2016 Guests & Hosts

You can also view the printed invitation online!

Guest Highlights:

  • Chef, Teacher, and Traveler.

Bret Bannon

A self-professed Francophile, Bret Bannon delights in all things French, especially the cuisine. He regularly hosts dazzling dinner parties in traditional French style at Bret’s Table and revels in sharing his expertise with others through the wide variety of classes he teaches. Bret also leads culinary tours to various regions of France every chance he gets — mais oui!


Hosts Sue & Peter Gross / Debbie & Craig Spencer 

Location: Minneapolis

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Guest Highlights:

  • Chef de Cuisine.

Chef Adam Eaton

Glowing reviews galore have been written about the culinary magic created at Saint Dinette by chef Adam Eaton. His specialty is turning the seemingly ordinary into something extraordinary. Honing his skills in such notable kitchens as La Belle Vie, Barrio and Café Maude, Adam is one of the Twin Cities’ most notable up-and-coming chefs.


Hosts Marilyn & Martin Lipschultz 

Location: St. Paul

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Guest Highlights:

  • Foodie File Writer & TV and Radio Host

Stephanie Hansen & Stephanie March

Co-host of 107 FM’s Weekly Dish Stephanie Hansen is living her childhood dream by hosting a radio talk show. A true food connoisseur, she has rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in the food world. Stephanie is an accomplished home cook whose best advice is “fake it ’til you make it.”

Stephanie March worked her way through the restaurant industry, starting as a bartender in college, before switching gears to become a nationally recognized food journalist. Now Food & Dining senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, co-host of 107 FM’s Weekly Dish radio show, and a regular contributor to Twin Cities Live, Stephanie has the inside scoop on the local food scene.



Hosts Elizabeth & David Nirenstein / Sonia & Ron Ungerman 

Location: Minneapolis

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Guest Highlights:

  • Maxa is a Travel Expert, Guide, and Host. McConn is a Head Brewer.

Rudy Maxa & Damian McConn

Travel journalist Rudy Maxa has sampled cuisines across the glove. Known for his public television shows “Rudy Maxa’s World” and “Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa”, he also hosts the weekly top travel radio show in America, “Rudy Maxa’s World with The Careys,” Rudy is one of the country’s most sought-after consumer travel experts.

Damian McConn is head brewer at Summit Brewing Company. A native of Ireland, Damian worked for world-famous Guinness before following his dream of being part of the burgeoning American craft beer scene when he came to Minnesota in 2000. Damian especially loves the freedom to experiment and create unique beers that comes with working for a midsize brewery.



Hosts Sally & Mike Abrams / Wendy & Howard Bach  

Location: St. Louis Park

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Guest Highlights:

  • Miller is a Sommelier. Paulsen is a Chef, promotes farm to table fare.

Leslee Miller & Marshall Paulsen

Many equate the words formal and stuffy with the wine world but sommelier and Amusée founder Leslee Miller is anything but. A self-described yogi, Leslee’s favorite food indulgences are snails and frog legs but if given her choice, she’d choose a good old fish fry in a Wisconsin tavern over a fancy multi-course meal any day. Her best entertaining advice is "sometimes simple makes successful."

Chef Marshall Paulsen was at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement in the Twin Cities. Customers return time and time again to Birchwood Café for his always fresh, inventive and delicious menu that supports a network of local farmers.



Hosts Allison & Mike Gelfman /Julie Silverman & Bard Borkon / Judy & Michael Skadron 

Location: Minnetrista

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Guest Highlights:

  • Food Writer.

Wendi Rosenstein

Wendi Rosenstein is the keeper of a family legacy that is near and dear to many Twin Citians… the Lincoln Del. Her grandparents Morrie and Tess Berenberg founded the legendary delicatessen and food writer Wendi is working on a cookbook to preserve 100+ restaurant recipes that will no doubt take readers back in time. From the C. Everett Koop cake to the cabbage borscht to the Thousand Island dressing, Wendi knows all the secrets behind the Del’s memory-evoking tastes and flavors.


Hosts Lisa Heilicher / Susie & Howard Held / Barb & Phil Jacobs / Linda & Joe Romeo 

Location: Golden Valley

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Guest Highlights:

  • Food Critic and Writer.

Joy Summers

Joy is a St. Paul-based, nationally featured food writer who always knows what's new in the local restaurant scene. She shares her expertise with readers of Minnesota Monthly magazine as half the new critical Taste team (along with Jason DeRusha) and as editor of the food news website Eater Minneapolis.



Hosts Carole Davidson / Rollye & Chuck Rinkey / Eileen Strauss & Harold Kaplan / Harriet Swatez & Les Novak 

Location: Hopkins

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Guest Highlights:

  • Mixologist, and Trainer.

Marco Zappia

Called “the golden child” by one of his partners, Marco Zappia is truly an artist and innovator behind the bar. With restaurants focusing nearly as much on their cocktail menus as their food menus, Marco and his team at Bittercube are racking up the accolades not only for their original line of bitters but the inventive drink menus they have designed for restaurants locally and nationwide.


Hosts Lisa & Alan Bernick / Marissa & David Upin 

Location: Minneapolis

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Guest Highlights:

  • Community Mover & Shaker, Chef, Columnist, and Radio Host.

Sue Zelickson

Sue Zelickson is as close to royalty as there is in the local food world. To name just a few of her accomplishments, she is a James Beard Award-winning radio broadcaster, a tireless philanthropist, sought-after restaurant consultant, influential magazine and TV contributor and highly-regarded cookbook editor. Add to this, founder of the Kid’s Cafes at Perspectives Family Center and Boys and Girls Clubs and Women Who Really Cook plus co-founder of the Charlie Awards. Sue is truly a Twin Cities’ legend!


Hosts Sylvia & Sam Kaplan 

Location: Minneapolis

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Guest Highlights:

  • Restaurateurs, Chefs, and Consultants.

Under 40’s — Tobie Nidetz & Craig Johnson

Tobie Nidetz is an in-demand restaurant consultant and accomplished chef. A recognized voice on the local culinary scene since moving to the Twin Cities decades ago, Tobie is known for bringing a unique combination of innovation and food know-how to his work. His latest Twin Cities project is popular Uptown hot dog and sausage joint Prairie Dogs.

Craig Johnson is co-owner and the chef behind Prairie Dogs house-made charcuterie and meats. Craig worked his way up the ladder at various D’Amico restaurants and after stops at several other well-known area restaurants, he now gets rave reviews for his take on the art of sausage-making using locally-sourced ingredients.


Ambassadors Shari & Adam Dveris / Cara & Andy Strauss 

Location: Minneapolis

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Guest Highlights:

  • Head Brewer.

Under 40’s — Matt Schwandt

Any expectations Matt Schwandt had when opening Bauhaus Brew Labs in July 2014 have most certainly been shattered with the tremendous success the craft brewery saw in just its first year. A musician turned lawyer turned brewmaster, Matt serves as president and head brewer for this family-run brewery that has become a major player in the local craft beer scene.


Hosts Rabbi Jeremy & Jessie Fine 

Location: St. Paul

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