One of the most effective ways to introduce consumers to a beverage alcohol brand is to offer them a taste of both the spirit itself, and the lifestyle it represents. And the best way to do that, is at an event. As National Events Director at The Patrón Spirits Company, Pam Dzierzanowski leads the company’s three-person events team to create memorable and impactful and consumer experiences.Pam is also responsible for cultivating relationships with like-minded brands, and evaluating sponsorship opportunities that best align with Patrón’s luxury brand position and strategy. She and her team plan, develop and execute creative events and meetings across the country – everything from determining strategy, all the way to coordinating those small details that consumers see when they come in contact with Patrón’s portfolio of ultra-premium spirits, and event activation. Pam is driven by the passionate goal that every event, every meeting, and every gathering that involves Patrón brands must be absolutely perfect, every time.Before joining Patrón in 2007, Pam spent 13 years managing events for companies in the drinks industry, including roles at Seagram, Diageo, and Absolut.
Gina Mims is the Vice President of the OC Restaurant Association as well as Owner of Inspiro Brands, Inc. She specializes in Branding and Graphic Design for the Restaurant & Lifestyle Industries. She has developed restaurant brands throughout Orange County including JT Schmid’s, French 75, Bluewater Grill, The Winery Restaurant and Bruxie Waffles. In addition to all design for OCRA events such as OC Restaurant Weeks, Kids Week, Happy Hour Week and Golden Foodie Awards.
Named as one of Orange County's most influential people to watch in 2016 by the Orange County Register, Mona Shah-Anderson, owner of Moxxe PR, stands out in the OC business world because in 2004, when her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she made the decision to leave her position as Media Relations Director at a successful OC-based PR firm to spend time with him. The decision was simple for her - family first. Over the next year, she started freelancing for multiple clients and, before she knew it, she had started her own boutique PR firm, which she ran from her father's bedside. After he passed away, she made the decision to build the PR firm and to carry on her father's legacy. He was a successful orthopedic surgeon, who possessed an MBA, and was always striving to continue growing. Her goal was to make Moxxe successful - not into the biggest agency in Orange County, but the BEST. Although she services a wide variety of clientele, she has found her niche as an OC restaurant publicist and has created a reputable name for her company, Moxxe PR. In addition to working with the Orange County Restaurant Association and FoodPower, she works with some of the area's top restaurants, including The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, ARC, Provenance, SOL Cocina, Haven Gastropub, Bruxie, Portola Coffee Lab, Slapfish, Prego Ristorante, and Sushi Roku Newport Beach.
Moxxe's Mona Shah-Anderson sits on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Restaurant Association and promotes OC's largest culinary event, Orange County Restaurant Week. Her PR experience comes a wide range of positions, from being the PR Director for the Miss Universe Organization and coordinating initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa with the Harvard Aids Institute, to working on the 84th/86th/87th Annual Academy Awards and the 72nd/73rd Annual Golden Globes, and coordinating publicity for high-profile individuals such as President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Laura W. Bush. She has also been a contributor for Orange Coast Magazine and the Newport Beach Independent, and is a member of the OC Press Club. She is an active member of the LA/OC chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier International, on the committee for the March of Dimes OC Signature Chefs Auction, and an advocate for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.
The objective of the OC Restaurant Association, Inc. is to illuminate the Orange County restaurant industry. Pam Waitt is best known for launching “Orange County Restaurant Week” in 2008 which is the region’s most celebrated dining event and brings the county together through food. She is known for her visionary spirit and leadership abilities along with a commitment of bringing people together through food. Pam is the executive producer and creator of the Golden Foodie Awards. The association is also the company behind the Pacific Wine and Food Festival. Pam believes that food has power and connects us all. She enjoys creating innovative, fun events that appeal to all palates.
