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Cocktails & Castoffs 2017 Event Chefs

Chef Bios

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Jennifer Hill Booker (Event Emcee):

Jen Booker

Chef Jennifer’s culinary path has not always been a linear one. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Tulsa before graduating first in her class; eighteen months later, with an Associate of Occupational Science from Oklahoma State Institute of Technology. Extensive travel while married to an United States Army Officer pushed Jennifer to blaze a trail that fit her unique situation-a female African American chef, living abroad; as a result Your Resident Gourmet was born. During her time living in Germany, Jennifer honed her culinary talents by providing cooking classes for both military and German families. She was also able to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Paris, where she once again graduated top of her class. Twenty years later Jennifer finds herself once again blazing culinary trails as she wears many culinary hats as chef, cookbook author of Field Peas to Foie Gras and Dinner Deja Vu, reality TV personality, culinary educator and business owner.

She is a Georgia Grown Executive Chef for the GA Department of Agriculture, the Culinary Explorer for the Georgia Department of Tourism and Travel, is the founder of Southern Divas of the New SouthTM Dinner Series, and currently sits on the James Beard Foundation Food Waste Advisory Council. Weaving her love of traditional Southern cuisine with her belief in incorporating healthy, seasonal foods and her classic French training, Chef Jennifer created a unique style of cooking that she termed Modern Southern Healthy Cuisine with a French Accent. Chef Jennifer shares this brand of cooking through her cooking segment ‘Chef Jenn to the Rescue’, on CBS46’s Atlanta Plugged In, with original recipes in such publications as Garden & Gun and Essence Magazine as well as her Food Network debut as a finalist on Cutthroat Kitchen.

Joey Ward (Gunshow):

Joey Joey Ward has found a lot of inspiration in the chefs he admires, particularly his grandfather, who was a cook in the United States Navy and was as a father figure for Joey. He has fond memories of spending his Saturday mornings tuning into the cooking shows that followed children’s cartoons on PBS. Shows such as “Yan Can Cook” and “The Galloping Gourmet” had him hooked, and he’s been turning his creativity into inspired culinary creations ever since. Originally from Powder Springs, Georgia, Joey graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in 2005 with an associate degree in culinary arts management. He began his career in the South as the sous chef at the St. Regis Atlanta but eventually left the hotel to work under Kevin Gillespie at Woodfire Grill. After two years of guidance under Chef Gillespie, he moved on to become the executive chef at H. Harper Station.

When Kevin left Woodfire Grill to open Gunshow, he immediately called on Joey to provide his keen eye for presentation and passion for creativity. Joey found Kevin’s new approach to the preparation of dishes and how they are served to be a breath of fresh air for the Atlanta restaurant scene and has never looked back. Beginning as a “kitchen dude” when Gunshow first opened in May 2013, Joey was soon promoted to chef de cuisine in January 2014 and moved into the executive chef role in December 2014. As the executive chef, Joey is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the restaurant, including both the kitchen and front of house. He is in charge of daily operations, so every part of the guest experience is funneled through him and his creative imagination. In his role, Joey strives to create more involved ways to include guests in an exciting dining experience.
During his tenure as executive chef, Eater included Gunshow in its annual “The National 38” list of places to eat in America in 2015 and 2016. He was the runner-up in the James Beard Foundation’s 3rd Annual Fish to Fork competition in 2016. He led the Gunshow team to first place victory at the JCT. Kitchen & Bar Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival in 2016 and won People’s Choice Best Tasting Dish award in 2014. In 2015, He was named Jezebel’s Best Rising-Star Chef and an Eater Young Guns semifinalist, and Zagat named him to its list of 30 Under 30 People Redefining the Hospitality Industry in 2014.

Linda Harrell (Cibo e Beve):

LindaChef Linda Harrell brings more than 25 years of excitement creating magnificent Italian cuisine to Cibo e Beve. Harrell received her culinary foundation and formal European training working with acclaimed Chef Daniel Yves Abid, a protégé of Alain Ducasse, at Kingsmill Resorts in Williamsburg, Virginia.

With more than two decades of expertise and ardent enthusiasm behind her, Harrell has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and was featured on the national ABC-TV show, “Eat & Greet.” She has been featured in numerous periodicals such as Gourmet Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Flavors, and Atlanta Magazine. She is a member of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and actively participates in demonstrations and benefits throughout Atlanta. Currently, Harrell resides in Atlanta and is partner and Executive Chef to Cibo e Beve Italian Kitchen and Bar in Sandy Springs.

Maurietta Amos (Good Sugar):

MauriettaChef Maurietta Amos is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City (DBA International Culinary Center). She also holds a degree in Marketing and worked in the fields of Human Resources and Marketing. Starting out in the culinary industry as a pastry chef, she has worked in the South of France, New York City, and Atlanta with and for some of the best chefs in the industry. She has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad to bring the best the world has to offer into the kitchen. She now splits her time on the savory and sweet side kitchen working with private clients. She has worked behind the scenes at major cooking festivals for a wide variety of well-known names in the culinary field. She is focused on teaching her clients the art of flavor and food appreciation. Chef Amos has multiple nutrition certifications that enable her adapt her cooking style and teaching techniques to perfectly compliment any dietary needs.

