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Talent

We’re honored to be working with some of the finest wine and food talent in our region—and the nation!


2024 Headliner

Vivian Howard is an award-winning cookbook author, TV personality, chef, and restaurateur. Her first cookbook, Deep Run Roots: Stories & Recipes from My Corner of the South (2016), is a New York Times bestseller and was named “Cookbook of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
vivian howard 2024 headliner

2024 Winery Headliner

Winemaker Matt Brain, possessing a master’s degree in biosciences and a background in process engineering, brings naturalist philosophies and highly technical abilities to winemaking at Alpha Omega where he began as Associate Winemaker. Matt’s passion for the environment benefits Alpha Omega, where the land and winery are both Napa Green certified and the Vineyard Management team practices sustainable farming.
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Barrett Spiegel
Director of Key Clients at Alpha Omega Winery

Barrett Spiegel is a Virtual Ambassador at Alpha Omega Winery, a premier Napa Valley winery whose mission is to create artisanal wines drawing on Old World vineyard handcrafted practices and emphasizing unique terroir-driven characteristics that reveal a sense of place combined with New World technology.
Alpha Omega

Chef Thomas
Victors

Chef Thomas is the only chef from the Pee Dee Region selected by Governor Nikki Haley for the inaugural team of SC Chef Ambassadors. Cooper obtained the Bachelor of Science in Food and Beverage Administration from the Johnson & Wales Culinary Program and the Bachelor of Arts in Communications from College of Charleston. His love of simple food with a “fancy” edge is evidence of his devotion to innovation and his joyful approach to food. Cooper lives in Florence with his wife, Paige, and their two children.

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Will Altman

Will Altman is a farmer and miller in Florence, South Carolina, creating uniquely delicious foods from stone ground heirloom grains. Will has been involved in growing and creating food for over a decade, including raising and selling pork, beef, lamb, and more to some of the finest restaurants in the Southeast. Five years ago, he transitioned from raising livestock to growing grains by launching Altman Farm and Mill, which uses sustainable farming practices as well as traditional stone milling techniques to produce the finest heirloom products available.

Altman Farm and Mill’s Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix was named one of three finalists for Garden & Gun Magazine’s Made in the South Awards in the highly-contested Food category.

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Reginald Ashley
Reginald “Reggie” Ashley has worked in the food and beverage industry in Florence for numerous years, in kitchens such as Town Hall, the Country Club of South Carolina, and the Oakdale Country Club. Since September 2021, he has been Sous Chef at Wholly Smokin’ Downtown. He enjoys playing pool, watching sporting events and visiting different restaurants while traveling.
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Betsy Biggs

Born in California of Mexican parentage, Betsy moved to Florence in 1997. Early on she worked toward a career in healthcare, but quickly realized that was not for her. The pivotal moment that led Betsy to become the Pastry Chef that she is today was when she haphazardly offered to bake a wedding cake for a friend—and they took her up on it. Her husband gifted her a Wilton Cake Decorating class and from there it snowballed

She started as a beginner at Icing Ink, then the regular baker at SC Real Foods. Betsy has been with Victors since 2018. She is extremely proud of the restaurant and her junior staff. All that she has accomplished so far has been a dream (although a cute little bakery with fancy desserts would be *chefs kiss*). With the addition of Notch8 Catering to the fold, Betsy has been the creative backbone for petite sweet treats!

Be it a gorgeous 3-tiered cake or delectable pastries; Betsy is truly irreplaceable and a vital fixture at Victors and Notch8

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Jeremy and Katherine Yurek

West Florence High graduate Katherine Turner met Colorado native Jeremy Yurek in Nashville, where they attended Belmont College. After graduating, they moved back to Jeremy’s hometown of Aurora, and for four years ran Baba & Pops, a food truck that turned the Denver area on to scratch-made, authentic Polish pierogi.

In March of 2020, they opened their first brick-and-mortar in Aurora, Baba & Pops Pierogi Kitchen & Bar, which fast became a favorite for its traditional Polish comfort foods and 50-ounce Bloody Marys. But the Yureks always knew they wanted to open a restaurant in Katherine’s hometown, and in July 2022 they opened Buddy’s on West Palmetto, and instantly earned a loyal following for their crispy-edged burgers, bean burgers, fish sandwiches and salads, their homemade “steak chips”—a new American classic that’s a cross between a steak fry and a potato chip—and their boozy shakes! @buddysflorence

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Ryan Dalton (Executive Chef)

Born and raised in the Northern suburbs of Chicago, Chef Ryan’s father, John, started his passion for food at a very young age. After working many restaurant jobs around Chicago, he attended the International Culinary School, formally the Illinois Institute of Art.

