2016 Talent

2017 Talent Coming Soon!


Chefs

 

Chef Chris Sherrill from The Flora Bama Yacht Club

Chef Chris Sherrill was born and raised in Eufaula, Alabama. Chris knew at an early age that he wanted to cook. All throughout his time in Boy Scouts he honed his campfire and wild game cooking skills. In High School, the urge to cook was overwhelming and the thought of being a professional chef was equally inviting. In 1995 Chris entered The National High School Recipe contest sponsored by Johnson & Wales University. Chris' dish of Fruit Stuffed Quail with Orange Cranberry Sauce was Alabama's winning recipe! It also awarded Chris a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC. During his time at Johnson & Wales Chris gained the knowledge he needed to bring his talents to the table.
Chris was selected to cook for the 2012 Olympics in London where he and a team of chef's from the Gulf Coast brought the rich tradition from that area to London to cook for American Olympians and their families. In 2015 He represented The Flora-Bama Yacht Club at the World Food Championship where he finished 3rd in the world.
Accomplishments include winner of the 2012 Alabama Festival of Flavors, 5th annual Hangout Oyster cook off and People’s Choice. 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Perdido Key Wine and Arts Festival, AL.com’s top 10 best burger on the island. Eagle Scout class of 1992. In 2015 he won the Zatarain’s Restaurant Challenge and is currently working on his return showing to World Food Championship in the fall of 2016
Chris has just begun his 4th year at the Flora Bama Yacht Club, in Perdido Key, Fl and is looking at plans for future new concepts
Chris is competing in the Chef Showdown at the VIP Kick Off Party. Offering tastings and competing in the Culinary Competition at the Grand Tasting. Previous Wharf Uncorked trophies include: 2015 People’s Choice Award Winner, 2014 Presentation and Creativity winner.

 
 

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.


Brody is competing in the Chef Showdown at the VIP Kick Off Party. Offering tastings and competing in the Culinary Competition at the Grand Tasting. Previous Wharf Uncorked trophies include: 2014 award for Use of Ingredients, People’s Choice and Overall Grand Tasting winner.
 
 

James Briscione & Brooke Parkhurst

Who teaches the cooks to cook (and sip)? James Briscione and his wife, Brooke Parkhurst!

A culinary innovator and a two-time champion of Food Network’s Chopped, James is currently busy spearheading a new way to view ingredients. As Director of Culinary Development at The Institute of Culinary Education(ICE) he has worked with IBM on Chef Watson--a food-focused venture in computational creativity. He has spent the past three years studying the science behind flavor pairing, using the hidden patterns of flavor to revolutionize the way we eat. He is a featured speaker at this year’s TED conference in Warsaw, Poland, and his work has been showcased at SXSW and featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker,ABC, NBC and many more.

Brooke is a novelist (Belle in the Big Apple, Scriber 09’), cookbook author (Just Married & Cooking, Scribner 11’) and food blogger. She penned the online food column, Full Plate, for the New York Daily News and hosted the ABC digital food series, Eat & Greet. She also served as the lifestyle/cooking correspondent for Conde Nast’s debut web network. As a nationally recognized lifestyle expert and wine speaker she has recurring appearances and writing gigs with: Fox & Friends, PIX New York, People.com and Redbook.com

Together, James and Brooke teach a sell-out series of ‘Couples Cooking’classes at ICE and create once-in-a-lifetime culinary experiences for their clients in New York City, the Hamptons and Florida.

James and Brooke are emceeing the Chef Showdown at the VIP Kick Off Party, Brooke will be a Culinary Competition judge, James will be doing a cooking demo at the Grand Tasting and signing his cookbooks.

 
 

Chris Kelly from Driftwood Bar & Grille and Ronin Sushi Bar

As the son of the vice president of sales for Sysco Foods in central Florida as well as being raised by an Italian family of uncompromising food quality where everything was made from scratch, Chris spent his early years cooking, creating, and meeting the best restaurateurs and chefs in the area.

Chris was recruited in 1998 by Chef Jim Shirley of The Fish House to become their operations manager, bar manager, general manager, and chef. Increasing business from the front of the house with a Chef driven perspective, sales increased exponentially as did service and standards.

He moved to Perdido Key in 2012 and was the Executive Chef and General Manager for The Jellyfish Restaurant. The restaurants he has owned or operated have earned twenty three Florida Trend Awards as well as nineteen Wine Spectator awards.

