Chefs & Speakers
Click here to see when and where these speakers will be on stage.
Chris Anderson // Odell Brewing Company
Nebraska native, local to Des Moines, this 10+ year industry veteran spent nine years in distribution before joining the employee owned Odell Brewing Company in 2016. As the Iowa and Nebraska market manager he works directly with distributors, retailers, and consumers to further the growth of Odell and the spirit of the independent craft beer scene. In his free time, he is an enthusiast of live music, college athletics, running, and his family of humans and cats.
Richard Arndt // Musician
LIVE, LOUD AND ACOUSTIC pretty much says it all!
Since 2009, Richard Arndt's brand of blues and southern rock infused melodies have taken the midwest by storm. Gifted with a soulful voice and monster pickin' skills, Arndt has the ability to captivate his audience. He's had the privilege to share the stage with many national acts like Bret Michaels, Styx, Foreigner and Molly Hatchet to name a few.
From the Iowa State Fair Grandstand to Hy-Vee Hall, Arndt's craft spreads far and wide.
Jean Arnold // Kate Arnold Wines
While working as a waiter at a restaurant that served over 1200 different beers to defray the cost of his master’s research in historic preservation, Jean decided to pursue a career in the beverage industry.
With a job offer to work as a distributor sales representative in South Carolina, Jean had the opportunity to not only sell craft beer, but he had the opportunity to develop a passion for wine.
After a few years in the beverage distribution business, Jean was hired by the E & J Gallo Winery to manage all on-premise and fine wine retail activity for the state of North Carolina based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Next steps with E & J Gallo included a move to Charleston, South Carolina to manage both South Carolina and North Carolina.
And then, a life changing opportunity was extended to Jean to move to Stockholm, Sweden to manage all sales and marketing activities in Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. After a few years in Stockholm, Jean was transferred to Frankfurt, Germany to manage all fine wine sales and training for E&J Gallo Winery Europe.
Upon repatriation to the United States, Jean was promoted to Regional Director On-Premise for the Carolinas and Virginias. Within a few years, and after the entrepreneurial experience of living and selling wine in Europe, Jean decided to pursue an opportunity as National Sales Manager with The Other Guys, a newly created sales division of Don Sebastiani & Sons. With the phenomenal support of the Sebastiani Family, Jean learned the national distribution network and most importantly, created life- long friendships with distributors throughout the country.
Ultimately, Jean was elevated to the S.V.P. of Sales & Marketing for Don Sebastiani & Sons, and after several years, he decided to “retire” from the corporate wine world to consult for artisanal wineries and smaller wine-focused distributors while concurrently working on the creation of his own brand named after his wife, Kate Arnold, who is not only a wine lover, but more importantly, his rock who has supported his travel intensive career for the last several years.
Branding his wine company, Family & Farmers, Jean wanted to pay respect to not only his family, but the tight knit family of distributors, winemakers, and newly cultivated relationships with grape growers.
In the latter part of 2017, Family & Farmers started selling Kate Arnold Wines in mostly smaller states and markets where relationships are built one person at a time fulfilling a long-time dream for Jean to produce and sell his own wines.
Kate, an ardent lover of wine, helps manage all facets of Kate Arnold Wines while juggling her most important duties as a mother and parent to Leila, Kate and Jean’s daughter. Beyond Kate’s background management of Kate Arnold Wines, she provides extraordinary support to Jean as he travels throughout the country to promote the wines.
Kate Arnold Wines are sourced from California, Oregon, and Washington. Why? Kate and Jean believe to produce the best wines one must locate the best growing areas for each varietal produced. Lake County in California for Kate Arnold Sauvignon Blanc, Oregon for our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and our Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, and Columbia Valley for our Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our winemaking philosophy is about the vineyards with minimal winemaking intervention to produce wines reflective of the region. We don’t believe in some of the intrusive modern winemaking techniques that negatively disrupt the reflection of the carefully selected sourcing for our grapes and wine. We don’t put anything in our wine that we would not drink ourselves!
Launched in September 2017, Kate Arnold Wines are currently sold in twenty states predominantly focused on smaller population states where often smaller producers fail to recognize the fun and potential of selling wine and creating life long relationships with retailers and restaurateurs.
Hassan Atarmal // Fresh Mediterranean Express
Hassan Atarmal brings the flavors of the Mediterranean to central Iowa through his local restaurant Fresh Mediterranean Express. The restaurant has been operating in Waukee since 2013.
