Kurt Beecher Dammeier
A Puget Sound native, Kurt Beecher Dammeier has long been an advocate for American-made artisanal cheeses. Since launching Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in 2003, Beecher’s cheeses have twice been named as the best cheese in the country by the American Cheese Society. Kurt is recognised annually in Seattle Magazine’s Food Establishment List and is also the chef-owner to a number of popular Seattle restaurants, as well Beecher’s restaurant in New York City. A successful cookbook author, his “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese is one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. He is a firm believer in eating foods free of harmful additives and, to this end, founded Beecher’s Pure Food Kids Foundation, educating 11,000 kids annually on how to make informed, healthy food choices.
Chicago native Charles Joly is an award-winning, lifelong food and beverage professional. A certified mixologist, Joly focuses on a balance between the classics and his own seasonal original cocktails. His beverage program at the Aviary, which won a James Beard Award in 2013, offers a glimpse at mixology in the golden age of the cocktail. Joly’s career quickly rose in the national and international mixology scene with a long list of competition wins and industry awards. In 2013, Joly launched Crafthouse Cocktails – the nation’s first all-natural, premium line of prepared cocktails. In 2014, Crafthouse was awarded the highest ratings ever received in the prepared cocktail category. But, to his loyal guests and coworkers, he is best known for his rock star appearance, yet refined tastes.