2018 Talent


James Briscione & Brooke Parkhurst

James Briscione is a chef, author and Food Network personality. He was the first-ever two-time Chopped champion and is the host of the award-winning Food Network digital series Man Crafted.

Brooke Parkhurst is a novelist, cookbook author, and former host of ABC’s internet and digital cable food series. Together James and Brooke authored the Best Selling Flavor Matrix (HMH ’18). They will soon open their first restaurant inspired by their home on the Gulf Coast and travels through Italy. Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano is set to open in Fall of 2018 in Pensacola, FL.


Ford Fry

Ford Fry’s culinary inspirations cover many years and much of the country: from eating out with his family as a child in Texas, to studying at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, to spending time as a fine dining chef in Florida, Colorado and California—and eventually as a corporate chef in Atlanta. Although the corporate chef position didn’t stick, Fry’s love for Atlanta stuck with him and it has proved a recipe for success so far. Fry and his restaurants have been included in numerous national and local publications, such as Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Chicago Tribune, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Esquire, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, Sky, Southern Living and the Washington Post.

Fry’s culinary vision always begins with ingredients and dishes that are central to the Atlanta community and Southeastern region. He sources local ingredients not only because they taste better but because it allows him to partner closely with suppliers and honor local harvests. He then utilizes classical European techniques in his preparation, which results in dishes that are approachable and uncomplicated yet entirely new to his guests.


Laura Bento

Laura Bento was born and raised just outside of Savannah, Georgia. She attended college at Florida State University and pursued a career in marketing and sales for 10 years before she decided to scratch the entrepreneurship itch. Laura started her first business in 2013 in Mountain Brook, Alabama, as a business consultant specializing in strategic sales and marketing. Laura has always been a woman in business who doesn’t mind standing in the gaps and teaching others how to do the same. So, when she read an article in The New York Times in June of 2014 written about the South, she saw a big gap in the magazine industry. She quickly went to work building a business plan for Good Grit Magazine.

Laura has grown accustomed to being called “crazy.” She has heard more times than she can count that “the magazine industry is dying,” or “paper is going away,” and “digital is taking over.” And while that may be true, since the inaugural issue in July of 2015, Good Grit has grown to 300,000 readers, is circulated in 17 states, and is sold in more than 2,500 retailers.


Andy Chapman

Eat Y’all (EatYall.com) was founded in 2012 thru a year-long series of Chef’s Table dinners hosted by Andy and Marianna Chapman, Mississippians who had a heaping plate of food media opportunity shoved in front of them in 2009 when Andy’s spontaneously created Twitter account @eatjxn turned into a wildly successful food concierge service called Eat Jackson (EatJackson.com), based in their home state’s capitol city of Jackson.

Today, this husband and wife team operates Eat Y'all, where they connect chefs and discerning eaters to the most inspiring Southern grown and made products using events, digital media and personal relationships. They also own and operate The Mississippi List (MississippiList.com) that touts the best places to eat, stay and play across their home state.


Chef Brody Olive from The Perdido Beach Resort

The Perdido Beach Resort is proud to welcome Chef Brody Olive as the new Executive Chef to lead our culinary team encompassing all food and beverage operations throughout the hotel’s four restaurants and multiple banquet facilities. Chef Olive brings to the resort an impressive background of training and accomplishments. He attended Johnson and Wales University, where he learned the culinary fundamentals. He began his career at Ocean Restaurant in Birmingham as the Sous Chef, studying under the owner and well known Chef George Reis. Ocean achieved many honors during Brody's tenure, including the AAA Four Diamond Award and Five Stars by Birmingham News. Brody then assisted with the opening of Ocean's sister restaurant, 26, known for its funky South Beach atmosphere and eclectic menu.

Prior to joining Voyagers at Perdido Beach Resort, Chef Olive had built a great reputation for his development of creative offerings at some of the premier restaurant venues in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area. He initially moved to the Gulf Coast to open Villaggio Grille, where he was Executive Chef and General Manager. At Villaggio Grille, he conceptualized a menu offering "new and old world cookery" with Italian, Mediterranean and low country fusion. In 2011, Brody opened Elli Bistro Zen Restaurant in Orange Beach as Executive Chef and General Manager, bringing a menu of Pacific Rim flavors to Gulf Seafood before moving to The Beach Club where he served as Executive Chef.