WAHOO'S FISH TACO™Wing Lam, Co-Founder/Partner As the eldest of the three founding brothers, Wing co-founded Wahoo’s Fish Taco in 1988 and has more than 37 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Wing actively supports many national and local community-based events and serves as a board member of various non-profit organizations including Share Our Strength, Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation and Surfrider Foundation. Wing makes repeat appearances as the guest speaker/panel at events such as the IEG Conferences and has been featured by some of the nation’s top campuses like Yale, UCLA, and the USC MBA Program. He has also received much recognition from prestigious corporations and publications such as Ernst & Young’s 2002 Entrepreneur of the Year nomination, Orange County Business Journal and OC Metro Magazine. Wing holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and a minor in Spanish from San Diego State University. He is also a part-time Adjunct Professor for Concordia and Chapman Universities' MBA programs. www.wahoos.com
As co-executive producer of the Golden Foodie Awards, Tricia was an integral part of the successful launch of the inaugural event in September 2012. Prior to joining the OC Restaurant Association team in 2010, Tricia was director of marketing and PR for Orange County’s largest culinary school, The Art Institute of California – Orange County. During her tenure, she led the California Initiative Marketing Group; worked with more than 30 charity events; created and executed numerous award-winning food, fashion, music and art events, including the highly lauded Rock the Runway; and oversaw the development of innovative online initiatives, such as shapethehive.com. A veteran marketing and advertising professional, Tricia has also worked with national brands, including Del Taco and La Victoria Salsas, and DGWB Advertising.
Certified Sommelier & Gastronome looking to perpetuate a quality lifestyle through travel, food, wine, & beer. Currently co-hosting the Golden Chef Series for The Golden Foodie Awards & is the National Sales Director for Paul Hobbs Wines & Paul Hobbs Selections. Humble starts in the Hawaiian restaurant & bar scene gave way to working for a wholesaler. Joining (then) upstart Kona Brewing Company helped launch his career as a beverage manufacturer rep and valuable resource to the restaurant community. Charlie’s professional history has indebted himself with the Sebastiani Family, Constellation Brands, Beam Global, Hess Family Wines, Jackson Family Wines & Merryvale Vineyards. His current leadership role at Paul Hobbs Wines allows for a continued wine/education presence & a higher level of collaboration throughout the chef & sommelier network across the country. He is passionate about education and preaches the gospel of quality wine and sustainable farming. Charlie is a wine judge, contributing beverage writer, and “wanna be BBQ pitmaster”, who can be found poking around SoCal, Napa Valley and all points in between. social media @cplummer4.
Daniel Mattos is currently Chef Director of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory, educating 9th-12th grade students and inspiring the next generation of leaders of the hospitality industry.
First generation born in America, Chef Mattos finds his roots in Portugal. Growing up in a traditional Portuguese family, home-cooked meals incorporating seasonal garden vegetables and fruits from the backyard were tradition. Natural quality and freshness was an everyday staple. At the age of 15, Chef Mattos embarked on a career in the hospitality industry, working a myriad of positions in the restaurant business. Through this experience, he developed a passion for the culinary arts, which ultimately led him to Johnson & Wales University where he completed an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Business degree in Food Service Entrepreneurship. Chef Daniel impressive resume includes Bristol Hotels and Resorts, the acclaimed Stanhope Hotel in New York City and four-star Bisque Restaurant. As the Executive Chef, Bisque Restaurant climbed one and half stars to a four-star restaurant. Eager to build his skill-set and expand his career, Chef Mattos decided to start a new chapter, teaching the culinary arts. At the highly praised Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, Chef Mattos taught health-supportive vegetarian cooking integrating classical cooking techniques. In 2004, Chef Daniel relocated to Southern California and began teaching culinary arts and eventually became Chef Director at the Art Institute of Orange County. He helped grow the program from 300 students to 800. In 2011, the nationally recognized Orange County School of the Arts recruited Chef Mattos to design the curriculum and facilities for their new culinary program. http://www.ocsarts.net/culinaryarts
