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.
It was never clear how this adventure was going to turn out. In the late 60’s when my family started to grow wine grapes in Napa Valley, there was no one to show them the way. There was plenty of advice, to be sure, but in truth no one had started a successful Napa vineyard since Prohibition. They were, in a word, crazy.
Their lunacy was infectious, however, and a few other enterprising souls joined the gambit: Tony Baldini, our first viticulturist; David Whitehouse, our first “real” winemaker; Richard DeGarmo, Mr. fix-it; Mary Ware, queen of the office and everyone’s schedule. I grew up with them and consider them all family. A shared passion brought them to us, and my parents received them with open arms. They settled into their respective posts, not as hired hands, but as equals in a shared endeavor. As I settle into my own role in the family business, I find this remarkable dynamic preserved and count myself blessed to spend my days working with old and new friends that quickly feel like family.
The land focuses our energies, as it always has, challenging us to understand its soils, the vines that grow in them, and the way fog drifts through the rows in the morning. It is an eternal learning process – each question answered reveals another be asked – but it’s a journey we love to take with each and every vintage. It also defines us and the wines we make, providing the vital essence of every bottle that bears our name. Decisions made in the vineyard and cellar not only guide the expression of the land, but affect the very soul of the wine. For this reason, we have always committed ourselves to estate production, adamant that we should be the ones growing the grapes and turning them into wine. Our passion requires it.
One Family. One Estate. One Passion. This is who we are.
- Loren Trefethenclose
Read about the amazing 2018 festival participants below.
Check back soon for an updated list of 2019 participants!
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 by leading national publications.
She has appeared on WEtv, E! Entertainment Network, Food Network UK, Style Network, Duff Goldman’s new series “Duff till Dawn” and has won the Food Network’s “Cake Wars.” Reva has been features in an extensive list of magazines and industry-leading 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 and sharing her decades of insights and knowledge by teaching the craft of baking.
“Food is not just for sustenance…it’s a way of life.” Chef Paula Sims Ballard was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana where she discovered her passion for cooking at an early age. In 2005, Chef Paula became the Co-Owner and Executive Chef of the Sycamore Grill, a fine dining restaurant housed in an 18th century historic mansion in the heart of downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia. Well known for its fabulous cuisine, it became a local favorite and destination spot. During her reign, Chef Paula took the Sycamore Grill to new heights with innovative cuisine and southern hospitality at its finest. Sycamore Grill has been featured in The Atlantan, Bon Appétit and the Treasures of Georgia.
In 2013, Paula created For Wineauxs Only through her passion for the love and enjoyment of food and wine. For Wineauxs Only, specializes in private wine tastings, wine dinners, education and food and wine pairing experiences. Chef Paula is also Chef/Co-Owner of The Bistro, a delightful lunch café in Olde Town Conyers, Georgia. Her other endeavors include Chef Instructor with Vino Venue/The Atlanta Wine School conducting cooking classes, cooking competitions and private events.
Teri Blevins started her culinary career creating snacks for her siblings and their 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 ten months over 10,000 happy customers have enjoyed Gourmet Cupcakes, Heavenwiches (Gourmet Cookie Sandwiches) homemade pepperoni rolls, scones, cakes, cheesecakes and more.
Teri has provided cupcakes for Paula Deen’s Bag Lady Foundation Fundraiser in Lake Oconee, GA, Jennifer Garner’s Flood Relief Fundraiser, has been named to 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. Local awards include Best of Taste and Peoples Choice at the 2016 Sweet Charity Dessert Competition. Teri is thrilled to be at the Food and Wine Festival and can’t wait to bring a taste of West Virginia to Georgia!
Manny Sanchez studied Hotel and Tourism Management in Cuba and worked in the Cuban food and beverage industry for 10 years. He then moved to Ecuador and started working at Dolce Incontro Café, where he met his wife Lorena. Lorena had been with Dolce Incontro since 2000, but had also started a business creating all of her own recipes and marking a “new era of desserts” in her native Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Manny and Lorena opened and managed five stores in Ecuador until 2016, when life took them on a new adventure, a new challenge, and a new beginning in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In 2017, Hurricane Irma brought them to Georgia and they fell in love with the warmth of the people and the beauty of the scenery. In May 2018, Manny and Lorena will open Lalore Café at Lake Oconee. They welcome the community to Lalore Café, where they will continue to share their passion for cooking and baking.
