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Food & Wine Festival Participants

We’re proud to host some of the best culinary talent in the country. Our expert chefs will tantalize your taste buds and our unmatched global wine selections will make for a truly memorable experience. Enjoy unique culinary stylings alongside beautiful Lake Oconee.

Participating Chefs

Check Out The Incredible Talent From Last Year's Festival. Stay Tuned for the 2025 Festival Line Up!

Festival Chefs

We are Thrilled to Partner with These Extraordinary Chefs!

Sous Chef Justine Alexander stands smiling with Lake Oconee in the background.

Justine Alexander

Sous Chef

Gaby's by the Lake
At The Vintner Dinner

Born and raised in Stockbridge, GA, Justine has always had a special love for fine food and a good time. Justine's grade school talent was always cooking and singing a great song. Her career began in her uncle’s café as a kitchen assistant at age 16. From there, she finished her high school career at Rockdale Career Academy as a junior culinarian. Justine pursued culinary arts throughout her college career, receiving her associates at Gwinnett Technical College, then completing her bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management at Johnson and Wales University.

After gaining valuable experience in Atlanta area restaurants, she joined Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in 2016. For the past five years, she has grown as a chef, starting with Georgia’s Kitchen and recently moving to Gaby’s By the Lake.

Known for her bold lipstick and bubbly personality, Chef Justine plans on continuing her growth within the Ritz-Carlton brand. Justine's favorite hobbies include listening to an intriguing crime podcast, relaxing with a good massage and enjoying movie night with the ones she loves.

Merci Beaucoup Cakes will be participating in the 2018 food and wine festival.

Reva Alexander-Hawk

Chef & Owner

Merci Beaucoup Cakes | Eatonton, Georgia
At The Grand Tasting & The Launch Party

Upon launching Merci Beaucoup, a cake and pastry business, Reva rapidly achieved a reputation for creating innovative and tantalizing confections. This stellar reputation led to appearances on top-rated television shows and media coverage in national publications.

Reva has appeared on WEtv, E! Entertainment Network, Food Network UK, Style Network and Duff Goldman’s series Duff till Dawn. She is a two-time winner of Food Network’s Cake Wars and is a Food Network Wedding Cake Champion, Halloween Wars Champion, two-time Big Cake Champion and has participated in 3 seasons of Amazing Wedding Cakes. Reva has been featured in an extensive list of magazines and tradeshows.

Reva’s never-ending pursuit of excellence has led her to tackle new challenges that include expanding her operations to the East coast, developing a book, a web series on TikTok and sharing her decades of insights and knowledge through teaching the craft of baking.

Ritz-Carlton chef Brittany Allen smiles for her headshot.

Brittany Allen

Sous Chef

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
At The Vintner Dinner

Growing up watching the Food Network, Chef Brittany Allen found herself infatuated with food. She began to develop an interest in culinary arts and a passion for becoming a chef at a young age. Chef Brittany was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and attended William T. Mcfatter Technical High School in Davie, FL. Her culinary career begin to take off when she earned a Certification in Culinary and Food Service Management. While attending Mcfatter she competed in ACF Skills USA competitions (winning on her first time competing). She also worked for a banquet hall in her junior and senior year of high school where she learned more about working in the industry. After high school she attended Johnson and Wales University, one of the top culinary schools in America.

While attending college, Chef Brittany landed her first hotel job at the Mondrian Hotel in Miami Beach, FL. Working her way up in the kitchen brigade while steadily refining her skills has been a key attribute of her success. At the age of twenty two, after years of diligence and never forsaking her passion, Chef Brittany earned the title of Sous Chef. From leading and being lead Chef Brittany reached success at a young age. She has worked for hotels and country clubs throughout Florida and Georgia. One of her most recent achievements was having the opportunity to compete on The Food Network's Chopped.

Chef Brittany is now located in Greensboro, Georgia sharing her talents at The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Lake Oconee as Sous Chef for the Banquet and Garde Manger Kitchen.

Jon Altizer-Bieger smiles as he prepares to take a sip of of red wine.

Jon Altizer-Bieger

Co-Owner & Managing Partner

Table at the Lake | Greensboro, Georgia
At The Grand Tasting

Jon is the Co-Owner & Managing partner of Table at the Lake; a chef-driven restaurant with a killer beverage program – TATL is a new Lake Oconee restaurant concept that launched in April of 2022.