Chris Christensen is a career journalist who fled the harsh winters of Ohio for the West Coast and has spent much of the last 25 years writing about food – and winning awards for it. As Orange Coast Magazine’s Senior Editor/Style, she oversees dining, fashion, and home-design, a dream job for someone wild about beach cottages and cashmere sweaters, and who hasn't met a margarita she didn’t like. Food editor and columnist for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and The Oregonian in Portland, she was a James Beard Award finalist, and has won two Best Column and Best Section awards from the Association of Food Journalists, for both the Portland and Long Beach papers. Chris, who has written for the Los Angeles Times and Vegetarian Times, learned to cook and develop recipes at an early age, in the kitchens of her Italian mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Tony Reverditto has been a food and entertainment writer for Rage Magazine for six years and has previously written for Orange Coast, Live OC and Valley Scene magazines as well as various blogs. A decade ago, Tony he got his first assignment as a food writer; it was as though his early days in the restaurant industry and his ability to tell a story through script writing came together. Feeling right at home in the culinary scene, he has enjoyed sharing his diverse dining adventures with readers; everything from the finest five-star restaurants to delicious dubious dives. He has had the pleasure and opportunity to meet and interview scores of renowned chefs and restaurateurs’ throughout Southern California. He founded a live theatre called Way Off Broadway Playhouse in 1987, producing and directing seventy productions for which he was awarded “Best Director and Best Production of the Year” by the LA Times and OC Register. He has written tons of comedy sketch and led three touring comedy improvisation troupes. Tony was a talent agent for five years, did Marketing at Paramount Pictures, and script coverage for a top Product Placement company. His love for the theatre brought him back to his roots, an Artistic Director position for Theatre of Arts, an International Performing Arts Academy for college-aged foreign students in the heart of Hollywood. This is where he was able to expand his career into film-making, having written a few screenplays and television pilots and opened doors to become a food writer.
Michael Jordan is Director of Global Key Accounts for Jackson Family Fine Wines. Previously Jordan served three years as vice president of food & beverage for Anaheim’s award winning restaurant and live music venue, THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon (Zagat 28-29-28). Prior to that Jordan was president of The Beachcomber Restaurant Group. Before that he served as Global Manager of wine sales & standards and Wine Educatior for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts® Worldwide - and nine years as general manager of the world famous Napa Rose restaurant at Disneyland Resort® in Anaheim. In his career Jordan has been involved with the opening of seventeen restaurants including Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa and was general manager/sommelier of Pavilion at Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach when it received AAA’s Five Diamond Award. Jordan grew up working in the kitchens and dining room of his father’s famous “Celebrity Hangout” Matteo’s Italian Resaurants in LA and Honolulu where his father served six US presidents and a solid celebrity clientele for the past fifty years. Jordan holds a Master Sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as a Certified Wine Educator diploma from the Society of Wine Educators and is one of only 15 people in the world to hold both these diplomas.
Producer and co-host of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” with Chef Jet Tila heard on Saturday mornings on AM 830 KLAA. The live, fast-paced, 90-minute editorial program showcases food, restaurants, beverages, and travel.Harris has produced successful and well-reviewed food, restaurant, libation, and travel shows on the major heritage AM radio stations in greater Los Angeles since 1998, including KFI-AM 640 (the most listened –to station in the West,) TalkRadio 790 KABC and KFWB NewsTalk 980.For 17 years, through 2008, he wrote the "Dateline" Los Angeles column covering area restaurant happenings in Los Angeles and Orange counties for "Beard Bites" now published biweekly as an e-newsletter by the prestigious James Beard Foundation (the producers of the annual James Beard Foundation Awards, the Oscars of the food world.)In 1983 and 1984 Andrew Harris, as an employee of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, organized (and created the quality control monitoring system for) the food service for the public at all of the ticketed 1984 Olympic event sites in three states.
Jennifer Morris is the founder of Ajenda Public Relations in Southern California. She learned to send a text message while still in diapers and her first words were filet mignon. Her first job was at an old fashioned A&W (yes, roller skates and all), she put her way through college working at some of the best restaurants in Orange County, and is a self-proclaimed foodie. She enjoys working with a variety of restaurants and food brands including The Halal Guys, Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen, Ways & Means Oyster House, Rooftop Lounge, Old Vine Cafe and OC Chef's Table just to name a few. In between sending pitches and posting mouth-watering photos to Instagram she enjoys baking and playing with her three dogs.
