November 18-20, 2021
Speakers, Experts & Headliners
Gina Ferwerda, TV Personality and Author of Meals from the Mitten
In Meals from the Mitten: Celebrating the Seasons in Michigan, popular TV personality, travel/food blogger and business entrepreneur Gina Ferwerda shares her love of cooking, photography and adventurous lake life along the shores of Lake Michigan. From a summer charcuterie picnic with fresh vegetables overlooking Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes to Muffler Meatballs cooked on a snowmobile in a winter wonderland, Ferwerda inspires readers to get out of the kitchen and embrace the freshness of each season—which is exactly what Michigan food is all about. Ferwerda, a TODAY show food contributor who has also been featured by Good Morning America and ABC’s The Chew, showcases her passion for the Mitten state in every delicious bite of the 80-plus dishes featured in her debut cookbook, all perfectly designed for the home cook.
About the Author
Gina Ferwerda is a recipe developer, food blogger, resort business owner, and photographer. Her food blog, Nom News, has been featured by The Chew, The Rachel Ray Show, and The Today Show Food Club, and she has appeared on Good Morning America. She lives in Silver Lake, Michigan.
Chef Angus Campbell, Culinary Consultant
A City and Guilds Master Craftsmen, with over 40 years of experience, Chef Angus Campbell was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Beginning his professional career, Chef Campbell worked at the Bahamas Hotel Training College where he became the Department Chair for their Culinary Arts Department before moving to Grand Rapids where he taught food production at the Hospitality Education Department at their acclaimed public restaurant ‘The Heritage.’ He has won medals at many levels of food competitions and is an accomplished junior culinary team coach. He produced a twelve part series on Italian and Scottish cuisine on location for WZZM TV13 and his production of a monthly cable TV show recently won a national bronze medal at the Paragon Awards. In 2017 an episode of the “Cooking with Angus” Italian Scottish series won an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Michigan Chapter. His years in the culinary field has taught him the importance of keeping food as natural and simple as possible and allowing ingredients to speak for themselves. He continues to consult for local, national and international companies on a variety of culinary topics.
Chef Brian Williams / Chef Chad Beuter, Meijer
Chef Brian C Williams attended Auburn University Majoring in Biology 2002, Graduated Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park NY 2003. Brian worked in restuarants in Alabama, New York, Florida, North Carolina, in these notorious restaurants: Aubergine, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Café Dupont and Upstream, then coming back home to Michigan to pursue his passions in the kitchen here close to family. Chef Brian has been working with Meijer Product Development for 3 years.
Chef Chad W Beuter attended Schoolcraft College for Culinary Arts 2008 then began working in restaurants in Northern Michigan, Chicago and San Francisco including Alinea (Chicago), Atelier Crenn and “Sons and Daughters’ (both in San Francisco) and Chandler’s (Petoskey). Three years ago, Chef Chad began with Meijer as Own Brand Chef and Product Development bringing his family to the Grand Rapids area.
David Stanley, Meijer Wine and Beverage Steward
David Stanley has over 20 years of professional experience in fine wines, specialty beverages and quality foods. At the young age of 15, he had his first unglamorous step in the field as a bus boy for a local restaurant. After graduation he took his years of kitchen experience west working for a bustling winery in Napa, California, where he was “bit by the bug” and became a consummate foodie and beverage enthusiast. David moved on to take a Food & Beverage Manager position with a prominent hotel chain in Oregon, which gave him the chance to bring his passion for well paired food and beverage to the public at large. David eventually made his way back to Grand Rapids where he spent a few years working in the wine and beverage retail field downtown before returning to restaurant management for several years. He joined the Meijer team in 2007 as the Wine & Beverage Steward.
Chris Stubbs, Moersch Hospitality Group
Chris is Moersch Hospitality Group’s Chief Financial Officer and Director of Wholesale. Chris has an incredible passion for the hospitality industry, mainly southwest Michigan’s exploration of wine, beer, spirits, and food. He first got the bug for hospitality with his first job out of college at Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant where he first met Rick Moersch, owner of MHG properties, who was at that time the winemaker at Tabor Hill. “The hospitality industry gives back exactly what you put into it.” said Chris, “It’s an opportunity to make a memorable impact on a guest’s experience that keeps me motivated.” From then on, their families became lifelong friends and he was hooked. As CFO Chris is responsible for delivering strategic leadership on budget management, cost-benefit analysis, forecasting models, and securing additional funding for MHG while ensuring long-term growth. Within the Wholesale Department, he directs the overall strategy, development, and achievement of sales goals and distribution targets.
