Formerly Featured Chefs
Chef Jason Smith serves perfectly charred meats along with bountiful selections of fresh local fish at Stephen Starr’s Steak 954. Chef Jason prefers Firstlight™ grass-fed Wagyu because it has “good flavor and marbling, with a tender texture.” He broils marble score 6 grass-fed Wagyu ribeyes at 1700 degrees to achieve a perfect crust on each juicy steak.
Born and raised on an organic farm outside of Indianapolis, Chef Jason was destined to work with food. His mother grew and sold edible flowers to restaurants in the city and his family always had plenty of fresh eggs, vegetables, and fruit at meals. With such exceptional exposure to the earth and to farming, Smith’s desire to cook increased throughout childhood. Like many chefs, his basic cooking skills were learned from his mother. Beginning with french toast and working his way to homemade barbecue sauces and grilled steaks, Smith continued to challenge himself as a young cook while balancing school and a number of farm responsibilities.
After gathering significant restaurant experience in high school, Smith moved to Miami to pursue an A.O.S. in Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University. Shortly after graduation, Smith dove headfirst into the Miami culinary scene, first at Nemo under Executive Chef Michael Schwartz. He quickly became fluent in the signature dishes and flavors of Florida, mastering everything from crispy prawns to wok-charred salmon.
Smith continued his work in Miami at a number of popular restaurants including WISH with E. Michael Reidt, Pearl in South Beach and The Biltmore Hotel with Geoffrey Cousineau. Most recently Smith worked as Chef de Cuisine alongside Chef Govind Armstrong at Table 8 in the De Soleil Hotel. www.Steak954.com
Nick McCoy, Executive Chef at Koi New York City, artfully marries flavors and techniques by combining his French training with his passion for unexpected twists, clean flavors, and playfulness to create a culinary experience that is both inviting and sophisticated.
Born in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Nick began cooking at a young age by watching and helping his grandmother in the family kitchen each night. His grandmother ingrained a strong passion for ingredients and a high respect for all cuisine that is reflected in his cooking today.
He instinctively felt drawn to the kitchen and his enthusiasm for food inspired him to attend a formal culinary school. After graduating from the renowned French Culinary Institute in 2003, Chef McCoy learned the ins and outs of the kitchen through his work at numerous famed restaurants across New York City, including One if by Land Two if by Sea, Battery Gardens, and Metropolitan Museum of Art Trustees Dining Room. Each endeavor granted him opportunities to sharpen his talents and expand his knowledge of worldly ingredients and techniques.
McCoy became one of New York’s youngest Executive Chefs at age 26, when he joined Koi Restaurant Group in the summer of 2008. While Nick is trained in classical French techniques, his passion for unique and fresh ingredients in his cuisine continues to keep Koi named as one of New York City’s favorite Japanese Fusion restaurants.
McCoy is enthusiastic about Firstlight grass-fed Wagyu “because it provides the benefits of eco-friendly natural grass-fed beef with the tenderness, marbling, and flavor expected in high end Wagyu.” http://www.koirestaurant.com/home_ny.html
Chef Scott Tompkins of Arizona’s celebrated SKYE restaurant is a true Arizona native. Formerly Executive Chef at the renowned Marco Polo Supper Club, in 2005 Chef Scott joined Terry and Anne Davis in opening SKYE, quickly earning accolades including being voted one of the Top 10 New Restaurants in 2006, Best Romantic Dinner, and Top 10 in Steak—all in the first 6 months after opening! Inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame in 1998, Chef Scott is an active philanthropist, supporting local charities such as the American Heart Institute, CASA, Liver Foundation, Child Help, and Release the Fear.
Chef Scott uses Pilot’s Firstlight™ grass-fed Wagyu Coulot in a delicious bone marrow reduction with wild mushroom bread pudding, caramel carrots and sugar snaps. He’s impressed with the beef. “Firstlight Wagyu is extremely consistent in marbling, flavor profile and texture. Before using it I was skeptical about grass-fed, but this shows the Wagyu breed produces great beef, at a price point that allows your customers to enjoy it.” www.skye-restaurant.com
Chef John Schupbach takes a new twist on contemporary Mediterranean-American fare at Casablanca Café, a hot spot on Fort Lauderdale Beach and voted Fort Lauderdale’s “most romantic restaurant.” An honors graduate from the Colorado Institute of Culinary Arts, Chef John has a résumé that spans the continent and Hawaiian Islands. He loves the Pilot frenched rack of lamb. “I’ve been serving Pilot Lamb Racks for years and it is an excellent product that our guests deserve. It is always consistent, aged to perfection, and leaves our guests—as well as me—salivating for more.” Chef John’s recipe for Coriander-Dijon Crusted Rack of Lamb dusts the lamb with ground coriander seed, coats it with a generous layer of Dijon mustard, then with Panko breadcrumbs before sautéing in clarified butter and finishing in the oven. casablancacafeonline.com
Russell Salvatore of Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More at Salvatore’s Grand Hotel in Lancaster, NY gives Pilot Brands such a high rating that he lists it by brand name on his menu. “My name is synonymous with serving the best,” says Salvatore. “Once I had seen and tasted a perfect Pilot rack of lamb, I knew it was an ideal match for my restaurant. I’m proud to serve Pilot Brands products—and happy to identify the brand on my menu. Offering these fine products is a guarantee that my customers will enjoy a wonderful rack of lamb each and every time they order it.” salvatoresgrand.com
Chef Tim Libassi at The Blue Lion Restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming has built a well-earned reputation for his unforgettable Rack of Lamb—the restaurant’s top-selling dish. After trying many different suppliers through the years, Pilot Brands has become his consistent choice for superior quality, tenderness, sizing and trim. “Pilot racks account for nearly 30% of our dinners at this point. Many of our patrons don’t even give the menu a glance anymore—they know exactly what they’re coming in for.” Chef Tim prepares Pilot Brands lamb racks simply, coating them with Dijon, then in herbed breadcrumbs before roasting. His signature peppercorn rosemary cream sauce and jalapeno mint sauce make this dish a standing favorite. www.bluelionrestaurant.com