Hassan grew up in a Berber village in rural Morocco. His mother, an accomplished cook, taught her six children all she knew about traditional Moroccan cuisine. From the rich flavors of a lamb tagine to a vegetarian couscous complete with sweet dates, his mother instilled a love of great food in her children. As Hassan grew and got the opportunity to travel he learned about other world cuisines. Spending eight years in New York working in a delicatessen and bakery, he was able to learn the ropes of running a successful food business.
Hassan and his wife Jeni Betts co-own Fresh Mediterranean Express which offers lunch/dinner in a casual cafe setting, catering services, and their hummus and tzatziki sauce are sold in select grocery stores throughout the metro.
Jeremy Brittain // Dino's Bar & Grill
Chef Jeremy Brittain has always found himself around food even at a young age getting in his mother’s way while she was cooking dinner for the family. While attending high school in Boone he decided to take a foods class because what high school aged boy doesn’t like to eat, especially when it’s free. His teacher pushed him to attend post-secondary classes at DMACC during his senior year and that is when he fell in love with the Culinary Arts.
After graduation he attended Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis and completed his associate’s degree there. He worked at a variety of different establishments while finishing his bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management before finding a home in Des Moines at Django. He then was able to spend a majority of his time in the Des Moines metro at Centro before the opportunity to purchase and run his own place arose. In May 2017 Jeremy and his wife Leslie purchased Dino’s Bar & Grill in West Des Moines.
Jeremy loves being innovative and bringing a new approach to old classics. At Dino’s he has worked extensively to rework every avenue from the beer and wine list, to a recently added chef’s creation menu, to an improved level of service. Jeremy is a firm believer that simple food is good food and in letting ingredients speak for themselves. Jeremy is excited to continue to bring a new level of dining to Dino’s and be part of the ever-growing food scene in the western regions of the metro.
Marc Carrigan // Foley Family Wines
Marc is a 18 year industry veteran with both distributor and supplier experience. Originally from Southern California, this Twin City transplant has had the opportunity to travel the globe and work with many domestic and international wine partners from Napa and Sonoma, to South Africa, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Italy, Germany and other world renowned growing regions.
Currently, Marc is the Midwest Sales Director for Foley Family Wines. Foley owns and represents multiple wineries and brands, both domestically and internationally. Marc's philosophy on good wine is simple; "good wine is the wine YOU like".
Sam Clikeman // Big Lost Meadery
Sam Clikeman hails from Gillette, WY. Spending the majority of his life as a firefighter and rugby player his body became worn from the years of physical turmoil. Thus, a new venture was needed and what came out of it was Big Lost Meadery. After about a year, his partner Bob would come into play. Bob was an educator of the youth and happened to take a liking to Sam’s little sister. During the course of construction, Bob would morph into Sam’s right hand man and learn he too was looking for a monumental adventure (and even the hand of Sam’s sister in matrimony!). The two of them would charge into the future doing their best to bring mead to the masses!
Big Lost Meadery forges unique products out of honey, primarily mead or fermented honey. Akin to both a wine and a liquor, Big Lost mead is an odd mix of both but not quite either one. High in alcohol at 18% ABV, the product tastes as though it is only 5%. The powerful combination of flavor, alcohol, and mouthfeel has created a product that is wonderful to sip with a damsel by candlelight or throw back from a ram’s horn before sacking the nearest nunnery! Big Lost mead is also a versatile beverage. Used in cocktails to bring out new flavor combinations unfamiliar to most any bar, but subtle enough to throw over ice and sip with a lime wedge. This powerful beverage from Wyoming has been seen throughout time to change the world!
Within the remote mountain cabin of Big Lost though, several characters have developed to entice your palate. A powerful shieldmaiden such as the Crazy Woman brings you in with the herbal essences of hibiscus and then sweetens your palate with honey, though spend too much time with her and the alcohol will move you to fight great kings of old with her. Then there is the Wild Man, born of humble beginnings he made his claim to fame fighting the great leopard Nataka on the Namibian plains of southern Africa. Despite his ferociousness, his calm demeanor can be seen in the way he carries his alcoholic content and subtle honey notes.
These characters give witness to the concept that is Big Lost. The remote Big Lost cabin is located somewhere in Western Wyoming. Though no mortal human has ever visited it, we know it exists through the legends and stories that abound in our historical lexicon. In the middle of nowhere, there is an old ramshackle cabin where the fires are warm and all of our character’s stories begin to interact there. It is here that one can become Big Lost and forget the tragedies of our world for just a little while. With no TV’s, no digital music, and no phone reception…you can interact with one another, or with the likes of the Island Gypsy or the Forgotten Philosopher, have great conversations, create music with new friends, sit by the warmth of the fire, or just experience life, if even for a short while. With Big Lost Mead we welcome you to have a taste of this delicious concept in your own homes and take yourself away from worrying about the world for just a moment, for even these moments are more precious than gold. So go and Get Lost in a good mead and enjoy the company of friends both new and old alike and if nothing else… Get Your Pillage On!
