On this episode of “Hot Off the Press” Pete sits down with fellow Mess Lords and celebrity chefs Celina Tio and Nick Liberato on their recent “Fork Full of Freedom” trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Featured on the Food Network program “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” hosted by Guy Fieri, Mess Lords is a group of celebrity chefs that have teamed up to help boost the morale of those in the United States Armed Services. As a founding member of the organization, Chef Pete and his team of Mess Lords offer cooking demos, culinary shows, entertainment, and of course good eats to the men and women who selflessly serve our country.
After earning a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Drexel University, Celina Tio started cooking at Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton hotel. By age 23 she had become the chef of the hotel’s Grill Room. Celina moved to Orlando, Fla., to work for Walt Disney World. There she helped open two specialty restaurants: Spoodles, which features Mediterranean cuisine, and Citricos, specializing in Southern French dishes. Celina became known during the following seven years heading the kitchen at Kansas City’s renowned American Restaurant. There she garnered local and national accolades, including 2005 “Chef of the Year” by Chef magazine and the James Beard Foundation’s 2007 “Best Chef: Midwest.” She subsequently left to open her own restaurant, Julian, in Brookside, Kansas City, in 2009. While at Julian, Tio appeared on several television cooking series such as Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef. She opened a second restaurant, called Collection, in 2013, and The Belfry the following year. Follow Celina on Twitter.
Nick Liberato has been cooking professionally for 18 years, and now calls the Southern California coast his home. Nick is a personal chef to the stars and a revered cocktail mixologist. Nick has participated in include multiple stints at The James Beard House in New York (2005-2010), Bogota Food and Wine Festival in Colombia (2011-2012) as well as various events spanning locations from Sydney to Tokyo. In October of 2012, Nick traveled to Italy to and cooked his way through the whole country, region by region for two months. Nick has appeared on Top Chef Masters on Bravo TV and has appeared as a chef multiple times on Spike TVs hit show Bar Rescue. Nick currently owns/operates his Catering business Calidelphia and is executive chef/partner of The Venice Whaler in Venice Beach California. After years of honing his craft with various chef positions at LA hotspots, Nick landed a position at Sona, where he became the protege to chef David Meyers; he was heavily influenced by modern French and Japanese cuisine. After having the opportunity to work and study cocktails with the famous Milk & Honey in New York City, Nick went on to consult and create a variety of cocktails at The stylish French brasserie Comme Ca in West Hollywood, West Los Angeles’s Toscana, and David Meyer’s new Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, CA. Having studied various techniques with an eye for detail and a vision for food service, a short list of Nick’s celebrity clients include Tom Hanks, Barbra Streisand, Anthony Kiedis, The Beastie Boys, Hank Azaria and Cher. Connect with Nick on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Special “shout-out” to this episode’s sponsor, Mountaineer Roasting. Located on the 5th floor of Evansdale Crossing at West Virginia University, Mountaineer Roasting Company is the proud coffee partner of WVU. Expertly roasted in small batches right on campus, every cup enjoyed supports WVU student scholarships and international learning experiences. Enter code PANINI15 when ordering to receive a 15% discount!
On the latest episode of "Hot Off the Press" Chef Pete catches up with Bill Walton, aka "Dr. Oyster," the oyster aquaculture extension specialist with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. He is an associate professor in Auburn University’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences and a marine Extension specialist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Working along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico at Auburn University’s Shellfish Lab in Dauphin Island, Ala., he conducts applied research with local shellfish farmers, shellfishermen (commercial and recreational), and national and local organizations. Before moving to the Gulf, he did similar work along the coast of Massachusetts. In particular, Bill focuses on development of oyster mariculture in the southern U.S. as a sustainable, environmentally friendly industry that creates jobs, increases incomes, and preserves a traditional way of life.
In addition, Bill and his wife, Beth, along with their partner Troy Parnell and his wife, Camellah, started the Fairhope-based catering service "The Wandering Oyster," that specializes in catering oyster raw bars, featuring world-class oysters from across the country.
For more information, visit www.thewanderingoyster.com.