Moersch Hospitality Group includes:
Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery | Free Run Cellars | Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant
George Washington Carver Walker III, Graped Out
George Washington Carver Walker, III became a Level 1 Sommelier at 21 and graduated from the Culinary Institute of Michigan soon after. He has worked in positions all around West Michigan including Grove, i-lixir Beverage and SpartanNash. He has also traveled to 5 continents and over 15 countries studying and learning unique cultures. Through these companies, his world travels and by learning from other “OG’s” in the wine game, George sharpened his skills and built a diverse network of wine loving friends across the globe. Now, George is determined to change the culture and perspective of wine through Graped Out. He remembers the days when he didn’t know the difference between a cabernet sauvignon and a sauvignon blanc and seeing very few wine-makers, sommeliers, and other professionals in the industry that looked like him. George believes that wine should be for the people and by the people – all of the people. He has created tasting experiences and events that include wine, art and music. He wants to take the “boujee” out of wine and get Graped Out!
Michael Schafer, The Wine Counselor
Michael is a Professor at Baker College and Oakland Community College, and teaches at Henry Ford College and Grand Rapids Community College. The Wine Counselor® has presented to the American Culinary Federation, the Society of Wine Educators International Conference, the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival (Canada), the United States Bartenders Guild and the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Conference. The charismatic speaker, libations educator, Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Specialist of Spirits, writer and consultant who entertains while educating. His humorous and fun approach to wine and spirits is reflected in his trademark phrase, “I taste bad wine so you don’t have to.” ®
Nancie Oxley, St. Julian Wine Company
Nancie is Michigan’s first female winemaker. She joined St. Julian Wine Company in 2002 as the Assistant Winemaker and moved up the ranks to Head Winemaker in 2010. She has been involved in the wine industry for the past 15 years and gained her knowledge primarily through hands-on experience in California and Michigan. Nancie received her Bachelor of Science in Food Manufacturing Operations and double minors in Agribusiness Management and Organizational Leadership & Supervision in 2002 and earned a Master of Science degree in Food and Agribusiness Management from Purdue University-Indiana University in West Lafayette, IN, in 2010 with the MBA portion of her degree completed at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. In 2013, Nancie was awarded the Outstanding Food Science Alumni Award from Purdue University. She continues to express her passion for wine, proudly working with Southwest Michigan growers, producing award winning wines for St. Julian.
Gregory Hall, Virtue Cider
Gregory Hall founded Virtue Cider in 2011. He is known for his 20-year tenure as brewmaster at the Goose Island Beer Company, having won 14 consecutive Great American Beer Festival medals and pioneered bourbon barrel-aged beer with Bourbon County Stout. In the spring of 2011, Hall left Goose Island and embarked on a two-month pilgrimage to study the craft of cider, touring and tasting at top cidermakers in England and France. He brought his extensive experience and innovative style to launch Virtue Cider. In 2013, Hall brought the cidermaking venture as close as possible to one of the United States’ best apple-growing states of Michigan and launched Virtue Cider in Fennville, Michigan.
Chef Damon Covington, Culinary Consultant
Chef Damon K. Covington, Chef Owner G-55 Catering LLC, Chef
Chef Damon started his culinary education in the United State Navy receiving a Mess Management Specialists certificate. Chef Damon attended the prestigious Kendall College in Evanston Illinois before transferring to Culinary Institute of Michigan former Baker College, Muskegon, MI where he received an Associate of Business Degree in (Culinary Arts) and Bachelors of Business Administration (Food & Beverage Management) Cum Laude.
Chef Damon career has taken him from his initial experience as a Mess Management Specialist in the United States Navy to his current position as a Chef Instructor at Tidewater Community College Norfolk, Va. Chef Damon is a dynamic chef educator with a love and passion for all things food! Over the past nineteen plus years Chef Damon has worked diligently in honing his expertise in all facets of classic culinary knowledge, classic cookery skill, curriculum development, food safety training and beverage management.
Chef Damon has earned a stellar reputation in the Tidewater area as Executive Chef at the Greenhouse as well as the former executive chef of The Chamberlin Hotel in Hampton, Va. Chef Damon is currently a chef a the two time nominated James Beard Semifinalist Dinette in East Liberty under the tutelage of Sonja Finn
Chef Damon is the owner G-55 Catering LLC food cart and catering. The cuisine focus is stylish, refine, southern cuisine. Chef Damon approach to New Southern Cuisine focus on particularly the Plantation South culinary region begins just south of the Mason-Dixon Line in north central Maryland, where it’s bounded on the east by the Chesapeake Bay Shore region and on the west by the Appalachian South region. It encompasses much of Virginia and the eastern Carolinas, then sweeps southwestward along America’s coastal plain.