Lalore Café will offer fresh and savory dishes including wraps, salads, bowls, Paninis and more. The café will also have daily dinner specials, wine, cocktails, specialty coffees and Sunday brunch. And, of course, will offer a unique selection of cakes and desserts all created by and baked daily at Lalore.
Be ready to meet and enjoy… the new flavor in town.
Griffin Bufkin, proprietor of coastal Georgia smoke joint Southern Soul Barbeque, grew up on St. Simons Island, where he is a third generation Islander and passionate curator of some of the Southeast’s best barbeque. He spent his college and post-graduate years in the fields of design, photography and video production, followed by a long career in the music business, running several local venues and working as a talent booker and manager.
Bufkin’s appreciation for Southern food traditions was born when he cooked at venerable Island kitchen Frannie’s Place, where he developed culinary skills using a modern, healthy approach. Signature dishes at Frannie’s Place inspired several of Southern Soul Barbeque’s most popular sides, including Brunswick stew and Hoppin’ John. In the early 2000s, Bufkin was hosting charity bluegrass suppers with a friend, Pitmaster Harrison Sapp, while tending bar at local pub Palm Coast. When the pub’s sub-leased kitchen became available, the two jumped at the opportunity to establish Southern Soul Barbeque, which later relocated to their current space in a refurbished gas station in the heart of the island. Bufkin’s main goal through Southern Soul Barbeque is to spread the gospel of Southern foodways and Slow Food while continuing to offer some of the Southeast’s finest smoked meats and sides.
Casey Burchfield is Chef de Cuisine, Linger Longer Steak House at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee where he oversees culinary operations and menu creation. A professional chef for 10 years, Burchfield grew up amid the magnificent countryside of Western New York. He takes great pleasure in the infusion of local seasonal ingredients and deep-rooted family traditions into his culinary dishes and is dedicated to providing a dining experience highlighting quality ingredients in a fun, modern way.
Burchfield launched his culinary passion at Pelican Marsh Country Club in Naples, Florida. Burchfield then returned home, gaining valuable experience at the historic Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. Burchfield earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management at Johnson and Wales University. During his studies in Charlotte, he pursued culinary excellence at the Westin Charlotte hotel under Chef Michael Treanor. From Charlotte, Chef Burchfield moved to Los Angeles to join the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining team for the reopening of the iconic Hotel Bel-Air. His work there offered him his first Sous Chef position, where he learned from some of the best chefs in the business.
After moving back east, he began his journey with The Ritz-Carlton brand in downtown Atlanta. This move eventually led him to Lake Oconee where he was previously the Chef of Banquets and Catering.
Casey enjoys shredding local mountain bike trails and kayaking on the beautiful Lake Oconee and spending time outdoors with his future wife, Morgan, and their two dogs, Dakota and Todd.
Corrado Corrias is a native of Sardegna, Italy. He started his career in the food industry in Rome when he was 18, working for Ciampini in Piazza Navona. He then moved to Chicago and managed two successful restaurants, before moving to Georgia. He helped open the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Plantation in 2002 shortly after marrying his wife April, a native of Madison, Ga. In 2010, Corrado opened his own restaurant based on the recipes of his mother, Giovanna. Da Corrado Ristorante has since undergone two expansions and has become a favorite with locals and tourists alike, offering everything from Baked Sea Bass in salt to authentic Italian brick oven pizzas. Corrado is passionate about doing his best to ensure his guests are happy, well-fed, and having fun!
Alex Davidson began his journey with no professional cooking experience but he loved cooking for family and friends in the backyard. After tasting his delicious food, a few friends and a church group encouraged him to open a part-time BBQ shack, and Georgia Butts BBQ was created on Oct. 3, 2010.
In the beginning Georgia Butts was only open a few days a week, but today it’s open for 6 days a week. Recently, Georgia Butts moved to a new and bigger location on Lake Oconee with boat slips, drive thru and enough room inside to sit 60 people. Georgia Butts BBQ has come a long way in 7 years, from a little shack to a full-service restaurant. Alex appreciates all his loyal customers over the years!