Jon was born and raised in Southwestern Virginia where his love of both food and service became integral to his identity. He spent many hours alongside his maternal grandmother and mother in their home kitchens learning the many secrets of family recipes. In this environment he learned that food simply tastes better when it is made with both love and purpose. It was in these formative moments that Jon’s passion for food began.

Jon relocated from Chicago in 2020 and began working on the concept and business plan for Table at the Lake in January 2021 alongside his co-owner, Executive Chef, and more importantly friend, Casey Burchfield.

Luke Askew

Holcombs Bar-B-Que | Greensboro, Georgia
At The Brew & Que

Luke was born and raised in Greene County, where he grew up around his family’s restaurant and developed a passion for good BBQ. From a young age, he knew he wanted to be a part of Holcomb's BBQ, a business that was started over 50 years ago in White Plains, GA by his grandparents, David and Grace Holcomb. With a second location in downtown Greensboro, Holcomb's has become a staple in the community, known for its delicious BBQ recipes passed down through generations. Luke is honored to carry on his family's tradition and looks forward to creating more nostalgic memories for customers to cherish for years to come.

Teri Blevins

Owner

Lil' Bit of Heaven Cupcakes | St. Albans, West Virginia
At The Grand Tasting

Teri Blevins started her culinary career creating snacks for siblings and friends in exchange for doing her chores in her hometown of St. Albans, WV.

Known as the Food Mom, Teri has had a lifelong passion for baking and cooking. In 2010, Teri entered Duncan Hines Red Carpet Cupcake Challenge and she placed in the top 10 nationally. The result was a flurry of inquiries, and Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes was born on August 1, 2010!

Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes has grown into one of the most successful bakeries in WV and in 2016, Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes moved into a beautiful historic brick and mortar bakery on Main Street in St. Albans.

In the last nearly 8 years, over 150,000 happy customers have enjoyed gourmet cupcakes, Heavenwiches (gourmet cookie sandwiches) homemade pepperoni rolls, scones, cakes, cheesecakes, Keto desserts and more.

Teri proudly provided cupcakes for Paula Deen’s Bag Lady Foundation Fundraiser at Lake Oconee, GA.

Lil' Bit of Heaven has been named in the 101 Most Unique Places to Dine in WV, and has been named #24 out of the Best 101 Cupcakes in the US by the Dailymeal.com., named Best Local Bakery in WV by MSN, BEST Cupcakes in WV by delish.com and Spoon University.

Local awards include being named Best Cakes and Cupcakes in the Valley (2019 and 2023), WV Living Magazine Best Pepperoni Rolls in WV (2020 & 2021), WV Weddings Magazine's Best Wedding Cake in WV (2021 and 2023.and WV Weddings Magazine Best Grooms Cake in WV (2022).

Teri is thrilled to be participating at The Lake Oconee Food and Wine Festival for the Sixth time!

Kent & Jenny Bonner

Pitmasters

5B Barbeque & Brews | Greensboro, Georgia
At The Brew & Que

Here at 5B, our daily goal is to create, serve and enjoy fine food that takes elevated BBQ to the next level and daily specials with ethnic flare that will delightfully surprise you. We serve Texas Style BBQ and also great food that’s in season, food from around the globe and food that’s distinctly different. Every morning before opening the 5B kitchen, we stock our shelves with market fresh ingredients, so that the food we serve you is as fresh and flavorful as can be.

And don't forget the cocktails. We love a great beer or a Rum that's been partnered and mixed to perfection!

We welcome you to our restaurant and wish you a hearty appetite.

Casey Burchfield will host the Go Wild! Game & Beer Dinner at Lake Oconee Food & Wine Festival.

Casey Burchfield

Chef & Owner

The Burch Food Truck | Greensboro, Georgia
At The Brew & Que

Casey moved to Lake Oconee in 2014 where he found his wife Morgan, forever home and three adopted dogs, Kota, Skye & Todd. He has an extensive background within the culinary world and has most recently worked with Wolfgang Puck and other local luxury resorts. During the pandemic he quickly realized he could expand his talents by sharing culinary creations with the community and therefore, The Burch was created! The brand started as a provisional sales small business and catering gig and since has expanded into a full service food truck at Oconee Brewing Company in Greensboro, GA. In addition to the food truck Casey alongside his co-owner and more importantly friend, Jon Altizer-Bieger, have now launched the newest restaurant in Lake Oconee called Table at the Lake. At TATL, the team brings you New American cuisine in a beautiful casual fine dining atmosphere. The seasonal menus use the highest quality ingredients, sourced both locally and regionally whenever possible, that represent the diverse food culture and heritage across America and the South.

