Jean Joho

Featured Chef

Known the world over for having made an indelible mark on the culinary world with his exquisite personal cuisine, Chef J. Joho humbly entered the profession as a 6-year-old, peeling vegetables in his aunt’s restaurant kitchen in Alsace, France. His formal training began as a 13-year-old apprentice for Paul Haeberlin of the acclaimed L’Auberge de L’Ill, and continued in kitchens in France, Italy and Switzerland. By the age of 23, Joho was the sous chef at a Michelin three-star restaurant where he commanded a 35-person staff. It was while he was studying at the Hotel Restaurant School in Strasbourg that Joho immersed himself in the hotel and restaurant business, as well as the arts of pastry, cheese and wine.

Joho’s rise to international success began on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange with Everest, which is now one of the world’s premier dining rooms. Today, his establishments across the country in Chicago (Everest, Paris Club, Studio Paris), Boston (Brasserie JO) and Las Vegas (Eiffel Tower Restaurant) set standards for dining and win accolades at every turn. Joho is also a partner in several other concepts, including Chicago’s Nacional 27 and M Burger.

Hugely inspired by the arts, Joho has filled his home and restaurants with the work of many of his friends, including Ivo Soldini, the Swiss sculptor whose bronze statues adorn each of the tables at Everest, and John Westmark, the painter. Joho has also authored “The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook: Capturing the magic of Paris” where he shared 50 of his signature dishes, transporting the magic of Paris into kitchens of gourmet homes across the country.

Recently, Chef Joho and his team at Everest were awarded four stars by Phil Vettel in his re-review in Chicago Tribune. Last year he was named ‘Restaurateur of the Year’ by Gayot.


Michael Howell

Executive Chef, Green Turtle Club Resort & Marina

Michael Howell is an internationally regarded Chef with a career that spans more than 20 years cooking in North America–Chicago, New York, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, and The Bahamas. From 1999 to 2002, he was the Executive Chef at the Green Turtle Club and has been coming to the Bahamas regularly since 1983. He has been involved in event management for 20 years (Acadian World Congress, Canadian Chefs Congress, Canada Pavilion at Salone Del Gusto, Turin, Italy, and more) and has also been involved in tourism development in Canada for ten years (Nova Scotia Tourism Partnership Council). Michael is the Executive Director of both Devour! The Food Film Fest and Devour! The Beach working alongside his business partner, Managing Director, Lia Rinaldo.

From 2002 until 2012, Michael owned and operated Tempest Restaurant in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, one of the most well respected restaurants in Canada. In 2011 Michael was named the Province of Nova Scotia’s Local Food Hero and in 2012 was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to the food movement and community in Canada.

A member of Slow Food for many years, Michael’s cuisine has always espoused the principles of fresh, local, healthy food and an appreciation for the many famers, fishermen, cheese makers and other artisanal food producers that bring great food to chefs to be transformed into a glorious dining experience.


Michael Blackie

Born in Leicestershire, England, and raised in Montreal, Michael Blackie has been cooking for almost 27 years on three continents. Over the past decade, he’s worked at some of the world’s finest hotels including the Fairmont Pierre Marques (Mexico) and the Oberoi (Bali), an exclusive five-star facility voted the world’s best boutique resort by Leading Hotels of the World (2002) and listed on Cond Nast’s “hot list”.

Among his many career highlights, Chef Blackie held executive sous chef and acting chef positions at the prestigious and world-renowned Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. In 2003 Michael returned to Canada and was responsible for the opening of Brookstreet hotel as the Executive chef. Within four months of opening Brookstreet was awarded the prestigious four-diamond rating from CAA for the dining room Perspectives.

In 2009, Michael joined the National Arts Centre as the Executive chef and Director of Food and Beverage. During his tenure Michael created “Celebrity Chefs of Canada” two years running this event showcased the talents of 18 chefs from across Canada. This unique event garnered national attention. In 2010 Michael was the co-host of Chefoff! A seven-part Food Network produced show that showcased the antics and challenges of two chefs, as they battled for number one position. Chef-off was nominated for a Gemini award in 2010, in the category of reality TV.

Currently Michael is the co-founder, an 11,000 SQFT unique facility located in the west end of Ottawa, featuring casual dining, events, catering and take home. represents the fruits of Michael’s dedication to his craft and is proud to call this place his home.


Tom Fleming

Although he’d been cooking for his family and in various food service establishments since the age of 10, it was the vibe and adrenaline rush he felt walking into the busy, pulsing professional kitchen of his oldest brother’s San Antonio restaurant in the mid 80s that steered Tom Fleming on a path to becoming a well-known executive chef and now, owner of Crossroads Diner in Dallas.

