Meet The Chefs:

Sponsored by:

Renewal Remodels and Additions

Bates Technical College



Tacoma Cooking for the Holidays Host Jackie Casella, has been a resident of Tacoma and surrounding areas since she was just a glimmer. She’s the Founder and Event Producer of Tacoma based literary non profit Creative Colloquy and was awarded the 2018 AMOCAT Award for Outreach by an Individual. She is also a longtime restaurant industry veteran and an editorial and food writer who’s had columns among the pages of the Weekly Volcano, City Arts Magazine, South Sound Talk, Post Defiance, South Sound Magazine, and Grit City Magazine. 

Jackie Casella

Executive Chef Hudson Slater, the Flavor Hammer, is a Gig Harbor native and local chef, dreamed of an opportunity to craft whimsical food outside of the familiar establishments where he clocked his culinary hours. He enjoyed plating the usual steak and fish entrees found on most classy restaurant menus, but wished for an avenue to cook food that pushed boundaries — food re-imagined. With an urge to find a creative outlet, he noticed a new concept dubbed “pop-up” restaurants becoming increasingly popular in cities around the country. Pop-ups are usually set for one night only, offering a chef-driven menu in a mysterious location. With help from friends, Slater’s idea of the Secret Sauce Society became reality. In summer of 2014, he set up camp at Early Bird Farms in Puyallup, and strung eggs through every one of his eight courses. He served eggs raw, deviled, poached, pickled, fried, and everything in between. He cooked without any substitutions or special requests. With diners satisfied and eager for another tasting, he knew his pop-up concept satiated the cravings of South Sound foodies.

Executive Chef Hudson Slater


Executive Chef Jon Maley, was born in a small farm town in New Jersey. Growing up next to a farm and having goats of his own, he learned what it meant to put in a hard day’s work. He stared work at 14 years of age in a cake shop washing dishes. From that point on, he knew his future was in the food and beverage business.In 2008 Chef Jon decided to move to Washington and enjoy the fruits and labor of the Northwest. He took the job of Executive Chef of The Local Vine, which was started by James Beard Award winning Chef Jason Wilson. After the closure of the restaurant due to hard times, he was extended the opportunity to open the highly acclaimed restaurant, Book Bindery, under Chef Shaun McCrain as his Sous Chef. In 2011 Chef Jon joined the team at The University of Washington Club as a Sous Chef, and 2 months later was promoted to Executive Chef. Since then, Chef Jon and the whole leadership team have taken this club to all new levels.

After winning the “Club Chef of the Year” award in 2013, Chef Jon and his team took innovative ideas to rebrand the club in every area. He has been instrumental in creating blogs and social media pages to promote the club’s food offerings. He has also headlined “Dinner and Demonstration” events to inspire and engage the club members of all levels of culinary experience. In addition to bolstering the clubs social media and web presence, Chef Jon has dramatically improved the clubs daily lunch program by creating visionary weekly special desserts that wow and impress the members.

Chef Jon Maley
Chef Jan Parker, started Jan Parker Cookery in Wiesbaden, Germany in 2017.  After her husband retired from the Army.  She decided to continue her small business in Tacoma, WA where she serves up Fresh & Distinct Filipinx food at the Proctor Farmers Market, Steilacoom Farmers Market, Tacoma Night Market, Tacoma Sunday Market and other outdoor market venues.  Chef Jan recognizes the power of connection with food and the  community. Her food incorporates produce from local farmers.  She continues her mission to put Filipinx food at the forefront. Most importantly, representing and spreading awareness regarding her culture from the Philippines.  Chef Jan was awarded Best Chef 2020 by South Sound Magazine.

Chef Jan Parker

Chef Reginald Jacob Howell, aka 253 Degrees, is a local chef born and raised in Tacoma and a proud University of Washington Alumni. Chef Howell is a Washington state based private chef who has been cooking professionally since 2014.  He’s won notable titles such as, Chef’s Roll Plate 2019 Champion, and Industry’s Chef of The Year 2019 – for the state of Washington. Current sous chef at “Nue” in cap hill Seattle

Chef Reginald Jacob Howell

Kristi Slotemaker, is an artisan cheese maker. Simply put, the milk is produced locally and we make it into cheese. Our cheese is made from 100% Jersey milk, guaranteeing maximum flavor and buttery goodness in every bite. No hormones to increase production and no corn in their grain. Better for them and better for you!

The artisan part means that we make our cheese in small-scale quantities by hand with great attention to detail and lots of pride. When we say handmade, we really mean it. You won’t find any automated equipment in our cheese room. We strongly believe in growing the centuries old craft and have been teaching cheese making since 2006 as well as making cheese for resale to our loyal customers. Find us on Instagram, @rivervalleycheese! #CheeseOn!

