of the most highly anticipated events on Bangkok's social calendar, the Annual
Festival, now in its 9th year, returns to the city for a week-long
gourmet extravaganza between 22-28 September 2008. This
year the impressive line up of chefs to be hosted by the Four Seasons
Bangkok is as follows:
• Jeffrey Jake, The Carneros Inn, Napa Valley, California, USA
• Michael Ginor, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, USA,
• Maurizio Quaranta, Locanda del Pilone, Alba, Italy
• Glen Ballis, Nedal'nij Vostok, Moscow, Russia
• Siggi Hall, Siggi Hall Restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland
• Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, USA
• Michael Laiskonis, Executive Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin, New York, USA
The event is coordinated and overseen by Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok Executive Chef Nicolas Schneller and Shintaro
Chef Satoshi Sawada and Biscotti Chef Danilo Aiassa.
- The Carneros Inn, Napa Valley, California, USA
A Napa Valley native, Jake began his culinary career at the venerable Domaine Chandon as a sous chef. In his role as executive chef for The Carneros Inn, Jake is inspired by the abundance of fresh local ingredients that abound in Napa Valley’s Carneros winegrowing region. He
oversees the Inn’s private dining restaurant; the sophisticated wine country restaurant FARM; local favorite The Boon Fly Café; and all catering
and room service for the Inn. One of his main responsibilities is managing the seasonally-changing menus at both restaurants
- created primarily from the Carneros region’s bountiful array of top-quality produce, cattle ranches, and award-winning cheese producers, found within a
150-mile radius of the Carneros region to ensure food that is at the peak of its season and flavor. Many of the ingredients are sourced
on-property including herbs, apples, figs, pears and pomegranates.
Prior to his arrival at The Carneros Inn, Jake achieved national acclaim in his role as executive chef at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, where he played an integral role in organizing and executing prestigious, high-profile events that include the AT&T Pro Am Golf Tournament and the Concours d’ Elegance. Jake has also served as chef de cuisine at Pebble Beach, Beach and Tennis Club, Sonoma Mission Inn, and as the
executive chef at The Old Bath House Restaurant, which was named “Outstanding Restaurant” by the California Writers Association during his
Jake has also conducted cooking courses at the Culinary Center of Monterey and taught California cuisine cooking classes in Japan. Jake has
been the recipient of a number of awards and accolades during his career, including Conde Nast Traveler “Best Resort in North America” award
(The Lodge at Pebble Beach, ’03), three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle (Sonoma Mission Inn, ’97), and Gourmet Magazine’s “Top Ten
Wine Country Restaurant” (Sonoma Mission Inn, ’98).
- Hudson Valley Foie Gras, USA
An integral part of the World Gourmet Festival from its beginning, Michael joins
the event for a record 9th time. Michael and his business partner
Izzy Yanay established Hudson Valley Foie Gras, one of the major foie gras producers in the world today, and since 1998, have distributed its moulard
duck products through a network of domestic distributors extending throughout the United States, and beyond to Argentina, Canada, Hong
Kong, Japan, Singapore and Venezuela. Hudson Valley Foie Gras received the 1993 Gold Merit Award from Chefs in America and the 1996 Award
for Excellence from The James Beard Foundation. In 1996, Hudson Valley received the Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and in 1998 the Award of Excellence from the American Tasting Institute.
In 1996, Michael received the first Olive Branch Award from the Jewish National Fund for humanitarian and professional achievements. He was honoured with the 1997 Angel Award from The James Beard Foundation and in 1998 received the American Master Taster Award from the
American Tasting Institute. Both Michael and Izzy Yanay were inducted into the James Beard Foundation 2001 Who's Who of Food and
- Locanda del Pilone, Alba, Italy
Born in Valgrana Small Village near Cuneo, Piedmont and growing up in the northern part of Italy Maurizio joined the culinary school in Mondovi
in 1983. During his diploma course he started to perfect his culinary skills by working part time in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the Cote de D”Azur in
France as well as in Central Italy.