Fleming graduated from Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts in Chicago and set out for France where he apprenticed under classical French Chef Paul Bocuse at his namesake restaurant Paul Bocuse and Chef Paul Haeberlin at L’Auberge de l’Ill. He returned to Chicago where he worked at the internationally recognized French restaurant, Everest for Chef Jean Joho before opening a new, casual-French restaurant for him called Brasserie Jo, which was awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding New Restaurant award in 1996.

He opened the Old Hickory Restaurant at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine and later moved to Central 214, adjacent to Hotel Palomar in Dallas, where he cultivated a loyal fan base for his extraordinary American bistro fare. Today, Fleming has traded high-end fine dining for chef-driven comfort food, and is right at home in his own restaurant — Crossroads Diner. Opened in the fall 0f 2010, this restaurant is a labor of love where you’ll often find the entire family at work.

Fleming creates every dish at the restaurant from scratch and his team uses local ingredients and distributors whenever possible. The building itself, located east of US75 on Walnut Hill, is a testament to the use of local talent. As a throwback to the 1950s and the art deco style of the building, murals, both inside and outside the restaurant, were created by local artist Randy Stark. They feature a wonderful view of the Dallas skyline as well as a pin-up girl named “Rebecca”: the president of the restaurant’s Sticky Bun Club named after their signature “sticky bun” also called “sticky love.”


Craig Flinn

Chef Craig Flinn is the owner of Chives Canadian Bistro in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Craig graduated in 1997 from the Culinary Institute of Canada following a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography from Saint Mary’s University. His apprenticeship began in 1996 when he met and worked with Chef Michael Smith at The Inn at Bay Fortune on Prince Edward Island. He continued his apprenticeship over the next 4 years in Europe, Canada, and the U.S., most notably at the famous Savoy Hotel in London, England.

Craig opened Chives on December 4th, 2001. Since then the restaurant has been a solid supporter of local food producers. The restaurant menus are based on seasonal produce from local farmers, artisan cheese and meat producers, and sustainable seafood with the core menu changing every 6 to 8 weeks. The bistro’s clientele enjoy contemporary Canadian dishes rooted in European culinary history.

Chives has received numerous awards for its food and wine including two stars in “Where to Eat in Canada” 2006 to present; named in The Top 100 Restaurants in Canada, “Wine Access Magazine”, 2006-08; named Best Restaurant in Halifax, “The Coast” 2006-07; named Best New Restaurants in Canada, “En Route Magazine”, 2003-04. Craig was recently voted “Best Chef in Halifax” by a reader’s poll for The Coast from 2008 to 2012 and Chives was voted “Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Halifax” in 2011 and 2012. In November of 2012 Craig was awarded the Gary MacDonald Culinary Ambassador of Nova Scotia Award, an honor he is immensely proud of. In Spring 2013 he opened his second restaurant Two Doors Down located, you guessed it, two doors down from Chives on Barrington Street in Halifax.

In November 2008 Craig’s first cookbook called Fresh and Local was launched nationwide (Formac Publishing). The book focuses on the food of Chives and dishes that showcase seasonal ingredients from the farms and artisan producers of Canada. Craig’s second book called Fresh Canadian Bistro was released in October of 2009. The third book in his “Fresh” series is called Fresh and Frugal and was released in October of 2010. Craig is currently writing his fourth book that is due to be released in 2014.



Eric Williams

Eric Williams is the Executive Chef and Owner of Momocho Mod Mex, El Carnicero Tamaleria, Jack Flaps and the Happy Dog Restaurants located in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2006, Eric opened up Momocho dishing up award-winning Mexican cuisine that went on to be featured nationally on the Food Network, amongst other cooking channels and various print publications, including Food + Wine magazine as part of their Top Ten Mexican Restaurants of 2007.

In 2010 & 2011, Eric was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for “Best Chef-Great Lakes Region”. Eric is also the Executive Chef and Co-owner of the Happy Dog Restaurants–small music venues serving gourmet hot dogs and craft beer. In 2013, he  opened two new restaurants–El Carnicero, a modern Mexican tamaleria located in Lakewood, Ohio and Jack Flaps, an urban breakfast joint in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland. Viva momocho + viva carne fabulosa!



Michael Palij, MW

Event Sommelier

Winetraders was founded in 1997 by Michael Palij, MW. A Canadian, Michael emigrated to the UK in 1989 after reading English and Philosophy in his home city of Toronto. He qualified as a Master of Wine in 1995 at the age of just 29. A career in retail was brought short when he was recruited as the wine buyer for Windrush Wines, in 1994, and sent on his first buying trip to Italy. He promptly fell in love with both the country and its wines and has subsequently visited Italy on more than 100 occasions. Michael is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Italian wine and is published internationally through Dorling Kindersley. He also writes the Italian sections of both the Wine and Spirit Education Trust ( core textbooks. In his opinion the value of education in promoting wine can not be over-estimated and he continues to run a wine school in Oxford ( as well as lecturing on Italy around the world. Michael lives in Oxford.