Our Chefs
Chef Mathew Woolf

Chef Mathew Woolf, Culinary Co-Chair

The Executive Chef of New York’s iconic Rainbow Room, Mathew Woolf has a unique perspective—from the top. As the long days of summer shift to romantic fall evenings overlooking Central Park, the skyline and beyond. Chef Woolf and his team also take cues from the harvest as they add creative items to our menu. Chef Woolf jumped at the chance to host this extraordinary event.

John Mariani, Culinary Co-Chair

John Mariani, Culinary Co-Chair

For 40 years John has been traveling the globe and writing about it all—the sights, the culture, the food and the wine—from the best new restaurants in New York to the best old trattorias in Rome, from the vineyards of Napa Valley to the cellars of Champagne. For three decades he searched out the Best New Restaurants of the Year for Esquire Magazine and wrote a wine column for Bloomberg News for ten.

Chef Franklin Becker

Chef Franklin Becker

Chef Franklin Becker is the chef/co-founder of several New York eateries and author of three cookbooks. He was born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, where he began cooking at very young age out of necessity when his mother became ill. By the time he was 14, he was working in a professional kitchen. Franklin is the proud father of an autistic son, now a teen.

Chef Jacques Torres

Chef Jacques Torres

Fondly referred to as Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres is the authority on all things related to this confectionery delight.  His story begins in the South of France in a small town on the Mediterranean Sea in the southern region of Provence called Bandol.  At an early age, Jacques was inspired to start a culinary career and was enraptured with pastry making. Jacques was awarded the prestigious M.O.F. (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) medal in Pastry. He was (and still is) the youngest pastry chef in history to earn the distinction; he was only 26 years old.

Pastry Chef Julie Elkind

Pastry Chef Julie Elkind

Julie Elkind is one of America’s greatest pastry chefs and an avid supporter of Autism Citizen. With a career stretching from Executive Pastry Chef at BLT Steak to her present position at Bâtard, her rising stardom knows no bounds.  Neither does her talent with all things confectionary.

Aurélien Dufour

Chef Aurélien Dufour

Aurélien Dufour has worked in the food industry for nearly 15 years, including six years in New York City, as Chef Charcutier for the prestigious Chef Daniel Boulud and his restaurant group.  Since his debut in NYC, Aurélien has gained recognition from the press and has upheld a strong reputation amongst his industry peers for the quality of his work, his dedication, and exceptional savoir-faire that only very few know in the United States.

Chef Jermaine Bethea

Chef Jermaine Bethea

Straight out of Atlanta, Chef Jermaine Bethea is one of America’s leading chefs with incredible talent. His company, Culinary Excellence, has been operating for fifteen years with great success.

Chef Amit Rabinovich

Chef Amit Rabinovich

His baby face belies an exceptional talent for Italian cookery.  He can make a meatball your Neapolitan grandmother would envy.  Chef Amit is presently Chef/Partner of Forma Pasta, a new ristorante in Brooklyn, where any Italian food better be good, or else!

Yannick Benjamin, Sommelier

Yannick Benjamin, Sommelier

Yannick is a New York City-based sommelier and one of the co-founders of Wheeling Forward. In 2003, a car accident left Yannick paralyzed but did not stop him from pursuing his dreams of going on to college and becoming a world class sommelier. Yannick is currently an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, actively working at the University Club and has additionally worked at Le Du’s Wines for over seven years. Most recently Yannick starred on Esquire Network’s TV show Uncorked.