According to Cathy Thomas, part of the fun of cooking and entertaining is creating delectable dishes without spending hours in the kitchen. That’s been the focal point of her cooking classes and award-winning newspaper features for over two decades. Her quick-to-prepare recipes showcase flavorful ingredients, relying on fresh fruits and vegetables to make each dish colorful and delicious. Cathy is the food columnist at the Orange County Register. Her weekly columns and food features are nationally distributed on the McClatchy Tribune News Wire and frequently appear in newspaper food sections across the country. She won the first place award as the best food columnist in the nation from the Association of Food Journalists. She pioneered the use of culinary-based videos on the Web, taping in her home kitchen with legendary chefs such as Thomas Keller, Stephen Raichlen and Marcus Samuelsson. Cathy has released two books, “Melissa’s Great Book of Produce” and “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce”. Her third book will launch in 2012.
Simon Majumdar is an author, food & travel writer and broadcaster. He has traveled to over seventy countries and every state in America following his quest to “Go Everywhere, Eat Everything”. He has written two bestselling books cataloging his adventures, “Eat My Globe” (Simon & Schuster 2009) and “Eating For Britain” (Hachette 2010) and is currently working on his third book, “Fed, White & Blue” which will be published by Hudson St. Press in 2015. He has also contributed features to many well known newspapers, magazines and websites, including Ask Men, The London Times, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Independent and The Spectator. As well as his writing, Simon has become well known for his many appearances on The Food Network on shows such as The Next Iron chef, Iron Chef America, Extreme Chef, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Back in Time For Thanksgiving and, the current hit show, Cutthroat Kitchen. He is already planning his next great adventure.
Born into a large family of seven kids and raised by loving parents in Southern California, Neil Saavedra started his career in radio in 1990. Armed with curiosity and a desire to talk about things that truly interested him and hopefully others, Neil embarked on a path to his first radio show on KDAR 98.3 FM in Ventura. Throughout the early 90’s, Neil continued to explore talk radio on other stations in the southland like KKLA 99.5 FM and KBRT 740 AM. Neil came to “America’s most listened to” news talk radio station, KFI AM 640, in March 1994 as an intern and has never looked back. Currently Neil “produces” the unique and wildly popular “Jesus Christ show” heard every Sunday morning from 6 - 9 on KFI (the show is also nationally syndicated in over 50 cities). From 2004-2008 Neil was the co-host of the television show, “Breakfast Lunch and Dinner” where his two loves of food and talking collided in a talk show where celebrities and everyday folks discussed current affairs over a meal.Neil now hosts The Fork Report on KFI, a show that talks about everything food, every single Saturday from 2-4PM.As an avid home cook and a self admitted “food geek”, Neil is always trying new restaurants and eateries and purchasing new cooking gadgets, but he is also quick to point out, he’s not a food expert…he’s a food enthusiast! Neil’s philosophy is; food snobs should relax and foodphobes should go on a culinary adventure and explore new flavors and textures. Neil is a native Angeleno and thinks Southern California has some of the best culinary experiences in the country.
Jed Cartojano curates one of the most followed food Instagram accounts @dailyfoodfeed (www.instagram.com/dailyfoodfeed) and is also a partner of @tryitordiet (www.instagram.com/tryitordiet). Based in Orange County, he features foods from restaurants throughout the local community and has become a major influencer and food authority in the market. Aside from taking mouthwatering photos of food with his iPhone, Jed is also a partner and marketing consultant of the marketing firm, Squad Goals, the collaborative brainchild of Jed, previously founder of local restaurant marketing firm Taste Marketing Strategies, and Afters Ice Cream founders and marketing and branding gurus, Andy Nguyen and Scott Nghiem. Additionally, Jed will be introducing his own restaurant concepts to Orange County this year.