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the popular 5 Points neighborhood in Athens, Georgia, you can find The Pine Food & Drink. Opened in 2014, The Pine is a Southern-inspired, globally-influenced, hearth-bake restaurant with strong ties to the area. The eclectic following of The Pine, from both the staff and regular patrons, is well known to Athens locals but something that needs to be experienced more than just read about for tourists and passersby.
The menu at The Pine focuses on using high-quality, local ingredients to turn out signature dishes, many prepared in the wood-fired hearth in the middle of the restaurant. This open atmosphere has created a unique sense of community where everyone can feel at home while sharing great meals and great drinks with friends, family, and strangers alike.
Whether you are ready for lunch, dinner, or a special Sunday brunch, The Pine has a mouth-watering menu available Tuesday through Sunday. From their Spicy Southern Fried Chicken sandwich served on a brioche roll, to Roasted Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Flatbread, and Blackened Shrimp & Grits, the offerings will delightfully surprise you. Sunday mornings bring out biscuit sandwiches, homemade gravy, and other culinary delights that pair well with a mimosa or hand-crafted Bloody Mary. Be sure to check out The Pine at this year’s festival, you won’t be disappointed!
Charles Eisele fueled his passion for baking bread by building a bread oven in his backyard. Fifteen years and hundreds of pizzas later, Charles chose to pursue his passion and start Copperwood Pizza.
Copperwood Pizza uses only the freshest and finest ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible. The dough formula is perfectly simple: Italian Caputo 00 Flour, fresh yeast, salt & water. The pizza dough’s long and slow fermentation takes three days, and after baking in the Le Panyol oven, results in a light and deeply flavorful crust.
Copperwood Pizza is a family affair as Charles works closely with his wife, Lisa, and their children McCay, Jacob, and Sophia. The team offers catering for small and large events, bringing the beautiful Le Panyol wood-fired copper oven and fantastic pizza to your doorstep.
High Road Craft Ice Cream, handcrafted in Atlanta, Georgia is increasingly available around the country. Smart. Sexy. Serious. Ice Cream… produced in small batches and made with a strong commitment to quality. High Road prides itself on a methodical approach to ice cream manufacturing - from the processes employed to the ingredients and inclusions used.
High Road Craft Ice Cream began with a simple premise to start an ice cream company to make the lives of chefs easier. Since then, High Road has expanded to serve both foodservice and individual consumers nationwide. The company aims to epitomize both integrity and quality by grounding itself in the culinary arts. You can find High Road Craft Ice Cream at Publix, Whole Foods Market, Harris Teeter, Central Market and other fine retailers and restaurants.
One of Jim Jeffords’ favorite books is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and many aspects of the Moultrie, GA, native’s life story have embodied the wanderlust of a hitchhiker. After a few years of travel and self-discovery, Jeffords enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) and discovered his passion for food (and skiing, of course!).
Jeffords honed his culinary skills during an internship at Catch in Boston and after graduating from NECI in 2007, he moved to Washington, DC, to work for one of the most reputable chefs, Eric Zeibold of CityZen. Over the next five years, Jim continued to refine his techniques at CityZen. In 2011, Jeffords became Executive Chef of the Evening Star Café in Del Ray, VA where he brought new life to the establishment by revamping the menu with a focus on southern-inspired, locally-sourced products, many of which were grown on the restaurant’s rooftop garden.
In 2014, Jeffords became Executive Chef of Right Proper Brewing Company in DC, but when his wife accepted a job in Georgia a few weeks later, the couple returned to their southern roots and relocated their family to Atlanta. Jeffords worked as a freelance chef for a few months until he purchased the Country Buffet, a local mainstay on the downtown square in his wife’s hometown of Sandersville. Jim has kept the classic comfort food offerings of the Buffet, but offers more refined, creative options through his catering business.
When not at the restaurant or catering a special event, Jeffords enjoys relaxing with his wife and three children, spending time outdoors, and remodeling their old house – his favorite spot in the galaxy.
Born and raised in India, Kaduru is trained in traditional French techniques and well experienced in Indian cuisine.
Kaduru recently joined The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta. Prior to joining the Atlanta team, he served as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove in Miami, where he directed all food and beverage operations for the four-star Florida resort.