Chef Amos is the owner of Good Sugar (a dessert catering company) and is in the process of launching a new venture called “The UnforgEdible Kitchen” where she consults and teaches life-style based cooking, and styles food for photo shoots.

Savannah Sasser (Hampton + Hudson):

Savannah As Executive Chef of Hampton + Hudson, a local community gastro pub located in the neighborhood of Inman Park, Savannah Sasser oversees culinary development and ensuring the kitchen is operating at its highest level on a daily basis. With over ten years of culinary experience, Chef Sasser works with fresh local foods and makes a conscious effort to work with farmers to create an elevated locally sourced menu with items that change seasonally. She provides Hampton + Hudson’s guests with consistent, innovative, and honest food.

Savannah has had a strong passion for cooking from a very young age. Growing up, she quickly realized that cooking is so much more than just nourishment. She has always believed that food is the ingredient that brings a community of people together. Her creativity and interest led her to culinary school, where she received her culinary foundation and formal French training in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu of Pittsburgh. After school, she trained under Chef Jacky Francois, a classical trained French chef overseeing the historic Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. To date she has cooked for dignitaries, celebrities, and all-star athletes from around the world.

Savannah is a member of the Les Dames d'Escoffier International, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage, and hospitality. She was named an Executive Georgia Grown Chef in 2016, which fosters a statewide program in Georgia between Chefs and Farmers who work with vulnerable communities around the world. She currently coordinates and prepares food at the Georgia Grown Dinner at The James Beard House in New York, NY.

Tiffanie Barriere (Avion):

TiffanieTiffanie is an active member of Atlanta’s dynamic cocktail scene and is often known by her nickname “The Drinking Coach” due to her passion for and knowledge of spirits and their history. Previous secretary of the Atlanta chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, she is frequently in cocktail challenge events and festivals around Atlanta and the Southeast. Tiffanie Barriere who’s family is from the country sides of south central Louisiana who now calls Atlanta home, has previously overseen and operated the award-winning beverage program at One Flew South 2009-2016 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Under Tiffanie’s creative direction, One Flew South was hailed as one of the best airport bars in the world by press outlets such as Esquire, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and more. Under Tiffanie's direction, One Flew South was named "Best Airport Bar in the World" at Tales of the Cocktail in 2014. Barriere’s background and training included the Bar Smarts program and mentoring from the late Chef Ria Pell, Chef Duane Nutter and her family. Her latest projects included working with Avion, her own female marketing team Drinking with the Girls, Southern Twist a traveling pop and progressive dinners thru out Atlanta. Smiles, charity work, and providing great service are indeed the intentions in her every pour along with education on the craft and culture of cocktails.

Zachary Meloy (Better Half):

ZachWith an upbringing that placed a heavy emphasis on food – from family vacations, to summer camps, to mornings at the DMV, Zachary Meloy always made a mental note of what he’d eaten each day as a child. While attending Johnson & Wales in Denver, Zach worked with award-winning chef Frank Stitt at Bottega, and ultimately landed on a culinary career after graduating with degrees in both Spanish and ceramics. Zach then spent close to five years living, traveling, eating, and studying in Central America. Seeing the shared ingredients he’d once thought specific to his home in the South, he became fascinated with the natural overlaps between the Latin and Southern American kitchens. After working alongside chefs Kevin Taylor and Sean Yontz in Denver, and Gerry Klaskala and Jay Swift in Atlanta, Zach successfully established his own style of cooking that can be traced back to his roots in Southern and Latin cuisine, while elevating them with creative flavor combinations and expressive presentations. In 2011, in an effort to build a groundswell behind their own food, he and his wife Cristina started PushStart Kitchen, an underground supper club, in a rented art studio at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. In the space, tucked away in a 130 year old factory, they served private, prix fixe meals to members of their modern speakeasy focusing on their favorite elements of their Latin-Southern cuisine.
During their almost three years in business, PushStart Kitchen garnered local, regional and national recognition, a membership list of over 5,200 members and had been featured on several television programs including TBS’ program Trends With Benefits and Food Network’s Chopped. After feeding 100+ guests per week through the supper club, they decided to bring their passion to a new brick and mortar space, and Better Half was born. Now, Better Half continues to focus on the blurring of lines between cultures while providing a creative menu in an intimate and casual space.

Zeb Stevenson (Watershed):

Zeb Over the years, executive chef Zeb Stevenson has risen through the culinary ranks to establish himself in Atlanta. Here at Watershed, he exerts a passion for experimental, ingredient-driven cooking, with a nod to soulful Southern cuisine in every dish.

