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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Born and raised in a small town in the Upper Eastside of New York, Gary Danko is a chef entrepreneur whose career path was greatly influenced by his parents. His mother, who was a Louisiana native, introduced to him the delights of fresh ingredients and simple spices. His father, who was an architect and constructor, showed him the art of remodeling local eateries. Both ignited Danko’s love for food and restaurants, and by the age of fourteen he was already employed at various establishments in the food industry and eventually enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America.

It did not take long for Danko to conquer the culinary world. After working as a server in San Francisco, he went back to the East Coast and became the executive chef of Tucker Hill, where local produce was an integral part of the restaurant’s menu. From then on, Danko ruled one kitchen after another with his contemporary culinary techniques until he finally took the plunge of starting his own restaurant business. In 1999, he opened Gary Danko in San Francisco, and has since then enjoyed phenomenal success.

Gordon Hamersley is one of Boston’s most celebrated chef entrepreneurs. He is the owner of the rustic-inspired Hamersley’s Bistro situated in a charming, little corner of Boston’s South End. But before he started cooking delightfully hearty and bucolic dishes made up of New England’s diverse ingredients in his eponymous restaurant, Gordon and his wife, Fiona, lived in Nice, France, where the couple shopped, cooked and dined in several food establishments. They realized that of all of the restaurants they have visited, the casual bistros – which transformed simple cooking to an extraordinary kind of culinary art – were the ones that captured their hearts, as well as their stomachs.  So after more than a year in France, the couple went back to Boston and started working on a dream, that is, to open up a bistro that would soon become the talk of the town.

Having worked at several French restaurants in Boston and trained in Ma Maison under the supervision of world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, Gordon had a fairly good idea about what it’s like to create the most unforgettable meals and exceptional dining experiences. At Hamersley’s Bistro, he puts all those hard-earned knowledge and skills into good use and creates wonderful, homey, French-inspired dishes with his trademark baseball cap on. He keeps his culinary technique distinct yet simple, and his meals feature the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients delivered straight from New England. Needless to say, the restaurant is now one of Boston’s favorites, boasting of a cult-like following.

When he is not busy in his kitchen or writing best-selling cook books, Gordon spends his time in culinary schools where he teaches aspiring chefs how to create astonishing meals. He also served in New England Culinary Institute’s Board of Directors from 1997 to 2002. Gordon also plays an active role in numerous environmental organizations that help preserve the natural resources of New England.

Today, Gordon, Fiona and their lovely daughter, Sophie, reside near Boston, Massachusetts. They also spend time at Vermont, where they enjoy skiing, fishing and the local bounty.

A food stylist by profession, Justine Drake is carving out her huge chunk of the food industry through her countless flourishing businesses, popular BBC televisions shows, and numerous stints in high-end publications. She is the only South African who made the BBC’s List of Top Twenty Most Popular Chefs Worldwide.

Justine Drake is one celebrity chef who has her hands full with a lot of things. She jet-sets all over the world just to make guest appearances in various food festivals, cooks alongside internationally acclaimed celebrity chefs such as Ainsley Harriott and writes best-selling cookbooks such as No Nonsense Cooking, Simply Good Food and the Busy Cooks’ Cookbook. Justine is also the food editor at Shape and Discovery, the editor of Fresh Living and Eat Out and Eat In, the festival directors of South Africa’s Taste Festivals and a culinary consultant of numerous cafés, bistros and restaurants in South Africa.

Indeed, Justine is one busy cook and the world can only but wonder how she can juggle all of these and still remain successful in every field she works in.

After nearly a score of being one of the country’s well-loved celebrity chefs, Ainsely Harriott has become some sort of a national legend, with an enduring popularity that placed him in a rare classification where personalities are instantly recognized just by their first names. Ainsley, in national television, and even in worldwide show business, can only mean Ainsley Harriott, a culinary master that cooks up tasty, fresh, fun and accessible grubs no one else in the food industry have the guts nor the skills to try. His culinary technique radiates the essentials of real life – delicious and diverse, accessible and affordable, and easy and convenient meals.

Ainsley’s steady rise to culinary fame began in the early 1990s when he was the head chef of Lord’s Cricket Ground’s Long Room. Around this time, BBC Radio asked him to guest in More Nosh, Less Dash and was able to capture the hearts of the audience right then and there. A call from the BBC network soon followed and asked Ainsley to become the resident chef of BBC TV’s Good Morning with Anne and Nick. Thirsting for new grounds to conquer, he readily agreed and moved in to become one of the most famous celebrity chefs in BBC’s entire television history. It did not take long for Ainsley to gain a comfy spot at a new series called, Ready Steady Cook, a series that set out to redefine culinary shows.

Needless to say, Ainsley’s cooking shows became massive hits all over the world. In United Kingdom alone, Ready Steady Cook aired more than two thousand episodes in twenty-one series, making it the longest-running culinary show ever. One series led to another, and by the end of the 1990’s, he had already starred in more than ten television shows. He moved from celebrity chef to television host in 2000, recording more than a hundred episodes in one year.

Ainsley has travelled the entire world as well, unearthing new flavors and cuisines and sharing them to the rest of the world through his series. He is also a best-selling author with over two million cook books sold worldwide in different languages.