“Atlanta has always been a favorite city of mine,” said Kaduru. “Downtown’s rich history and southern hospitality offers a unique setting for culinary inspiration, and I am eager to experience how it enhances my technique and influence as a chef.” His native Indian background brings an expanded dimension to The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta’s catering capabilities for weddings and other events.
Chef Karduru has demonstrated his culinary arts proficiency at the most prestigious resort kitchens throughout Florida, the Caribbean and the Southwest including The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba and The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. He worked with two certified Master Chefs during his time at the South Florida resorts. In 2013, Karduru successfully opened the first-ever Indian pop-up restaurant within a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
King of Pops was founded by three brothers who had a wild idea during a trip through South America. They launched the company with a couple thousand bucks, a used ice cream pushcart, and a whole lot of luck. Their purpose is to create “unexpected moments of happiness.” The company’s success is due to amazing community support, which they’ve received since day one. King of Pops does its best to respond back with love, gratitude, and some laughs. The company prides itself on working hard to be an example of business doing good things.
Tyler Rogers will be presenting King of Pops at this year’s festival.
Tyler can sell a popsicle to the sun and he has probably tried. Born with a silver tongue, he prefers talking to writing - whether it’s about music, pops, the Dawgs, beer, film, love, his dog Sadie, his cat Luxor, his love of other dogs, food, the Braves, politics, tacos, more pops or even more music, He’s never short on comments, and, honestly, they’re stellar!
Sweet Kneads has great things in store for the 2018 festival! Chef & owner James Kuper has invited three of his former culinary comrades to join him in presenting a mouthwatering selection of gourmet treats at this year’s Grand Tasting. The Sweet Kneads booth is a not-to-be-missed experience.
Chef James Kuper: Passionate about food from an early age, Chef Kuper worked in kitchens and restaurants beginning in high school. On graduating from culinary school he began his career as a chef with the Ritz-Carlton of Naples, FL, alongside Chef Roy Khoo. Chef Kuper owns and operates Sweet Kneads with his wife, Joy.
Chef Roy Khoo: Beginning as a bicycle delivery boy for a catering service in Malaysia, Chef Khoo spent 18 years with the Ritz-Carlton Group around the globe, working as everything from Assistant Chef Garde manger to Executive Chef, showcasing kitchen artistry skills along the way. He is currently Executive Chef and Director of Culinary for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Georgia.
Chef Leon Teow: Food preparation has always been in Chef Teow’s life, beginning at age 6 helping with his mother’s catering business. A graduate of the Penang Culinary Association in Malaysia, he worked at fine locations around the world before joining the Ritz-Carlton Group for a 10-year stretch. Today he is Executive Chef at Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
Chef Charles Metheny: As a graduate of Capital Culinary Institute of Keiser University, Chef Metheny’s education spanned all facets of the kitchen process from assembling the equipment to preparing a meal for a US President. He has worked for many award-winning locations and operated his own catering business for nine years. He now shares his skills at the Rhode Island Country Club.
Sweet Kneads serves the Lake Oconee Area with fresh baked pastries, signature quiches, and their world-class chicken salad. Their menu includes an array of specialty sandwiches, delicious soups, and an all-day breakfast menu.
The Last Resort Grill serves southwestern-inspired cuisine in Athens, Georgia. Known for an exciting array of foods that complement Athens distinctive character, Last Resort chefs celebrate their southern roots by preparing menus with unique twists, inspired by local ingredients. The flavors of their unique fare extends from farmers, growers, and bakers that call Athens home. Using traditional methods such as open fire, grilling, brining, pickling and preserving, The Last Resort has had a long-standing commitment to serving the finest food to the local community.
The original Last Resort opened as a music club in 1966. The club hosted passionate performers such as the Reverend Pearly Brown, Towns Van Zandt, Doc Watson, Jimmy Buffet and Steve Martin. Today, this passion is reflected in the Last Resort menu, which draws directly from the room’s eclectic history. The Last Resort prides itself on its commitment to serving the local community and supporting the growth and preservation of Athens.
