The Asheville Wine and Food Festival celebrates the togetherness of a town-oriented festival with the global love for food and wine. This year, the Chef Highlight Series continues as eight chefs will present at the newly expanded two-day Grand Tasting. Chefs will provide guests with the best worldly cuisine Asheville has to offer all weekend long. Here are the biographies of our presenting chefs:

Chef Don Paleno – The Colorful Palate

With over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Chef Don Paleno continues to educate and push himself to be the best chef that he can be. As a prominent member of the industry, he also serves as the president of the Western North Carolina Culinary Association. ACF is the premier professional association for culinarians in the region. With over 20 years of experience spanning from Naples FL to the Asheville area, he demonstrates a flair for the eclectic appreciation of flavor.

Chef Duane Fernandes – Isa’s Bistro and Hemingway’s Cuba

Educated at Johnson & Wales University and then the Culinary Institute of Charleston SC, Fernandes spent much of his early career polishing his abilities in the celebrated kitchens of Charleston’s four-diamond ‘Peninsula Grill’ and the five-diamond Jefferson Hotel in Richmond VA, then to the kitchen of Thomas Keller’s iconic three-star ‘Per Se’ in New York. Leading the culinary team at ‘Isa’s Bistro’ after ‘Horizons’ restaurant at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Chef Fernandes all-new ‘Hemingway’s Cuba’ will feature small and large plate Cuban inspired dishes. He will introduce a delectable alternative to everyday cuisine at this year’s festival.

Chef Matthew Miner – Jargon

Chef for one of the city’s newest restaurants, Jargon, Chef Matthew Miner is no stranger to competition cooking. This year, as part of the Chef Highlight Series, he will provide a sample of all he’s capable of. Chef Matthew offers more than 20 years’ experience in the culinary arts. He remains current with new trends, farm to table, local sustainability, and is versed in many cuisines. By way of California, his creative tastes are sure to delight in every dish prepared.

Chef Kyle Allen – Mountain Madre Mexican Kitchen & Agave Bar

Chef Kyle Allen introduces a fresh all-new menu to Mountain Madre restaurant located in downtown Asheville. Chef Kyle is a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, and originally from Illinois, cooking since he started crafting pizzas as a teenager. He will bring his talent for presentation of new ideas on the plate at this year’s festival. If you missed him as our first highlighted chef in the May Downtown After Five, be sure to follow all summer and find out why locals know a good thing when they taste it!

Chef TJ Centanni – Calypso St. Lucian Caribbean Cuisine & Rum Bar

Chef TJ Centanni promises to spice up the festival with his Caribbean flair (and fare, pun intended!). An Executive Chef at Calypso, the new restaurant downtown, Centanni has mastered the art of cooking culturally authentic St. Lucian cuisine. Indulge yourself in Centanni’s hearty English, French and African-inspired blend of Caribbean soul food, and we promise that you’ll find yourself lost in food ripe for the soul.

Chef Anthony Cerrato – Strada Italiano

Drawing influences from his Italian family recipes and researched recipes, Chef Anthony Cerrato combines the best of Italian food with Western North Carolina cuisine and locally fresh ingredients, to create an exquisite fare that will definitely satisfy your taste buds. Indulge yourself in a hearty cuisine that is sure to satisfy this festival season, made lovingly by Strada Italiano’s very own Executive Chef, Anthony Cerrato.

Chef Scott Ostrander – Red Stag Grill

After graduating at the top of his class from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Scott Ostrander traveled across the country to work in the kitchens of Roy Yamaguchi on the Islands of Hawaii and Oahu, the Morrison House Hotel in Alexandria, VA, in Washington, D.C. at the landmark New Heights, the Bistro in Savannah in Savannah, GA, the Mama’s Boy Southern Table in the CT suburbs of NYC and now at the Red Stag Grill at the Bohemian in Asheville.

Chef George Delidimos – Golden Fleece

George Delidimos is the Executive Chef of the recently opened, Golden Fleece Slow Earth Kitchen located in North Asheville. Tucked away in Grovewood Village, Chef George has found a way to expose Ashevillians to some of the Mediterranean’s traditional cooking, inspired by his grandmother and heritage. He specializes in old world flavors, utilizes Asheville’s and North Carolina’s local ingredients all being prepared by forgotten -lost in the years- techniques.

Ranked as the number one “New Top Cities for Wine in the United States” according to the Travel Channel, this summer Asheville will offer a culinary weekend of food, drink, and fun. The Asheville Wine & Food Festival will be outside at Park Square Park, in the center of downtown and just steps from all the vibrant shops, restaurants and South Slope breweries. Join us on Friday August 18 & Saturday August 19, 2017 for two solid days of culinary adventure, and savor the mountains like never before! Tickets and information: www.ashevillewineandfood.com

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