Festival
Personalities

2016 festival celebrities announcement coming soon!

Anne Burrell

Anne Burrell With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York, studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy, battled alongside Mario Batali as his sous chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and wrote a New York Times bestselling cookbook. In September 2015, Ms. Burrell hosted the series premiere of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition, where she mentored a team of celebrities who were in serious need of some cooking pointers. In addition, Ms Burrell hosts Worst Cooks in America, a prime-time reality show where she leads a team of hopeless home cooks from around the country through culinary boot camp. In her Food Network series, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, she eliminated the intimidation of restaurant dishes and revealed concise, easy‐to-master techniques for the at-home cook. Ms. Burrell also starred in her own right on Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs in Fall 2011.

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Marc Murphy

Marc Murphy A regular judge on Food Network’s hit show Chopped, renowned restaurateur and celebrated chef Marc Murphy returns to the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival after a wildly popular debut appearance in 2014. Marc is the Chef + Owner of Benchmarc Restaurants (Landmarc & Ditch Plains), Chef & Partner at Kingside at Viceroy Central Park and Grey Salt located in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida. In addition to the restaurants, he also heads up the company’s catering division, Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy. Murphy has also made appearances on Guys Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay, Iron Chef America, The Kitchen, The Rachael Ray Show, TODAY show and Good Morning America among others. He is the President of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, a board member of City Harvest, and a member of the Leadership Council for Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. In 2012, Marc joined the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he takes part in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. Marc’s debut cookbook, Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking was released in April 2015.

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Josh Capon

Josh Capon

Executive Chef/Partner, Lure Fishbar, B&B Winepub, El Toro Blanco and Bowery Meat Company Josh Capon is the seasoned executive chef and partner behind Lure Fishbar, B&B Winepub, El Toro Blanco and Bowery Meat Company in New York City, and Lure Fishbar in South Beach, Miami.

Josh Capon, best known as the host of Spike TV's first cooking competition show, “Frankenfood,” is the six-time winner of the People's Choice award at the New York City Wine & Food Festival and South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash event. He is the seasoned executive chef and partner behind Lure Fishbar, B&B Winepub and El Toro Blanco in New York City, and Lure Fishbar which opened recently in South Beach, Miami. He has appeared on numerous television shows including The Chew, Rachael Ray Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, CBS Early Show, TODAY show and Food Network and has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Time Out New York and other media outlets. Capon is also involved with charitable work including Wellness In The Schools, a non-­profit organization dedicated to making school food healthy.

"I'm literally Fired Up to once again be hosting the Saratoga Fired Up! Wine & Food Festival,” Capon said. “I had a blast last year with the fabulous people of Saratoga. I’m looking forward to this year with all of the chefs cooking delicious food and the people dancing the night away."

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Jasper Alexander

Jasper Alexander

Chef

Since 2011, Jasper has been the Chef and owner along with his wife Elizabeth of Hattie’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Jasper received formal training at the Culinary Institute of America and also has had experiences in New York and the west coast that have provided a solid foundation of culinary knowledge. As a chef, Jasper has built on this to learn, grow and explore new ideas. As for his specific training and education, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitman College in 1991 and an Associate of Occupational Studies degree from the Culinary Institute of America in 1993. Upon graduation, Jasper moved to Manhattan where he worked for four years under New York City’s premier chefs, first with Charlie Palmer at Aureole, then with Alfred Portale at Gotham Bar and Grill, and finally as part of the opening team for Gramercy Tavern with Tom Colicchio and Danny Meyer. In 1997 Jasper returned to the Northwest where he was the Chef of several of Seattle’s finest houses, Axis, Ponti Seafood Grill, and Restaurant Zoe. In 2001, Elizabeth and Jasper returned to Saratoga Springs and purchased Hatties Restaurant.

Hattie’s and Jasper have received an enormous amount of local and national publicity. Jasper has been featured in the first edition of Best Chefs of America 2013, Food and Wine 2012, New York Times 2010, Esquire 2010, Wall Street Journal 2009, Saratoga Living 2008, Capital Region Living 2008, Cooking with Paula Dean Magazine 2007, National Geographic Traveler 2010 & 2015, The Atlantic 2007, The Washington Post 2005, Hudson Valley Magazine 2005, The Boston Globe 2004, and The New York Times, 2003.

Hattie’s has been named

  • Best Fried Chicken in US: Food and Wine
  • America's 50 Best Fried Chicken Spots: MSN
  • Best Fried Chicken: Saratoga Today, Saratogian 2005-present
  • Best Brunch Fab 5 Saratoga.com
  • Certificate of Excellence Trip Advisor
  • Small Business award from The SBA
  • Saratoga Chowderfest
  • Best Chefs in America 2013-present
  • Metroland -best Southern and Soul Food in Capital Region1998-present.

In 2006, Jasper received national television exposure when he beat Bobby Flay in a chicken frying contest on the Food Network show Throwdown with Bobby Flay. The colorful segment, filmed on location at Hattie’s and the Saratoga Race Course, continues to be popular and is aired regularly.

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Chris Morris

Chris Morris

Chris Morris is Master Distiller for Woodford Reserve, the seventh since its parent company Brown-Forman began in 1870. A Louisville native, he has spent his working life in the bourbon industry. He is responsible for maintaining the award-winning taste of Woodford Reserve and serves as a brand ambassador at numerous trade and consumer functions.

