Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Our Professional Recipe Judges

Tom Gray
Executive Chef/Owner
Moxie. Verve. Gusto. Exuberance. All of these capture the spirit of Chef Tom Gray’s Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, a contemporary American restaurant, which opened in November 2013, as well as the two-time James Beard nominated chef himself.

Gray’s culinary adventures have taken him through kitchens across the country and back again. He began his work in his hometown of Jacksonville at the age of 15 at a local country club, then a popular Italian restaurant. After deciding that a formal culinary education was in order, Gray attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y. Stints in California for culinary externships took him to the wildly popular Asylum in Beverly Hills and Wolfgang Puck's San Diego outpost, Delicias. Upon graduation with honors from the CIA in 1992, Gray joined the team at New York City's venerable Zoë restaurant, where he lived and worked for two years, earning his stripes in the “big city”.

From 1994 -1998 he was the Executive Sous Chef at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant (WSGR) at the CIA's Napa Valley campus. During this time, Gray mastered the intricacies of local sourcing, skills for developing seasonally-influenced menus and nuances of building relationships with growers.

Living in California's wine country developed more than Gray's culinary skills in that he also became keenly interested and knowledgeable about wines. During his days off, he worked in the cellar at a Calistoga boutique winery and learned every process of winemaking from harvest to fermentation to bottling, as well as how to properly pair foods with wines. The latter is a skill that he uses for each new dish he creates and for special winemaker pairing and charity events.

By 1999, Gray was ready to make his next big move professionally. A partnership offer to open Bistro Aix, located in Jacksonville’s historic San Marco district lured him and his future wife, Sarah Marie, from California back to Jacksonville to do just that. Gray served as Partner/Executive Chef at Bistro Aix for 13 successful years. The desire to take all of his experiences “to the next level” prompted his departure in late 2012, as the planning and development of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails took shape.

Gray’s personal drive, vision, and determination have served him well and earned him respect from peers, guests, and friends from coast to coast, as well as regional and national accolades.
Throughout his culinary career, Gray has received two James Beard: Best Chef South nominations in 2009 and 2010. He has also earned recognition in the Best Chefs America Classes of 2013, 2014 and 2015 and been featured in its recently published “The American South: A Regional Guide to Dining” as one of the Top 25 Best Chefs in the South.

In 2014, Gray was voted Best Chef Jacksonville by Folio Magazine and Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails was honored with the Golden Spoon Award for Best New Northeast Florida Restaurant by Florida Trend. Gray has recently appeared in Tastemade’s The Grill Iron series as well as Foodable WebTV Network's Table 42.

Chef Ryan Day
Executive Chef

Ryan balances tradition with innovation to create new products. A Connecticut native, Chef Day is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. After graduating his career started at Spoleto’s and Italian restaurant in Northampton, MA. As the Garde Manger Chef, purchased fresh ingredients that he used for his pates, galantines and to support the menu with dishes made fresh daily.

Day moved to Raleigh, NC to take on his first Sous Chef position at Border Café known for its Southwestern haute cuisine. He was charged with creating new menus and daily specials for the restaurant that paired with the varied wine list.

Ryan later moved to the corporate world as Assistant Restaurant Chef/Sous Chef at the San Diego Hilton Beach and Tennis Resort. During his tenure there, Day received the Pride Award and Innovation Award for his culinary talent and creativity. Day’s Career advanced with Hilton, as he became the Chef de Cuisine, running a three meal Southwestern restaurant, Fine Dinning Italian restaurant, Pool and bar restaurant, and all the banquets for the hotel.

Day’s work in restaurants and hotels in North Carolina and San Diego influenced the cuisine he created here in Hawaii.  As the Executive Chef of Honolulu’s Sunset Grill at Restaurant Row, he worked with various wineries and liquor companies to pair the restaurant’s dishes with their wines.  While at Sunset Grill, Day garnered multiple awards for the restaurant including the “Top Oahu Restaurant Hale Aina Awards” in 2001 and 2002 and Restaurant of Distinction Hale Aina Award in 2003.  He then became the Executive Chef for Ala Moana Hotel overseeing 4 kitchens and 12 banquet rooms throughout the hotel.  Additionally, he created all menus and daily specials for the hotel. 

