***POSTPONED*** The annual Chefs for Change dinner has been postponed to Spring 2019. A specific date will be announced soon.
Proceeds benefit the Project 658 culinary school and feeding projects. Tickets are $100 per person and guests will be seated at tables of 6, 8, and 12. Each dinner course throughout the evening will be prepared by a different local chef. These chefs are supporters of the 658 culinary school and will share their experiences in hiring graduates or working with Project 658 staff members.
Chris Coleman, Stoke
Chris was born and raised in the northwest corner of Charlotte’s Mountain Island Lake community, and he spent his summers on his grandparents’ farm in Purvis, MS. There, he learned to appreciate the importance of local ingredients and fostering community. Faster than you can say one-Mississippi, he went from bussing tables at a local fish camp at age 14 to CPCC culinary grad. During his second semester, he landed an assistant job at McNinch House and became executive chef at 21. Chris developed and refined his cooking style for the next eight years there, branching out in 2012 to create The Market Kitchen pop-up dinner series featuring locally sourced Southern cuisine. He entered the hotel world in 2013 at The Dunhill Hotel and a year later, opened The Asbury there, a 40-seat farm-to-fork restaurant. Chris joined Charlotte Marriott City Center in 2016 as the director of culinary experience. When he’s not sharpening his knives, he’s at home with his wife, Ashley, and two kids, Luke and Ellie.
Zack Renner, Noble Food & Pursuits (Executive Chef, Rooster’s)
Zack Renner has been with the Noble Food & Pursuits group since 2007, working out of all locations and positions from line cook to head chef. He now works as the executive chef of Rooster’s Uptown. Rooster’s offers a chef-driven, seasonally-inspired menu featuring ingredients from local farmers. Rooster’s menu is crafted from scratch, using European and modern techniques.
Scott Hollingsworth, Rare Roots Hospitality
Executive Chef Scott Hollingsworth was raised in Cornelius, NC. He inherited a passion for food from his mother at a very early age. Scott has been working in Lake Norman and Charlotte area restaurants for more than 25 years (way more). His commitment to quality, freshness, and creative presentation drew him to Dressler’s Restaurant in October of 2005. He has been the driving force behind the creation and opening of Dogwood Southern Table, The Porter’s House, and most recently Fin & Fino in uptown Charlotte.
Oscar A. La Fuente, Sheraton & Le Meridien Hotels
Leading innovative culinary teams is my passion. The ability to be creative and leave my signature on every menu and dish is what drives me. I love the daily changes and curve balls that come with being a chef. After graduating from Humber College, Toronto in 1993, I was fortunate to start my career being exposed to amazing food and I’ve worked with some of the best chefs in Toronto at Auberge Du Pommier, Canoe and Scaramouch. I worked alongside talented and innovative chefs like Anthony Walsh and Keith Froggett who took the time to mentor me and push me to get better in every way. My journey has exposed me to multi-cultural styles of cuisine. In my current role as the Complex Executive Chef for two Starwood brands Le Meridien and Sheraton Charlotte hotels, I designed the menus and concept for Evoke restaurant, which was voted best new restaurant in 2015 and the #7 top restaurant in Charlotte in 2016. I am also corporate chef for Wischermman Partners helping them to open new properties and concepts.
Maris Pedersen Ochoa, Noble Food & Pursuits
Maris Pedersen Ochoa is the Executive Pastry Chef for Noble Food & Pursuits. She oversees the pastry department that serves 4 Restaurants. As well as being the sweet/pastry mind behind NF&P Newest venture Copain Gatherings, currently an online Bakery & Cafe that will eventually have its own space in Rooster’s South Park. When asked her favorite thing about food she would say, “I truly love the invitation it presents and the joy that follows. It’s a way to brighten someone’s day, to welcome them in and share a little bit of what you have. It’s beautiful.”
Proceeds from Chefs for Change will be used to support the Project 658 Culinary School, which offers students a hands-on culinary and hospitality education in a restaurant environment.