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EXPERTLY DONE CULINARY & WINE TRAVEL SERIES
Premier Tours & Travel is an award-winning agency for tours and travel worldwide. Through our Expertly Done Travel Series™, explore cultures, food, wine, and the arts enhanced by the knowledgeable, approachable insights of Premier’s hand-selected experts, such as acclaimed chefs, brand ambassadors, sommeliers, and artists. We offer exclusive opportunities and exceptional access via these experts. We are proud to partner with each of them to create bespoke itineraries to ensure a Premier Experience.
Chef Bob Waggoner Bob received his formal training with Michael Roberts at Trumps in Los Angeles from 1981 to 1983, and later in France at a constellation of Michelin-rated restaurants with chefs Jacques Lameloise, Charles Barrier, Pierre Gagnaire, Gerard Boyer and Mark Meneau. At 23, he took on his first chef position at the private club “Members” in Caracas, Venezuela. Chef Bob Waggoner returned to France at age 24 to become chef of the Hotel de la Poste in Avallon for three years. Then, in 1988 at age 26, in the town of Moneteau in Burgundy, he became the first American chef to own his own restaurant in France, the much acclaimed Le Monte Cristo. He is one of the few Americans to be Knighted with the “l’Odre du Mérite Agricole” from the Government of France. In 1991, Waggoner was offered the opportunity of Chef de Cuisine with Chef Jean-Pierre Silva, the two-star Michelin, at Le Vieux Moulin in Beaune, France. After 11 years in France, he returned to the States in 1993 to cook at the award-winning Turnberry Isle in Florida, before joining The Wild Boar in Nashville, where he earned the restaurant a coveted AAA Five-Diamond Award and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator.
He finally found his way to Charleston where he was Executive Chef of Charleston Grill at Charleston Place for a dozen years. Every year, Chef Bob was at the Charleston Grill, it was awarded AAA Four-Diamond and the Mobile Four-Star award, and in 2001-2005 he was nominated four times for The Beard Foundation "Best Chef Southeast" award. He is author of the Charleston Grill at Charleston Place: French Influenced Lowcountry Cuisine cookbook. Always well regarded as a media-savvy chef, he has won an Emmy for his television show “Off the Menu” with Turner South. He also hosted 2 cooking shows with PBS, U Cook with Chef Bob and Sing for Your Supper with Chef Bob. Currently, he is the owner of “In the Kitchen with Chef Bob Waggoner” where he hosts cooking classes in a relaxed, casual, and sophisticated atmosphere. With his easygoing nature, he can teach anyone the culinary tips and techniques for "how it's done" in the finest restaurants.
CHEF RON SUHANOSKY (CHEF RONSKY)
From a very early age, Chef Ron Suhanosky (Chef Ronsky) knew he wanted to be a chef. Growing up in Connecticut, he was the pasta tester for his great grandmother’s weekly Sunday meal.
Chef Ron graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1992 at the age of 21 and was one of three students in his graduating class to proceed into a line position in a four-star restaurant. Chef Ronsky started to hone his craft as a cook at New York City’s River Café in 1992 and Park Avenue Café in 1993 under Chef David Burke. After cooking for three years in NYC, Chef took a cooks position at Biba in Boston in 1994 with Chef Lydia Shire. A year later, after meeting his future wife, they decided to move to Italy and work at the world renowned Il Cibreo in Florence in 1995 with Chef Fabio Picci. He returned to the United States to head such kitchens as Boston’s Galleria Italiana in 1996 and Il Buco, New York in 1998. He opened his first restaurant, Sfoglia -- which translates to uncut pasta and reflects Chef's true passion -- on Nantucket in 2000 and the Manhattan Sfoglia opened in 2006. In 2016, Chef Suhanosky opened a small neighborhood trattoria called Chef Ronsky’s that operated as a one man show for five years. He dedicated himself to creating a true local restaurant that his clients enjoyed. Chef Ronsky recently made the decision to follow his dream to return to Italy and resides in Umbria where he is a personal chef to old friends and new coming to the country through his business, Ciao Mi' Amor.
He released his first cookbook, also called Pasta Sfoglia, which won a James Beard Award in the Single Subject Category and made a number of best cookbook lists, such as: The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Food Arts, Manhattan Magazine, LA Times, AOL FOOD, Epicurious, Gastronomer's Guide and more. After the success of his first cookbook, Chef Ronsky quickly signed up to release his second cookbook, The Italian Table. Having garnered rave reviews in The New York Times and New York Magazine for both Sfoglia Restaurants, Chef Ronsky has also been a frequent guest on The Martha Stewart Show, as well as The Today Show. He appeared on The CBS Early Show for a segment on bringing everyone back to the dinner table. Chef Ronsky has even created his own compilation CD of eleven songs called Sounds of Sfoglia, which helped him to complete the dining experience he expresses in his restaurants.
