in her third year as National Brand Manager for Spiribam Fine R(h)um Specialists. In her spare time you can find her listening to Christmas Carols far into February, or watching Yankees baseball while snuggling her dog Martinique Warrilow McFly.

Justin Cochren

Diageo Account Consultant

Enthuse Marketing, LLC


Justin W. Cochren is an experienced Wine & Spirits professional returning to SACC for his 4th year. He is currently apart of the Diageo Reserve Program at Enthuse Marketing, LLC and has previously represented world class brands such as Grand Marnier, Hennessy, KAPPA Pisco and Lapostolle Wines. He relishes in the opportunity to share the passion and knowledge he has accumulated from traveling the globe visiting the world’s best distilleries, vineyards and bars. He looks forward to meeting all of you. Cheers!

2018 SEMINARS

Fred Minnick


Wall Street Journal-bestselling author Fred Minnick wrote the award-winning Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey and Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker. He is the Bourbon Authority for the Kentucky Derby Museum and regularly contributes to international publications.

2018 SEMINARS

John Nugent


Adil Yamin


Steven Martín


Jesse Vida


Chris Lovett


Justin Lane-Briggs


Danielle Lewis


Berto Santoro


Andrew Olsen

Team Leader


Tanya Orellana


Stephanie Manning


Samantha Casuga


Nicholas Jarrett


Michael Dumapias


Miranda Breedlove