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About the Chefs

Some of America’s top chefs have appeared at the Tennessee Aquarium’s Serve & Protect live cooking shows. They come to Chattanooga because they support the Aquarium’s objectives to: make sustainable seafood easier to understand, help diversify everyone’s “seafood portfolios” and empower others with information, tips and techniques that make preparing sustainable seafood fun and enjoyable.

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Chef Tamie Cook

Cook has been an integral part of the Aquarium’s Serve & Protect sustainable seafood program since it was launched in 2011, both producing and starring in this top-rated event each year. For nearly a decade, Cook served as culinary director for the Food Network show “Good Eats.” Her many talents have paved the way for her to work on award-winning cookbooks and videos while utilizing her technical culinary art skills in the roles of food stylist and recipe tester/developer. Cook is also a freelance food writer and teacher who has a passion for leading others to sustainable seafood and mindful eating.

Featured Recipe: Charred Squid & Sweet Potatoes
Featured Recipe: Charred Squid & Sweet Potatoes
 
 

Previous Serve & Protect Chefs

Alton Brown

Famed foodist Alton Brown helped found the Aquarium’s Serve & Protect program. Brown counts himself as among those who have been inspired by consuming a steady diet of Jacques Cousteau television specials and being an enthusiastic SCUBA diver. Using his culinary fame and talents, Brown seeks to reach new audiences with information and recipes that lead to wider adoption of preparing only sustainable seafood.
 
 

William Dissen

From his upbringings in the hills & mountains of Appalachia, Chef William Dissen always has been in touch with the outdoors & nature. At his restaurants, The Market Place, in Asheville, NC – Haymaker Restaurant in Charlotte, NC – and Billy D’s Fried Chicken at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC – Chef William Dissen works with a network of local farms, artisan producers, & sustainable fishermen to produce flavorful, fresh food for his patrons.
Featured Recipe: Hot Wreckfish Lettuce Wraps
Featured Recipe: Hot Wreckfish Lettuce Wraps
 
 

Lisa Donovan

Lisa Donovan started selling breads and cakes out of her third floor walk-up with two babies under her feet. As a server at the famed Margot Café and Bar in Nashville, Lisa received a deep education on food and wine and connected with Anne Kostroski and Tandy Wilson who were on their way to building City House. Lisa opened City House as assistant pastry chef under Anne and, within six months, was head pastry chef under Tandy’s very encouraging, smart and efficient hand. Lisa now spends all of her time writing, consulting and learning.
Featured Recipe: Cast Iron Cobia en Turmeric Brodo
Featured Recipe: Cast Iron Cobia en Turmeric Brodo
 
 

Kristen Essig

Kristen Essig was born and raised in Florida. Seventeen years ago, Kristen made New Orleans her home, kicking off her Crescent City culinary career with Chef Emeril Lagasse at Emeril’s, followed by a four-year turn with Chef and mentor Anne Kearney at the famed New Orleans Restaurant, Peristyle. She’s been named one of Coastal Living Magazines “5 Coastal Chefs to Watch” (2015), nominated as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” (2015), and one of Times Picayunes Chefs to Watch (2014). Kristen proudly joined the Coquette family in the fall of 2016 as a co-chef and partner with her love, Michael.
Featured Recipe: Baked Lionfish with Boiled Peanut Broth & Okra
Featured Recipe: Baked Lionfish with Boiled Peanut Broth & Okra
 
 

Michael Gulotta

Born and raised in New Orleans, Michael Gulotta began cooking in local restaurants at a young age. He graduated from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. He opened his first restaurant, MOPHO, in January of 2014 with his brother and a high school friend. Located in New Orleans’ Mid City, MOPHO strives to be a true neighborhood restaurant and a destination for Southeast Asian inspired cuisine utilizing the Louisiana pantry. His team recently opened its second full-service restaurant, Maypop, in the Central Business District of New Orleans. Maypop has been named a Best New Restaurant by New Orleans Magazine and a New Orleans top 20 restaurant by Condé Nast Traveler.
Featured Recipe: Silver Carp Brandade
Featured Recipe: Silver Carp Brandade
 
 

Ricky Moore

Ricky Moore, originally from New Bern, North Carolina is the award winning Chef and Proprietor of SALTBOX Seafood Joint® with two locations and a food truck in Durham, North Carolina. Moore is the author of SALTBOX Seafood Joint ® Cookbook, released in Fall 2019. Moore has traveled extensively cooking in many of the major cities and abroad. Moore has been featured in Saveur, Travel & Leisure, Southern Living, The New Yorker (The Week), Garden & Gun, Our State, Vogue, USA TODAY, Eaters, Bravo TV, Tasting Table,Taste of the South and was a competitor on Food Network's Iron Chef America. He is a graduate of Culinary Institute of America and a US Army veteran.
Featured Recipe: Jamaican Escovitch Carp
Featured Recipe: Jamaican Escovitch Carp
 
 