CHEF MARIA JIMENEZ LATORRE
Premier Tours & Travel is proud to introduce our tours with Chef Maria Jimenez Latorre, a native Spanish celebrity chef. Chef Maria Jimenez Latorre is a renowned chef in Spain with a following throughout the country for her magnetic personality and culinary style. She is a radio and television personality, as well as the leading chef at Alambique Escuela de Cocina cooking school, founder of We Present catering company, and the face of Orujo de Aceite de Oliva in Spain.
Languages: Spanish (native speaker), English (fluent) , French (fluent)
Highlights of Recent Work Experience
2009 to present - Alambique Escuela de Cocina cooking school
Chef leading cooking events at Alambique.: hands-on gastronomic events, team-buildings and corporate events, specialising in traditional Spanish cuisine. Also teaching hand-on beginners courses and cooking with confidence classes, as well as cookery classes for children including classes which combine cooking and magic
2013– present – Founder and partner in catering company We Present
Serving weddings, christenings, first communions , birthday parties, dinners and corporate events with chef Sergio Fernandez.
2018 to Present - Ambassador For ORIVA
Cooking demonstrations and helping professionals and hotelerie schools learn how to use Orujo de Aceite de Oliva in particular in frying techniques. Included trainning for the “perfect fritter ” challenge. Over 2020 this took the form of remote classes and videos for social media.
CHEF DAVE MARTIN
In 2006, Chef Dave took a chance on a new reality show called ‘Bravo’s Top Chef‘ without knowing where the experience would lead him. It proved to be an incredible opportunity where he could put himself out there in front of America and prove that he could thrive under pressure in the kitchen. Viewers fell in love with Dave’s personality along with his ability to transform old school dishes into updated comfort food classics.
Fast forward to 2022 and Dave has proven to be a global flavor expert that knows how to work with the ingredients indigenous to any region and create dishes that stay true to their origin. There’s no better example than his two most recent projects in NYC- Chama Mama (a Georgian restaurant) and Dalup (an Indian fast-casual spot). His new cookbook, ‘The Tequila Diet’ (an exploration of Mexican food and drink) goes live in May of this year in partnership with El Bastón del Rey Tequila.
Aside from his restaurant and food truck experience, Dave works with a consulting group that provides innovation and insight to big food companies like ConAgra, PepsiCo and Yum Brands. These projects help big food companies keep on trend through research and meetings with the top chefs around the country to find out what’s happening out in the marketplace. This keeps him in tune with current and future trends and ensures that he on top of his game with nationwide trends and not just with what’s hot in NYC. Under these big food companies, he has worked for brands like Hunts, Rotel, KFC & Bertolli along with doing recipe development and desk side product launches for food commodities brands like Lamb Weston (Grown in Idaho and Alexia brands), The California Walnut Board and The US Apple Board.
When Dave isn’t working on restaurant projects or hosting immersions for major food companies, he’s running his events division. Producing interactive corporate events for companies like Cisco Systems, UBS, NBC & Estee Lauder to large scale programming across the country for Tufts University and Women’s Health Magazine. Cooking classes, intimate dinner parties and wine pairing events in wine country like Willamette Valley, Santa Barbara and Los Olivos round out the roster. It’s all about Food, Wine, Spirits and Travel in Dave’s world where he’s trying to take it all in one day at a time. Dave even made his way back to the small screen on Food Network’s Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen winning both shows.
Dave is proud to be “Fast Food Sober” for 17 years now and is an avid promoter, supporter and advocate for a healthier lifestyle through cooking with fresh, real ingredients.
MASTER OF WINE SARAH JANE EVANS
Sarah Jane Evans is an award-winning wine writer and journalist, Co-Chairman of the Decanter World Wine Awards, and a former Chairman of the IMW (2014-16). Winner of the Robert Mondavi Winery Award for the highest overall marks in the Theory exam.
As a writer and consultant one of her special interests is Spain and Sherry. She is Chairman of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino. She is a certified Sherry educator; and has received the awards of Dama de Albariño and Dama de Solear. Her books on Spain include 'Seville', and 'The Wines of Northern Spain'. She is currently writing 'The Wines of Central and Southern Spain'. Her other interests include the wines of South and North America; Greece; and the great fortified and sweet wines of the world. She studied Classics, and Social & Political Sciences at Cambridge University. She began her career in book publishing, and today is a Trustee of the André Simon Book Award, and a Series Editor of the Classic Wine Library. She spent a decade as Associate Editor of the BBC's Good Food magazine, and has a strong interest in taste and flavour, and in encouraging consumers to build their own confidence in tasting. She's a Founder Member of the Academy of Chocolate and the author of 'Chocolate Unwrapped'. Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Broderers.
SOMMELIER KLAJDI BELAJ
Klajdi Belaj is a Professional Sommelier AIS based in Cortona, Italy, with over 20 years of experience. He has worked in high-end wineries and top restaurants in Tuscany, and has been the personal Sommelier to Director George Lucas (Star Wars) when in residence at his estate in Tuscany (Skywalker). Sommelier Klajdi shares his knowledge, experience, expertise and passion for Italian wines on our tours as a Local Expert.