In 2005 he moved to Palama Meat Company taking his knowledge and expertise into product development.  As Executive Chef – Product Development, Day utilizes his creativity to make foodservice and retail products for restaurants, national chains and other corporate customers.  After the product is developed by Day, he also oversees its production, packaging, labeling, and USDA approvals.  He is also the food stylist when products are photographed for print or filmed for commercials. Day continues to contribute to Hawaii’s culinary cuisine outside of his daily professional responsibilities by participating in business and community programs.  From 2002 through 2004, he was the Contributing Food Editor on the morning news at KITV Channel 4.  He has created cuisine for multiple wine dinners for various wineries including King Estate Winery, Robert Mondavi, Hahn, Benzinger, Grove Street, Pezzi King, Round Hill, Penfolds, and EOS Winery.  His participation with the wineries also included developing recipes for them.  

Chef Joshua Young

Private Chef

Culinary Institute of America 1992
(Bio coming soon)

Brad LaBel
Owner LaBel Equipment and Design

Brad LaBel is a graduate of the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America, located in Hyde Park, New York. His dedication and hard worked earned him an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts as well as a Bachelors Degree in Culinary Arts Management.

Brad first entered the foodservice industry in 1988, developing expertise in the areas of inventory control, sales, and purchasing. He worked as a chef for several years, and his experience includes Lundy's Famous Seafood House and the United States Air Force base in Germany. Working as a chef, Brad realized that he could use his experiences to help other industry professionals. He returned to the foodservice industry in 1998 as a design consultant and project manager for professional kitchen development. Brad's areas of expertise include restaurants, corporate cafeterias, hotel and catering kitchens, gourmet grocery, and school cafeterias.

With LaBel Foodservice Equipment & Design, Inc., Brad is continuing his pursuit of excellence, building a superior team of professionals responsible for developing your foodservice projects from start to finish. He is dedicated to providing the finest of Long Island equipment for kitchens, including commercial kitchen equipment, industrial kitchen equipment, foodservice equipment, tableware, fine china, Corona dinnerware, and everything aiding in immaculate dining experience.

Bradford Yearwood, CEC
Chef Instructor

Bradford A. Yearwood, CEC is an American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified
Executive Chef, a Culinary Instructor at the Wayne Technical and Career Center in
Williamson, NY and the NY Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, NY. He’s a
certified ServeSafe Instructor and Proctor for students and adults that want to get their
food handlers certificate.

Brad was the Executive Chef at Cobblestone Country Club in Victor for eight years prior
to moving to the Wayne Technical and Career Center in Williamson, NY in 2011. He
began his career in Albuquerque, NM working as a busboy and bar back at Bennigans
Restaurant and quickly was drawn to the kitchen. Brad went to The Culinary Institute of
America in Hyde Park, NY and graduated in 1992. He then took on his first role in Ouray, Colorado as the Executive Chef at The Pinon restaurant specializing in Continental Cuisine. With an opportunity to move back to New York, Brad relocated to Rochester in 1997 where he was the Executive Chef at Lincoln Hill Inn in Canandaigua. After many years in the restaurant business, Brad’s career took a new direction when he accepted a position as Chef De Cuisine at the prestigious Genesee Valley Club (platinum club). Brad gained the skills and the mentoring necessary to continue forward as the Executive Sous Chef at the Country Club of Rochester (platinum club), and has taught non-vocational classes at the Seasonal Kitchen, Rochester Info Courses, and Tops Cooking School.

Brad has won ACF’s Chef of the Year 2007 and 2013 along with many awards in ACF culinary competitions throughout the northeast. With over thirty years in the culinary field, Brad has been featured in numerous magazines, papers, TV spots, and Internet culinary demonstration videos since his career started. Brad’s the current president of the Rochester American Culinary Federation and a ongoing board member of the ACF Greater Rochester Chapter since 1998. When he’s not teaching he enjoys spending time on the beach or ski slops with his family, wife  (Heather) and two sons (Chase and Evan).

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