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2019 Cooking Program


2019 Tacoma Holiday Food & Gift Festival Cooking Show Host Jackie Fender is the Host of our Cooking for the Holidays program she has been a resident of Tacoma and surrounding areas since she was just a glimmer. She is an industry veteran and is currently a food writer for The Weekly Volcano. Jackie has also been a long time editorial contributor for several publications including the  Tacoma Weekly, City Arts Magazine, South Sound Talk, Post Defiance and South Sound Magazine .

In 2014, she founded local literary non-profit, Creative Colloquy, an organization that supports the South Sound creative culture through unique literary events and publications. Her favorite pastimes include verbally sparring with her teens, wrangling her two youngest and concocting compelling boozy libations.

Host Jackie Fender


Executive Chef Hudson Slater, Asado:

Hudson Slater is a south sound chef that has been cooking in Tacoma for over ten years. He enjoys spending his time outside the kitchen with his beautiful family. His style of cuisine is putting unique twists on classic dishes while using local ingredients. He has won several local cooking competitions and has been featured in the cook book A Taste Of Washington. He is currently the Chef at the ever popular Asado Cucina on 6th Ave in Tacoma.

Executive Chef Hudson SlaterHudsonSlaterMaxwells250x300

LaDonna Olmstead, Tea Madame Tea Shop: We are a premium tea merchant specializing in high quality, hand-produced, loose leaf teas and herbs. We believe in fresh, authentic and affordable loose leaf teas. All teas and herbs are hand selected by Owner LaDonna Olmstead for your enjoyment. We strive to be passionately knowledgeable about our products and love to share that enthusiasm with our customers. From the true tea beginner to the seasoned enthusiast, the Tea Madame has something for everyone. The Tea Madame Tea Shop is located in picturesque Sumner at the Windmill Gardens’ Nursery and is open for business daily from 10-5. (253) 891-2900

LaDonna Olmstead
Kitchen Beautician, Aura Mae: Aura has been creating beautiful hair since 1987. She turned her focus to creating beautiful food in 2004 when she moved into a house with an expansive kitchen that just cried out for puttering.  Needing to help control her husband’s diabetes, Aura cleared out the pantry of packaged foods and worked on learning how to cook delicious food from scratch. She learned from TV chefs, cooking blogs and experimentation. When she hit a wall, she would troubleshoot with her friends in the restaurant business.  Her healthy approach to home cooking has paid off in a dramatic weight loss for both Aura and her husband. Using lots of vegetables and fewer refined carbohydrates with plenty of healthy fats and protein, Aura designs great tasting meals that support both good health and a healthy ecology. Aura Mae
Executive Chef Kris Blondin, Jonz:Kris is a Tacoma native who has owned and operated two restaurant/wine bars in the downtown of Tacoma, Vin Grotto Café and Wine Bar and STINK Cheese-Meat/El Tufo Wine Bar. She has written columns for the Weekly Volcano, contributed to Culture Magazine, and has conducted cooking and beverage pairing seminars for organizations like the Tacoma Farmer’s Market, Gig Harbor Food and Wine Festival, Tacoma Community College, Metro Parks of Tacoma and the Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival.

Kris and her partner Jackson Friis of Devour LLC are soon to open the Amitie (“friendship” in French) Wine Club and broadcast The Deep Dish Podcast.  They will strive to educate people about specific viticultural regions and the history behind the wines and foods that contribute to those regions excellence, while encouraging a community that gathers and reflects on some of life’s most important attributes including friendship, communication and kindness.

