Boca GumboFest 2018 - Chef Contenders

Chef Amy Mandile - Henry's of Delray


Amy Mandile is a homegrown Florida native, raised by two restauranteur parents in Stuart, FL. Having an early love for cooking, she worked every imaginable position in restaurants. Passion and will to learn was the only thing motivating her as she dove head-first into her career as a chef. Her philosophy in cooking is simple - "Love on a plate".



Chef Rich Wilson - Publix Aprons Boca Raton 



Chef Richard Wilson is the Executive Chef at Publix Aprons Cooking School in Boca Raton.


 Chef Jeff Vincent - Funky Buddha Brewer



A South Carolina native and graduate of the University of Hard Knocks (still enlisted) -- has at one time worked just about every job there is in a kitchen. Starting as a humble dishwasher in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Jeff has followed his passion across the south, leading him to take on the role of Executive Chef at the esteemed Highland Country Club from 2006-2012. Jeff most recently helmed the kitchen at Beauty and the Feast at the Atlantic Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach, where he earned the restaurant rave reviews for its Southern-inspired cuisine (a style Jeff refers to as “simple, with good ingredients”). Jeff is a natural charmer and loves to shag (the dance, of course). He lives with his two sons in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Funky Buddha is South Florida's largest craft brewery, serving up culinary-inspired brews like Floridian Hefeweizen and the famous Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. Now thanks to its new Craft Food Counter & Kitchen, helmed by chef Jeff Vincent, it has food to match! Vincent, South Carolina native and veteran toque, previously brought acclaim to the fantastic Beauty & the Feast at the Atlantic Hotel. His eclectic style draws on low country roots and European training, imparting a Southern twang to CFC’s entirely scratch-made menu. "My style is simple food using great ingredients," says Vincent. "Whether it's a juicy burger, cold craft beer, or a house-made biscuit, the result is only as good as what goes into it."

  Chef Dave Gale - E&M Catering




Chef Profile:
Chef David Gale, originally from the North Shore Boston area, began working in local restaurants as a teenager.  With an early passion for the arts, Chef Gale attended Berklee College of Music while he crafted his culinary skills working in the kitchen. While intermittently touring the northeastern parts of America as a professional musician, he always kept one hand in the kitchen, working in fine dining and mid to high-end catering outfits.  Eventually, Chef Gale was given the opportunity to be the Sous-Chef at the well-known Zozo’s Ristorante, in St. John, USVI.  As he honed his culinary skills, he became a private chef with Mathayom Vaccharat of St. John Catering and Mathayom Private Chefs.  In the private sector, he has catered weddings and villa events for a client list to include well known include actors, models and musicians. Chef Gale collaborated with Thomas Garfield of the highly praised Extra Virgin Bistro and became the Co-Owner and Operator of The Dugout at 420, an Asian fusion eatery. As the Executive Chef of Sushi St. John, he redeveloped their sushi offering and was integral in the rebrand of the Umami Bar.  Hurricane Irma drove Chef Gale to South Florida, where he continued his passion through his involvement in E&M Culinary of Boca Raton, a unique caterer with a range of versatile menus that caters off-premise events, from casual affairs to elaborate weddings and galas. Chef Gale has led the culinary execution and has brought an array of Creole, Asian, Latin, Caribbean influenced flavors to the menus.  All this, and he makes a mean gumbo!

About E&M:
E&M provides South Florida with unique and exclusive catered experience by providing chef-driven, quality cuisine, catered to perfection with customized creativity and accommodating versatility. E&M caters any type of event with precision, exquisite cuisine and service beyond expectation.  E&M has built a reputation as South Florida's top Caterer with rave reviews and a tremendous rate of customer satisfaction. With event planning and full event production expertise in-house, the visions of E&M's clients are always attainable and their indulgence is assured.

E&M Culinary & Events is an affiliate of E&M Munchies Restaurant Group, the founders of Rebel House, El Jefe Luchador and Charm City Burger Company.


Chef Ray Dolan - Boca Resort & Beach Club



Currently the executive sous chef of restaurants for the property overseeing 13 outlets. Originally from Chicago, where I started my career as a chef working for a Wildfire Steakhouse, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant. Ray then moved on to gastropub tap house grill with multiple operations around Chicago. In 2010 I moved down to Boca for an opportunity to work at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. For the past 8 years, I have worked my up through the ranks while spending a short amount of time at Max’s Grille honing my skills. One year ago, I returned to the Boca Raton Resort & Club to assume the position I am currently in. 