After school, Chef Ryan continued to work at local restaurants while he travelled throughout the South on a competitive barbeque team, sparking his interest and love for Southern Cuisine. After relocating to Florence, South Carolina, Ryan found his way to Town Hall where he quickly worked his way to Executive Chef.

Chef Ryan says it is his pleasure to serve the community that has so openly welcomed him and looks forwards to raising a family in the South.

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Doug Smith

As a restaurant consultant for the past twenty-five years, I have had the opportunity to work with some awesome food producers that I’m blessed to call friends. I began working at the City Center Farmers Market at the beginning of 2020 focusing on Certified South Carolina Products such as Blue Moon Specialty Foods out of Spartanburg. These items are made using all natural ingredients, sauces and spice blends. Coffee Cabana out of Columbia and Low Country Olive Oil out of Charleston produce high quality certified SC products which we are excited to partner with. I wanted to share my passion for outstanding food with my neighbors in Florence. Frankly, if I don’t love it, I simply won’t sell it.

I don’t love it, I simply won’t sell it. Check out VIP Magazine for my monthly food article and recipes. You can also find me on The Pizzeria & Enzo Show podcast that I regularly co-host.

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Dennis Fraley

Dennis resides in Florence, SC and works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) by day and a wine and spirits expert by night. Through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, Dennis completed the coveted WSET Diploma of Wine and Spirits also gaining the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) designation, French Wine Scholar (FWS), Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS) and most recently Certified Wine Judge (CWJ). The content driven “The Bottle Talk” website (www.thebottletalk.com) and social media presence (@thebottletalk) have grown out of the two ”The Bottle Talk” columns he authors for The Florence Morning news (www.scnow.com) and The Post and Courier (www.postandcourier.com).
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Wilson Lui

International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach

Florence native Wilson Lui developed a love for the culinary arts at a young age while working at his family's restaurant, The House of Louie. Chef Lui's dedication to his craft and passion for cooking led him to become an accomplished chef and educator. He currently teaches at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach, sharing his extensive knowledge and experience with Asian cuisine and helping new students develop essential kitchen skills and work ethic needed for success in the culinary field. Chef Lui stays up-to-date with emerging trends and techniques in the culinary industry through his active involvement in events and competitions, and his dedication to ongoing learning serves as an inspiration to students, emphasizing the significance of lifelong learning in the culinary field.

Additionally, Chef Lui is an accomplished gardener and often shares his harvest with colleagues and students. His expertise, passion, and dedication to teaching have helped shape the careers of numerous students, and he continues to inspire future generations of chefs.

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Sherrie Hughes

Legacy Juice

I began juicing about 14 years ago, when I saw a Jack LaLanne infomercial where he put an apple into a juicer and made apple juice. Immediately I knew this was the route for better health for me. I was tired of drinking unhealthy beverages that did not have real benefits and started looking for healthy juices. A friend of mine gave me her ginger juice recipe and I enjoyed the taste and decided to tweak her recipe. I never once thought about selling my juice until 2 friends tried my ginger juice in 2019.

They both loved it and asked how much I would charge to make a gallon. I've always wanted to have my own business and I decided to test mine at the farmers market. I became a vendor at the City Center Farmers Market and I sold out quickly on my first day. Since then, I've added Ginger Pineapple, Iced Lemon Tamarind, Melonnaire Mint and Hibiscus Elderberry. Legacy Juice was born and has been thriving ever since. I'm currently working on developing other flavors.

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Damon Kight

I’m a self-taught cook who started exploring different techniques of BBQ and cooking around seven years ago. The passion grew, and in 2019 I founded Backporch BBQ to compete a local competitions. I have placed in three out of five competitions entered, and it led me to create an Instagram page, @backporch_bbq, to show off my creations to others. Cooking is fun for me, the smell of the smoke and the heat from the flames is calming. In the future I hope to continue to increase my knowledge of BBQ and cooking with the hopes of catering more events and winning more competitions.

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Andrena Mullins
Chef and Owner

LilJazZis was established in 2017 following a vending service named after my 3 daughters Lily, Jasmine, and Zion! LilJazZis focus is serving fresh food to our wonderful community, offering breakfast all day and lunch!

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Matthew Peavy

With over 15 years of experience in some of the most prestigious establishments in the Charleston area, he has honed his skills as a chef and has become an expert in the art of southern cuisine and Barbeque. His passion for cooking is reflected in his favorite dish to eat, rice and hash, which he prepares with the utmost care and precision.

In addition to his culinary expertise, he also finds joy in mentoring and educating the next generation of cooks. He has trained numerous aspiring chefs and imparted his knowledge and skills to help them excel in the industry.

