Learn the culinary secrets of some of the region’s best Chefs. In the past, our guests have included veterans from Hell’s Kitchen, Chef Wanted, Chopped, Iron Chef and other culinary television programs. We’ve also featured the Executive Chefs from the Hudson Valley’s best restaurants. We offer cooking demonstrations all weekend and access to the demos is included in your Fest admission.
Chef Amanda Giblin
We’re excited to welcome back Chef Amanda Giblin, a veteran contestant on Hell’s Kitchen and culinary instructor.
A New Jersey native, Amanda grew up in an Italian-Irish household and that meant surrounded by plenty of good food. Her Italian Grandfather taught her that food and cooking is the heart and soul of many great memories. As a young girl, Amanda could often be found in the kitchen at home with her mother helping with dinner or whipping up something of her own.
Amanda attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. in 2001. It was here that she was classically trained, but in 2003 was given an opportunity to work at Martell’s Waters Edge in Bayville, NJ and was mentored by her Chef. He really took the time to help develop her skill and cooking style. He allowed Amanda to experiment and explore her palate using seasonal, fresh, local ingredients, transforming them into simple flavorful yet artistic dishes.
In 2007, at the young age of 24, Amanda moved to the Hudson Valley and began working in restaurants where the fresh local ingredients were in abundance. At 25, Amanda was given the chance to prove herself when she became the Executive Chef of a restaurant in Suffern, NY. It was here that Amanda really learned to push herself outside of her comfort zone and perfect the skill of being a leader.
Currently, aside from working as a Culinary Instructor, Amanda is diligently working to start her own business.
Aside from her love of food, Amanda is also involved with using her “celebrity” for non-profit charities such as ‘Kick’n Bullying (werekickinit.org) and Reality Rally (realityrally.com) for Michelle’s Place (michellesplace.org), a breast cancer resource center for young adults.
Chef Brian Santos
We’re excited to welcome Chef Brian Santos to the Wine & Food Fest. A Season 13 Competitor on Hell’s Kitchen and currently the Sous Chef at the TD Garden in Boston, his favorite cuisine is French with an American Flair. Santos did not always know he wanted to be a chef. He started
his career in finance and real estate. He was doing well, but he did not enjoy it. He knew he wanted something more. In 2004, he was watching TV and saw a Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts commercial and realized that cooking was his passion. At the time, his wife was pre-med. Watching her work full time while being a full-time student inspired him to do the same. Once he enrolled and started classes, he discovered the technique, execution and passion that took place in a kitchen and was hooked. It reminded him of a sports atmosphere.
From there, Santos interned at Delaware North Company, a hospitality company based in Buffalo, New York, worked as a banquet chef for Nicholas Calias, CEC, executive chef at The Colonnade Hotel, Boston, and returned to Delaware North as sous chef at TD Garden, Boston. Now he is the premium luxury suites chef at the sports facility. As a competitor on “Hell’s Kitchen,” Santos made it to the top six and received the coveted black chef jacket before being eliminated. The experience he gained from working with Ramsey and the other chefs on the show was the stage of a lifetime for him. In addition, the experience helped Santos become more self-aware and in tune with his career journey.
Chef Vincent Tropepe
A longtime friend of the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest, Chef Vincent Tropepe is a Brooklyn, NY native. His deep Italian roots as well as his grandmother’s have inspired him to become a chef. Vincent Tropepe has worked in every avenue of the food business. From prep cook, to dishwasher, line cook, sous chef as well as executive chef in some of the country’s top restaurants. He has also had his work featured in numerous newspapers, magazine, online magazines, and blogs. Vincent is also a published cookbook author with his first release titled, “From Behind the Kitchen Doors”
Because of Vincent’s in depth knowledge of the workings of the restaurant business, and his 13 different culinary certifications and 7 managerial and business certifications Vincent has been called the “American born Gordon Ramsey.” He currently operates Tropepe & Associates in Brooklyn, a restaurant consulting agency.