The Judges

(Click images to learn more)

 

Chef Alana Wind

Growing up Alana always knew she wanted to cook. But with life's twists and turns it took some time for Alana to get to where she is today. After high school Alana went to SUNY Purchase to study backstage theatre design and production management. After realizing that was not her path in life, she decided to pursue other dreams once she graduated with my Bachelors degree.

Throughout that entire period Alana was involved in Emergency Medical Services where she volunteered and worked as an Emergency Medical Technician. When she graduated college, the economy was not doing well so instead of culinary school Alana decided to study to become a Paramedic. After working in that field for about 3 years, she decided it was time to purse her true passion and so she enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in New York where she completed her Associates Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, graduating with honors.

During her time at the CIA Alana went on a 5 month externship to San Francisco and worked at Farallon studying under Executive Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti. This is where she fell further in love with baking and with the city of San Francisco. After graduation from the CIA she packed her bags and moved across the country to SF. Alana started her culinary career as a Pasty Cook at  Waterbar under Pastry Chef

Angela Salvatore. From there she went to work at Alexander's Steakhouse where her education continued under Executive Chef Marc Zimmerman. After two years, Alana was brought into Harris' Steakhouse as Pastry Sous Chef and was recently promoted to Executive Pastry Chef where she is finally putting her own mark on the menu and beginning to stake her claim in the pastry world.

 

Chef Irfan Dama

Chef Irfan Dama is a native of Mumbai India, and a specialist in Indian cuisine. He gained popularity as the Founding Chef of Baadal, the full service Indian restaurant at the Google campus in Mountain View, where his exploration of regional cuisines of India won him many fans. He has cooked for several Bollywood celebrities, as well as for the Prime Minister of India.


Chef Irfan Dama is the co-founder of 'DAMA Indian Foodservice Solutions', a company that revolutionizes the large scale production of Indian food. His signature base sauces, marinades and spice blends are now used in the preparation of quality Indian meals served to customers in over 800 companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. This system is also being used in a pilot program at Google to enable them to simplify and standardize their Indian food offerings.

Chef Kevin Kohlmann

 

Growing up in Wisconsin, the most often cited of the Midwestern states with a long tradition of German heritage, Kevin spent his early years assisting his father, who was an artisan sausage maker. The recipes shared with him by this father extend for multiple past generations and reflect the Germanic culture and heritage of his family Kevin also spent time gardening with his father in the fertile Midwestern soils although he would also work with his mother in the kitchen putting those family recipes to use. They grew and cooked all of their own vegetables, focusing on slow cooked and smoked meats with an emphasis on  sausages using homemade recipes. During this time he became fascinated with food and decided at the age of 5 to become a chef.

After moving to California, and with the support of family and friends, who were keenly aware of his culinary talent, Kevin enrolled at the Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell, California where completed his academic training. In 2008, he began his professional career at Cafe Pintxo on the Google campus. He has since worked at Cafe Moma, Cafe Victoria, Cafe Steam, Chef of PIC Cafe, Half Time and most notably Cafe Masa. He has since won the prestigious award of San Mateo County As Fresh as it Gets Award three years running.

He is an avid home gardener where he grows heirloom vegetables and herbs. Kevin strives to create unique dishes

with the freshest in-season ingredients as his main inspiration. He continues his family tradition by making homemade sausages, ranging from bratwurst to new specialties, such as Chinese sausages. he has added baking to his repertoire, and his signature double chocolate mint chip cookies have received acclaim among friends and relatives in the Bay Area

Passionate, driven and undeniably talented, Kevin invites you to join him to experience the finest blend of flavors.

 

Laura Ness

Laura Ness, aka “Her VineNess,” has called the Santa Cruz Mountains home for over 30 years. She most enjoys writing about wine and food, and the magic created when a savvy chef creates the perfect pairing.

 

Laura has judged many wine competitions, food & wine pairing events and taught “Meet the Winemaker” classes at De Anza College. She is the wine and food columnist for Los Gatos Magazine, and contributes to a variety of wine trade publications and Bay Area newspapers. She blogs occasionally, and irreverently, at WineOh.Tv.

 

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