Stevenson got his start as sous chef at the renowned Dick & Harry’s restaurant in Roswell, where he honed his technical skills of butchery, charcuterie, pastry and sauce work. He then advanced his career as executive sous chef and opening Spice Market at the W Atlanta Midtown Hotel, while training under acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. This experience led Stevenson to become chef de cuisine at The Livingston, where he collaborated with chef Gary Mennie and was quickly promoted to executive chef. During his tenure at The Livingston, he won Food Network’s “Chopped” cooking competition and opened Proof + Provision speakeasy, which became an immediate success.


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Uganda Trip 2017

Uganda-trip17

Each year Development in Gardening (DIG) organizes one opportunity to work hand in hand with our communities on the ground and visit some of the most beautiful sites in East Africa.

This year Development in Gardening (DIG) will be hosting it's annual DIG Africa Trip to Southern Uganda. The trip will depart New York in mid August and return 12 days later (exact dates TBD). We will have a full 6 days on the ground to work in DIG's culturally unique Batwa communities followed by a rare opportunity to trek the endangered mountain gorillas!

This annual trip has given donors, volunteers, and interested supporters an opportunity to not only see some of Africa's most enchanting places, but also experience DIG's work in the field.

I DIG Uganda Trip 2017 Details (PDF)

Dates & Activities

This year’s trip will be especially unique. Taking place in the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda, we will be working alongside one of the worlds most culturally rich yet extremely endangered communities, the Batwa (inappropriately refered to as the pygmies). The 12 day mid August trip will depart from New York City. It will present a perfect opportunity to get your hands dirty in DIG’s newest gardens while also including an equally rare opportunity to trek the endangered mountain gorillas.

DIG will organize all the necessary logistics, including airport transfers, gorilla trekking permits, community facilitation, and more.

Why the Batwa?

The 1992 creation of the Bwinidi Impenetrable National Park in Southern Uganda caused a forced migration of the indigenous Batwa people off their native land resulting in increased oppression, food insecurity, extreme poverty, and poor health. Throughout history, the Batwa have lived peacefully in the forest hunting and foraging for their sustenance. Since their removal from Bwindi, they have been caught in a cycle of poverty and abuse. They were given no rights to land and have no tradition in farming. The Batwa, once hunter-gatherers with little to no knowledge in agricultural techniques, are now forced to live and adjust to a modern agrarian society. With little hope for their return to the forest, DIG has been invited to come alongside the Batwa and better prepare them for nourishing themselves and their families where they are today. DIG’s primary mission is to enable vulnerable communities to meet their own needs and improve their well-being through nutrition-sensitive and sustainable agriculture and it is hard to find any community more vulnerable than the Batwa.

DIG's Adventure Trip: Kenya 2016 from Development in Gardening (DIG) on Vimeo.

Trip Costs

The cost of the trip is $5,000 per person and includes:

  • Round-trip airfare from New York to Kigali, Rwanda
  • Park Feeds, guides, taxes, etc.
  • All lodging
  • All food
  • All transportation
  • All excursions including the 2 night gorilla trekking adventure
NOTE: Because a portion of your fees help cover DIG’s transportation to Uganda, thus allowing DIG to continue on the ground with relevant work before or after your adventure, it may be possible for participants to write-off a portion of their $5,000 bill. Ask your tax advisor for more information.

The $5,000 does not include:

  • Any cost associated with acquiring a valid passport (Uganda requires that your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return)
  • Any vaccinations you or your doctor feel are necessary (Yellow Fever)
  • Any malaria prophylaxis or other medications prescribed by your doctor
  • Any travel/health insurance costs (travel insurance is required by DIG for participation on this trip)
  • Transport to and from New York to your home destination
  • Souvenirs, alcohol and other personal purchases while on the trip

Next Steps

This trip will be limited to 7 individuals so it is important to contact DIG as soon as possible if you are thinking of joining. Once we know your interest we will quickly work to answer any of your questions and finalize all dates and reservations.

DIG will ask for a $500 non-refundable deposit due by April 15th. You will be responsible for getting any necessary vaccinations, paperwork, and malaria medication before our departure.

All deposit checks should be made payable to:
Development in Gardening
999 Peachtree St. NE Suite 2300
Atlanta, GA 30309
Note:Be sure to include your name and 2017 Batwa Trip on the check.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a photocopy of your passport, your mailing address, and any frequent flyer numbers as soon as possible.

The remaining balance of $4,500 to DIG should be received no later than June 25th.

For any questions or for more information please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Annual Report 2018

DIG's Impact Report for 2018

Thanks to your support, DIG was able to impact the lives of two thousand people through sustainable agriculture initiatives in 2017-18. Take a deeper look into DIG's programs and see some of the impact we are having on nutritionally vulnerable people around the world. Meet Monica, one of DIG's new Mentor Mothers. See how a garden transformed the health of baby Ashley and how it brought a challenged community in Uganda together in ways they never expected. Then take a moment to learn how you can take action in your own kitchen and inspire change in your local community.




Download DIG's 2017/2018 Impact Report PDF

Download DIG's 2015/2016 Impact Report PDF

Download DIG's 2014/2015 Impact Report PDF

View DIG's 2013 Impact Report

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