Today, Ainsley remains to be a prominent figure in television and continues to share his passion for food to his legions of fans all over the world through his shows, cookbooks and restaurants.

Nigella Lawson is deemed to be one of the most powerful culinary writers and celebrity chefs in the world, claiming unparalleled success in the British Vogue, best-selling cook books, and two highly-acclaimed television cooking series. Lawson’s one-of-a-kind perspective and passion for her craft earned her countless fans across the globe.

A diligent woman who knows her way with words, Lawson went to Oxford University and took up Medieval and Modern Languages. She then went on to pursue journalism and jumpstarted her career as The Spectator’s restaurant reviewer. She eventually became a freelance writer for famous publications such as the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Bon Appetit. It did not take long for Lawson to land a high-end job at the Vogue magazine, which paved the way for her rapid rise to prominence.

Lawson’s incredible success as a writer, food editor and cook book author led to a television deal. She ultimately starred in two of the highest rating cooking shows in the television history and quickly became a household name.

Today, Lawson remains to be an enduring figure in the food industry and has garnered numerous prestigious awards for her outstanding works in the world of culinary arts and journalism.

A television sweetheart with a throng of programs to his name,  James Martin is a world renowned chef who has been cooking up a huge storm in the food industry ever since he learned how to use a spoon. James entered the world of food business at the young age of five and spent an awfully lot of time in his father’s kitchen, who happened to run a high-end catering business in the United Kingdom. James quickly learned the tricks of the food trade and at the age of twelve, had already grabbed an opportunity to prepare delightful meals for the Queen Mother.

But being an enthusiastic sixteen year-old apprentice to his father wasn’t enough for him to perfectly hone his skills, so James went to Scarborough Technical College and took up Culinary Arts. Needless to say, he was an exceptional learner and was awarded as Student of the Year three years in a row. Around this time, Anthony Worrall Thompson took notice of his incredible knack of creating unparalleled dishes and decided to bring him to London where he can work in the kitchens of some of the country’s finest restaurants under the supervision of outstanding chefs.

After his stint at London, James headed over to France, worked in an antiquated chateau and spent a great deal of time and effort on learning the region’s cuisine. With his newfound discoveries and newly-acquired skills, he returned to England and took a position at Hampshire’s Chewton Glen for two years. At 21, the young, gifted chef opened his first food enterprise, Hotel and Bistro Du Vun, to an excited crowd in Winchester. James flawlessly manned the kitchen operations and offered unique dishes that boasted of a wonderful blend of Mediterranean and Modern British flavors. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant was a massive success and enjoyed rave reviews for several years.

In 1996, the highly-acclaimed chef entrepreneur decided to enter the world of show business as a chef celebrity. He became an enduring presence in numerous television shows and eventually starred several TV series like Ready Steady Cook, Light Lunch, Junior MasterChef, Deck Dates and even Strictly Come Dancing, to name a few. It didn’t take long for James Martin to become a household name and soon he was already, a prominent figure in virtually all channels in UK television. And as if these weren’t enough to keep his hands full, James also entered the educational industry and taught aspiring chefs everything there is to know about cooking.

With a long list of culinary accomplishments, multitudes of television programs and countless projects keeping him busy, James truly is a culinary master who is not afraid to go out of the kitchen and conquer the rest of the world.

Dave Hester is known as “The Mogul” on the hit reality TV show Storage Wars. In the show, he’s the guy viewers love to hate. He spices things up by placing a bid at the last minute or driving the prices up for his competitors which has earned the ire of some of the stars on the show on more than one occasion. His crazy antics aside, Hester is a straight-up businessman who started small, just like many other famous business moguls.

He got his start in 1969 when he came with his father to a swap meet. Since then, he has been active in the re-sale business. In 2005, Hester converted his furniture store into a thrift shop called Rags to Riches. He gets his inventory from various sources, but his main source of items to sell comes from storage auctions just like the ones we’ve been seeing on the show. Hester closed up Rags to Riches in 2011 to focus on his new business endeavor, an auction house called Dave Hester Auctions.

Creating and producing a hit television show is not a walk in the park. Aside from having a great imagination, a person needs to have the right instincts to be able to captivate an audience and keep them tuned in for more. Many have tried to make a name for themselves in the cutthroat world of television, but only a few have actually accomplished what others only dream of. One of them is Ryan Murphy.

Murphy was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. Growing up catholic, he dreamed of becoming the next Pope someday, but his destiny led him towards a different direction. He went on to graduate from Indiana University with a degree in journalism and eventually moved to Los Angeles to work full-time as a reporter after going through internships at the Miami Herald and Washington Post. It was in Los Angeles that Murphy found out that he had a knack for writing more than investigative journalism pieces. He wrote and sold his first screenplay in the late ‘90s. Unfortunately, the script entitled “Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn?” never made it to the big screen. This didn’t faze Murphy as he went on to create a teen drama called Popular, which ran for 3 seasons on the WB network. From there, he churned out a number of successful TV shows including the drama series Nip/Tuck, the horror series American Horror Stories, and the popular TV-musical Glee. His latest creation, The New Normal, began airing in the fall of 2012.

Aside from writing, Ryan Murphy also delved into the world of directing. His directorial debut came in 2006 when he directed the film Running with Scissors which stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin, and Annette Bening. In the same year, he also directed Julia Roberts in the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love, which was based on a book with the same title.