Casey Burchfield will present at The Brew & Que as The Burch, and at The Grand Tasting as Table at the Lake.

Joe Cascio

Chef / Owner

On the Run Mobile Kitchen | Athens, Georgia
At The Grand Tasting and The Brew & Que

On The Run Catering was started in January 2023 by Captain and Chef Joe Cascio and Chef Meredith Grill. We are proud to be veteran and female owned and operated.

Joe Cascio started his career as a restaurateur in Florida and has successfully owned and sold three upscale dining restaurants. He has been fishing and cooking for over forty years bringing an Italian flare to Floridian style seafood. Meredith Grill has been his novice for several years, and helps run the day to day business operations. Meredith graduated from the University of Georgia in 2021 and has been serving Athens ever since. Our inter-generational team respects the traditional ways of cooking while bringing an urban touch to each dish.

Corrado Corrias

Manager

Chick-Fil-A | Lake Oconee
At The Grand Tasting and The Launch Party

In our kitchens, we try to focus on freshly prepared food crafted with quality ingredients. We serve chicken made from breast meat, breaded by hand in-restaurant. Fresh produce is delivered to our kitchens several times a week. Salads are prepared throughout the day. Our regular Chick-fil-A® Lemonade is prepared daily with lemon juice, pure cane sugar and water. Serving quality food has always been our priority. Because chicken is at the center of our menu, we serve only real breast meat with no fillers, artificial preservatives, or steroids. Like other chicken in the United States, ours contains no added hormones. We source our chicken from farms in the U.S., in accordance with our Animal Wellbeing Standards and our pledge to source No Antibiotics Ever chicken.

Amore del Lago sous chef, Marcus Davis headshot.

Marcus Davis

Sous Chef

Amore del Lago | Greensboro, Georgia
At The Go Wild! Game & Beer Dinner

Chef Marcus brings the skills honed by working at both of Florida's AAA Five Diamond restaurants; Sea Horse Grille and SALT. For more than 15 years Chef Marcus has thrived sharing and growing his broad knowledge of American, Italian, Latin and Asian Cuisine in dynamic kitchens renowned for delivering the highest quality of food.

Steady growing and learning has always been the key to his success. His mentors include many celebrity and Michelin Star chefs.

Through the years Marcus worked at many private clubs and luxury hotels. Before coming to Lake Oconee, Chef Marcus worked four years at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island with Michelin Star Chef Okan Kilizbayar.

He was the Cook Tournant for the SALT Restaurant which is one of two five star and five diamond restaurants in Florida.

Today, Marcus Davis is Sous Chef of Amore del Lago, an Italian concept restaurant housed within The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee.

Portrait of ritz-carlton pastry chef Michael Gaddy.

Michael Gaddy

Pastry Chef

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
At The Go Wild! Game & Beer Dinner

Michael Gaddy serves as a Pastry Chef for The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, where he oversees the pastry operations and menu creation for all outlets at the resort.

Born in Dade City, Florida, Chef Michael Gaddy’s love for pastries began at the early age of 10 when he started baking cakes and pies with his mother. The fire in him ignited at the age of 17, when he won Dade City’s Kumquat Festival with a decadent strawberry French vanilla cake.

In 2010 Chef Michael earned the position of Pastry Prep Cook at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and continued as an Overnight Baker for the Orlando World Center Marriott. By 2012, he held the title of Pastry Lead Baker, and in 2014 he was crowned with the title of Outlet Pastry Supervisor, where he created plated desserts for all six outlets of the 2,200 room hotel. In 2015, Chef Gaddy became the Pastry Supervisor for banquets, charged with the task of plating for events with up to 5,000 attendees.

Along his journey, Chef Michael has traveled to Zürich, Switzerland; Rye, New York; Miami, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois and many other cities crafting pastries and learning new techniques to further his career. One thing remains the consistent through all his travels, his Caribbean roots and whimsical spirit are tasted in all of his creations.

