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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. He was a pioneer in French/California cuisine before moving to Washington, DC, where Michel Richard Citronelle became his flagship restaurant. Michel's creativity can be seen in prestigious culinary publications such as Food and Wine, Food Arts, Bon Appetit, and on the cover of the late great Gourmet. He has been featured in The Washington Post, Washingtonian, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, among many others.

Chosen by the James Beard Foundation as Outstanding Chef 2007, Michel also won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service at Citronelle the same year, and his second book Happy in the Kitchen won a James Beard Nomination. To rave reviews, and the 2008 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, he opened Central Michel Richard, which continues to be a highlight of the Washington, DC restaurant scene. Michel, a new modern French restaurant, opened at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, in the fall of 2010.

Picture of Chef Daniel Malzhan

Daniel Malzhan
Since joining Amtrak in 2007 as Executive Chef - culinary product development - long distance service, Daniel Malzhan brings to the advisory team thirty years of diverse culinary experience. He has held chefs positions throughout the food service industry in white table cloth restaurants, boutique hotels, airline catering and in two California culinary education programs as Chef-Instructor. Prior to joining the railway, he spent a decade developing global menus for Delta Air Lines. Chef Malzhan is a culinary graduate of the Hotel-Restaurant management school at San Francisco's City College as well as an alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville where he holds a degree in art. He continues to be engaged in learning more about the culinary arts through continuing education classes offered at the Culinary Institute of America.

Picture of Chef Christian Hannah

Christian Hannah
Chef Christian Hannah has worked in the kitchen since his first job at age 14. His range of experience-from upscale dining to industrial settings-has helped in developing both his culinary and business management skills in the food and beverage industry. As the Executive Chef-NEC & State Supported Trains for Amtrak, Chef Hannah s duties include the design of the Acela First class menu and working with state agencies developing menus for train services funded by state government.

He enjoys riding the trains and taking the opportunity to discuss food and wine with passengers from all over the country. Chef Hannah holds an Associates Degree in Food Service Management from Delaware Community College, Wilmington, DE.

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.

Picture of Chef Scott Keats

Scott Keats
Chef Scott Keats is currently the ARAMARK National Director of Culinary Development where he is responsible for the strategic development of culinary programs focusing on innovation, consumer trends and culinary training. Scott joined ARAMARK in 1988 as Regional Executive Chef supporting a portfolio of clients throughout the Southeast Region with Business Services. Since that time, Scott has held a number of positions at ARAMARK with varied responsibilities that included marketing, culinary brand support and menu/concept development. Prior to joining ARAMARK, Scott was a restaurant chef for Caesars and Trump's Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City, Chef/Owner of a French Bistro and a culinary educator at the Art Institutes in both New York City and Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Picture of Chef Bob Rosar

Bob Rosar
Chef Bob Rosar is corporate executive chef for the U.S. region at Gate Gourmet. His main responsibility is orchestrating his team of talented menu design chefs that primarily assist domestic U.S. airline customers with menu design. Chef Rosar and his team work directly with customers as their "culinary experts" and support them in innovative, cost-effective and practical menu designs. He started his in-flight culinary career in 1976 after earning an Associate of Occupational Studies degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America.