Chris is competing in the Chef Showdown at the VIP Kick Off Party and offering tasting and competing in the Culinary Competition at the Grand tasting. He is the previous Wharf Uncorked winner of the 2015 Use of Ingredients.

 
 

Peter D’Andrea from Fire at Wind Creek Casino

Peter D’Andrea has cooked for presidents, kings and renowned chef Julia Child’s 80th birthday party. Most recently he joined Wind Creek Hospitality as Corporate Executive Chef. D’Andrea brings over 30 years of experience in food and beverage to Atmore, Alabama and Wind Creek Hospitality. He spent years in New York restaurants and hotels training under some of the finest chefs, and cooking in Asia, the Middle East and other locations around the world. It’s been an incredible journey for an Italian kid from the Bronx, New York, where D’Andrea says “to us food was love.”

 
 

Jay Ducote

Jay Ducote spends most of his time as a food and beverage writer, blogger, radio host, speaker, video producer, culinary personality, chef and hugger. Jay resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, though he also travels as much as he can. He finished runner-up on Season 11 of the hit reality competition show Food Network Star, and he currently has a pilot for his show "Deep Fried America" airing on the Travel Channel. Jay has been named one of the top 100 amateur chefs in America by FOX’s MasterChef, has appeared as himself on HBO’s drama series Treme, and has been featured on multiple programs such as Cutthroat Kitchen, The Kitchen and Burgers, Brew & Que on Food Network, Eat St. on Cooking Channel, and Last Call Food Brawl on Destination America. The Bite and Booze Radio Show, produced and hosted by Ducote, won a 2014 Taste Award for best food or drink radio broadcast in the country and the Uniquely Louisiana Award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters in 2015. In 2014 Jay launched his own Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, followed by the 2015 release of his wine, Jay D's Blanc du Bois, a collaboration with West Monroe's Landry Vineyards. Late 2015 saw the release of Jay D's Louisiana Molasses Mustard, and in 2016 Jay D's Spicy & Sweet Barbecue Rub was made available in stores. Jay's goal is to create content and celebrate Louisiana's culinary culture as he continues to cook, write, speak, entertain and hug for a living.

 
 

Judges

 

Kendall Collins Gensler

Kendall Collins Gensler is a seasoned culinary professional, who received a diploma from the famous Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School and attended Johnson and Wales University for continuing culinary education. Gensler is a native New Orleanian, who has worked in the culinary industry over the past twenty years.

As an ambassador of the “culinary current”, Gensler founded Culinary Concierge Magazine in 2000. In 2005, Culinary Concierge Magazine was named as a finalist for an Award of Excellence by The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).

Ms. Gensler has also been honored as one of New Orleans “Leading Women in Business” by the Mayor of New Orleans.

 
 

Jay Ducote

Jay Ducote spends most of his time as a food and beverage writer, blogger, radio host, speaker, video producer, culinary personality, chef and hugger. Jay resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, though he also travels as much as he can. He finished runner-up on Season 11 of the hit reality competition show Food Network Star, and he currently has a pilot for his show "Deep Fried America" airing on the Travel Channel. Jay has been named one of the top 100 amateur chefs in America by FOX’s MasterChef, has appeared as himself on HBO’s drama series Treme, and has been featured on multiple programs such as Cutthroat Kitchen, The Kitchen and Burgers, Brew & Que on Food Network, Eat St. on Cooking Channel, and Last Call Food Brawl on Destination America. The Bite and Booze Radio Show, produced and hosted by Ducote, won a 2014 Taste Award for best food or drink radio broadcast in the country and the Uniquely Louisiana Award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters in 2015. In 2014 Jay launched his own Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, followed by the 2015 release of his wine, Jay D's Blanc du Bois, a collaboration with West Monroe's Landry Vineyards. Late 2015 saw the release of Jay D's Louisiana Molasses Mustard, and in 2016 Jay D's Spicy & Sweet Barbecue Rub was made available in stores. Jay's goal is to create content and celebrate Louisiana's culinary culture as he continues to cook, write, speak, entertain and hug for a living.

 
 

Brooke Parkhurst

Brooke is a mother, writer and cook. Tying the knot with James Briscione rocked her world and gave her the most delicious morsel of all- daughter, Parker Lee. With their daughter and debut cookbook, Just Married & Cooking (Scribner), out in the world, Brooke developed into a culinary, entertaining and wine expert with recurring appearances on and writing gigs for: NBC Today Show; CBS New York, The Couch; Fox, Fox & Friends, People.com, Redbook.com and WomensDay.com

 
 

Mike McCloud

World Food Championships CEO Mike McCloud is a marketing entrepreneur focused on making food competitions a long-term, fun- lled legacy for the culinary industry.