Chef Litherland recently moved from Atlanta to Greensboro, Georgia to join The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. Most recently, Litherland served as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta in the heart of Georgia’s capital city, where he brought fresh, local and seasonal fare to the forefront of the menu.
Before his most recent tenure at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, Litherland served as executive chef at The Hotel at Auburn University from 2010 to 2011, where he spearheaded strategy and innovation for the Culinary and Food & Beverage department and held industry seminars for the Auburn University Hospitality Management degree program. Litherland has also operated as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead and The Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove, and was executive sous chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando Grand Lakes.
A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Litherland began cooking alongside his mother at a young age and became acutely attuned to selecting produce at its peak of ripeness and flavor.
Edward Mendoza’s ingenuity and creativity can be found at Cucina 503 in Augusta, Georgia. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Augusta State University, and a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson Wales University in Vail, Colorado. He began his culinary career as line cook in Vail and then moved to Charleston, South Carolina where he worked at Louis’s, renowned for their “Southern Fine Dining.” While working for Chef Louis Osteen, Edward perfected how to add a southern twist to classic French techniques.
Edward then moved to Southern California, and was the executive chef at La Palapa Del Mar in Long Beach. In 2003, he moved to Dallas and worked at several of the most distinguished restaurants in the city: Nana Grill under Chef David McMillan and as sous chef at Lola the Restaurant. During his tenure at Lola, D Magazine voted Lola the Best in Dallas two years in a row and received five stars from the “Dallas Morning News.” In 2006, Edward opened Kitchen 1924 and during his time there was published in Bon Appetit as a “Rising Star Chef.” From there, he went to Bijoux, helping the restaurant achieve five stars, be voted as best restaurant in 2006 by the “Dallas Morning News,” and appear in Bon Appetit Top 10.
From there, he became the opening chef and a teacher at the Le Cordon Blue School of Culinary Arts in Dallas. During his time there, he attended the LCB International Training Center in Ottawa, Canada where he learned classic techniques of cooking French cuisine. He continues to attend the International Star Chefs Congress in New York, an annual three-day culinary symposium where the most influential, innovative chefs present the latest techniques and culinary concepts.
Edward has extensive experience in catering corporate events. He has been corporate chef for The Masters, The U.S. Open, The Kentucky Derby, The Super Bowl, and The Salt Lake City Olympics.
The Pizza-Porta unlocks the creativity of artisan pizzas at your home. This unique accessory adds an oven door to your Big Green Egg® or kamado grill. “Porta” is Italian for door, and with a door you can place, turn, or check your pizza without losing precious heat. With a door, the dome lid stays hot delivering even, radiant heat and you can closely monitor the char on a Neapolitan crust, you can pull a pizza when it is perfectly cooked, and you can cook pizzas one after another for hours at a time giving everyone a chance to share their creation.
Cortlandt Minnich is the inventor of the Pizza-Porta. A Georgia Tech MBA who grew up taking things apart and learning how they work, he is often referred to as MacGyver (the old one), and he has created many fantastic mechanical solutions. Ben Wilcox is the Pizzaioli (pizza chef). Wilcox was introduced to the “garden oven” while he was an expatriate in the United Kingdom. Upon his return to the United States, he purchased a wood-fired oven for his backyard and inspired the desire to cook great pizza in a kamado grill.
Prior to joining the team at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Chef Moore led culinary operations at the prestigious Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Turnberry Isle in Miami, Florida, and the flagship Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, Florida, where he maintained Mobile Five Star and AAA Five Diamond status for four seasons. In 2003, Chef Moore was recognized by the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Master Chef – the highest level of certification available.
Moore has made a name for himself on an international stage. For nearly a decade, Chef Moore was selected to represent the United States in international competitions including the highly regarded World Culinary Olympics in Germany. Overall, he has received 13 international awards and more than 30 medals domestically.
Since joining the Reynolds team in 2015, Chef Moore has opened the award winning Tavern at The National Village.
Chef Brandon Peterson serves as Chef de Cuisine of Gaby’s by the Lake at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. Chef Brandon oversees culinary operations and menu creation for the restaurant and poolside menu, which features a very popular taco cart.