Ronald Hollis, Jr.

Chef & Owner

RoHo Bakery | Decatur, Georgia
At The Brew & Que

RoHo Bakery currently specializes in cakes and cupcakes. Ronald focuses on taking a gourmet approach to a classic recipe by expanding the flavor profile with the use of fresh ingredients and unique spice blends.

Baking has always been a passion for Ronald Hollis. It all started from a memory when Ronald was a small child and his grandmother gave him cookie dough as she made cookies. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Ronald attended Le Cordon Bleu where he was able to explore his true passion of food. It was the desire to share that passion with as many people as possible, one bite at a time, that led to the formation of RoHo Bakery.

After being founded in 2020, RoHo Bakery’s Carrot Cake placed in the final round of the Flavor of Georgia 2020, and in the Top 10 of Dessert Wars 2021, the largest dessert festival in America. One of the things Ronald wants the world to know about RoHo Bakery is that every cake is an experience, creating a lasting memory from the first bite you take!

Heashot of chef Deborah Johnson, owner of French for a While.

Deborah Johnson

Private Chef, Owner

French, For A While | Eatonton, Georgia
At The Grand Tasting

After marrying a Frenchman, Deborah moved to France for nearly two decades, becoming “French, For A While.” Deborah studied cuisine, pastry and oenology at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris where she became the translator/interpreter and assistant for Cordon Bleu’s top chefs. She is a specialist in French cuisine and is a personal & private chef offering culinary and gourmet walking tours of Paris and France. Deborah relocated to the Greater Atlanta area to be closer to family and now shares her culinary talents and passion for everything French.

Headshot of chef David Kalpak.

David Kalpak

Chef and Owner

Briskets & Butter Cuts | Greensboro, Georgia
At The Brew & Que

Former professional golfer and PGA/Kornferry Tour Caddie turned barbecue specialist, David Kalpak brings together his two favorite loves with the creation of Briskets & Butter Cuts, serving Lake Oconee's barbecue and catering needs. While traveling the world on golf tours, food (especially BBQ) was a priority at every stop for David. It was during this time that Chef Kalpak fell in love with the art of barbecuing. He has pursued his passion for crafting delectable barbecue for the last five years, satisfying many appetites and patrons of Briskets & Butter Cuts!

New for 2024, Briskets & Butter Cuts will present brisket tacos and crafted blackberry margaritas featuring Don Julio tequila.

Lamar Kersey

Chef & Owner

Kersey Catering | Madison, Georgia
At The Grand Tasting

Chef and owner Lamar Kersey is originally from Eatonton and now resides in Madison Georgia. He has worked in the food industry for 25 years and received his culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University. He has a passion for good food and has catered many local events and weddings which has left the Lake Area buzzing about his delicious food and amazing talent.

Ritz-Carlton chef Juan Martinez headshot for the food and wine festival.

Juan Carlos (JC) Martinez

Restaurant Chef

Linger Longer Steak House | Greensboro, Georgia
At The Grand Tasting

In the heart of Puebla, Mexico, a third-generation baker, Chef JC Martinez, began his culinary journey deeply rooted in a family legacy. Growing up in a family dedicated to art of baking, JC was immersed in the rich flavors and traditions of Mexican cuisine from an early age. Mentored by his father, a traditional pioneer baker, he imbibed the essence of hard work, passion and the importance of professional ethics.

At the tender age of 18, JC left his hometown, carrying with him the valuable lessons his father had taught him, seeking to broaden his culinary horizons.

His travels across Mexico and into the United States were instrumental in shaping his culinary identity. He meticulously absorbed techniques and flavors from various international chefs, enriching his repertoire. JC's time in Cape Cod was particularly transformative. Here he found inspiration in the local seafood and the serene beauty of the sea.

JC developed a unique gastronomic style blending the fresh, briny flavors of the sea with the robust earthy tones of Mexican cuisine infused with Mediterranean and Japanese flavors.

JC's signature cooking style emerged, marked by a fascination with the primal elements of fire and smoke and exceptional knife skills. His prowess in butchering both land and sea fare reflected the depth of his culinary expertise. Chef Martinez' journey is not just a tale of culinary achievement but a testament to the power of his passion, perseverance, unparalleled skill and the endless possibilities that arise from the fusion of the vast culinary worlds that shaped his remarkable career.