In 1995 Maurizo opened his first restaurant "Locanda dell'Angelo" near Cuneo which was well recognized by national restaurant
guides. In 2000
he opened his second restaurant "Locanda del Pilone" near Alba and was honored with his first Michelin Star in 2002. Maurizio left the restaurant at the end of his contract in May 2008 and is currently working on plans for a new restaurant.
Throughout the years, Maurizio has been through different trainings with several well-known chefs such as Sergio Mei, Giorgio Nardelli, Oriol Castra of "El Bulli" as well as the team at "Balzi Rossi", a 2 Michelin star restaurant in
- Nedal'nij Vostok, Moscow, Russia
Glen Ballis was born in Melbourne, Australia where he received his culinary education at the local college. He started in the restaurant business
some 25 years ago including running his own restaurant for two years in Northern Australia. Glen broadened his culinary expertise in Thailand
with Banyan Tree Hotels and stints in Shanghai, Malaysia and Guadeloupe. He also supervised all restaurants at Harrods, London’s,
and some would claim the world’s,
At "Nedal'nij Vostok" Glen describes his menu as fresh, light, with new smells, tastes and textures and unusual combinations from different cuisines. He believes that a chef’s experience plays a crucial role and he travels twice a year to get acquainted with new dishes and to bring new
ideas back to Russia. According to Glen a good chef works with enthusiasm and is always ready to learn and grow. A chef's work must be creative and he needs to able to pass the enthusiasm on to his team.
- Siggi Hall Restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland
Sigurdur Larus Hall, aka “Siggi Hall”has been a Certified Master Chef
since 1982 and while he is now an Ambassador for New Nordic Food as
appointed by the Nordic Minister Council he actually started as a
trainee in classical French cooking in Reykavik. During the following
years he worked both in Norway and Denmark but returned to his native
Iceland in 1990. Siggi’s passion is to promote Icelandic or Nordic food
to other cultures. He has been a chef and consultant for the Icelandic
Trade Council and has lead the Icelandic Culinary Team from 1991-1996 in
international competitions and he appeared in over 60 TV shows in USA,
Canada and Europe since 2000. Such as CBS Early Morning Show and Fox
morning show. His signature restaurant “Siggi Hall Restaurant”,
has been situated in Hotel Odinsve in Reykjavik old city center since
2000 and will be moving to the Reykjavik National Theater later this
year. The restaurant has achieved many international and domestic awards
and top ratings and was recently cited as one of the “100 most exciting
new restaurants in the world” by Condé Nast Traveler.
- The American Restaurant, Kansas City, USA
A typical day for Celina Tio used to involve shopping lists, Julia Child
and The Galloping Gourmet reruns, baking and cooking for family and
friends. That was when she was eight. Inheriting her passion for cooking
and learning her culinary skills from the men in her life - her brother,
father and grandfather - Celina knew at that early age that she wanted
to be a chef. Having seen a woman with a TV cooking show, the thought
never crossed her mind that she couldn't make a career of it.
While growing up Celina would save her allowance and birthday money to
dine at some of the finest restaurants in Philadelphia. At 15 she
started her career in the hospitality business as a bus girl in a hotel
restaurant dining room where she began to learn the fine details of
service and to anticipate the needs of the guests. After two years
Celina moved on to serving. Then at 18 years of age, and having been
accepted to Drexel University's Hospitality program, she begged her
Kitchen Manager at Bennigan's to let her work in the kitchen: her
“official” culinary beginning.
After graduating from Drexel University with a B.S. in Hotel and
Restaurant Management and Minors in Business and Psychology, Celina
contemplated going to culinary school but opted for the “hands on”
experience of working her way up at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel,
Philadelphia. She started as the breakfast cook and in just under two years - at the age of 23 - became the Chef of The Grill Room.
From the Ritz-Carlton, Celina moved to Orlando to work for Walt Disney
World where she opened two of their specialty restaurants: Spoodles,
which features Mediterranean cuisine, and Citricos, specializing in
dishes from the south of France. She was chosen to be the Task Force
Chef for Palo, the fine dining Italian restaurant aboard the M.S. Magic.