Kristi Slotemaker “Cheeseologist”

Kris Blondin, is one of the owners of Amitie Wine Company is a Wine Shop, Tasting Room and Wine Club located within the famed Theater District of downtown Tacoma, Washington. Owners Jack Noble and Kris have over 30 years of restaurant and wine experience to provide you expertise in finding that perfect bottle. They are the founders and former owners of STINK Cheese & Meat restaurant located in Tacoma, Washington’s Theater District.  Kris owned the former Vin Grotto Cafe and Bar in Tacoma while Jack was the original developer and owner of specialty kitchenware and wine shops Gourmet Way located in Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Kris and Jack started Amitie Wine Company in order to celebrate the power of friendship and share their knowledge with those who appreciate the relationship between food and wine.   They are currently working on an additional project – a food, wine and hospitality Podcast called The Deep Dish where they will talk about the wine and restaurant industry along with many other topical subjects that they hope will inspire you and make you laugh!

Chef Kris Blondin

Chef Abigail Bardwell, is a semi-retired chef born in Little Rock, AR. Abigail started her culinary career as a 17-year-old prep cook; most recently, she has appeared multiple times on the Food Network, has worked as a culinary instructor for a James Beard Award-winning Seattle-based reintegration program, and has had the pleasure of being involved with many local community programs, food festivals and cooking expos – this being her third year with Tacoma’s Food and Gift Festival. After cooking professionally for 13 years, Abigail transitioned full-time into behavioral health, using cooking and nutrition in her role as a counselor for in-crisis and under-served youth. She is currently writing a cookbook that acknowledges using culinary practices as self-care tools.

Chef Abigail Bardwell

Chef Angel Navarro, my brand is angelscocina. I am 24 years old, born, and raised in Tacoma and have been cooking professionally for 7 years. Angelscocina was founded in March 2020 and is a platform where I share my recipes so young professionals or college students can learn how to cook. I am a college student at Tacoma community college and work at 3 different restaurants in Tacoma. Asado, En Rama, and Alleycat. I have over a 100 recipes and they are passed down from my family or learned from chefs that I’ve connected with. My goal is to help create a community that can help the people in Tacoma eat better food.  @angelscocina. Chef Angel Cocina
Chef Blake Lord Witig, says the Pacific Northwest is my home and I am happy to be back here. My food journey took me to New York for six years where I graduated from the French Culinary Institute and learned the art of food and the profession of hospitality at restaurants such as Jean Georges, Artisan, and Seasonal. After that, I spent many years zigzagging the globe exploring culture and cuisine throughout Asia, South America, and Europe. Seeking to expand my professional experience as a Sommelier, two years ago I closed De La Terre, my restaurant in Steilacoom featuring French and European cuisine relying on micro seasonal northwest ingredients and took the position of beverage director for Rider at Hotel Theodore in Seattle’s retail and convention center.. When Covid closed Rider, I joined forces with the new owner of Harmon Brewing Company in Tacoma, incorporating flavors from my past travels to more traditional American fare in a pop-up restaurant called Spice Lab within the Harmon. While exploring how I might help you build an even more incredible dining experience that helps heal, rebuild and enrich our industry, our community of hospitality professions and our past and future patrons. Chef Blake Lord Wittig
Chef Warnessa Victorian, after 22 years of working, Nessa ‘went out to play’ as her Nana would say. She is the Head Flavor Experience Maker of Lizzie Lou’s Comfort Food Truck & Lizzie Lou’s Too! Lizzie Lou’s Comfort Food Truck is event based only at this time but we invite you to come see us in person with some of our other offerings at Lizzie Lou’s Too! – our cafe inside Destination Harley-Davidson for our unique cafe experience. If you miss us, invite us out to your next event. We can’t wait to see you! Chef  Warnessa Victorian
Aura Mae, spends her workdays creating fabulous colorful hair at Azarra Salon & Wine, and her off days promoting colorful eating and living “The Aura Mae Way.” She’s the President of the Board of the Tacoma Farmers Market where she works to improve access to fresh produce in our under-served communities and nourish microbusinesses in their infancy to find customers for their products. She’s also a wildlife photography hobbyist with a love for Tacoma’s urban wildlife.  @theauramaeway @auramaehair @auramaephoto Aura Mae
Stephanie Lentz, is the founder and owner of Scoop Marketplace, a zero waste grocery store with locations in Kirkland and Renton, and a self taught home cook and baker. She feels most confident and at home in the kitchen and she is very good at what she does! Feeding people brings her great joy, and she has a passion for teaching people how to make truly delicious food that meets their dietary preferences & restrictions. Her mission is to teach people how to improve the quality of their lives while learning to walk more gently on the planet. Stephanie Lentz