Chef Ryan Prewitt

Ryan Prewitt began his culinary career in the farmer’s markets of San Francisco. After spending time working for chefs Robert Cubberly and Alicia Jenish at Le Petite Robert Bistro, he moved to New Orleans to work with Chef Donald Link at Herbsaint. Ryan has learned techniques from many talented BBQ pitmasters and has traveled to Uruguay to study traditional open-fire cooking. These experiences, along with a trip to observe grilling techniques in Spain, culminated in the opening of Pêche Seafood Grill. Ryan received the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South in May 2014, the same year Pêche earned the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.
Feature Recipe: Curry Braised Drumwith Rice Fritters
Feature Recipe: Curry Braised Drumwith Rice Fritters
 
 

Nico Romo

Born in Lyon, France, Chef Nico Romo is the distinguished culinary executive director of Fish Restaurant in downtown Charleston. Chef Romo rose to prominence among the United States’ finest hotels – including the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, and the Ritz Carlton Atlanta, and is a US member of The French Culinary Academy and Master French Chef. Both elite international assemblies comprise the most highly skilled chefs in techniques and traditions of the French culinary art. In addition to being a Monterey Bay Aquarium 2014 Sustainable Seafood Ambassador, Chef Romo was selected by the James Beard Foundation from more than 450 applicants nationwide to participate in hands-on advocacy training with a focus on sustainable seafood.
Featured Recipe: Blue Mussels with Ginger-Coconut Broth
Featured Recipe: Blue Mussels with Ginger-Coconut Broth
 
 

Steven Satterfield

Steven has earned many titles since he traded a successful music career for a profession in the culinary arts. His resume includes: James Beard Foundation finalist for Best Chef, Southeast 2013; also nominated for Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef. Under his direction, Miller Union has been placed on the “Best New Restaurants in America” lists from Bon Appétit and Esquire, as well as Atlanta magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year.” Steven is also the author of two cookbooks; Celebrity Chef: More than 60 Delicious Recipes and Root to Leaf. As a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Georgia Organics and the Southern Foodways Alliance, Satterfield remains actively engaged with Atlanta’s progressive culinary community.
Featured Recipe: Seared Diver Scallops with Butternut Squash & Fennel
Featured Recipe: Seared Diver Scallops with Butternut Squash & Fennel
 
 

Barton Seaver

Chef Barton Seaver is the Director, Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. He is also a National Geographic Society Fellow and Sustainability Fellow in Residence at the New England Aquarium. Barton is the author of, “For Cod and Country,” “Where There’s Smoke,” “Foods for Health” and “NatGeo Kids Cookbook." As a chef Barton’s restaurant career has always focused on sustainability, helping establishments garner eco-friendly recognition from publications like Bon Appetit.
 
 

Kim Severson

Severson has been a staff writer for The New York Times since 2004. She is a correspondent based in the South, reporting on the nation’s food and culture. She also contributes to NYT Cooking, a new website and app based on the extensive New York Times collection of recipes and cooking videos.
 
 

Susan Spicer

Spicer is a one-woman industry in New Orleans. Among her many awards, Spicer has been named one of Food and Wine's 10 Best New Chefs and received the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Southeast Region, 1993. Her French Quarter restaurant, Bayona, has been featured in Bon Appetit and has been listed as one of the top 5 restaurants in the Zagat Guide for New Orleans. In May 2010, Susan was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. Susan is also credited with inspiring a Hollywood persona. Ms. Desautel, a character in the HBO series Treme, a television series depicting post-Katrina New Orleans, was loosely based on Spicer’s career.
Featured Recipe: Crayfish Beignets
Featured Recipe: Crayfish Beignets
 
 

Suzanne Vizethann

Suzanne was the champion chef on Food Network’s popular "Chopped" TV show in 2011. Suzanne says winning the competition before an international viewing audience was a phenomenal experience, giving her the confidence to be a successful chef and launch her own restaurant, Buttermilk Kitchen in Atlanta, GA. She’s had a lot of fun throughout her culinary career. In 2014 Suzanne appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show, teaching weatherman Al Roker how to deep-fry a turkey in a sweet tea brine. Knowing where your food comes from is really important, and I think that we as chefs and restaurateurs should be able to educate the public on what you should be eating.“
Featured Recipe: Buttermilk Fried Scallops with Grits and Smoked Tomato Marmalade
Featured Recipe: Buttermilk Fried Scallops with Grits and Smoked Tomato Marmalade
 
 

Virginia Willis

Willis returns to the Serve & Protect stage at the top of her game. She is a 2016 James Beard award winner for her most recent cookbook, “Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome.” She is also currently in development with Boston’s WGBH-TV on “Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South,” which will air on PBS stations nationwide in 2018. A new companion book will be released to accompany the program’s debut. Willis is also a contributing editor for Southern Living. Her column “Cooking with Virginia” will debut this fall. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.”
Featured Recipe: Mama's Crawfish Etouffee
Featured Recipe: Mama's Crawfish Etouffee
 
 
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