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Ray Isle

Travel + Leisure

Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine and the Wine & Spirits Editor for Travel + Leisure. He writes Food & Wine's monthly “Bottle Service” column, and contributes regular print and online features about wine, spirits, and wine-related travel to both brands.

His articles about wine, beer, food and spirits have appeared in a wide range of national publications, he has been nominated three times for a James Beard Award, and has twice won the IACP Award for Narrative Beverage Writing. He speaks regularly on wine at live events and is a frequent guest on national media, having appeared on programs such as Today, CNBC’s On the Money & Squawk Box, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and American Public Media’s “Splendid Table,” among others. Follow his wine exploits on twitter @islewine and on Instagram @rayisle.

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Donna O. Crockett and Catherine Gude

Donna is the head chef and managing partner at Osbornes Special Events and Catering in downtown Florence. She and her sisters, Terrie Snowden Parker and Pamela Osborne, opened Osbornes in 2001; and since the retirements of both Terrie and Pam, Donna has assumed full responsibility for the day-to-day operations. Her daughter, Catherine Gude, joined her in business in 2021.

Donna, Catherine, and their dedicated staff attend to every detail to ensure that each event is a memorable one. Osbornes offers in-house catering at a beautifully decorated building at 265 Warley Street, as well as off-site catering at a client’s desired location. Guests lists from 10 to 500 people can be accommodated and the menu selections are large and varied, from Italian cuisine to Mexican street food to old fashion, Southern grandma cooking. Every menu is developed with the client’s input and all food is prepared so as to surpass the client’s expectations.

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Warren Snell
Chef and Owner

Warren traces his culinary ambitions to the age of 14, when he first began working at a popular local restaurant, Club 44, in Smithfield, Rhode Island. His four years there allowed him to gain intimate knowledge of high-end New England cuisine. He took this knowledge back down to his birthplace, Beaufort County, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where he was fortunate to work under renowned local chefs, Roger Keyes and Ove Muller, at Alexander’s in Hilton Head. With their help and encouragement, he apprenticed to other globally diverse chefs and further refined his culinary talents.

After a 10-year stint as Executive Chef at Fitzgerald's Restaurant in Hilton Head, Warren and his wife, Fran, teamed up to open the fine-dining seafood restaurant, Sinclair’s, in Camden, South Carolina. This experience and ambition in the food industry led Warren and Fran to their current ventures in Florence: Julia Belle’s, Coast Line Cafe, and The Farmer’s Market Barn & Grill. They love to serve customers delicious food at their restaurants and to do their part in contributing to a thriving community.

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Sam Tinsley

As a fourth generation Florentine and Francis Marion University graduate, Sam Tinsley, along with his wife, Alissa, are proud to raise the fifth generation in such a special hometown. During his college years, while working at Apple Annie’s, Sam honed a unique skill set that helped him guide his patrons’ beverage selections to enhance their meal and their enjoyment of the evening. For 10 years, Sam has represented Advintage Distributing of Charleston. His success in this field has given him opportunities for growth by traveling to learn from premiere producers and vintners both domestically and internationally.

Sam has dedicated his professional career to sharing this expertise in a pragmatic way allowing consumers at all levels to experience quality beverages from around the world. He is most at home presenting wherever people are interested in great wine, spirits and craft beers. He appreciates his association with Florence Wine and Food since its beginning and looks forward to being a part of the growth of the region’s premiere celebration of wine and cuisine.

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Shelby Tumbleson
Chef de Cuisine

Shelby is originally from New York; she moved to Florence in 2017. Her lifelong love for cooking began with fond memories of watching cooking shows with her father and grandmother. She knew at a young age what she wanted most; to make people happy with the meal she has prepared. Her journey started in 2011 as a US Army Food Service Specialist. She then went on to graduate at the top of her class in Culinary Arts and Winery Management in 2016. Her career as a chef got its start at Emeril’s Orlando in 2016. By 2017 she made her way to Townhall (Florence, SC) and in 2018 found her way to Victors. She will be celebrating her 4th year at Victors and has blossomed into an amazing fine dining chef.

She is a proud ACF Culinary competitor, and her dream is to one day be nominated for a James Beard Award. Shelby is one of the few female chefs in our region and she is a force to behold. With her fighting spirit you can see the passion in her eyes with every meticulous detail she puts into a dish. Her skills and leadership are treasured at Victors.

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Consuela Casey

Chef and owner Consuela Casey is a jack of all trades. For 10 years she owned and operated a salon in Dillon SC before relocating to New York City to pursue a career in entertainment. After studying production, she went on to become a talent agent. Being a talent agent led her to music where she went on to artist development and talent booking. During this time, she was able to work with some of the biggest artists and booked them all over the country. When client engagements became more demanding, Consuelo decided to invest in a bistro as a way to entertain her clients; this is where she was able to develop and share her culinary skills.