Peterson attended Johnson and Wales where he earned his Associates degree in Culinary Arts. Chef Peterson takes great pride in the dishes he creates, keeping them simple and creative and allowing each ingredient to speak for itself. He enjoys cooking comfort food using old family methods learned from his grandmother. Peterson grew up in rural Missouri, making fresh pickles and preserving fresh jams—he continues to do this today, adding personal touches to his dishes.
Prior to coming to The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Peterson began his career seven years ago at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. He then joined the JW Marriot Grand Lakes where he held various culinary positions in both banquets and restaurants, including overseeing the brewery on property that provided housecraft beer for their brewpub.
In his spare time, Chef Peterson enjoys spending time with his wife, Katie and their two young children, Cooper and Iris. He continues to enjoy brewing beer.
“Cakes are my Passion!”
Shannon Stubbs, owner of Slice is madly in love with cake decorating. Each of her cake creations is made from scratch, using only the finest ingredients.
Shannon started Slice in 2009 with big dreams and a passion for cake art. She is the sole baker, decorator and designer for Slice. Shannon is family-trained; her mother is owner of LisaMae Cakes in Macon, Georgia. Through her mom’s years of recipe testing and cake creation and with her blessings, Shannon created Slice. Shannon loves sharing her mom’s passion for creating “edible art.” It is also through her mom that she learned to never compromise on quality—Shannon prides herself on using the best ingredients available and she pours her heart and soul into each one of her cakes.
Slice services middle Georgia as well as the Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair areas.
After many years of cooking and catering delicious BBQ for family, friends, and some experience in the restaurant industry, Eric decided to take his show on the road and in 2004, The Rolling Grill BBQ was born.
Eric currently travels across the country cooking Award Winning Championship BBQ in various competitions. His vast knowledge of BBQ and grilling has allowed him the opportunity to compete on hit television shows such as BBQ Pitmasters Seasons 4 and 5 and BBQ Pit-wars Season 2. In mid-February 2018, he appeard on Food Networks’s Chopped. Eric has is also the author of How to Start a Home-Based Food Truck Business.
Eric has also been one of 30 pit masters from around the country serving as a Barbecue Brand Ambassador for Kraft’s ‘Garland Jack Secret Six BBQ Sauce and has worked with companies including Western Premium BBQ Products, Stubbs BBQ Sauce, Tyson’s Chicken, Coca Cola and more!
Eric is a Certified Kansas City Barbecue Society Judge and shares his years of cooking knowledge by offering BBQ 101 & Advance Pitmaster cooking classes nationwide.
Shaun Thomas serves as Chef de Cuisine of Georgia’s at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. Thomas oversees the culinary operations and menu creation of Georgia’s, the Lobby Lounge and In-Room Dining for the resort.
A professional chef for 10 years, Thomas grew up amid the Appalachian cuisine of Southern West Virginia. He takes great pleasure infusing local ingredients and deep-rooted family traditions into his culinary dishes.
Shaun launched his culinary career at the Westin Charlotte hotel where he worked with Chef Michael Treanor after obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management at Johnson and Wales University. From Charlotte he had the opportunity to move to Los Angeles, California to join the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining team for the reopening of the iconic Hotel Bel-Air. His work in Los Angeles led him to be a personal chef for some high profile celebrities and where he learned from some of the best chefs in the business.
After moving back to the East Coast, he began his journey with The Ritz-Carlton brand at the downtown Atlanta property. This move eventually led him to Lake Oconee where he was previously the Chef of Gaby’s by the Lake, and now serves as the Chef of Georgia’s. Thomas’ passion and expertise led to the innovation of Georgia’s menu featuring dishes with an emphasis on local seasonal ingredients. Chef Shaun is dedicated to providing a dining experience that showcases quality ingredients at their peak.
In his spare time, Shaun enjoys fishing and kayaking on the beautiful Lake Oconee and around the surrounding area. Thomas hails from a musical family and loves spending as much time with them as he can.
In 2009, Angie Tillman of Phickles began selling pickled veggies off her front porch in Athens, Georgia. Demand for her veggies grew quickly with both locals and stores from Athens and Atlanta to the Florida panhandle. In 2010, Tillman moved pickle production into a licensed kitchen and onto the shelves of specialty food stores and boutiques all over the Southeast United States.