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 Chef Andrew Donovan - Ouzo Bay Boca Raton

chef andrew donovan

ouzo bay restaurant indoors


Recognized as one of America’s Best Chefs in 2013 by the association Best Chefs America, 40-year-old Chef Andrew Donovan is the Executive Chef at Ouzo Bay Boca Raton where he oversees all menu development for the South Florida Mediterranean restaurant. Known for his simple, straightforward culinary style and seasonal seafood dishes, he brings 25 years of industry experience to the team.

Growing up, Andrew ate family meals prepared by his father, an accomplished home cook who made everything from scratch; he remembers picking and canning fresh strawberries from his grandmother’s garden which instilled in him an appreciation for simple, ingredient-driven cuisine. At 15, he got his first job washing dishes, earning the position of prep and line cook within six months.

Chef Donovan received his degree in Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in 2000. He was promoted to sous chef at Oliver Saucy’s Café Maxx, an Innovative Restaurant Concepts (IRC) property in Pompano Beach while attending culinary school; after graduation, he was hired by IRC as Chef de Cuisine at the East City Grill in Birmingham, AL. He then spent four years in Savannah, GA, as Executive Chef of the Sapphire Grill under Chef-Proprietor Chris Nason, and in 2005 he joined Nason at New York City’s famed James Beard House to create dishes for their “Savannah Nights” themed dinner.

In 2006, he accepted a job at Manhattan’s Core Club, an exclusive private club supervised by famed chef Tom Colicchio, and received another invitation to cook at the Beard House as a representative of the club during the “Winter Truffle Indulgence” dinner. He was later hired at Tía Pol in West Chelsea and was quickly promoted to Executive Chef at both Tía Pol and sister restaurant El Quinto Pino. Under Donovan’s direction, Tía Pol beat out Mario Batali’s Casa Mono as New York’s best Spanish restaurant in the 2008 Zagat Guide.

From 2010-2014, Donovan was Chef-Proprietor of farm-to-table concept Brine and Bottle in Nags Head, NC, which was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” as well as Taste of the South and Outer Banks magazines. He went on to work a brief stint with Stephen Starr’s Le Zoo before joining Ouzo Bay Boca Raton.

Andrew currently lives in Pompano Beach with his wife Ashley, a sommelier, and their two sons, ages 4 and 3 months.

 Chef Nancy - Nancy's Cajun Cookin'

A Louisiana native, Nancy moved to south Florida in 2011, bringing with her a truck, suitcases - and most importantly, a love of her hometown Cajun cooking.

Before long, Nancy was gracing local green markets, creating a stir with her roux (pronounced roo) - the heart of her renowned gumbo recipe - and other authentic Cajun cuisine.

Facebook reviewers rave, calling her food "soulful" and an "amazing culinary delight." Bernadette Fla Keys writes, "WOW woman YOU CAN COOK that Cajun food. I know the folks back home be missin' you and your GUMBO!!!!"
Don't miss the opportunity for authentic Louisiana gumbo at Boca GumboFest 2018. Be sure to stop by Nancy's Cajun Cookin' for a bite of the bayou.


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Chef Deanza Hodge - Dubliner Irish Pub


Now executive chef, Deanza Hodge, brings more than 10 years of experience to Dubliner Irish pub. His passion for culinary excellence combined with his vast knowledge of the industry and global flavors bring a creative and diverse experience to diners at Mizner Park, Boca Raton.

Deanza is a Virgin Island native and started cooking at a young age. Helping out his mother in the kitchen on Sundays. In his early teens, he got his first cooking opportunity at The Green House bar and grill, a famous local cuisine restaurant on St.Thomas.

In 2009 Deanza moved to Miami, Florida. A self-taught Chef, he learned from the ground up, taking kitchen positions in numerous restaurants including the Cheesecake Factory, and the Versace mansion, Miami Beach. Finally, Deanza worked his way up to a lead cook position at The Epic hotel at Area 31 where he was trained and into the chef he is today by Chef Wolfgang Birk. 

Currently, Deanza is the executive chef at the Dubliner Irish Pub at Mizner Park in Boca Raton showing off all his unique flavors and experience. 


chef nancy