A self-described champion of Food Sport, McCloud is frequently selected to speak about the origin and future of Food Sport and how the movement is whetting the appetite of foodies from all walks of life.

McCloud has been advising, strategizing, marketing and building companies for more than 25 years. His major accomplishments include acquiring two rms along the way, building a full-service ad agency with of ces in four cities, publishing a regional business journal and creating and funding new ventures like the World Food Championships and a Food Champ talent management group.

He has earned dozens of awards as the lead strategist for active food marketing with clients like the Coca-Cola, Sam’s Club, Bull Outdoor Products, Tyson, Smith eld and Kraft Foods.

 
 

Jennifer Frudaker

Published writer and photographer, Jennifer Frudaker is the Digital Editor for Good Grit, a magazine reflecting the character of the South.

A native of Panama City, Florida, the daughter of a Harbor Pilot, and the granddaughter of a charter boat captian, Frudaker knows fresh seafood. After moving to Birmingham, Alabama, in 2010 she noticed a revitalization and localization movement happening in the city she now calls home. Birmingham, along with many other southern cities, are finding their voices again, and taking back their greatness. Since becoming the digital editor at Good Grit, Frudaker has become the resident “Facebook Live lady” and continues to grow the online presence. Celebrating their one-year anniversary in July, the magazine has gained fans and notoriety across the South and continues to grow by leaps and bounds with each issue.

 
 

Chef Jason Ramirez

A graduate of the Johnson and Whales Culinary Institute in Charleston, SC, Jason has worked as a chef at restaurants throughout the Southeastern United States. Since 2007 Jason has worked for the Gilby's Restaurant Group in Orange Beach, AL. He has served as the Chef de Cuisine of the company, and as the Executive Chef of Zen Restaurant.

Jason is the 2015 Wharf Uncorked winner and will be the head judge for the Chef Showdown at the VIP Kick Off Party.

 
 

Chef Jim Smith

Jim Smith is the Executive Chef of the State of Alabama and Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. As the state chef, he has placed an emphasis on using the best local ingredients and has made strides to encourage support of local farmers and Alabama fishermen. He uses his position as ambassador of food, to promote farmer’s markets and events that support Alabama food products. Smith is not only responsible for the daily preparation of food for the First Family, but he is also responsible for planning and preparing menus for events sponsored by the state.

Chef Smith continues his commitment to the art of food through experimentation and development. His culinary style embraces traditional local ingredients and technique with a more modern elegance. Utilizing global approaches and southern style he creates unique dishes that embody a contemporary approach in cuisine. ​Smith graduated culinary school at the top of his class, from Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has studied food, wine, and service under the acclaimed chefs, Chris Hastings and Frank Stitt. He was also the wine director for the “Best of Birmingham” James Beard Dinner.

In 2011 he was crowned the King of American Seafood by winning The Great American Seafood-Cook-Off and became the national spokesperson for Alabama Seafood, American Sustainable Seafood, Gulf Seafood and the NOAA. As the winner he traveled the country educating the Americans about the benefits of sustainable seafood. As Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, Chef Smith is proud to be a part of the great work being done to promote Alabama Seafood.

 
 

Chef Robby Melvin

Birmingham, AL native Robby Melvin studied English Literature and History at the University of Mississippi. Upon returning home to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham he decided to turn his college job into a career. Robby began working for James Beard Award winning Chef Frank Stitt, spending 6 years splitting time between Stitts three restaurants Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega and Chez Fon Fon, where he served as Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine, respectively.

Robby then spent time under the tutelage of James Beard Award winning Chef Chris Hastings of the Hot and Hot Fish Club where he held the position of Chef de Cuisine. With a chance to share his acquired culinary skills, Robby taught for five years at Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College. In 2007 Robby opened Salt Fine Catering, bringing the restaurant experience to people’s homes and private venues.

February of 2013 Robby accepted the position of Test Kitchen Director at Southern Living Magazine, “the South’s most trusted kitchen”, where he oversees the development, testing and perfecting of the brands food content. In 2014 Robby proudly represented Southern Living as a James Beard Award Nominee for Culinary Journalism.