Carrie Morey stands smiling in her kitchen stiring dough wearing a red checkered shirt.

Carrie Morey

Baker & Owner

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits | Charleston, SC
At The Grand Tasting

Carrie Morey founded her handmade biscuit business in 2005 with the goal of making her mother's tender, buttery, made-by-hand biscuits accessible across the country. Over 15 years later, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit is widely recognized as an iconic Southern brand with four grab-and-go eateries in Charleston, Atlanta and Charlotte, a food truck and a cult-like following of passionate biscuit aficionados. Carrie is the author of cookbook: Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions, a cookbook and narrative on entrepreneurship and life in the lowcountry, and Hot Little Suppers, a joyful playbook for meals with family and friends. She stars in the culinary docu-series, How She Rolls, on PBS. A show themed about biscuits, business and balance in her life as an entrepreneur.

Touted by Saveur, Food & Wine, Southern Living, The New York Times, Bake from Scratch and Oprah, among others, Carrie and her small team of bakers are keeping the tradition of Southern biscuit making alive.

Carrie has appeared live on the NBC Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, Fox & Friends, The Hallmark Channel, Top Chef and QVC and has been profiled numerous times by The Food Network and Cooking Channel.

Her handmade biscuits, pimento cheeses and other artisan goods have garnered 20 sofi awards from the Specialty Foods Association and her eateries have landed on the 2019 Fortune 100 Fastest-Growing Inner City Businesses list.

Carrie resides in Charleston, SC with her husband and three daughters.

John Padjen

BBQ Master

Dough Daddy Dough | Eatonton, Georgia
At The Brew & Que

Dough Daddy Dough is the creation of John and Sandy Padjen, who wanted to bring Chicago-style food to Lake Country. They offer Chicago pan pizza, Chicago-style Vienna beef hot dogs, Chicago Italian beef on hoagie buns, and the “Combo,” featuring Italian beef/ Italian sausage with sweet peppers or hot giardiniera.

Their melt-in-your-mouth Sweet Cream Cheese Strawberry Crepes are John’s mother’s recipe. All food is baked to order and to go.

Sous Chef Jestina Pambu in her white chef's coat.

Jestina Pambu

Sous Chef

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
At The Jazz Brunch

Growing up in a family of 8, Chef Jestina knew someone had to take up the cooking. Jestina developed a fondness for the kitchen during visits with her family to the village where her grandfather was a chief. Because of his leadership position they had visitors most of the time and they were always cooking. Jestina’s deeper culinary passions were ignited while helping her grandmother in the kitchen.

When the country’s civil war started, the family managed to escape to Guinea as refugees. Jestina later went to a vocational trade school in Freetown as well as at the Hotel and Tourism Training Center, where she earned a culinary diploma. After moving to the U.S., Jestina went into the nursing field, but couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. Thoughts of her first love, cooking, returned to her over and over. Heading the call, she enrolled in Le Cordon-bleu and graduated in 2010.

Jestina completed her internship with The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and became employed as a Cook 3 in July 2010. Working under the supervision of many chefs, she became a learning coach and was then promoted to Garde Manger supervisor. In 2017, she earned the 5-Star employee of the year award. In 2019, she joined The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas as Banquet Supervisor before taking her current position as Sous Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee.

Executive Sous Chef Marco Rovas stands inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Marco Rivas

Executive Sous Chef

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
At The Go Wild! Game & Beer Dinner

Originally from Mexico City, Marco moved to Cancun, Mexico in 2000 where he began a culinary career at The Ritz-Carlton's El Café Mexicano. Marco was then promoted to the Fantino restaurant which earned a AAA 5 Diamond award just one year later.

A year later Marco was again promoted. This time to help at The Club Grill restaurant, beginning as a cook and then moving to supervisor. While working at The Grill Club, Marco had the opportunity to be part of the team representing contemporary Mexican cuisine at the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, Switzerland, for two consecutive years (2003-2004) and then was a finalist in the Young Mexican Chef Contest in Mexico City (2003).  The Grill Club also earned the AAA 5 Diamond award while Marco was employed as supervisor.