With more than 40 years of experience in every aspect of the restaurant industry, from chef and restaurateur, to consultant and coach, FoodPower Founder, Phyllis Ann Marshall, is unequivocally energized by the Power of Food. A graduate of Cornell University and a student of culinary schools around the world, Marshall’s education has served as solid foundation for her many accomplishments, which include working with some of the country’s best-known and respected restaurants. Founder of the Restaurant Management Certificate Program at the University of California, Irvine, and guest lecturer at UCLA, Marshall also serves as contributing editor for several publications. From co-founding and operating the award-winning Mr. Stox in Anaheim, California, to starting her own culinary academy in San Marino, California, there is not a cuisine she has not experienced intimately.
For more than 20 years, Mr. Cho has been instrumental in building Orange County’s hospitality industry. His clients include some of the county’s most well known chefs, restaurants, bars, hotel resorts, golf courses, stadiums, breweries and wineries as well as wholesalers and distributors of food and beverage products. He advises business owners, investors and franchisees seeking to expand their businesses and brands through scouting new locations and acquiring other operations. Additionally, Mr. Cho counsels business owners, including chef-driven restaurants, on general business operations including menu development, business structures, acquisitions, leasing, due diligence, land use entitlement and conditional use permits related to the service of alcoholic beverages. Mr. Cho is widely known as the go-to attorney when it comes to securing an alcoholic beverage license due to his long-standing relationship and impeccable reputation with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Having handled more than 3,000 alcohol license transfers, he has experience representing investors with the purchase and sale of businesses with alcoholic beverage licenses as well as the background to provide advice on the acquisition, sale or valuation of alcoholic beverage licenses.
Editor-in-Chief, Modern Luxury Orange County, the 14-year-old luxury lifestyle magazine of Orange County
During her career, Tina Borgatta has worked at magazines and newspapers spanning from L.A. to San Bernardino County. She's held staff writer and editor positions at the Daily Pilot, the Los Angeles Times and the San Bernardino County Sun. And she’s taught journalism at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Orange Coast College and Chapman University.
As the Editor-in-Chief at Modern Luxury Orange County, Borgatta is expected to keep her finger on the pulse of everything luxe, hip and happening in Orange County, and dining is key element.
Before landing at Modern Luxury, Borgatta served as Editor-in-Chief of OC Metro and OC Menus magazines, and before that, as executive editor of Orange Coast magazine.
Restaurateur and CEO of House of An, Elizabeth An, has come a long way from her challenging start in San Francisco after she and family fled a war-ravaged Vietnam in 1975. Spending her teen years in trendy California in the 70’s and 80’s, Elizabeth quickly fell in love with the fashion world. While still in high school, she worked her way up in the fashion world, from stocking and inventory, eventually became a buyer, and ultimately opened her own boutique in San Francisco’s Union Square. Elizabeth also had a love and knowledge of food and hospitality – the family business – which she simultaneously worked for, solidifying her current position as CEO of House of An. With the success of Thanh Long and Crustacean San Francisco, she set her sights on Beverly Hills to open the celebrity-studded institution, Crustacean Beverly Hills. Elizabeth brought back her love of fashion and fused it with the concept of the family business, and in 2009 she opened the South Coast Plaza restaurant, AnQi. Elizabeth built a unique 60-foot catwalk that has since its spectacular opening, hosted multiple award-winning designers and served the original and delicious An cuisine. Integral to the An family and their diversified company is the ethic of ‘giving back’ as they have always emphasized the importance of involvement in the surrounding community. In 2012 Orange County’s Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) OC, which serves as advocates for local children who have been abused and neglected, recognized Elizabeth and the An family by awarding them ‘Outstanding Corporation’ award for their efforts in the community and on behalf of CASA.
The Golden Foodie Guild is made up of culinary industry leaders. The Guild plays as an advisory role offering feedback, guidance and advocacy.
The Golden Foodies® is an event honoring Chefs, Restaurants Food and Drinks
The Golden Foodies are the Peoples Choice Food Awards. Winners are announced at the awards gala in September at The Fairmont Newport Beach.