Brian Congdon // Musician
Brian Congdon has a great respect for his audience. His versatile style is perfect for events large or small, corporate or family-friendly.
At lakeside parties, happy hours at Glen Oaks or tailgates at Iowa State football games, Brian is a favorite.
From the Foo Fighters to Jimmy Buffett to Johnny Cash, his mix of alt/country, rock and sing-along hits are big crowd pleasers. His repertoire is crazy deep and includes songs from artists new and old. And he'll happily let you request your favorite song or buy him a drink. Either way, stop by the stage and say 'Hi'.
Tom Crowder // Southwest Wines
Tom Crowder CSW, CSS is a sales professional with more than 18 years experience in the wine & spirits industry. After spending 12 years at the distributor level in both Illinois and Tennessee, he moved to the supplier level and has worked for Zonin Italian Wine Imports, Purus Vodka and is currently the Midwest Regional Manager for Southwest Wines/St. Clair Winery of New Mexico. Tom is both a Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits and an active member of the Society of Wine Educators.
Matt Drennan // Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Chef Matt Drennan’s appreciation for cuisine and hospitality was developed at young age, beginning his culinary career at the age of 16 in the kitchen at Okoboji Grill in Ames, Iowa. In 2008, he graduated from the Iowa Culinary Institute where he trained in classic French cuisine.
Matt traveled to France in the summer of 2008, training at the Novotel Café in St. Entienne. After returning to Iowa, he became Sous Chef with Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. In 2014, Chef Drennan was named Chef Partner.
Matt brings a straightforward approach to cooking and an affinity for southwestern cuisine. He believes food doesn’t need to be complicated to be good. When food is prepared with creativity and passion, a chef gives life to everything on the plate.
- Coached Iowa to 15 NCAA Titles
- 21 yr. record of 355-21-5 (94.4%)
- Big Ten record of 131-2-1 (98.5%)
- 21 Big Ten Team Titles
- Coached 45 National Champions
- Coached 152 All-Americans
- Coached 106 Big Ten Champions
- 3x NCAA Coach of the Year
- 7 perfect seasons
- 9 Consecutive NCAA titles
- NCAA record of 170 team points in 1997
- 1980, 1984, 2000 US Olympic Head Coach
- Coached 12 Hawkeye Olympians
- ‘Sports Figure of the Century in Iowa’ by Sports Illustrated
- 3x Iowa High School State Champion
- 3x Big Eight Champion Iowa State University
- 3x All-American
- 182-1 Combined prep and college record
- 6x Midlands Champion
- 3x USA Freestyle National Champion
- 1971 World Champion
- Outstanding Wrestler at Tbilisi Tournament
- 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist
- Did not surrender a point in Munich Games
- Top 100 Olympians of all time
- Wrestler of the Century by Gannett Co.
Austin Gangel // Precept Wine
Austin Gangel, Senior Vice-President of Strategic Accounts, has worked at Precept Wine since 2012.
Precept Wine is the largest, family-owned wine company in the Pacific Northwest, with over 5,000 acres of vineyards and notable wineries like Gruet, Waterbrook, Canoe Ridge, Browne Family and Ste. Chapelle, located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and New Mexico. The past 18 months for Austin and Precept Wine have been particularly exciting due to the creation and success of House Wine cans. Canned wine represents the largest growth trend in the wine industry this year and House Wine cans has been a big reason for that.
When he isn’t on an airplane or at an airport on a flight delay, Austin enjoys driving his minivan and raising his two daughters, Greta and Marlowe, in Iowa City where he and his wife relocated to in 2015.
Jeff Heng // Mistress Brewing Company
Jeff Heng, like most of us, began his experiences with craft beer as a consumer. Over their nearly 25-year friendship with co-founder, Shawn McNeeley, the two have tried quite a few craft and Shawn’s home brewed beers. Both having a passion for Belgium and German style ales. In 2013 Jeff, alongside his brother Jonathan, took an amazing tour of Belgium to visit some of the best breweries and beer cafés in the world on a week-long guided tour. This event further opened Jeff’s eyes to the range of beer styles and variations in beer around the world. So began Jeff’s passion to try new beers in every place he visited alongside numerous brewery tours across the U.S. Then in 2015 it was time to take that passion to next level and plan the opening of Mistress Brewing Company.
