Guest of Honor
Ted Allen - Emmy Award Winning Host of Chopped and Chopped Junior
Emmy and James Beard Award winner Ted Allen is the host of “Chopped” and “Chopped Junior,” Food Network’s hit primetime culinary competition shows, and the author of two cookbooks, “In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks,” and “The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes," both published by Clarkson-Potter. Previously, he was the food and wine specialist on the groundbreaking Bravo series “Queer Eye,” and a series-regular judge on both Food Network's “Iron Chef America” and Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He was a contributing writer to Esquire magazine from 1996 to 2012, where he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, and, before that, a senior editor of Chicago magazine for four years. He holds an M.A. in journalism from New York University, and a psychology B.A. from Purdue University. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, Barry Rice.
Stephanie Izard - Executive Chef & Owner
Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat
Stephanie Izard, James Beard “Best Chef: Great Lakes” recipient 2013, and 2011 Food & Wine “Best New Chef,” is the Executive Chef/Partner of three Chicago restaurants, Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat. Most recently, Izard was also awarded with the coveted title of “Iron Chef” after winning season 1 of Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet.
A 2011 James Beard “Best New Restaurant” nominee, Girl & the Goat has been praised by high-profile publications such as Saveur, New York Times, Food & Wine, Better Homes and Gardens and others. Little Goat, Stephanie’s highly successful follow-up to Girl & the Goat, encompasses a diner, coffee shop, bakery and bar. In March 2016, Stephanie opened her third restaurant, a Chinese concept called Duck Duck Goat in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.
Izard recently was awarded with the coveted title of “Iron Chef” after winning season 1 of Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet. Additionally, Izard was the first woman to win Bravo’s Top Chef (Season 4/2008) and is the only winner of the original version of the show to take the title of “Fan Favorite.”
Among other recent projects, Izard has a product line called “This Little Goat,” consisting of cooking sauces and spice mixes for home cooks. Izard’s first book, “Girl in the Kitchen,” was released in the fall of 2011 (Chronicle). More information on Stephanie Izard can be found at www.stephanieizard.com or follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @StephAndTheGoat.
Alex Becker - Executive Chef and Creative Culinary Director at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Executive Chef Alex Becker brings to Kuro more than two decades of restaurant experience, including work at celebrated worldwide Japanese restaurants Katsuya and Nobu. At Kuro, Becker plans to source the best quality product available for the restaurant's new-style Japanese creations -- dishes grounded in tradition yet progressive in concept and execution.
Becker believes in building relationships with true artisans and craft purveyors to source the best quality product possible. To that end, the menu at Kuro will include stunning dishes featuring both just-picked produce from Florida farms as well as exotic fish transported from the waters of Japan to diners' plates in the blink of an eye. Becker, who also serves as the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's Creative Culinary Director, started his career at age 15 in Atlanta. His prodigious culinary education includes a Masters in Italian Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Asti, Italy. Becker has also been accepted into the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers. The chef started the globetrotting chapter of his career at Ristorante Gardenia in Turin, Italy, a Michelin-starred restaurant. Becker then turned his hunger for culinary intellect to Japanese cuisine. This led to a seven-year career at Nobu. Later, as Corporate Executive Chef of Katsuya in Los Angeles, he opened multiple restaurants for the brand across the globe.
About the James Beard Foundation
Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for students of culinary arts and food policy, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org. Get food news, recipes, and more at the James Beard Foundation’s blog, or subscribe to the free digital newsletter Beard Bites. Follow @beardfoundation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Watch the James Beard House Kitchen Cam, James Beard Awards, and more on the Foundation’s Livestream channel. Find more JBF-related video on the Foundation’s YouTube channels.