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The Piglet2010 / The Judges

The Judges

Grant Achatz

Grant Achatz

Grant Achatz grew up in the restaurant industry, his parents and grandparents being restaurateurs. Early on he realized he wanted to be a chef, and upon graduating from high school immediately enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. Achatz graduated and ascended the culinary ladder at several prestigious restaurants, including the acclaimed French Laundry, where he became sous chef to Thomas Keller. In 2001, he accepted the Executive Chef position at the four-star Trio (Evanston, Il.). While there, he was named the 2003 “Rising Star Chef in America,” by the James Beard Foundation and one of ten "Best New Chefs in America" by Food & Wine in 2002.

Achatz realized a lifelong dream by opening Alinea in Chicago in May 2005. The restaurant received extraordinary attention from day one, and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as the Best New Restaurant in America that same year. Alinea has garnered worldwide attention for its hypermodern, emotional approach to dining. The restaurant received four stars from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago magazine, Achatz was named the "next great American chef" by the New York Times (September 2005), and in October, 2006 Alinea received Five Stars from the Mobil Travel Guide. Achatz has appeared on the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, The Food Network, The Discovery Channel and PBS.

Achatz's photo taken by Lara Kastner, courtesy of Alinea and Achatz LLC.

Dan Barber

Dan Barber

Dan Barber began farming and cooking for family and friends at Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In May of 2000, Dan opened Blue Hill restaurant with David and Laureen Barber, and in 2002, Food & Wine named him one of the country's "Best New Chefs." In the spring of 2004, both Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture opened their doors in Pocantico Hills, New York. As the restaurant's executive chef/co-owner and a board member of the Stone Barns Center, Dan works to blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table. In the spring of 2006, Dan received the James Beard Award for Best Chef: New York City.

He has written for the New York Times, Gourmet, Saveur and Food & Wine. Dan has been featured in the New Yorker, CBS Sunday Morning, House and Garden, and Martha Stewart Living; his writing has been incorporated into the annual Best Food Writing anthology for the past five years.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of SimplyRecipes.com. Formerly a Silicon Valley marketing exec, she now spends her days cooking and blogging about it. She makes her own elderberry jelly. She once seduced a man with a peach.

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron is a journalist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director. Her credits include Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and the play Imaginary Friends. She has received three Oscar nominations for screenwriting. Her books include Crazy Salad, Scribble, Scribble and Heartburn. Her latest book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, was a number one best seller. Her latest film is Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Her play Love, Loss and What I Wore, written with her sister Delia Ephron, is currently running Off-Broadway at the Westside Theater. Nora lives in New York City.

Gabrielle Hamilton

Gabrielle Hamilton

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune, which she opened in New York City’s East Village in October 1999. Prune has been recognized in all major press, both nationally and internationally, and is regularly cited in the top 100 lists of all major food magazines. Gabrielle has made numerous television appearances, including segments with Martha Stewart, Mark Bittman, and Mike Colameco. Most notably, she was the victor in her 2008 Iron Chef America battle against Bobby Flay. Gabrielle has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, Saveur and Food & Wine and had an 8-week Chef’s Column in the New York Times. Her work has been anthologized in Best Food Writing 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. She is currently working on a collection of food essays to be published by Random House in October 2010.

David Kamp

David Kamp

David Kamp is the author of The United States of Arugula: The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution, a best-selling chronicle of America’s evolving attitudes towards food and cooking in the 20th century. He is also the author of the gastro-oeno-humor books The Food Snob’s Dictionary and The Wine Snob’s Dictionary. By day, Kamp is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, a husband, a father of two, and a mildly competent home cook.

Ben Leventhal

Ben Leventhal

Web entrepreneur Ben Leventhal is the co-founder of Curbed Media, a network of city websites, and the Creator and former Editor-in-Chief of Eater.com, the largest independent restaurant and nightlife blog on the Internet. (And as of yesterday, he announced that he has a fancy new job at NBC -- congrats Ben!) He’s written for publications including the New York Times, New York Magazine, Details, Food & Wine, DailyCandy and Hampton Style, where he served as the restaurant critic. Food & Wine awarded Ben a Tastemaker Award in 2006 and called Eater “required reading.” He has also been featured in the New York Times, Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Times.

Ed Levine

Ed Levine

Online food media entrepreneur author, and food personality Ed Levine (whom Ruth Reichl deemed the "Missionary of the Delicious"), founded Seriouseats.com in December 2006. Deemed the "gastronomic supersite" by the New York Times, Serious Eats is devoted to the pleasure, culture, and business of food. It is a unique combination of blogs, original content, video, social network, and community-created food conversations, all put together by some of the most authoritative names in food and new media.