Sterling James & Scott Schnicke // Blaze Pizza
Blaze was founded in August of 2012 in Irvine California based around the idea of pizza fast enough for lunch. We serve great, artisinal pizzas handcrafted while guests watch and then fast fire them in our blazing hot oven in 180 seconds. We opened our first restaurant in Iowa in downtown Des Moines in July of 2016 and have since grown to six locations in Iowa and Nebraska and almost 300 Nationwide. Scott joined the company in June of 2016 and is currently the general manager of our Ames location. Sterling joined the company in September of 2016 and is currently the general manager of our downtown Des Moines location and the regional training manager.
Max Keller // Exile Brewing Company
Max Keller has been working in QA/QC roles over the past five years, three of those with Exile Brewing Company as the Quality Manager. His passion for home brewing, craft beer and 'nerding out' over biochemistry eventually brought him to Exile in early 2016. In his earlier years at Exile he could be found splitting time between the lab, assisting with brewing, production and packaging. He would also like to point out that he is a big fan of a good Hawaiian shirt and all things Jimmy Buffet. Naturally his favorite Exile beer is Zoltan.
Joe Kesteloot // Peace Tree Brewing Company
In 2009, Peace Tree Brewing Company was founded in what was once a rundown, forgotten building on Main Street in Knoxville, Iowa. Among the original team members, Joe Kesteloot is Peace Tree's first and only Brewmaster. Now, this bustling brewery and taproom creates unique, high-quality beers in both bottles and draft. In 2017, Peace Tree opened another brewery and taproom in Des Moines as well as a taproom in Grinnell. Their distribution spans across Iowa and into Nebraska in fine retailers, bars, and restaurants.
Joe hails from Chicago by way of a BS in Fine Arts from Iowa State University, where he met his wife, Dani. After developing a love of home brewing, he attended the American Brewers Guild to make his passion professional. Prior to Peace Tree, Joe was the Head Brewer for Cold Spring Brewing Company in Minnesota.
Joe received his first brewing medal winning Bronze for Blonde Fatale in the ‘Belgian Style Strong Ale’ category at the North American Brewers Association Competition in June of 2011. In 2014, Joe received his second brewing medal winning Gold for Blonde Fatale in the ‘Belgian Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale’ category at the World Beer Cup. Over the years, Joe has gained many fans for his attention to quality of brewing science, his vast creativity in the art of beer, and his passion for the craft.
Aaron Lenz // Hotel Pattee
Aaron Lenz grew up in Perry, Iowa a few blocks from the Hotel Pattee and witnessed the transformation of the building during the 90's. He went to Iowa State for Hotel & Restaurant Management and then attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America where he received his degree in Culinary Arts. Outside of culinary school, Aaron honed his culinary skills at the Hotel Pattee and at Aunt Maudes in Ames before entering into the management segment of his career.
During his professional career, Aaron has focused on multi-unit restaurant management and high volume operations. After several years in Colorado, Aaron decided to return to Iowa with his wife and two children to be closer to extended family. The long-time allure of the Hotel Pattee drew him back with some pesuasion from the hotel's new owner. Aaron now hopes to bring experiences of his travels and career back to small-town Iowa to share with everyone that knows and loves the Hotel Pattee.
Nick Marino // Hilton Des Moines Downtown
Growing up in an Italian family, food and cooking was everything. Every event and family gathering took place around the kitchen. I began cooking at a very young age with my mother and grandparents who emigrated from Italy. Cooking never seemed like work to them, it was something that they shared with the family and they always seemed happiest in the kitchen. Every menu I have made has been in some way inspired by my family. I always try to sneak in at least one dish that is directly inspired by a family recipe.
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: AAA 5 Diamond Resort November 2010—February 2014
Chef de Cuisine
Worked with Celebrity Chef Richard Sandoval in opening new restaurant concept for main restaurant
Re-concept The Grill At TPC from steak house to gastro-pub
Lead Chef for the Phoenix Open 2011—2014
Sous Chef RPM Italian Chicago:
High volume from scratch Italian Restaurant in the heart of the River North Neighborhood in Chicago. 1000+ covers a night
Executive Sous Chef Waldorf Astoria Chicago:
Opened pop-up restaurant concept
Cooked for many athletes, celebrities, political figures, musicians
Hosted James Beard award Brunch
I spend my free time with my wife Jessica, my son Dexter and my boston terrier Charlie. We love to cook together, entertain friends, go for bike rides, hikes and explore new places.
