2024 FESTIVAL GUESTs & CHEFS
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Influenced by his upstate New York childhood experience working in his family’s vegetable garden, Charlie Palmer was an early advocate of farm over factory food. In 1988, he made a landmark commitment to creating dishes featuring regional American ingredients at his sublime three-star Aureole, originally located in a historic townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Aureole moved 20 years later to a theatre district location in the heart of Times Square at the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, where it flourished for 12 years before shifting to a virtual model, Aureole at Home, in June 2020. During its 30 years as a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Aureole earned 13 Michelin stars and two James Beard awards.
Other coast-to-coast locations encompass an expanding collection of award-winning restaurants and luxurious boutique hotels—many in equally significant historical locations and each designed with distinctive personalities to provide unique experiences. These properties include: Charlie Palmer Steak NYC, AperiBar at LUMA Hotel Times Square, Charlie Palmer at The Knick and St. Cloud Rooftop Bar at The Knickerbocker Hotel, Charlie Palmer Steak (Washington, DC), Charlie Palmer Steak (Reno, Nevada), Charlie Palmer Steak and Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar at Archer Hotel (Napa, California), and Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg (Sonoma County in California).
Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning chef, author, television personality and founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network’s “Chopped” and was honored with an Augie Award by The Culinary Institute of America in 2022. In addition to judging roles on Food Network, Maneet also competes at the highest level and won Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions II, where she was able to donate winnings of $40,000 to help different restaurants survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
Born in Punjab, India, chef Chauhan worked in some of the country’s finest hotels before moving to the U.S. to study at the Culinary Institute of America. She went on to work as executive chef in some of New York City and Chicago’s top restaurants, which received national acclaim under her leadership. After relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Chauhan and her husband, Vivek Deora, co-founded Morph Hospitality Group, opening their first restaurant, Chauhan Ale & Masala House in 2014. With the goal of filling gaps in Nashville’s culinary landscape, the group opened Tansuo, a Chinese concept, and The Mockingbird, a global diner, in 2017. Chef Chauhan is also a co-founder of Hop Springs, home to the state’s largest craft brewery and a fun-filled 84-acre beer park located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Maneet will be opening her latest restaurant eet by Maneet Chauhan at Disney Springs in fall 2023.
Chauhan is the author of two cookbooks, Flavors of My World and her most recent, Chaat: The Best Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India, which was released in October 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter, the book was inspired by Maneet’s epic cross-country railroad expedition that brought her to local markets, street vendors and the homes of family & friends. Chaat was recognized as one of the most anticipated cookbooks in 2020 and appeared in the New York Times, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Food Network Magazine, and more. It also received the IACP Cookbook Award in October 2021.
A leader in the Nashville community, Chauhan has been honored as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s “40 under 40”, which highlights young, successful business leaders and was recognized in Nashville Lifestyles’ Women in Business, which showcases local women who are at the top of their respective industries.
When she’s not in the kitchen or traveling, chef Chauhan can be found at home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Vivek Deora, their daughter, Shagun, and their son, Karma.
Chef Thomas Bellec
Appellation Hotels – Chief Culinary Director
Chef Bellec comes to Appellation Hotels as their Chief Culinary Director- he has the responsibility to champion all things Food and Beverage related to ensure the highest possible quality of food service throughout the Appellation portfolio.
Previously Chef Bellec was the Executive Chef at Bricoleur Vineyards after a sensational 22-year career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. An accomplished chef with a passion for developing and coaching teams, Chef Bellec has been at the forefront of creative culinary offerings at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Hawaii (Maui and the Big Island), Beverly Hills, Toronto, Boston, and Uruguay.
He was raised in the coastal town of Concarneau in Brittany, France where cooking and hospitality run in his family. His Great-grandparents owned a prominent bakery, and his father was a professional fisherman, a passion that Chef Bellec embraces, too. He grew up fishing and foraging the coastline to cook with his family, and apprenticed at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Concarneau
In 2014, Chef Bellec was deeply honored to be named a Master Chef of France by Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, an organization that was established in 1951 to bring together chefs, farmers, and artisans who best support and promote French culinary art.
Most recently Chef Bellec was inducted to the Academie Culinaire de France – The Academie main vocation is to defend, improve, transmit the French Culinary Art in the world.