Meet the Chefs

Take advantage of this unique event to meet and greet with the celebrity chefs of Palm Desert Food & Wine.

Site Staff Current Digital, Restaurants


Have you wanted to know what is the single most important ingredient to Chef Fabio Viviani’s culinary creations?

What tool in the kitchen does celebrity Chef Scott Conant hold dear to his heart?

Now you can find out by asking the chefs in person by attending the Celebrity Chef Reception March 22 at Hotel Paseo in Palm Desert. The reception precedes the two Grand Tasting days, March 23-24, when each of the celebrity chefs will put on a demonstration of one of their favorite dishes.

Buy tickets HERE.

The celebrity chef lineup includes Viviani, Conant, Gale Gand, Karen Krasne, Antonia Lofaso, Stuart O’Keefe, Nick Roberts, Laura Werlin, Brooke Williamson, and Zac Young.

Meet the Celebrity Chefs: Here are brief bios on each of them.

Scott Conant

The celebrity chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author put his name on the map when he opened L’Impero in 2002. It scored a three-star review from The New York Times, the title of Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation, and praise from esteemed foodie publications. With numerous restaurants and cookbooks, and an ever-expanding brand and TV presence, Conant continues to raise the bar of the global food scene.

Gale Gand

Gand first appeared on TV in 1995 alongside Julia Child in the PBS series Baking With Julia. The now nationally acclaimed pastry chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and culinary instructor went on to host Food Network’s Sweet Dreams and has received two James Beard Awards, was inducted into the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame, and co-founded Chicago’s TRU, recipient of two Michelin stars.

Stuart O’Keeffe

Known for his healthy, hearty meals, O’Keeffe first explored his passion for food while cooking alongside his mother in his native Ireland. Since moving to California, the TV personality and “easy-prep” cookbook author has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. He currently co-hosts Food Network’s Let’s Eat! and regularly appears as a guest on series where he prepares dishes that honor his homeland’s roots

Fabio Viviani

Cutting his teeth in the kitchens of his native Florence, Italy, Viviani owned and operated several concepts by the time he was 27, including two nightclubs and five restaurants. Best known for his TV debut on Bravo’s Top Chef — where he was voted a Fan Favorite — his on-screen appearances have propelled him to become one of the top culinary names in the United States.

Antonia Lofaso

The Food Network star (currently on Guy’s Grocery Games) is also the executive chef and owner of California’s Black Market Liquor Bar and Scopa Italian Roots. Her newest concept, DAMA, was named  downtown L.A.’s Most Exciting New Restaurant and Lounge by Eater Los Angeles.

Brooke Williamson

Williamson has carved out an impressive résumé — she was the youngest female chef to cook at the James Beard House and won Top Chef Season 14. She imparts her signature California-inspired cuisine, infused with local ingredients and global flavors, upon audiences and guests at the restaurants she runs with her husband, fellow chef and Palm Desert Food & Wine participant Nick Roberts.

Zac Young

Ranked one of the top 10 pastry chefs in America in 2015 by Dessert Professional, Young is known for his playful takes on American desserts, like the Thanksgiving sensation, the PieCaken; for being a finalist on the inaugural season of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts; and for showcasing his signature wit and pastry wisdom on The Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets.

Laura Werlin

A self-described “edu-tainer,” Werlin is a James Beard Award–winning author of six books about all things cheese, as well as a sought-after corporate speaker, instructor, spokesperson, and presenter at food and wine festivals and wineries around the world. She is always on the hunt for new and unusual creations


Celebrity Chef Reception, 6-8 p.m. March 22, Hotel Paseo, 45400 Larkspur Lane, Palm Desert. For tickets, call 888-596-1027 or visit palmdesertfoodandwine.com.