John Martin // Confluence Brewing Company
John Martin is a native of Imogene, Iowa, a husband to his lovely wife Katie and a proud father of seven children. A farm boy turned Applied Physics major turned craft beer artist, John is a family man who loves the outdoors, including fishing, hiking, and open-air home brewing. In high school, when not wrestling or aspiring to brew raisin-almond beer, he dreamed of restoring a vintage 1967 Chevy Camaro with a 327 cubic inch V8 engine that was stored in his uncle’s barn. The beer dreams took root, and as for the Camaro...we will have to wait and see.
Dave Morgan // SingleSpeed Brewing Co.
Dave Morgan is an Iowa native and 1998 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa.
In late 2012 he founded SingleSpeed Brewing Co., opening first as a 1,700 SF nano brewery in Cedar Falls, Iowa before expanding operations to a second location (35,000 SF) in downtown Waterloo, IA.
Both breweries have sustainability principles at their core and received certification through the Iowa Green Brewery Certification program. The Cedar Falls location was awarded silver and the Waterloo location achieved the highest level, platinum.
Dawn Musgrove // New Day Catering Company
Dawn began her culinary journey as a nine-year old, making pot roast and cookies for her family. After graduating from Iowa State University, she fell in love with the food scene and eloped to Seattle to spend more time with her passion—beginning her formal culinary training at a natural foods restaurant in Seattle.
Dawn now runs New Day Catering Company, providing handcrafted, thoughtfully designed and impeccably executed food for parties and corporate events in the Des Moines metro. In addition to catering, New Day can be booked for personal chef experiences and fabulous cooking classes.
Benjamin Poole // Johnson Brothers
Benjamin Poole has nearly 10 years in the wine industry and now heads the On-Premise division of sales at Johnson Brothers of Iowa. Extensive training and great passion for spirits and craft beer are large parts of the business as well.
Outside of work, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife Stephanie and three children, cooking, golfing, cheering on the Cubs, or drinking a cold one.
Jeff Postal // Mistress Brewing Company
Jeff Postal has been a homebrewer over 15 years and a BJCP Beer Judge for over 10 years. After his retirement from John Deere a year ago, he joined the Mistress Brewing team as Quality Control Coordinator. Jeff is responsible for process control and product consistency at the brewery, and also works on recipe development. This past summer, he was doing much of the brewing at Mistress, while the new taproom and brewhaus were being set up. After spending 38 years crafting great farm machinery, Jeff is now crafting great beer!
Paul Rachmuth // United Spirits, Inc.
Paul Rachmuth is a member of United Spirits, Inc.’s management team and deals extensively with our licensing, promotion and production business partners. He has been a practicing attorney for 23 years; having earned his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1995 and LL.M. from St. John’s University in 2001.
Jason Scafuri // Waukee Hy-Vee
Chef Jason Scafuri has been cooking professionally for 30 years. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, many years of Country Club Chef positions have taken him to Central Florida, Dallas, Texas and presently the Des Moines area.
Chef Jason is a Retail Chef for Hy-Vee Inc. in Waukee. Chef Jason loves to combine International flavors with different textures to provide a unique food experience.
Tony Schubert // Iowa Brewers Union
Tony Schubert is a realtor and President of the Iowa Brewers Union, a Des Moines homebrew club with around 70 current members. Recently, he won a gold medal in the world's largest homebrew competition, the National Homebrew Competition for his barrel aged sour. Among his favorite styles to brew are hoppy pale ales, clean lagers, session meads, and barrel aged sours or wild yeast projects.
Eric Selander // Confluence Brewing Company
Des Moines native and all-around nerd. Married to Erika Selander, proud father of Halden and Caulder and keeper of Louie, Walter, and Fionna. Eric is living one of his dreams being able to work, not just in a brewery, but in a brewery that he loves and respects. Eric loves quality beer in any form but has a huge place in his heart for Belgian beers as well as sours and more experimental varieties. When not drinking beer he loves nerdy pursuits, hockey (The Chicago Blackhawks) and woodworking/tinkering in his workshop.
Alex Strauss // West Lakes Hy-Vee
Alex Strauss comes to West Lakes Hy-Vee with over 17 years of experience. He received a master's degree from Loyola University and then went on to get an associate's degree in culinary arts from Kendall College in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. During this time he worked at numerous restaurants and hotels in Chicago, including the Drake Hotel.
Moving to Des Moines at the turn of the century, Alex started a catering and personal chef company. During this time, he taught cooking classes, won culinary awards and made local television appearances.
Alex has traveled the world "on his stomach" picking up knowledge and recipes from around the globe. His main focuses at Hy-Vee are working with customers on recipe development, answering cooking questions, offering healthy dining options and helping on menu development.