Harold McGee

Harold McGee

Harold McGee writes about the science of food and cooking. He's the author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Scribner, 2004), articles and reviews in a variety of publications, and a monthly column, "The Curious Cook," in the New York Times.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

Although most well known as an Academy Award-winning actress for Shakespeare in Love, Gwyneth Paltrow is also a serious home cook and the creator of GOOP.com, where she writes about recipes she loves, meals she’s enjoyed, and the food she makes for her children. A bona fide foodie, she co-starred in Spain… On the Road Again with Mario Batali and Mark Bittman, which aired on PBS in 2008 and profiled the culinary traditions and history of various regions in Spain. She'll appear next on the big screen in Iron Man 2.

Grace Parisi

Grace Parisi

Senior Recipe Developer at Food & Wine, Parisi has a degree in music performance and painting. She never attended culinary school but does come from a family of chefs and restaurateurs. She began her career as a food stylist for TV commercials, where she combined "artistic expression" with a love of food -- mostly by painting partially roasted turkeys with a combination of Gravy Master and cheap liquid soap, gluing chicken skin onto the flesh with Krazy Glue, spraying french fries with shellac and hand-gluing sesame seeds to hamburger buns. Now, she tests and develops recipes for Food & Wine and does lots of TV cooking demos, including a monthly appearance on NY1. In 1997, she published Summer-Winter Pasta (William Morrow), and in 2005, her second book, Get Saucy (Harvard Common Press), was nominated for a James Beard Award.

Daniel Patterson

Daniel Patterson

Daniel Patterson is a self-taught chef who opened his first restaurant, Babette’s, in Sonoma, California in 1994 at the age of 25. He is currently the chef/owner of Coi in San Francisco, which was awarded two stars in the 2008 Michelin Guide and four stars by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Daniel is co-author of Aroma: the Magic of Essential Oils in Food and Fragrance, published in 2004. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, Food & Wine, the London Financial Times, Bon Appetit and San Francisco Magazine. He is currently working on his second book.

Helen Rosner

Helen Rosner

Helen Rosner is the books editor for the group blog Eat Me Daily, where she covers the world of food publishing and writes regular book reviews. When she's not wearing that hat, she is the editor of Grub Street Chicago.

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons joined Food & Wine in 2004 and handles special projects for the magazine, acting as liaison between the marketing and editorial teams on magazine events and chef-related initiatives. During her tenure, she has been responsible for the annual Food & Wine Classic. Gail lends her strong culinary expertise as a permanent judge on Bravo's Emmy Award–winning series Top Chef. In addition, she also makes frequent appearances on television and at events, and appeared as a speaker at this summer's Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Prior to joining Food & Wine, Gail was the special events manager for Chef Daniel Boulud. She began her career writing about food in Toronto, Canada and received her formal culinary training at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. Gail trained at both Le Cirque 2000 and Vong restaurants, and then worked for food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue. She has contributed to several cookbooks, including It Must've Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City and The New American Chef, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.

Gail lives in New York City with her husband Jeremy.

Jennifer Steinhauer

Jennifer Steinhauer

Jennifer Steinhauer has worked at the New York Times since her senior year in college at The School of Visual Arts in New York City, when she was a night-time copy girl. She has covered Brooklyn, the retail industry, health care and the economy and is currently Los Angeles bureau chief. She co-wrote a novel called Beverly Hills Adjacent. She cooks a lot. Jennifer don't like chestnuts, snow in her shoes, whistling of any sort and people who ask questions they don't really want to hear the answer to.

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée is the author of the bestselling memoir, Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home (Grand Central). Trail of Crumbs was a Barnes and Noble Discover pick and a Booksense Pick, and has been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Hebrew. Sunée has been featured in the New York Times, Ladies’ Homes Journal, People, ELLE, and Glamour. She was the founding food editor of Cottage Living and a former food editor for Southern Living, and she has appeared as a judge on “Iron Chef America.” Visit her Web site at www.kimsunee.com.

Sunée's photo was taken by EunHo Lee of the Korea Times.

Heidi Swanson

Heidi Swanson

San Francisco-based photographer and cookbook author Heidi Swanson is the creator of the award-winning blog 101 Cookbooks. She is the author of Super Natural Cooking a James Beard Award-nominated cookbook focused on natural foods. She is a contributor to Saveur.com and has also been featured in a wide range of national and international publications including Food & Wine, Fast Company, Glamour, Vegetarian Times, and the Washington Post.