Morris grew up around bourbon as he is one of three generations of his family to work at Brown-Forman. His career began in 1976 as a trainee in the central lab working for the Master Distiller. In 1988 he went to work for Glenmore Distilleries Company and joined United Distillers through its acquisition of Glenmore in 1991.

In 1997 he returned to Brown-Forman and was chosen to begin training as Master Distiller, a position he has held since 2003. He developed the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection, Double Oaked, Rye and Distillery Series products. In 2015 Morris was given the additional responsibility of Vice President of Whiskey Innovation for Brown-Forman.

As a student of the industry Morris authored the Society of Wine Educator’s Certified Spirits Specialist program, introduced the use of taste notes for bourbon in 1992 and developed the Woodford Reserve Flavor Wheel in 2004.

Morris has served on the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Kentucky Bourbon Festival’s Board of Directors and as co-chair of the DISCUS Master Distillers Committee. He has also served as a judge at the IWSC and ISC competitions.

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Joshua Wesson

Josh Wesson

Best-known as a storied sommelier and founder of Best Cellars, Joshua has enjoyed a long and successful career in the food and wine industry.

In 1984, as Wine, Spirits and Service Director at Hubert’s (a three-star NYT restaurant), Joshua won the title of Best Sommelier in French Wines & Spirits in the United States. Two years later, he traveled to Paris to represent America in international competition, where he was named one of the top five sommeliers in the world by SOPEXA.

In 1987, Joshua helped assemble award-winning wine programs at Bouley and Arcadia. In 1990, Joshua was elected to the board of the American Institute of Wine & Food’s New York chapter. In 1997, Food & Wine magazine named Joshua the Retail Wine Innovator of the Year for his work in developing Best Cellars (which opened in the fall of 1996). In 2003, he received the prestigious Ambassador’s Award from the European Wine Council. In 2005, JetBlue Airways selected him as its official Low-fare Sommelier. In 2007, he merged Best Cellars with the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. In 2009, Joshua was named Retailer of the Year by the Wine Enthusiast magazine. In 2011, he founded Joshua Wesson Wine & Food, a retail and restaurant consulting company whose clients include Red Farm and Urban Plates. In 2012, Joshua helped open the first in-store wine & spirits business for Fairway Market, a venerable NY-based grocery chain where he served for three years as corporate wine guru. In late 2012, he debuted his latest retail concept, Best Bottles, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. His wine recommendations can be found in many books and magazines. Joshua’s first book, Red Wine with Fish: The New Art of Matching Food with Wine (1989 Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year; 1990 International Association of Culinary Professionals, “Silver Medal” recipient), co-authored with David Rosengarten, was published in 1989 by Simon & Schuster. His most recent book, Williams-Sonoma Wine & Food—A New Look at Flavor, was published in 2008 by Free Press/Simon & Schuster.

Joshua has been a frequent guest on television and radio. He is a regular commentator on NPR/Public Radio International’s The Splendid Table. He attended Hampshire College and the University of Rochester’s Graduate School of Community and Preventive Medicine.

Most mornings, you can find him sipping a doppio macchiato and reading the New York Post at Tarallucci e Vino on 83rd and Columbus. Best to give him a wide berth until he finishes Page Six.

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The Beekman Boys

The Beekman Boys

Short Answer: Two NYC guys who bought a farm and are sharing their experiment in living better lives, season by season, neighbor by neighbor.

Long Answer: Beekman 1802 is a TV Show, Mercantile, bestselling cookbook and memoir, website and tourism destination all inspired by the Beekman 1802 Farm in Sharon Springs, NY.

When Josh Kilmer-Purcell (advertising executive and NY Times Bestselling author of I Am Not Myself These Days & The Bucolic Plague) and his partner Brent Ridge (physician and former Vice President of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Omnimedia) purchased the historic Beekman 1802 Farm in 2007, they had no idea that it would launch one of the “fastest growing lifestyle brands in the country.” (source: Nasdaq) Originally just a weekend getaway from their hectic NYC lives, the farm became their lifeline after both men lost their jobs within one month of each other during the recession of 2008. Faced with possible foreclosure, the pair made a decision – if they were going to save their farm, they would have to make it profitable.

After taking in a neighboring farmer and his herd of beloved dairy goats, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell began producing soaps and cheese. As other neighbors taught them how to farm, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell shared their city-honed skills – starting a website and Mercantile. The men began working with several other local farmers and artisans to market their goods, and the entire village came together to host seasonal festivals, which are now attended by thousands of visitors from around the globe.

Soon the press began noticing this little farm and village that refused to give up. (New York Times, Daily News, USA Today) A television network launched a reality show about their effort – The Fabulous Beekman Boys (now airing on Cooking Channel) – which spread the Beekman message of hard work, living seasonally, and neighborly sharing around the globe.

In 2012, the duo competed and won the grand prize in CBS’s The Amazing Race. Over 10M viewers watched for 12 weeks as Josh and Brent beat 20 other competitors in a 45,000 mile race around the world through 12 cities in 9 different countries.

Beekman 1802 has proven that a farm can be much bigger than its fences. The farm might just be one place on a map, but we count as our neighbors folks from all around the world.

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