In 2007, Marco left The Ritz-Carlton to work in at a luxury complex in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Marco was put in charge of the fine dining beach restaurant Las Brisas and again earned the AAA 4 Diamond award for his work there and at El Puerto Restaurant which also earned the AAA 4 Diamond.

In 2011 Marco returned to The Ritz-Carlton, this time in Santiago de Chile for the re-opening of the Estro - a concept restaurant sourcing local foods to create international cuisine. By 2014 Marco's culinary skills had gained recognition and he was honored with the prestigious Chef of the Year from the Círculo de Cronistas Gastronómicos (Circle of Gastronomic Chroniclers).

In search of new challenges, Marco made the move to The Ritz-Carlton Naples in the position of Banquet Chef in 2016. Then, in 2017 Marco became a member of the opening team at the Edition luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi.

In the summer of 2019, Marco joined The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee as part of a renewed culinary team with the position of Executive Sous Chef.

Headshot of chef Andrea Rodella.

Andrea Rodella

Chef

Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
At The Italian Wine Dinner and The Grand Tasting

Chef Andrea Rodella was born and raised in Northern Italy where he attended culinary school in his home town of Mantova. He spent the following 10 years working in various Michelin Star Kitchens across Italy before moving to the US. His experience in the US has taken him coast-to-coast as he was called to work in a host of high-end dining establishments and resorts finally leading to his most recent tenure in Florida.

Chef Rodella credits his aptitude for languages as a cornerstone of success along his culinary journey. In fact, Chef Rodella speaks four languages fluently. He’s happily married to his wife, Brittany, and is a proud father to four young children.

Logo for Scratcher's Creek.

Scratchers Creek Market

Greensboro, Georgia | Crawfordville, Georgia
At The Grand Tasting

Scratchers Creek Market will be presenting an oyster roast for The Grand Tasting!

The Scratchers Creek family has been involved in farming for generations, and have a deep understanding and appreciation for the importance of quality and sustainability. Scratchers Creek Market offers a wide range of high-quality fish and meat products, including fresh salmon, tuna, and halibut, as well as locally raised beef and lamb along with natural chickens, turkeys, and cheshire pork.

Executive Chef Dennis Vanterpool stand inside the hotel.

Dennis Vanterpool

Executive Chef

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
At The Vintner Dinner

Executive Chef Dennis Vanterpool was born in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. He began to learn the field of hospitality at a young age by shadowing his mother who worked at a St. Thomas resort. Dennis’s first culinary experiences came from watching his mother cook for family, friends and relatives. His mother’s passion for cooking inspired Dennis to pursue a career in the culinary arts. As her apprentice, Dennis created a signature pizza in his mother’s restaurant. The pie quickly become a customer favorite, and Dennis' natural talent was beginning to show.

Following high school, Dennis attended Johnson & Wales University where he obtained a degree in Culinary Arts before returning to St. Thomas. He began his career at the Marriott Frenchman Reef.

Following his passion to become an Executive Chef, Dennis moved to Amelia Island after accepting a position as Chef Garde Manger. His passion for the industry was apparent, and Chef Dennis was promoted to Chef Tournant before taking over the role of Executive Sous Chef.

During his time on Amelia Island, Chef Dennis led classes for the local Boys & Girls Club, worked with the Barnabas Food Pantry, and served food at a local soup kitchen.

Now, in his role as Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Chef Dennis is looking forward to infusing the resort’s cuisine with his soulful, worldwide flavors and getting involved with the local community.

Participating Wineries & Distilleries

These distinguished vintners & Brewers will be presenting their craft

Legends Are

Crafted Here

Over 100 Years of Winemaking Excellence

Louis M. Martini

Featured Vintner for the 2024 Food & Wine Festival

About Louis M. Martini

ST. HELENA, CA

Louis Jr. and Louis Sr. discuss an early bottle of LM Martini wine in the early 1900s.Louis M. Martini winery has the stuff legends are made of! After immigrating from Genoa, Italy, young Louis Martini founded the winery in 1922. Louis Martini had a vision of creating the best wines in the world. His illustrious journey began with a simple premise –the best grapes make the best wine. This premise turned into his passion, one that passed down through four generations of winemakers.  Since 1933, the Martini family has played an integral role in establishing Napa Valley as one of the world’s premier wine growing regions.

