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Amtrak Culinary Advisory Team

Picture of Chef Tom Douglas

Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas, along with his wife and business partner, Jackie Cross, owns ten of Seattle's most exciting restaurants: Dahlia Lounge, Etta's, Palace Kitchen, Lola, Serious Pie (with two locations), Seatown Snack Bar, Cuoco, Ting Momo, and Brave Horse Tavern. With almost 30 years in the biz, Tom helped put Seattle on the culinary map by cooking global cuisine using regional and seasonal ingredients.

Tom also runs a retail bakery, Dahlia Bakery, now with a second counter, the Dahlia Workshop, a catering business, Tom Douglas Catering and Events, and an event space, Palace Ballroom. All of Tom's restaurants are located in the downtown Seattle and South Lake Union neighborhood. Tom is the author of three cookbooks, Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen (Morrow, 2001), Tom's Big Dinners (Morrow, 2003), and I Love Crab Cakes (Morrow, 2006), with two more in the works. In addition, Tom's specialty food line, which includes Rub with Love spice rubs plus barbecue and teriyaki sauces, is sold nationwide.

Picture of Chef Roberto SantibaƱez

Roberto Santibañez
Roberto Santibañez is the chef/owner of Fonda restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY. As a native of Mexico City and a graduate with honors from Paris's top culinary institutions, award-winning Chef Roberto Santibañez's culinary resume includes stints as restaurateur, culinary consultant, author and teacher in Mexico, Europe and the United States. He is the author of Rosa's New Mexican Table, nominated for an IACP and a James Beard Award. His second book Truly Mexican was one of the most Notable Cookbooks of 2011 by the New York Times, Epicurious, and Food & Wine. His third cookbook Tortas, Tacos and Tamales was published in the fall of 2012. Roberto is a culinary consultant for Amtrak and a member of The Culinary Institute of America's Latin Cuisines Advisory Council.

Picture of Chef Michel Richard

Michel Richard
Michel Richard exemplifies the art of cuisine and a love of his profession, credited with pioneering French/California cuisine before making his move to Washington, D.C. to open Michel Richard Citronelle. He opened Central Michel Richard in Washington to rave reviews, winning the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant, and later opened a Central in Las Vegas. Constantly engaged in something new, in 2013 Michel opened Villard Michel Richard, Gallery at Villard and Pomme Palais at The New York Palace Hotel. Richard's creativity can be seen in the most prestigious culinary publications, and his restaurants hold top honors in the best American dining guides. Michel has published three books, regularly appears at charitable events and food festivals across the country, designs menus for the National Gallery of Art, and has had featured dishes onboard Amtrak's Acela First Class and national dining car services.

Picture of Chef Daniel Malzhan

Daniel Malzhan
Daniel brings over three and a half decades of diverse culinary experience to his position in designing long distance dining car menus in his role with Amtrak since coming onboard with the railway in 2007. Prior to Amtrak, Daniel spent a decade developing global menus as Executive Chef for Delta Air Lines in their Atlanta test kitchen facility. Chef Malzhan has held a variety of other food-centric positions with a variety of restaurants throughout the hospitality industry over his career. He is a culinary graduate of the Hotel-Restaurant management school at San Francisco's City College, as well as a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he holds a degree in art. He completed the Menu Masters continuing educational program at the Culinary Institute of America in 2012.

Picture of Chef Gerard Bertholon

Gerard Bertholon
Chef Gerard Bertholon has many stars by his name, having served as executive chef in top restaurants both in the United States and in France. A native of France, Chef Bertholon studied elaborate techniques, innovative recipes and precision in presentation. Over the past 22 years, he has combined his stringent training with cutting-edge technology. He is currently Corporate Chef and Chief Strategy Officer for Cuisine Solutions and CEO of FIVELEAF, a project where top chefs partner with Cuisine Solutions to bring the greatest chefs into the homes of people around the world.

Picture of Chef John Hemmer

John Hemmer
With over 35 years of experience in the food service industry, Chef John Hemmer has focused his expertise on providing food in large-volume settings. In addition to his 13 years of experience designing menus for the airline industry with Dobbs/Gate Gourmet, he has spent ten years with Cuisine Solutions as sales manager in the Onboard Services division working with Amtrak. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Hemmer is a firm believer in using the "sous vide" process of cooking in a sealed, protected environment to achieve the maximum flavor, perfect texture and quality.

Picture of Chef Marcel Lagnaz

Marcel Lagnaz
Previously, Marcel was the Executive Chef for the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, where he frequently planned, developed and served meals for the King of Malaysia, his staff and visiting dignitaries to the palace. In 1984 he was promoted to the Executive Chef position at the Westin La Paloma Hotel & Resort in Tucson, Arizona. In 1985, Marcel joined Stouffer Hotels as the Executive Chef for the Cottonwood Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona and in 1986 transferred to Los Angeles for the opening of the Stouffer Concord Hotel.

Currently residing in Southern California, he enjoys biking, traveling the world, working with chefs developing menus and discussing food trends, food related topics, learning and sharing recipes.

Picture of Chef Sara Jenkins

Sara Jenkins
Sara Jenkins is based in New York City, where she has developed a reputation as a fine rustic Italian chef. At Porsena she draws on memories of her Tuscan and Roman childhood to create a pasta-centric menu featuring Italy’s finest artisanal pastas. She is the author, with Mindy Fox, of Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond, released by Houghton Mifflin. In 2008 she opened Porchetta, a wildly successful storefront in the East Village focusing on porchetta, a richly seasoned roast pork common in Italy as street or festival food, sold out of a truck as a sandwich. Wherever Jenkins cooks, she creates excitement with cuisine based on the Mediterranean flavors she grew up with.