Initiative signature dishes that includes Cajun lump crab salad, oyster gumbo, shrimp & smoked gouda grits, black-eyed pea hummus, and soul bowls just to name a few. G55 menu ingredients are source locally.
Paul Hamelin, Verterra Winery
Paul Hamelin grew up in Lansing, Michigan and vacationed on the Leelanau Peninsula as a child in the late 60’s. After graduating from Michigan State University he earned a Pharmacy degree from Ferris State University in 1980. Paul and his wife Marty, of 40 years, pursued an interest for collecting wines and visiting numerous wine regions around the world. The Hamelin’s decided to devote their passion for wine by creating a new winery on the Leelanau Peninsula. Verterra Winery is a family-owned, artisan winery established in 2006. It is located just north of Traverse City, MI. Verterra is a family partnership Geoff Hamelin, son of Paul and Marty, is the General Manager of the winery after receiving a degree in Enology and Viticulture from Washington State University. In addition, seven additional family members also contribute their passion and creativity to Verterra in varying capacities. Verterra wines are Estate grown from 35 acres and are 100% pure Leelanau. Since the first vintage in 2010, the wines from Verterra have won over 250 medals in International Wine Competitions.
In his Rose seminar Paul is going to explore the world of Rose’s. While these have been mainstays of summer wine consumption in Europe for decades it has only recently become fashionable in the US to consume these fantastic “Pink” wines. Come, learn how they are made, what grapes make the best Rose’s.
In the Sparkling Wine Seminar Paul is going to explore the history of Sparkling wines. How they are made, decipher the scale of sweetness as established by the French centuries ago. Taste several Sparkling wines produced by the Wineries of the Traverse Wine Coast.
Pinot Blancs are noble grapes with a long European heritage and are extremely popular in France Germany, Italy (Pinot Bianco) and Austria. They are rarely planted here in the US, come explore why this has happened and taste TWC Pinot Blancs which are establishing a new grape varietal for wine consumers.
Steve Smith, Henry A. Fox Sales Co.
Steve started his goal of promoting craft beer in West Michigan back in 1997 when he first started at Siciliano’s Market. Growing through self-education and learning through the camaraderie of like-minded people, Steve helped develop the craft beer presence through management and education at establishments such as Martha’s Vineyard, Billy’s Lounge, Reds on the River and HopCat before coming on board with Henry A. Fox Sales. He has also collaborated with the GR Public Museum to create the “Thank You Beer” exhibit of 2012.
Robert Brengman, Brengman Brothers
Brengman Brothers is a successful wine tasting room, wine production facility and producing vineyards property and business located in Traverse City, Michigan. Brothers Robert and Edward Brengman started the dream in 2004 when they planted their first vines. The tasting room and wine making facility were constructed soon after the initial vines were planted and the wine tasting and production facility opened, officially, fall of 2011. Prior to realizing their dream of opening a family owned winery, the Brengman Brothers, had been exposed to the hospitality industry for most of their lives. Their family has had very successful restaurants around the Detroit area. Having grown up in the hospitality business, Robert and Edward and their family’s strive to feature high-quality products and focus on providing exceptional, experience-based events at the Traverse City facility. With continued success, the Brothers and their family’s realize that they are well equipped to venture into a second location in the Grand Rapids area, which is opened in December of last year. This new location at Pearl and Ottawa streets, named Forty Pearl, teams up with other beverage producers including Bonobo Winery, Bel Lago Winery and Grand Traverse Distillery. Along with wine and cocktail tasting, there will be wine and food pairing options available for the guests.
Philip Greene, Author
Philip is an authority on the life and favorite drinks of Ernest Hemingway, and has presented on this topic before the Smithsonian and Kennedy Center in Washington DC and at the Hemingway Home in Key West, as well as other locales around the world. His book, To Have and Have Another – A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Huffington Post and many others, and remains a best seller. He is also author of The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail. Greene is a Brand Ambassador and consultant for the Hemingway Rum Co., and their line of award-winning rums under the Papa’s Pilar brand. He is one of the founders of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans and has presented at events such as Tales of the Cocktail and Manhattan Cocktail Classic, as well as programs for the Smithsonian Associates, the Hemingway Society, the International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, as well as other notable institutions. Greene is on the Board of Directors of the National Food & Beverage Foundation as well as the Museum of the American Cocktail’s Founders Board. Outside of the world of cocktails, Greene is a Trademark and Internet Counsel to the U.S. Marine Corps, based at the Pentagon in Washington DC.