Acquired in 2002 by E&J Gallo, the Martini legacy continues today at their historic vineyards with an impressive wine making team and the meticulously crafted production of critically acclaimed wines. The Monte Rosso Vineyard is perched in the Mayacamas Mountains, a thousand feet above the Sonoma Valley. Named for its iron-rich, red volcanic soils, Monte Rosso has produced grapes of unmistakable character for more than a century. Generations of Martinis have made wine from this iconic location, and it continues to inspire our winemakers in a profound way. Monte Rosso remains the source of some of the most coveted bottles in the Louis M. Martini portfolio.

Representing L. M. Martini at the Vintner Dinner:


E&J Gallo wine consultant Jeff Adler poses for headshot with a splash of white wine.Jeff Adler - CSS, CSW
Portfolio Consultant
E&J Gallo Winery

Jeff Adler graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Advanced Chemistry in 1999. Post-Graduation, Jeff worked in restaurants honing his craft as a mixologist, and it was here that he developed a passion for wine.

After a 13-year rewarding career with Empire Distributors, Inc., he studied for 18 months to pass the CSW, Certified Specialist of Wine, while also earning his CSS, Certified Specialist of Spirits.

In 2018, Jeff joined the newly developed position of Portfolio Consultant for the E & J Gallo Winery. Currently seeking his sommelier certification, Jeff’s ongoing dedication to honing his craft, and deep passion and respect for wine and food, allows him to skillfully create unforgettable experiences for others.

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Vision, Spirit

and Passion

A Triumph of the Human Spirit

Bell's Brewery

Featured Beer Provider for The Go Wild! Game & Beer Dinner

About Bell's Brewery

Comstock, Michigan

Larry Bell’s passion for malt and hops began right after his high school graduation, with an illicit visit to a pub with his older brother and the lasting impression made by the pub’s craft beer and extensive collection of beer cans. A few years later, with a shoestring birthday money budget, he embarked on his own brewing journey that would ultimately catapult him from this humble beginning to an impressive portfolio of nationally recognized craft beers.

With a dream that started in a 15 gallon soup kettle, and the sale of his first beer on September 19, 1985, Larry Bell and his Bells Brewery is a delightful example of what the human imagination, spirit and passion can accomplish.

For the first four years of the business, Larry and his nine employees self-bottled and distributed all of the beer to the market. By 1989, Bell's was shipping over 500 barrels per year and had appointed its first distributor to help the company grow throughout Michigan. In 1993, Bell's became the first Michigan brewery to open an onsite pub since Prohibition.

“My original voiced goals were to get the brewery to 30,000 barrels and to make $100,000 a year as a salary. I definitely exceeded my goals, but nobody that started back then had any idea of what was going to happen to us. It was a small business,” Bell said reflecting on his career. “You strap yourself into the roller coaster and away it goes, and, well, we all went for a pretty wild ride.”

The 2024 Lake Oconee Food & Wine Festival is excited to present the iconic fruits of that wild ride, with the legendary best beer in the country. From classic IPAs to experimental brews, Bell's Brewery has a beer for every taste preference!

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2024 FESTIVAL WINERIES AND DISTRIBUTORS

Enjoy delectable wines and spirits from global, national and regional vintners & distributors. Our 2025 Roster is Being Updated Now! Check Back Soon for Details!

Entertainment Served Fresh!

Double

The Fun!

This High-Energy Band Will Rock The Launch Party!

Double Take

Experience Great 80's Music for the Very Second Time.

About Double Take

Double Take 80's cover band members pose smiling and each holding a letter of the word love.

Double Take takes you back to one of the most vibrant eras of popular music – the 1980s. Matching the energy of the era, Double Take keeps you dancing with a wide variety of styles from pop to dance, rock to rap, arena anthems to hard rock and more. A Double Take show never slows down, bringing you continuous jams that keep the party going right through the night. Double Take offers a 100% interactive concert experience, in the same way that shows were delivered in the 80s, where each show is built around unique crowd interactions.

Put your dancing shoes on and get ready for a night of nostalgia, power dance moves and reconnecting with your totally rad self in a way that only Double Take can make real, yo!

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Blockbuster

Blues

Building On A Musical Legacy

Eamon Owen

Threading Tales of Intrigue Through a Tapesrty of Blues

About Eamon Owen

Black and white photo of blues musician Eamon Owens sgingin in to a microphone on stage.

