Meet the 2017 Visionary Dinner Chefs


This year’s Visionary Dinner will be especially memorable as our new President, Andrea Pinabell, puts her unique touch on the event. As the successor to our co-founder, Andrea brings a fresh and creative perspective to the celebration, including new networking opportunities and a new mix of entertainment, information and celebration.

Visionary Dinner is anticipated each year by the Atlanta community for the convergence of hundreds of business leaders, policy makers, design, development and construction professionals and sustainability innovators. As always, the evening features a dining experience provided by Atlanta’s top chefs who collaborate with local food purveyors to create a sumptuous, wine-paired and locally sourced feast. Along with a three-course plated meal, interactive food stations and other concepts will bookend the evening to encourage networking amongst guests.

An all-female roster and chefs panel will be crafting delicious meals and desserts for the night. Read about the team of women who will contribute to our special evening.

Megan McCarthy, Chef, Healthy Eating 101
Megan McCarthy’s creative culinary experience and enthusiasm brings healthy food to life. She incorporates highly nutritious Superfoods into an everyday healthy eating lifestyle while putting you at ease in the kitchen. As the original healthy lifestyle advocate, spokesperson and chef, she is also the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Edible Garden Chef, creating culinary delights freshly harvested right out of the edible garden. She also teaches her original healthy cooking and lifestyle classes at Whole Foods Markets, The Cook’s Warehouse and Strippaggio in and around Atlanta. She will be one of the chefs preparing interactive appetizer stations for the first course. Veronica Wandui, Chef, St. Regis Atlanta
Veronica “Chef V” knew she wanted to pursue a career as a chef ever since she was a child watching her mother create recipes. Chef V has worked her way from the kitchens of Africa and European hotels, to the American culinary industry. She now works at the St. Regis in Atlanta. Veronica will join Megan in creating the first course.
Lane Barton, Chef, Blondies
Lane Barton is a very talented chef, having studied culinary arts at the Art Institute in Chicago and working in restaurant kitchens from Chicago to Manhattan and Martha’s Vineyard. Lane, along with her husband Thaddeus, were chefs for The Farmhouse at Serenbe. Besides working on raising their second child, Lane is also hard at work on the launch of their restaurant in Palmetto, GA – Blondie’s. Lane will prepare the second course for the evening.
Jiyeon Lee, Chef, Heirloom Market BBQ
At an early age, Chef Jiyeon was a music sensation in her home country of South Korea, rising to a level of stardom that she never expected. After recording multiple hit albums, JiJi, as called by fellow chefs, decided to pursue a new direction that utilized her creative aspirations and desire to face new challenges. Cooking and learning Western food techniques provided this medium, and she applied this passion into traveling and working for the best restaurants and hotels she could find. A deep connection to new found flavors was formed, but her desire to bring the culture and heritage of Korea’s cuisine to the forefront of the gastronomical world only grew stronger. She will be providing this year’s third course with ingredients sourced from the Buford Farmers Market. Mary Moore, Chef, The Cook’s Warehouse
As founder and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse, Mary Moore has combined her love of cooking and business. The Cook’s Warehouse is Atlanta’s premier gourmet store and cooking school with three locations: Midtown, Decatur and East Cobb. Moore opened the first The Cook’s Warehouse in Midtown on Amsterdam Avenue in 1995, and under her leadership, the business has expanded to include a cooking school with more than 600 classes taught annually by renowned chefs in three kitchens. Prior to opening The Cook’s Warehouse, Moore managed the kitchens and cooked at the award- winning Atlanta restaurants Partners Morningside Café and Indigo Coastal Grill. She then served as the director of research and development for Harry’s Farmers Market, which at the time was Atlanta’s largest and most prestigious gourmet and fresh food supplier. A long time chef at the Visionary Dinner, she will be curating the fourth course of locally purveyed cheeses.
Allean Brown, Zolene
Allean Brown has been a fan, student and a member of Southface for quite a few years. Before starting her baking career, she was a design/construction program manager and builder with a background in architecture, biology, historic preservation and transportation planning. Now, Allean makes only the best brownies, blondies and brunch breads that happen to be Gluten-Free. She and her team start with a custom made flour: no wheat, barley, rye, spelt, dairy, soy, corn or rice – just a special blend of nutrient rich, gluten-free flours. A few of the best gluten-free desserts on the market are in order for the Visionary Dinner this year and will be served at interactive stations as the fifth course.
Denise Knapp, Sports Dietician, Kennesaw State University
Denise Knapp joined Kennesaw State University in 2013 as the sports dietitian for the Department of Athletics and also teaches nutrition in KSU’s Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality. Prior to working at KSU, Knapp was a graduate assistant in the Department of Nutritional Science at her alma mater, Oklahoma State University, where she received her master’s degree in Nutritional Science. She received her undergraduate degree in May of 2011 in dietetics from Kansas State University. Knapp is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Maureen Beebe, Instructor, Kennesaw State University
Maureen Beebe received her undergraduate degree in Dietetics and Food Service Management at St. Catherine University and received her master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences at Oklahoma State University. Before becoming an instructor at Kennesaw State University, Beebee worked as a clinical dietician at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minnesota.

Denise Knapp, Maureen Beebee and the students at the Michael A. Level School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality will be creating dessert for the fifth course – an interactive station that will be the perfect ending to a memorable evening.

Join us next month at Visionary Dinner. It’s a night not to miss! Table sponsorships and individual tickets are available.

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