Be part of the 27th Annual ExTravelganza.

Experience the “Tours of Taste” by sampling delectable delights and libations from some of the top Bay Area Chef’s, Restaurants and renowned wine/spirits from top area producers. Mingle from serving to serving as you peruse the Silent Auction packages. Enjoy!

Thank you to our 2019 Participating Chefs!


Brett GardinerExecutive Chef Brett Gardiner
Renaissance International

Gardiner began his career in his homeland of Honolulu, HI at the Kobe Japanese Steak House that opened in 1971. He developed his passion for the culinary arts while working at the family-owned business. His father, Rod Gardiner, is one of the founders of Kobe Japanese Steak House. Brett Gardiner next served as sous chef at Sarento’s at the Top of the Ilikai in Honolulu before moving to Scottsdale, Ariz. to attend the Scottsdale Culinary Institute Cordon Bleu.

Upon graduation, Gardiner became a “Master Cook” through the MGM School of Leadership while creating “French cuisine with Pacific flair” at Gatsby’s, the signature gourmet experience at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.He briefly returned to Hawaii in 1998 to serve as sous chef at the Kobe Japanese Steak House in Maui before moving cross-country to Dunedin, where he was executive chef at Six Tables, a 30-seat, continental French restaurant, before returning to the hotel industry and becoming the chef of Oystercatchers at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

Gardiner later founded Hapa, the award-winning restaurant formerly located in Oldsmar which he owned and operated with his wife, Nina Gardiner, who is also an accomplished chef and graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Together, they created the concept for Hapa, a fine dining restaurant known for its fusion cuisine and use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Under the couple’s guidance, Restaurant Hapa received a Golden Spoon Award from Florida Trend Magazine and was recognized as one of the “Best of the Bay” restaurants by Tampa Bay Magazine from 2006 – 2010.

At Pelagia Trattoria, Executive Chef Gardiner continued to earn Golden Spoon honors annually along with recognition from Zagat and rankings that included it among the Tampa Bay area’s leading restaurants. Gabriella’s offers indoor and outdoor seating and is located on the lobby level of the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel, 4200 Jim Walter Blvd., Tampa, FL.


Clear SkyChef Dustin Wilson
Clear Sky Restaurant's & Catering

My name is Dustin Wilson I'm from Crandon Wisconsin. I attended culinary school at Nicolet Technical College. Upon completing school, I moved to Napa California to further my knowledge. After that I made to the Clearwater Area where I've lived for the last 7 years. When I'm not in the kitchen I enjoy long sunset walks on the beach.


Chef Sean RaganSean Ragan - Executive Sous Chef
Wynhdam Grand Clearwater Beach

Sean has an extensive background of fine dining restaurants in New York City and Long Island. Since his arrival in Florida Sean has been the Chef de Cuisine for Oystercatchers at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, where he earned high accolades for Tampa Bay’s Best Brunch and Best Seafood Restaurant awards. Sean also held the position of Executive Sous Chef at the well known Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club heading their annual PGA Tournaments and special event functions. Most recently Sean spent five years as the Executive Sous Chef with the prestigious Sandpearl Resort where he reimagined their signature restaurant, Caretta on the Gulf. His well received cuisine continued to hold its honor of 4 Star 4 Diamond status year over year through his tenure. Sean has been an outstanding member of the prestigious Chaine Des Rotisseurs and has been a long standing member of the ACF. Sean received his Culinary Degree with honors from Johnson & Wales University from Providence, Rhode Island.


Chef DelburnChef Jon Delburn
BJ Restaurant and Brewhouse

Jon started his career at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Mobile, AL as a Sous Chef in 2008. Jon worked there for over 5 years, opening two restaurants during his time. Jon, joined BJ’s Brewhouse in Tallahassee, FL in 2013. Shortly after, Jon moved to Orlando to open the Oviedo location, where he was promoted to Executive Kitchen Manager. He went on to open locations in Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL. Jon currently works in Tampa Bay Area as an Executive Kitchen Market Manager.


Emily FerrariChef Emily Ferrari
Maritana Grill

Emily Ferrari found her calling for cooking at a very young age. Her mother had her hands in dough at the ripe old age of 14 months. Raised with a strong southern influence and Italian background, her pallet expanded every quickly. She began working in kitchens at 16, starting with fast-casual food and expanding into fine dining. She attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and, post-graduation, began working her way around Atlanta, GA in many upscale restaurants, eventually gravitating towards hotels with the Polaris restaurant inside the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Then, in 2014, she moved to Saint Pete, FL to gain her second degree in chemistry with a focus in food science while working at the Maritana Grill. From there she moved to Chattanooga, TN and worked at some of the fine dining establishments and country clubs until finding herself back in St. Pete as one of the restaurant chefs at the Renaissance Vinoy. Wanting to come back to the Don, she is now the Chef de Cuisine of Maritana Grill.

Her experience and background lends itself towards French and Italian flavors with a southern twist, and her knowledge of chemistry allows her to put a creative and innovative edge to the menu.


Andrew BaschExecutive Chef Andrew Basch
Sheraton Sand Key Resort

Chef Andrew, a Clearwater native, has spent his entire life around food. With an Italian mother and a German father, Andrew grew up canning, farming, gardening, hunting, and doing everything related to food with his grandparents. With a vegetarian mother, if Andrew wanted to eat meat, he was going to have to learn to prepare it himself. Chef Andrew’s most treasured family memories involve food, which led him to his first job in a kitchen. What started out as a job washing dishes grew into a culinary career built from a hands on education that has spanned 19 years. Andrew has always sought to better his knowledge and experience by learning all areas of the food and beverage industry be it in the kitchen or front of the house operations, making him a well-rounded culinary professional that is very in tune with customer needs and expectations. Most recently, Chef Andrew has joined the team at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort as Executive Chef overseeing the resort’s culinary operations.

In his spare time, Andrew can be found out on the gulf waters. He continues his family memories as well as he lives in a home with four generations – all of whom love to cook. Andrew also finds time to give back to the community through his involvement with Hands On Education. Hands On Education is a non-profit organization that works with learning disabled students to train them in hotel services including the culinary arts. Andrew — who was himself a student there at one time — has trained legally blind students on knife skills and received an award for outstanding achievements.


Chef Lahma LaFonChef Lahma LaFon
Sandpearl's Caretta on the Gulf

Chef Lahma LaFon was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. Lahma attended Le Cordon Bleu Orlando and graduated with top honors. After spending two years working with the Tampa Marriott Waterside he then spent a year in California honing his culinary skills. Returning to Florida he started working at the Sandpearl Resort. Starting as a cook with the four diamond Caretta on the Gulf he worked his way to be the lead cook, Sous Chef, Banquet Chef, Chef de Cuisine, and is currently the Executive Chef running the Sandpearl's Caretta on the Gulf.


Jon AtanacioJonathan Atanacio Executive Chef
The Karol Hotel

Jonathan’s love of food began as a child, growing up with a mixture of Italian and Puerto Rican cuisines. Growing up in New York City, he was exposed to a wide range of flavors on a daily basis. He decided to take his passion for food to the next level and complete culinary school at The Art Institute, previously the New York Restaurant School. After graduating with honors, he took an externship with Francois Payard, learning classic French techniques. He eventually ended up at famed Soho seafood staple, Aquagrill, where he climbed the ranks and became Chef de Cuisine. After seven years of service, Jonathan explored other avenues and finally took a job as Executive Sous Chef at Todd English’s Olives in The W Hotel Union Square. There, he learned about hotel restaurant operations and took part in exciting ventures such as the TV program, Chef Hunter on The Food Network.

Jonathan decided it was time to experience a new city and chose Tampa, partly due to the growing culinary scene. He accepted a position on the opening team for the Epicurean Hotel, serving as Chef de Cuisine for over five years. During his tenure, he participated in significant culinary events including dinners at the James Beard House in New York City, James Beard Sunday Supper in Tampa, Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and Emeril Lagasse Foundation's Boudin, Bourbon & Beer in New Orleans.

Mainsail Lodging & Development’s growing portfolio offered Jonathan the opportunity to take the top spot as executive chef at The Karol Hotel. In his new role, Atanacio will oversee the culinary operations including a signature restaurant, rooftop bar and on-property catering in Pinellas County’s first Tribute Portfolio hotel.


Chef Matthew BrennanChef Matthew Brennan
Renaissance Vinoy

Originally, from Ohio, Matthew comes from a family of restaurateurs and chefs. His formal education was at the Culinary Institute of America.

Matthew worked under Chef Jean Robert DeCavel at “Le Maisonette.
He then moved to Charlotte and directed the kitchens of upscale restaurants such as Toscana, Luce and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Matthew joined the Four Seasons to oversee their Steakhouse 140 in Hawaii.

He relocated to Denver to be the Executive Sous Chef of the Denver Marriott City Center, where he launched the Great room concept of Prospect’s Urban Kitchen and Bar to rave reviews.

Since joining The Vinoy team in May of 2017, Matthew has opened Paul’s Landing, and done numerous television appearances.
In his spare time, he enjoys raising vegetables in his back yard garden.

Coffee and Desserts Served By:

Toffee To Go Village Inn
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