Tampa Bay Chef of the Year 2017
Chef Michael Thrash currently resides in Seminole, FL. He is currently the Corporate Executive Chef for The J.R. Simplot Company and a Chef Instructor at the Art Institute of Tampa.
After growing up in Rochester, NY with a very large family of great cooks and a rockstar cook in his Mother; Michael knew at a young age that food and cooking was a passion of his. After realizing that you could actually make a career out of it, he quickly joined the industry. Starting as a dishwasher and a bus boy, Michael quickly confirmed his passion for the business. While attending vocational Culinary Arts classes in high school, his skills became more refined.
Chef Thrash is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI with a B.A.S. in Culinary Arts. He has over twenty two years of experience among eight different states, in restaurants, hotels, country clubs, higher education and corporate environments.
Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and Certified Culinary Administrator (CCA) through the American Culinary Federation (ACF)
World Certified Executive Chef (WCEC) through the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS)
Inducted Member of the World Master Chefs Society (MWMCS)
Certified Research Chef (CRC) through the Research Chefs Association
Maître Rotisseur with the Chaines des Rotisseurs
ProChef Level II certification through the Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
Currently holds the position of Vice President on the Board of the ACF Tampa Bay
Approved Certification Evaluator (ACE) through the ACF
Numerous Silver medals have been awarded through ACF competitions throughout the years as well as champion of many other industry competitions
Named 2017 Tampa Bay Chef of the Year
Recipient of the ACF National President’s Medallion in 2018
Assists Culinary Olympic Team USA in Training
Featured in Numerous Publications, Magazines and Periodicals
Featured Chef, Studio Guest Dining Out Radio Show, 2015-Present
Featured in Episode of “What to Expect: Culinary Arts”, MTV, 2004
Elizabeth Keegan is the Materials Manager for the School District of Philadelphia where she plans and manages the menu for 125 schools in the district. In addition, she oversees the procurement and management of all food service materials and supplies for these locations.
She is a licensed Registered Dietitian and School Nutrition Specialist with a Master of Science in Human Nutrition. Elizabeth found her passion for school nutrition when she was offered the opportunity to work for the School District of Philadelphia while earning her master’s degree at Drexel University. She went on to complete her dietetic internship at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services where she gained valuable experience in school nutrition from both the state and local level.
Since completing her internship program she’s worked with various child and senior nutrition programs where she was responsible for menu planning and development. Elizabeth is happy to be back in Philadelphia where her career in school nutrition began. She loves the work she does and is proud to play a role in ensuring that children have access to nutritious meals!
Marc DeMarchena is an associate professor in the Beverage and Dining Service department, having joined the Johnson & Wales University, College of Culinary Arts faculty in 1998. He teaches founda-tion and capstone courses within the beverage world. You may find him leading lessons in Enology, Sensory Evaluation, Food & Wine pairing, Restaurant Operations, Beer, Coffee, Tea and Mixology. When he is not in the classroom, you can find Marc meeting with students and coordinating with other departments as the vice chair of the college curriculum committee and serving the university curriculum committee. He has lead study abroad programs for students to Europe, the Azores and Madeira.
As a long standing member of the Society of Wine Educators, Marc serves as a member of the board of directors. Regularly attending the annual conferences and volunteering to assist with the opera-tion of this event, he has found the Society to be a great place to build your beverage contacts while discovering the many nuances of wine trade. He holds the Certified Wine Educator and the Certified Specialist of Spirits achievements from this organization. Additionally, Marc holds the WSET level 3 in wine, the level 2 in spirits and has certified as a spirits trainer for level 2. Other certifications in-clude Bordeaux Tutor and certified Beer Server from the Cicerone organization.
Prior to joining the faculty at Johnson & Wales University, Professor DeMarchena managed food & beverage operations at a variety of hotels, national parks and inns across the United States. His in-volvement in the food & beverage industry spans three decades and has afforded him the oppor-tunity to work with great teams, creating unique dining moments and profitable businesses. This passion began with an early entry into the restaurant business as a dishwasher and prep cook. The drive to further engage in the hospitality world was formed while completing his Culinary Arts and Management degrees. Marc returned to school to complete a Masters in Teaching after 10 years of managing hotel food & beverage operations. Marc has worked as a consultant to local and national hospitality organizations helping these organizations drive excellence in their daily operation.
No matter the event or the dining category, Marc strives to deliver that unique experience that makes each guest or student wish to return
Born and raised in France, Severine grew up in a household where all the vegetables and fruits were home grown, many canned for the winter months. Homemade cooking with fresh ingredients, as well as game meat was part of the daily meals.
After graduating from Culinary school, she traveled through Europe and the Caribbean, learning about cultures, food and people.
She moved to Rhode Island in 1998 and began a successful career in luxury hospitality. As she continued to travel, she began to see the differences in variety and quality of fresh food between continents and started to experience the effects of food on health.
After the birth of her daughter in 2006, she began working with pregnant families to offer support and information as they moved through this life changing event. Her daughter's baby food was all homemade from organic ingredients and as she worked with more and more families, she began to see the gap and need in nutrition for mothers and their growing babies, it was not a matter of calories but a matter of quality and nutrition.
Severine pursued and graduated with a health coaching diploma which furthered her belief that food powers the brain and eating a healthy diet is essential to good health. As her daughter began school, and the menu mostly included carbs, processed and fried food, she packed a homemade cooked lunch every day for school (still does to this day).
If we expect our children to perform at school, to learn, to pass the state mandated tests, we have to feed them local ingredients, home cooked meals and drastically reduce processed, man-made food.
On this basis, was born Fresh and Local Meals. Providing scratched cooked meals to students has been a life-long journey and she is excited to share her passion for food with partners and schools.
Mark currently serves as the Advisory Board President for Fresh and Local Meals.
He has spent his entire career helping children through education and nutrition. After graduating high school he joined the Army and served for 4 years. After being Honorably discharged he attended college at La Salle University and earned a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education with a minor in technology. Mark later earned a Masters in Information Technology.
His love of children lead him to teach 11th grade English for 2 years before moving over to the child nutrition industry. Mark spent the next 16 years working for a food service technology company who developed software for school food service. He spent the majority of his career in schools working with the cafeteria staff and food service leadership. He helped develop wellness plans to encourage participation and improve children’s eating habits.
For the last 6 years Mark has been working directly in the child nutrition food industry leaving the technology side behind. He works with Chef’s and Dietitians to develop healthy meals for K-12 Schools. Mark is also very active in Florida with advocacy groups supporting healthy meals and farm to school.
He is a father of 2 sons who attend a special needs charter school. Working with the schools leadership he was able to implement a healthy offer vs serve food program serving healthy hot meals daily.