Consuela purchased the building in Florence SC which is now QultureBistro. Her original plans were to hire an executive chef, but she ended up being the Chef and now people are raving about the cuisine at Qulture. Qulture’s Cuisine is American with an alternative twist.

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Thomas Sims
Grill Master

Chef Thomas Sims has worked the grill station at Town Hall restaurant since the very first day it opened, in 2016! Chef Sims is at the beating heart of Town Hall, which is its wood-fired grill. The only thing he enjoys more than serving his guests is spending time with his family.

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Jeremiah Bacon

With a name like Bacon, Jeremiah was destined to be a chef. Growing up on Johns Island, SC, he learned to appreciate the seasonal bounties from the land and sea and the eclectic flavors of the Lowcountry. After starting as executive chef of the flagship Oak Steakhouse Charleston and then becoming chef and partner at the Macintosh, he now serves a leader for Indigo Road’s culinary talent

As the culinary director for Indigo Road, Chef Bacon builds relationships with farmers and purveyors and focuses upon technique-driven dishes that are locally sourced whenever possible and seasonally inspired. His culinary philosophy influences the culinary direction throughout Indigo Road’s restaurants and hotels.

Chef Bacon has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation with five nominations for Best Chef – Southeast. Creative and authentic dishes through respect for quality product and a local- first philosophy build a principled approach to producing cuisine with integrity and that is also delicious.

After graduating with a degree in philosophy from the College of Charleston, Jeremiah attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. then honed his skills in some of the most legendary restaurants in the U.S. such as the River Café, Le Bernardin, and Per Se.

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Harry Elmore

Bishopville’s Harry&Harry2 was established by Barbara and Harry Elmore in 1997. They opened it to serve as a teen hangout filled with arcade games, dart boards, pool tables, and a jukebox. The place, tucked off the road was packed after school and after local sporting events. Barbara quickly became the “second mother” to many that frequented the “shop.” In 2005 the Elmores passed the torch to their son, Harry(2). The name starting to make sense now? He traded in the pool tables and arcade games for more tables and chairs. Focused more on developing a “taste good, feel good” menu, and opening more hours, the place quickly became the spot for lunch during the week and dinner on Thursday and Friday nights

Burgers, wings, hoagies, salads, wraps, and daily lunch features make up the menu and offer a wide variety to choose from. The folks of Lee County have made it a communal hub and the travelers on I-20 make it a regular “roadside local” attraction. Check out the great grub, quirky decor, and family feel…you may even spot some of Bishopville’s own LizardMan relics and clippings adorning the walls.

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Tony Carter

Florence native Tony Carter started his humble culinary career at a Pizza Hut. Growing up, he was always a set of willing hands in his grandmother's kitchen and his grandfather's backyard. Realizing a love for cooking, he joined the staff of Local Motive to further his knowledge of the commercial kitchen and catering world. Around this time he decided to venture into one of his more eccentric menu concepts based on his favorite food, a pop-up ramen dinner party at restaurants around the city. Another local business owner caught wind of this and invested tremendous time and energy into perfecting the craft and curating a community. The perfect name for a hidden gem: Heroes Hideout Noodle House and Ramen Shop

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Jon Flowers and Maria Mitropoulos

Growing up, Maria worked in George’s, the family restaurant her immigrant parents, George and Angie Mitropoulos, had founded in 1981. After college, she put her restaurant-industry talents to work for Mellow Mushroom and Victors, earning six Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence. Jon grew up in Darlington, graduated from Trinity Collegiate and The Citadel, and spent six years after college working for The Cheesecake Factory and learning to love the restaurant industry. In 2020, when Maria’s parents were ready to sell their life’s work, he wanted to be the buyer! George and Angie sold the restaurant to Jon and Maria, and for the last three years, they've been staying true to the traditions of the last four decades, while making perfect little additions to the menu!

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Seminar Brewing

With a focus on education patrons in the technical and flavorful aspects of brewing, Seminar Brewing is always striving for a history making impact on the craft beer industry. Drawing inspiration from brews and cultures from around the world, you never know what kind of treat your tastebuds are in for when you sit down at our bar. Our head brewer Jamie has been brewing for going on five years and only gets better and more creative with each brew. No brew team would be complete without Assistant Brewers to bounce ideas off of and creatively problem solve in the heat of the moment, and that’s where Stephanie and Matt come in. And our GM, Vincent, makes the branding magic happen to create cans that are pretty to look at on the shelves and hopefully catch your attention as you walk by.

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All Proceeds Go to
Help 4 Kids

Proceeds go to:

Help 4 Kids
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