“Good food and drink is not for the pretentious, but for the curious. For is you can’t have a little fun while learning, what’s the point?” – Kris Blondin


Kris Blondin
Executive Chef Abigail Bardwell: I have had the privilege of working in restaurants and catering companies of all shapes and sizes in multiple states, as well as the James Beard Foundation’s award-winning culinary organization Farestart in Seattle, WA. I have been featured at The Bite of Seattle, The Taste of Tacoma, Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival and The Food Network. I pull a lot of my inspiration from life experiences, local vendors and seasonality. I fully believe in the ability to make food less wasteful, more sustainable, and a primary vessel for conversation within our community. My current project is composing a cookbook of recipes inspired by and dedicated to my late sister, and I am excited to share some of those recipes with you. Chef Abigail Bardwell


Executive Chef Jon Maley, Chuch: 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. At age ten he moved with his family to California where he later experienced the west coast food scene to its fullest. After working through high school at some casual restaurants, Chef Jon hit the road and traveled the United States for a few years working in kitchens throughout the states. He later returned to California and joined the F.O.H. team and got a feel for what it feels like to serve others. In 2004, Chef Jon realized that food was his obsession, and went to Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco. After graduating, he stared his career at 5 diamond awarded Lafayette Park Hotel. He later went to work under Michelin Starred Chef Roland Passot as a Sous Chef of Left Bank Brasserie in the East Bay.

Jon’s true dream was to own a restaurant of his own, his concept is called ChūcH. He launches Pop Up events every couple of months in different locations, all on his off time. Keep an eye out for these memorable experiences.

Chef Jon Maley

Chef Jan Parker:

Chef Jan Z. Parker is married to a retired Army Soldier and her father was a Navy veteran.  Moving is a way of life in the military.  Wherever she went in the world, Filipino food became the common denominator representing home.  Currently, Chef Jan Z. Parker is a mobile chef.  Her food stall serving Fresh & Distinct Filipino Food can be found at Proctor Farmer’s Market, Tacoma Broadway Market, Tacoma & Gig Harbor Night Market, and other special events.  Prior to opening her business, some of her past jobs included creating Culinary Curriculum at the USO in Wiesbaden, Germany, cooking at the Four Seasons Hotel, and at a private estate in Seattle.  As well as contributing to the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. A lifelong goal of hers is to build community through Filipino food.

Chef Jan Parker

Chef Shawn Tibbitts:
Tibbitts@FernHill was a tiny restaurant that almost wasn’t. Shawn Tibbitts was a cook at in Puyallup when the owners had to shut the doors. He was approached to open his own place in Tacoma’s Fern Hill neighborhood where he grew up and he started saving, with plans of opening in January 2017. But two weeks before that, he received a call that would stop him in his tracks. His mother’s car had hit black ice in Shelton and the accident took her life. “After that I took all the money I had, and I gave her the best funeral a son could give his mother. And I was broke,” he said. “I had nothing.”A couple of weeks later, he received another life-changing call. This time, it was a childhood friend Tibbitts hadn’t heard from in 15 years. He said he was sorry to hear about the passing of Tibbitts’ mom and he also had another question; he wanted to know how much money Tibbitts needed to start the restaurant. “Well, I gave him a number and he cut a check,” Tibbitts recalled, still in disbelief. “So, when everything was said and done, I opened this place with $32 and a prayer.”
Chef Shawn Tibbitts:

Adam Deleo:
Born in Tacoma and Puget Sound raised. I grew up on and around the beaches collecting seafood, and eventually got into commercial fishing. Wanting to try something different but not knowing quite what, I took a sabbatical and came across the world of mushrooms. I began growing specialty fungi as a hobby in 2012, and again turned to wild food, this time from the forests instead of the sea. Needing to satisfy my familial duty and entrepreneurial drive, I started talking to chefs and farmers market managers. Adam’s mushrooms was created in 2013, and is a Puget Sound based commercial mushroom farm, foraging company, and wholesale supplier. Our mushrooms can be found at the Proctor Farmers’ market every Saturday from 9-2pm.
Adam DeLeo:
Chef Jacob Howell:
En Rama is the latest project from Chris Kiel (1022, Hilltop Kitchen). Featuring Kiel’s renowned cocktails, sherry on tap, and delicious food offerings, including house-made pasta and Spanish small plates, En Rama is a must visit for local foodies. Its cozy interior and large, well-lit patio offer the perfect location for a date night, post-work attitude adjustment, or personal treat..
Chef Jacob Howell: