International chefs to visit Delaware for Mid Atlantic Wine + Food Festival May 14-18

January 30, 2014

The Mid Atlantic region will host an extraordinary number of international chefs who are converging on Delaware for the MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival May 14-18. The festival has sourced its 2014 visiting chefs from six continents, and its total number of participating chefs has more than doubled since 2013 with 92 international, national and regional chefs committed to date. This 43-event festival will take place at venues throughout the state.

Born into the Thai royal family, ML Sirichalerm Svasti, known to many in the United States as Chef Siri McDang, grew up in a Bangkok palace and has become one of Thailand’s most famous celebrity chefs. He is the expert on Thai cooking for Le Cordon Bleu, as well as an author and well-known television personality in Thailand. Many Delawareans know him as the former chef of Rehoboth Beach’s Back Porch Café.

Chef Yara Castro Roberts authored "The Brazilian Table," the first book about Brazil’s cuisine written in English by an acclaimed Brazilian chef. She operates the Academy of Cooking & Other Pleasures in Paraty, Brazil, which offers courses in four languages that cover the Minas Gerais, Bahia, Amazonas and Cerrado cuisines. Roberts hosted the PBS Emmy-nominated "Cook’s Tourand" is currently the host of a new, in-production TV series, "Delicious Brazil."

Chef Bronwyn Zeca Solomon is the executive chef of Morukuru Family Restaurant in South Africa. Morukuru is part of Relais & Châteaux, an exclusive collection of the finest restaurants and hotels around the world, and won a World Luxury Hotel Award in 2013. Solomon attended Silwood Kitchens and completed a Grande Diploma in Cordon Bleu Cooking in 2011.

Chef Vincenzo “Vince” Trotta is the executive chef of Chateau Tanunda, Barossa Valley, Australia. Once Australia’s youngest executive chef at Mount Lofty House, Trotta has also served as chef aboard Rodney Fox Great White Shark Expeditions, as owner of Salter’s and as executive chef with Accor Novotel Barossa Valley. Following successful engagements at Bar Ravesi and Rogues Streetons, in 1998, he was named one of the top 25 young chefs in Sydney, and won Sydney’s Best Pizza award at Bondi Restaurant Biboteca.

Chef Robert Staegemann is executive head chef of Commander Porterhouse and Oyster Bar in London, England. This Johannesburg, South Africa native has achieved two coveted Chef of the Year titles in his home country. Staegemann has consulted on restaurant openings, run successful establishments, mentored many aspiring chefs, written recipes for magazines and newspapers, appeared on cooking programs, and led master cooking classes. In 2014, he will be launching Confident Cooking, a relaxed home-based cooking course teaching all levels of non-chefs how to buy ingredients, prepare them and cook with confidence.

Festival founder and Board President Ajit George said, “We set our sights on having six continents represented between chefs and winemakers - one more continent than last year. We’re more than thrilled to have achieved it with just the chefs, and six continents’ worth of winemakers is not out of reach. We know it’s unlikely that we could ever get an Antarctic chef to participate, but we’ve been known to dream big.”

Chefs from North America, the sixth continent represented, include a number of chefs from the British Virgin Islands, the exclusive island sponsor of the 2014 festival, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Haiti and St. Lucia. A number of nationally known chefs will also descend upon Delaware to join chefs from the Delaware Valley, a detailed list of whom will be announced in February.

In its second year, the festival features international vintners and chefs in collaboration with local talent, bringing tourism to Delaware and increasing awareness of the region’s cultural assets. Local and regional chefs as well as high school and college culinary students will collaborate with visiting winemakers, chefs, brewers and distillers.

Expanded chef bios and festival event descriptions can be found at For more information about the festival, call Laura Stimson at 302-660-2200, Ext. 105.

The MidAtlantic Wine and Food Festival began as an independent festival in 2013. The festival’s purpose is to be the premier food and wine event of the Mid Atlantic featuring international vintners and chefs in collaboration with local talent to bring tourism to Delaware and increase awareness of its cultural assets. The festival is the beneficiary of a generous two-year capacity-building grant from the Longwood Foundation. Mid Atlantic Wine and Food Festival Limited is a Delaware nonprofit. A designated portion of the net 2014 proceeds will benefit five arts-related beneficiaries throughout Delaware including CAMP Rehoboth, Christina Cultural Arts Center, Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, OperaDelaware, and the Smyrna-Clayton Heritage Association. Beneficiaries will also receive board governance consulting services from the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement. The festival is managed by Strongpoint Events Marketing LLC.

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