Dakota Weiss : Chef Chair
Dakota Weiss is consulting chef and part owner of Choice’s Sweetfin Poké, a fast-casual concept serving California-spun Hawaiian soul food that opened in 2015 in Santa Monica and has been named by LA Weekly the Best Poké in LA in 2015, and again in 2016. Additional outposts opened in Woodland Hills (October 2016), Larchmont (November 2016) and Westwood (February 2017), with another 2 new locations opening in the next 6 months, making her one of the most commercially successful women-owned restaurateurs in Southern California.
Nick Shipp: Co-Chef Chair
Making it as a chef in a city rich in diverse cuisine as this one is not easy. But 31-year-old Nicholas Shipp is quietly earning his keep. With a wealth of culinary experience Shipp has brought an enticing, well-blended mix of tastes, aromas and flavors to Santa Monica restaurant “Upper West,” where he serves as Executive Chef. Shipp’s menu offers any discriminating palate with innovative twists on contemporary American cuisine.
Bruce Kalman: Co-Chef Chair
Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Bruce Kalman is a James Beardnominated chef and a partner in two restaurants, Union in Pasadena and Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in downtown Los Angeles. He began his career at a local pizzeria in New Jersey, and later attended a small handson culinary program at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, NJ.
Eric Alperin: Spirits Chair
Eric Aplerin is acting Beverage Director for 213 Hospitality, a co-owner of The Varnish, Half Step in Austin, Penny Pound Ice, The Slipper Clutch, Bar Clacsonand is currently under construction on a forthcoming bar project at Union Station in downtown LA.