Celina was then Chef of Narcoossee's for two years prior to accepting
her current position as Executive Chef of The American Restaurant in
Kansas City, Missouri.
Having been at The American Restaurant just over four years Celina has
already garnered many accolades and has been featured in local and
national press. The Kansas City Star's food critic, Lauren Chapin, wrote: “Consider the skills necessary to ascend a peak: balance,
calmness, concentration, focus and forethought ... Tio brings the same
attributes to her professional life. Her dishes are composed and
understated; her flavors balanced and concentrated.” Chapin went on to
say that every dish she sampled was “technically flawless and perfectly
Celina has not only wowed local critics, but was named one of thirteen
“Chefs to keep your eye on” in Esquire magazine. John Mariani also
praised his dining experience at The American Restaurant as one of seven
“Best Meals in the USA” in his Virtual Gourmet column and recently wrote
in Wine Spectator, “…Tio has matured into one of the more outstanding
chefs in the United States today, with a style of her own ...” Celina
was named 2005 Chef of the Year by Chef magazine and was recently
garnered 2007 Best Chef: Midwest by the James Beard Foundation. Chef
Celina still keeps her days busy with shopping lists and cooking for her
loyal guests, friends and family, much as she did when she was eight.
Michael Laiskonis -
Le Bernardin, New York, USA
As executive pastry chef at New York’s four star Le Bernardin, Michael
Laiskonis produces exquisite desserts that are an elegant balance of art
and science. Recently awarded Outstanding Pastry Chef of 2007 by the
James Beard Foundation, Laiskonis is celebrated for signature desserts
that gracefully layer textures and flavors. New York Times reviewer
Frank Bruni proclaims Laiskonis’ desserts are “exemplary…They are
sophisticated without being pretentious, multifaceted but not unduly
A native of Michigan, Laiskonis’ culinary training is primarily
self-directed. As a fine arts student in college, he discovered his
passion for pastries while working at a bakery. Initially fascinated by
the science of bread, its Zen-like process, and its living, breathing
nature, Laiskonis immersed himself in learning everything he could about
baking and pastry. Realizing the architectural nature of dessert, with
its foundation in flavor and form, Laiskonis was finally able to unite
his passions for art and science.
After two years, he was appointed pastry chef and sous chef under Rick
Halberg at Emily’s in Northville, MI. In 1997 he joined Tribute
restaurant, starting as a line cook before assuming the role of pastry
chef. Influenced by this experience in both culinary realms, Laiskonis’
approach to dessert often combines tastes that are both savory and sweet. In his five-year tenure as pastry chef at Tribute, Pastry Art
and Design twice named him one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in
America” (2002, 2003).
Now at Le Bernardin since 2004, 35-year-old Laiskonis finds the perfect
venue to express his ideas through the alchemy of his unique desserts.
Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin executive chef and co-owner, says, “Michael’s
sensibilities perfectly complement the Le Bernardin style of light,
inventive, elegant food.”
In addition to his work at Le Bernardin, Laiskonis acts as a consultant
and participates in numerous “celebrity chef” events. He served as the
moderator of the pastry forum at eGullet.com and also participated as a
challenger on Food Network’s first season of Iron Chef America. Since2006, Laiskonis has consulted for pastry shops in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan
and has also worked with the National Peanut Board developing dessertideas using health conscious techniques and ingredients.
Laiskonis has been featured in numerous television and radio
appearances, including most recently The Today Show and The Martha
Stewart Show. He was the recipient of Bon Appétit magazine’s prestigious
2004 American Food & Entertaining Award and Starchefs.com acknowledged
him as one its Rising Stars in 2006. Laiskonis has received accolades
from luminaries such as Patricia Wells in the International Herald
Tribune, and has been noted by the GQ, Wall Street Journal, the New York
Times, Quarterly Review of Wines, Forbes, Food & Wine, Gourmet, and
Details, as well as in leading industry publications such as Art
Culinaire, Food Arts and Chocolatier.
of the 9th Annual World Gourmet Festival.
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