Hugh Balthrop

Sweet Magnolia Gelato
Clarksdale, MS

Hugh Balthrop is the founder and creative director of Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co. Hailing from Washington DC, where he owned and operated an art gallery, Hugh followed the love of his life to the Mississippi Delta in 2000.

He started making ice cream at home for friends and family and soon this labor of love progressed, spanning across the south. Hugh attended a course in ice cream making at Penn State University, studied under a gelato master, and researched and read every ice cream/gelato book that he could get his hands on. He uses traditional Italian techniques, flavor profiles and equipment and loves putting a Southern twist on many of his gelato and sorbet flavors. Sweet Magnolia Gelato can be found in more than 100 locations from Nashville, TN to Duluth, GA.


Michael Smith

Michael Smith | Extra Virgin
Kansas City, MO

Born in South Dakota, Chef Michael Smith developed a passion for cooking at an early age and honed his skills in Nice, France and Chicago’s Charlie Trotter’s, among others, before assuming the helm of Kansas City’s revered The American Restaurant
as Executive Chef and Corporate Chef in 1994. As one of Kansas City’s James Beard Award-winning chefs and proprietor of two popular Kansas City Crossroads Arts District restaurants, which opened in 2007 at 1900 Main Street, Chef Smith is regarded for his innovation, use of artisanal products, attention to detail and inspiration gained from world travel.

Drawing on a wealth of experience, Chef Smith showcases high quality, meticulously sourced ingredients, much of it from local producers and purveyors, in the cuisine served at Michael Smith Restaurant and Extra Virgin. A culinary philanthropist, he generously gives back to the city that enthusiastically
supports locally owned restaurants.

Cullen Kent

Café Society
Memphis, TN

Cullen Kent was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas.  He received a B.A. in political science from Rhodes College in Memphis. 

Following college Cullen worked at the Mobile four-star restaurant, Brennan’s of Houston.  He then moved to France and attended the famous Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  Cullen graduated with the Grande Diplome de Cuisine et de Patisserie with top honors.

Cullen worked at Restaurant Apicius (Michelin two-star) under chef Jean-Pierre Vigato.  Returning to Memphis, Cullen worked under French Master Chef José Gutierrez at Chez Philippe (Mobile four-star) in the Peabody Hotel. 

Cullen left Chez Philippe to take over as Chef de Cuisine at La Tourelle, Memphis’ oldest fine dining restaurant, which received 3+ star ratings from the Commercial Appeal and Memphis Magazine.  As chef, and in 2007 as owner, at Café Society his French Country-style cooking has been featured in Memphis Magazine, USA Today and various other local media.


Spencer McMillin

Culinary Consultant
Sysco Memphis

Chef Spencer McMillin began his culinary career in 1983 as a dishwasher in a family-owned Italian restaurant in Franklin, Massachusetts to finance a middle-school exchange program trip to Meaux, France. In 1994, after dropping out of college, Spencer chased his dream of becoming a chef by working as a garde manger cook at Chez Philippe at The Peabody Memphis for French Master Chef José Gutierrez. From there, he went on to run many local Memphis kitchens as chef including: Café Samovar, River Terrace, E.J.’s Brasserie, and The Crescent Club. In 2006 Spencer moved into culinary education, first at Viking Cooking School and then at L’Ecole Culinaire. He is a personal chef for Mike Conley Jr., veteran point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies Basketball team and a culinary consultant for Sysco Memphis. 

A trendy Brooklyn establishment gets a signature look.


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Guy Savoy

Paris Flagship Restaurant:
Restaurant Guy Savoy

Parisian Restaurants: Les Bouquinistes, Atelier Maitre Albert, La Butte Chaillot, Le Chiberta

2nd Flagship Restaurant: Restaurant Guy Savoy, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, USA


Guy Savoy was born into a world where food and its evolution into cuisine mattered.  Growing up in Bourgoin-Jallieu, near the gastronomic epicenter of Lyon, France, he was surrounded by a culinary culture where seasonal food products were a part of everyday life and great food was the norm, not the exception.

“When I was a child, I immersed myself in gourmand sensations, and I have built my life as a chef upon them,” writes Guy Savoy in his second cookbook, Guy Savoy: Simple French Recipes for the Home Cook (Steward, Tabori & Chang, New York).

This attention to the “perfect” product and the terroir (land) from which it comes is the backbone of Guy Savoy’s cooking.  He takes flawless, seasonal items and enhances and embellishes with unparalleled technique and artistry.  The result: it is as if the food comes alive on the plate.

Guy Savoy’s professional journey started with the best and moved up from there. His auspicious beginning as an apprentice with the legendary Troisgros brothers set the tone for his culinary path.  He then went on to hone his skills and rise to prominence working his way through Michelin-starred restaurants including Lasserre, in Paris; The Golden Lion, near Geneva; The Oasis, on the French Riviera and in 1977 as head chef at Barriere de Clichy, in Paris.  In 1980, he opened his own restaurant, RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY, on the Rue Duret in Paris where he won his first Michelin star only one year later.

In 1987, Guy Savoy moved his restaurant to its current location, just a few steps from the Arc de Triomphe, where he quickly established himself and his restaurant as two of the world’s most valued culinary treasures.  At RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY, the dining experience is a perfectly orchestrated symphony of impeccable service, exquisite ambiance, remarkable wine cellar and incomparable cuisine.  Its coveted three Michelin stars are widely recognized as the pinnacle in culinary achievement. 

Dining at RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY in Paris has been described “a sublime experience” by International Herald Tribune restaurant critic Patricia Wells (October 6, 2000); the Herald Tribune ranked the restaurant No. 6 among the Top Tables in the world (January 17, 1994).  In addition to peak ratings in the Gault Millau, Bottin Gourmand, Pudlowski and Lebey guide books, the restaurant also has been ranked among the Top 7 in the world by The London Evening Standard, the London Independent and Le Figaro newspapers.  In addition to extensive media coverage in France and England, culinary kudos and feature stories about Guy Savoy have run in Spain, Portugal, Holland, Japan, the United States and other international outlets.

In 1997, Guy Savoy himself was honored with an entry into the prestigious Larousse Encyclopedia and in 2000, received the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor.  In 2002, the same year that he received his third Michelin star, his French colleagues paid their highest tribute to Guy Savoy by naming him Chef of the Year.

Guy Savoy has four other Parisian restaurants: Les Bouquinistes, Atelier Maitre Albert, La Butte Chaillot and Le Chiberta, which earned its first Michelin star after only six months of operation.

The May 2006 launch of RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, was one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant openings in the United States.  This intimate fine-dining venue is located on the second floor of the resort’s luxury Augustus Tower, part of the Forbes 4-star Laurel Collected, and seats approximately 75 guests.  Guy Savoy and Caesars Palace hired Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the highly celebrated architect and designer responsible for the re-design of his Paris location, in order to perfectly recreate the elegant and sophisticated design elements of the original RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY.  Guy Savoy hand-selected their opening team at Caesars Palace, which includes long-time co-workers with exceptional international experience.

Guy Savoy brings a life-long passion for food and fine dining to his RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

In 2015, Guy Savoy launched his second restaurant at Monnaie de Paris, the old Paris mint.