Chefs participating in 2017
Click Here for Chef Roger Thomas Bio
Chef Roger Thomas
Roger Thomas was raised with a deep respect and knowledge of food. His interest in cooking began both in his mother’s garden and his grandmother’s kitchen, and has since taken him on a delicious journey.
At sixteen, Roger began as a dishwasher, working for the Piscazzi Family in Akron at their highly regarded restaurant, the Wine Merchant. Soon he found his way into the kitchen and began honing his skills under the tutelage of the celebrated Lucia Piscazzi. By age nineteen, Roger was managing the kitchen. Four years later he had the honor of preparing a private luncheon for James Beard. In 1987, Roger had the extraordinary opportunity to move to Europe to further his craft. In Paris he apprenticed with Chef Michel Pasquet and became a certified chef. In the Loire Valley, he studied under Chefs Pierre Langlois and Marc Meneau. Oyster farming on Ile de Ré and pastry study in London were some of his stops before family circumstances called him back to Ohio.
Upon his return, Roger was Executive Chef at the remarkably successful Ken Stewart’s Grille before opening his first restaurant, Sixteen Eighty. From there he joined the Downtown Akron Renaissance with his new location, Piatto. In preparation, Roger returned to Europe, this time to Italy. He was invited to spend time in the kitchen with Chef Michele Brogioni at Relais Chateaux il Falconiere. Chef Brogioni then joined Roger in Akron for the opening season of Piatto. In 2001 Roger and Piatto were awarded “Best Restaurant in Akron” and “Best Italian restaurant in Northeast Ohio” in Northern Ohio Live Magazine’s Reader’s Poll. In 2002, Piatto was awarded the prestigious “Best Restaurant in Northern Ohio” by the same magazine. Piatto is still the only Akron restaurant to achieve the title.
In 2005, Roger and Piatto were invited to move into the newly renovated Sheraton Suites Hotel in Cuyahoga Falls, and he eventually took over all of the food service operations of the hotel. After eight years and numerous awards, Roger left the Sheraton in 2014 to join Fiore’s Italian Restaurants. From there the journey took him to Beverly Hills CA at the 5-Star, 5-Diamond hotel L’Ermitage, where he continues creating delicious European-inspired cuisine. Roger also enjoys working with, mentoring and training young people who share a common passion for cuisine, service and wine. His former apprentices can be found working in kitchens from South America, Europe and Asia to the establishments of Charlie Trotter (deceased), Guy Savoy, Sarah Lawrence College and Chateau Montelena in the United States.
Of all his experiences, Roger is happiest about his marriage to his wife Kathy, and their twins, John and Madeline.
Click here for Chef Aaron Hervey Bio
Chef Aaron Hervey
Grew up and graduated from Stow High school.
Graduate of Akron U. Culinary Arts.
1989-1992 Sheraton suites, Cook all positions, and p.m. sous chef.
1992-1994 Tavern Steak house at Quaker Square, Executive chef
1994-1996 The inn at Turners Mill, Executive Sous Chef.
1996-1998 Diamondback Brewery Executive Sous Chef.
1999-2001 Old Whedon Grille, Executive Chef
2001-currrent Crave, Owner and executive Chef
Married, Father of one, resides in west Akron.
Click here for Chef Anthony Scolaro Bio
Chef Anthony Scolaro
Anthony is the Chef/Owner at 111 Bistro in Medina. Chef Scolaro and business partner Meghan Pender opened 111 Bistro in June of 2014, recently celebrating their second year of being in business. Located at 2736 Medina Rd, the restaurant offers a quality dining experience in a very relaxed and inviting atmosphere. Chef serves a seasonally driven menu with a focus on quality, and locally sourced ingredients. In addition to a changing menu, 111 Bistro hosts a variety of specialty dinners where guests can experience, for example, a uniquely crafted menu with wine pairings. His unique view of food, and talents in the kitchen have landed him features in Cleveland Magazine and Akron Life Magazine, making the success of 111 Bistro no surprise. As the proud recipient of a variety awards from organizations like the American Culinary Federation, March of Dimes and others, Chef Scolaro credits his success to a long and diverse history in the industry.
Anthony developed a passion for food at a very young age and comes from a family where a love for cooking was always abundant. He began on his path at the age of thirteen when he first began working in kitchens, and has never looked back. His resume is packed full of experiences in nearly all types of culinary arenas including banquet halls, catering, hotels and hospitality, country clubs, private dining services and fine dining establishments just to name a few. Chef Scolaro graduated with honors from the University of Akron and obtained two degrees during his time as a Zip. He has great pride in the education he received and he now volunteers at the University to help the current students through lectures and hands on training in the kitchens. In a continued trend of giving back, Scolaro actively participates in charity events with organizations like March of Dimes, United way and the Akron Zoo.
