Chefs from around the state have been designated as Celebrity Chefs for the third annual statewide New Hampshire Restaurant Week, a program of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA). The eight-day event runs from May 16 – 23 and encompasses more than 100 local restaurants offering three-course, prix-fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner.
“Restaurant Week presents a great opportunity for New Hampshire residents to re-visit their favorite eateries or to try out a new culinary destination,” says Mike Somers, NHLRA president and chief executive officer. “The chefs at our participating restaurants have done a great job creating menus to fit every budget and palate.”
“Having worked directly with restaurants throughout the state, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission has first-hand knowledge of the Granite State’s extraordinary culinary landscape. We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of New Hampshire Restaurant Week, which works to spotlight the exceptional dining options available in our state,” says New Hampshire Liquor Commission Chairman Joseph W. Mollica. “We hope that residents and visitors of legal drinking age also discover new wines and spirits while dining, all of which are available at our 77 conveniently located New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets.”
The Celebrity Chefs were chosen for their contributions to the culinary community in New Hampshire. They each strive to bring quality food, unique menus and the best culinary experience they can offer to the Granite State.
The Celebrity Chefs representing Restaurant Week New Hampshire are:
Celebrity Chef Nicole Barreira: Nicole Barreira joined Great New Hampshire Restaurants in 2006. Receiving three degrees from Southern New Hampshire University and hoping to start her doctoral studies soon, she has been the face of T-BONES and Cactus Jack’s for years, known to regulars as “Chef Nicole” and for her signature pink chef’s jacket. She began working in the industry at 14, and now as corporate chef, she plans and develops all seasonal and specialty menus for T-BONES and Cactus Jack’s.
Celebrity Chef Benjamin Knack: Benjamin Knack started his career at a four-star restaurant rated as one of the top 20 in America, and he continues that high standard with his work at the Bedford Village Inn. A graduate of the New York Institute of Technology, he worked in Phoenix and Boston before arriving at the Bedford Village Inn. Reality TV show fans may recognize Chef Benjamin from his time on Season 7 of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay.
Celebrity Chef Chris Grauwiler: Chris Grauwiler from 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria was formally trained in New York City and began his career by working at Tavern on the Green as banquet chef. After years of honing his skills, Chef Grauwiler opened the Hotel on Rivington, Southern Hospitality and Flame Deal Catering in New York. He also ran the Brother Jimmy's commissary on the West Side of 11th Avenue, and was recognized as a top-10 new restaurant chef at the Ivy Inn in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Celebrity Chef Chris Volkmann: Chef Chris Volkmann of Copper Door Restaurant has been with Great New Hampshire Restaurants (GNHR) for 16 years. During this time Chris has held positions on the GNHR Recipe Development Committee, presented over 30 WMUR Cooks Corner episodes, and represented T-BONES, CJ’s, and Copper Door concepts at Chef Auctions, Taste of the Nation, and many more local events over the years. Chris graduated from Manchester School of Technology’s culinary program and was ranked #3 in the state competition thereafter.
Celebrity Chef Josh Farrington: A native New Englander, Chef Josh was born and raised in the northeast kingdom of Vermont and began his culinary journey at the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont. He later continued his training at the Black Bear Tavern & Grille in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, before joining the team at the White Mountain Hotel & Resort as sous chef in 2008. Josh is an active member of the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, and is the distinguished winner of the ACF's "Chef's Pentathlon" competition in 2010.
Celebrity Chef Roland von Gunten: Roland von Gunten is the director of culinary operations for The Common Man family, which he joined in 2007. Born and raised in Switzerland, Roland has vast experience in the hospitality industry, both internationally and here in the U.S. Roland held cooking positions with Alpine Resorts Hotels in Switzerland before moving to Boston, Mass., and becoming the executive sous chef at Swiss Hotel Lafayette.
Celebrity Chef Laurent Geroli: Laurent Geroli of Stickney’s at Omni Mount Washington Resort has had over 23 years of experience in the culinary industry,including Ritz Carlton Hotels, Club Med, The Brown Hotel and LXR. Not only does his experience reach over two decades, but he received his training in the form of a culinary arts degree from La Magdeleine Culinary and a pastry degree from Institut de Tourisme et d'Hôtellerie du Québec.
Celebrity Chef Kevin Halligan: Kevin Halligan, a 2002 New England Culinary Institute graduate is the owner and executive chef of Local Eatery, situated in the historic Laconia Train Station on Veterans Square in the heart of the Lakes Region. As a very active member of the Lakes Region community, Chef Kevin believes in supporting locally and regionally soured items and is committed to sustaining the vitality of economic growth in the Lakes Region.
Restaurant Week New Hampshire is presented by New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlets, Comcast Business and Comcast Spotlight. Supporting sponsors are Coca-Cola of Northern New England, Woodford Reserve, Bacardi Mango Fusion and Estancia Wines. Contributing sponsors are American Express, Sysco, PSNH, Woodstock Station Inn & Brewery, The Common Man, Centrix Bank and Checkmate Payroll. Restaurant Week New Hampshire is also funded in part by the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development.
Any restaurant or lodging facility can participate in this event by visiting RestaurantWeekNH.com or calling NHLRA at 603-228-9585. For updates on Restaurant Week via social media follow on Twitter at twitter.com/RestaurantsNH or like the Facebook page at facebook.com/RestaurantWeekNH. Diners are encouraged to post photos of their culinary experience to the Restaurant Week New Hampshire Pinterest page, or use the #RestaurantWeekNH tag on Instagram.