Through Tillman’s love of cooking and sharing recipes online with fans of her pickles, she has added several favorite family recipes to the Phickles Brand including cheese spreads, barbeque sauces, salsa and pepper jellies – each with its own, unique and PHUN name, for example Hot Mess, Southern Charm and Moppin’ & Shindig Sauce! Angie’s motto for both life and food is: If it ain’t fun… don’t do it!
I studied Culinary Arts at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. There I was a member of the Culinary Team and was one of the fortunate few who got to spend a semester studying abroad in the Burgundy Region of France. I worked as a Sous Chef in an Italian restaurant outside Boston before moving to Georgia in 1999. I spent most of my career in the country club business. I was the Chef for Country Club of the South, Canongate Clubs, and St. Ives Country Club before joining my brother and sister in the opening of Bone Island Grillhouse here on Lake Oconee. I am passionate about the products we offer here at Bone Island Grillhouse, and work to provide a consistent dining experience for all our guests.
Chef Winfield is pictured here with Kara Fuller, President of B.I.G. Restaurants and owner of both the Lake Oconee and Athens, GA locations of Bone Island Grillhouse.
With the help of a throwback recipe, peppers from his garden, and a passion for grilling, Eric Wisham began getting creative with his pepper jelly batches during the summer of 2012. After a busy summer spent at his local farmers market in downtown Tifton, Georgia, in October 2013, Eric began his peppery journey to create and make Wisham Jellies for store shelves. Wisham Jellies Pepper Jellies are handmade with whole peppers and fruits, and keeps their ingredient list short and sweet!
Wisham Jellies can be used as a last minute glaze for meats and vegetables on the grill, to create a peppery vinaigrette for salads, or as a spicy kick to your favorite cocktail. You’ll find heat + sweet in every jar!
Wisham’s signature flavors are Cranberry (2015 Flavor of GA Winner), Wild Mayhaw (2016 Flavor of GA Winner), Fire!, Mango, Peachy Peach, Pineapple and Strawlapeño, Blazing Blueberry, and Orange Ginger.
Participating Wineries & Distilleries
Enjoy our delectable wines and spirits from global, national, and regional wineries and distilleries. Our 2018 line-up included over 200 varieties for our guests tasting pleasure!
Check back soon for an updated list of 2019 wineries!
Entertainment Served Fresh!
Enjoy national and local talent as you feast your way through tasty food and hundreds of wines! Updates on 2018 Festival musicians and live entertainment coming soon!
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.
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Top-40 songwriter and Georgia Country Awards Overall Artist of the Year, Matt Rogers, is no stranger to the stage. With over 200 performances a year and opening for some of country music’s hottest names, including Cole Swindell, Lo Cash and Michael Ray, Matt has built a devout fan base with his electrifying stage presence.
When Rogers isn’t on the road he is writing music with some of Nashville’s best songwriters. NSAI and CMT selected his song “I Was Raised” for a songwriting achievement award. It went on to be selected by NSAI as a Top 40 song and secured him a finalist spot for the Georgia Music Awards for Country Male Artist and Music Video of the Year. “Read My Mind” was selected as an official entry into the International Songwriters Competition.
The Georgia native creates a connection with his listeners through his emotionally gripping lyrics and unmistakable melodies. 2018 is shaping up to be another groundbreaking year for Rogers. He started the year by debuting the lyric video for his second single, “Britches,” exclusively on the popular country music outlet, The Boot. The release followed many career milestones in 2017, including becoming the first Brand Ambassador for Durango Boots.
New Orleans Jazz, Gut Bucket Blues, and Mojo Singin’ Music! The Ruby Reds, known for their great music, may be the longest-tenured jazz band in Georgia. Today’s band includes Rocky Ball on Banjo, L.A. Tuten on bass and Marty Martin on trumpet. The original group came together in 1966 to perform nightly at a rowdy beer hall and banjo-sing along parlor called Ruby Reds Warehouse in downtown Atlanta. The Ruby Reds have been playing throughout the Southeast ever since. The history of the band covers over 52 years and includes two groups of musicians whose timelines merged in 1976. Through an infusion of seasoned second-generation musicians, the band now offers a vast repertoire, performing at thousands of parties, sports events, concerts and more. Ruby Reds is available for any imaginable occasion or event!
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