5 Questions with StarChefs.com CEO, Antoinette Bruno

With the 2014 StarChefs.com Coastal New England Rising Stars Gala coming to Providence, we sat down to ask CEO Antoinette Bruno a few questions.

Chef Paula Palakawong and Chef Ravin Nakjaroen of Long Grain in Portland, Maine
Antoinette Bruno

Antoinette Bruno left behind life on Wall Street to pursue a career in food, enrolling in the Chefs’ Program at Ritz Escoffier in Paris and working in kitchens in the South of France. Returning to the United States, she joined the team of StarChefs.com, becoming its CEO in 1999 and Editor-in-Chief in 2001. With the launch of the Rising Star Awards a year later and the International Chefs Congress in 2006, Bruno furthered StarChefs.com’s mission to give chefs the tools they need to be the best they can be in this fractious and competitive industry. With the 2014 StarChefs.com Coastal New England Rising Stars Gala coming to Providence on April 15th, we sat down to ask Antoinette a few questions...

1. What is StarChefs.com?

StarChefs.com has served the restaurant industry since 1995. StarChefs.com’s original culinary content is driven by in-person tastings and interviews across the world. Its mission is to catalyze culinary professionals’ success and give them the tools they need through its website and magazine, Rising Stars Awards, and the International Chefs Congress.

2. What will happen at the Coastal New England Rising Stars event that is coming up in Providence?

Chef Paula Palakawong and Chef Ravin Nakjaroen of Long Grain in Portland, Maine

The 2014 StarChefs.com Coastal New England Rising Stars Gala will honor the region’s most inspiring culinary talent. The winners will be showcased on Tuesday, April 15, at the Providence Biltmore Hotel, beginning with an awards ceremony at 6:30pm and followed by a tasting gala +from 7pm to 9:30pm. The walk-around tasting gala will give attendees the opportunity to experience 30 of Coastal New England’s top chefs and restaurants with beverage pairings and cocktails by the winning sommelier and bartenders.

General Admission is $95 per person. VIP tickets are $125 and include a private VIP reception with Champagne and Petrossian Caviar, beginning at 5:45pm. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to Rhode Island Community Food Bank, a nonprofit that provides food to people in need and promotes long-term hunger solutions. Tickets can be purchased at www.starchefs.com/risingstars.

3. Can you tell us about a few of the Rising Stars winners?

Our website has great descriptions of how each of the winners earned their award, including the specific "dishes that clinched it." You can see the full list here.

4. How do you select the Rising Stars winners?

Pastry Chef Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s of Providence, Rhode Island

Rising Stars are chosen by the StarChefs editorial team through in-person tastings and interviews. In cities across Coastal New England, the editorial team tasted and interviewed 150 chefs, pastry chefs, bartender, sommeliers, and artisans, ultimately selecting a group of 30 that we feel best embody the vanguard of that region’s dining scene.

5. What are some of the highlights that you are looking forward to at this event?

Chef Derek Wagner and Beverage Manager Liz Sawtelle of Nick’s on Broadway in Providence, Rhode Island
  • Announcing Steelite’s Art of Presentation Award to the Rising Star who earned the most votes for his/her plating skills
  • Host Chef Kevin Hale’s VIP Champagne and caviar service, complete with an ice sculpture
  • Sharing Ravin Nakjaroen’s authentic, mind-blowingly good Panang curry
  • An ice luge featuring Bols Yoghurt Liqueur and Branca Menta from The Eddy’s Jay Carr
  • Tasting the dynamite dish and pairing from Straight Wharf’s Chef Mayumi Hattori and Sommelier Tanya McDonough (Casoncelli, Spring Greens, Snap Peas, Prosciutto, Goats Milk Ricotta, and Grana Padano paired with Godello, Bodegas Valdesil, Valdeorras, Spain, 2012)
  • Bringing together the most exciting culinary talent in Coastal New England—from Camden, Maine all the way down to Providence!

Published April 12th, 2014