Eamon Owen’s energetic performances incorporate elements of folk, bluegrass and blues. A former college golfer unexpectedly turned singer-songwriter, Georgia native Eamon was born with the love of country music in his veins. 
 

“Live Music Matters” was his father Eddie’s motto when he started the live music venue Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia, before Eamon was born. The venue became a popular springboard for local artists including John Mayer, Sugerland, Shawn Mullins, and The Civil Wars. The list of nationally known talents who have played this stage is impressive – names like the Indigo Girls, John Gorka, John McEuen, Sheryl Crow, Ani DiFranco, Brandi Carlile, The Black Crowes and many more.
 

Raised in this unique atmosphere, Eamon’s natural affinity for country music blossomed, though he was not initially aware of just how much. He went off to college with aspirations of being a professional golfer. His foray into the music scene began quite unintentionally, when a good friend who was moving away had one wish that Eamon sing at an open mic night with him before he left. 
 

After finishing college and moving to the Oconee area for a job at a golf course, fate once again pulled him back towards music when he was introduced to guitar player Logan Millwood, and they began writing songs and performing locally as Cherokee Twenty. A growing following began, and he was hooked. After a time performing with Millwood, Eamon decided to launch his solo career.
 

In 2021, he wrote and released his debut single as a solo artist, “Drunk Girl in Disguise”. His toe-tapping melodies capture his audiences, telling stories behind the songs. Currently, Eamon Owen lives in Nashville, where he is pursuing his natural talents and musical passions.

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Thomas

Arvid

ENCAPSULATING THE SPIRIT OF WINE

Thomas Arvid

AMERICA'S PREEMINENT PAINTER OF WINE

Live Entertainment

Enjoy National and Local Talent as You Feast on Delicious Food and Hundreds of Wines!

Musician Tim Cadiere smiles as he plays the fiddle at the wheel of a bus, pretending to drive.

Tim Cadiere & Washboard Road

Musician

Performing at The Brew & Que

Tim Cadiere & Washboard Road bring an electric vibe to any stage. Their rhythmic set list is often a combination of pop, country, rock and blues. There’s not much you can throw at Cadiere that he can’t play, sing or perform. Tim Cadiere’s soulful original songs have cajun-country overtones with a dash of creole spunk brought over from his native Louisiana. You’ll find Tim and his band Washboard Road playing their music at several venues around the Lake Oconee, Augusta and South Carolina areas.

In 2009, Tim Cadiere’s radio hit, “Thinking Outside The Box” gathered attention and opened many doors for him and the band. In the following months, they went on a radio tour through the United States. Tim was voted 2012 best musician for Lake Oconee Living Magazine People’s Choice Awards and Tim Cadiere and Washboard Road have released a new single, “Proud.” The song paints a picture of the pride that comes from a small, rural town like Lake Oconee and its surrounding areas. “Proud” is a patriotic ballad and holds a special place in the lives of many Lake Oconee residents, and the last verses are dedicated to Army Spc. Erica Alecksen of Eatonton, GA who gave her life for our country.

Jazz performer Carol Albert in a red dress against a black background.

Carol Albert Band

Musician

Performing at The Jazz Brunch

A Hiram, Georgia native, Carol Albert’s musical journey began as a small child sitting next to her beloved grandmother at the piano. In sharing her melodies, her grandmother imparted her love of music to young Carol, and as her budding music appreciation grew, so did her aptitude for classical piano. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Georgia State University, and then embarked on a career in which she has left her mark nationally and internationally.

Audiences across the globe have enjoyed Carol Albert performances in many venues - from European clubs to stages in the US, as a solo artist and together with an All-Star Band of session and touring musicians, creating high energy shows.

A highly successful Billboard Artist and Emmy nominee, Carol Albert brings out a full array of rich jazz and global fusion artistry with spirited, jazzy piano melodies, dreamy vocals, punchy percussion textures and hypnotic ambiences. Now the classically trained pianist, keyboardist, vocalist and producer/composer brings her unique sound to stages and festivals with her Contemporary Jazz Charting popular rendition of Mas Que Nada as well as her original Billboard Charting hits. Her recent release, Magic Mirror and its singles, climbed to #5 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Chart and she is a featured artist on Sirius XM Watercolors Smooth Jazz Station.

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