When not in the kitchen Scolaro’s main hobby is his family. He and his wife Colleen have been married for over 7 years and thanks to her incredible support he was able to achieve his dream of being a restaurant owner. Together they are the proud parents of two beautiful children, Leah (5) and Dominic (3), who are their world. As local Wadsworth residents, the Scolaro’s are proud to be a part of this community and look forward to many years of sharing in its growth. To find out more about Chef Scolaro and 111 Bistro, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.111bistro.com” www.111bistro.com or come in and visit!
Click here for Chef Dick Kanatzar Bio
Chef Dick Kanatzar
Chef Dick is as “Akron, Ohio – born and raised” as they come. He is a local product of the 330 that believes in his city and the revitalization of his home town. He brings a locally inspired cuisine with twists and flavors from all over the world. His farm to table practice and use of sustainable seafood literally brings a fresh outlook to your table.
Chef Dick’s fascination with cooking started at a young age. He started in his first professional kitchen at the age of 16. After high school, Chef Dick served as a corporate chef and trainer for the Michigan-based, Brann’s Steakhouse, and then returned to Akron to become the sous chef at Vaccaro’s from 2003 until 2009. Shortly after, he left to turn around the food and beverage program for a country club in Clearwater, Florida. However, the love he has for is hometown and state never wavered. He returned to Cleveland in 2011 to help open Cleveland’s Noodlecat, along with a stint at The Greenhouse Tavern. After that gig, Raphael Vaccaro invited him back, this time as executive chef. He has used this experience to hone his skills and please the pallets of Akron in a way that no one else has ever done before.
Now, Chef Dick brings a fresh new concept to the streets of Ohio with his pop up restaurant, “Chef Dicks Kitchen”. He also can be found around Akron doing various charity events, chef tables, beer and wine dinners. He collaborates with local ice cream favorite, Pavs creamery. He also is resident chef at portage lakes brewing company.
Click here for Chef Brendan Meeker Bio
Chef Brendan Meeker
Born and raised in Akron, Ohio where I graduated from St. Vincent St Mary High School, I became interested in cooking at a young age because of the great cooking of my Grandmothers and their ability to cook wonderful food for a large group of people. I attended college at Johnson & Wales University in Providence Rhode Island, where I earned my degree in Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Management.
Trying to learn all the different cuisine of our country I worked in ten different states from east to west coast. I have had the opportunity to work for great companies like Marriott, Corporate Clubs of America, Sheraton, Crown Plaza & Adams Mark. Teaching me an array of management and teaching styles. Locally I had the pleasure of learning from Chef Ed Valente, Abe Moses, Tom Dillon, Bill Crocker & Myron Vernos. All who taught me how to take care of the guests, patrons and members, trying to succeed their expectations and take ownership of all I do.
In 1999, I opened up Meeker’s Kitchen in downtown Akron and was there for four years. Featuring eclectic food and Irish fun. I spent eight years of my career at the Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, Ohio, where I featured a life challenge at Glenmoor and focused on healthy cuisine with a lot of different culinary options. The last three years have been at Fairlawn Country Club where it has been like a family reunion. I grew up around here and it has been fantastic cooking for Fairlawn Country Club families.
I am always asked what my specialty is; my response is whatever I am cooking at that moment. Meaning, that we should pay total attention to every item and totally focus on quality at all times. Taking care of the member is top priority. I tell my staff we are not in the food business in a country club but we are in the member business, because the member is the priority.
This is a great honor to be back in my hometown cooking for a lot of the people I have known for years. Plus working for one of the top country clubs in the State of Ohio, which has always been a desire of mine.
Click here for Chef Victor Todaro Bio
Chef Victor Todaro
Born and raised in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, Victor has been cooking since he was a young boy. Working side by side with his Nonni (grandmother) and his family at Todaro’s Party Center, Victor began his culinary career at a young age. He’s worked for many of Akron’s top chef’s and restaurants including The Harbor, Shingo Cantina, The Grotto, Papa Joe’s, Russo’s, & The Chowder House. With a true passion for food & cooking, Victor has honed his craft over the past 17 years. He has come to be known as one of the area’s premier chef’s. Since 2013 he has been the Head Chef at The Merchant Tavern in Akron’s Merriman Valley. His efforts have been recognized in local publications and by the guests he serves by winning several awards for his work. More important to Victor though, is that every meal he creates is enjoyed by those he serves.