Local Chefs

Through the generosity and dedication of our local Chefs and Restaurants, the American Liver Foundation is able to bring you this incredible event.

Explore the restaurants featured at the event and learn more about your chefs for the evening:

Chef & Owner Rob Picardi

Growing up in an Italian family, Chef Rob has always had a passion for authentic Italian cuisine. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, he worked his way up in Boston’s bustling restaurant scene, starting out as a line cook at Marco and Pignalle in Boston, working as a junior sous chef at Lineage, experiencing the high-intensity and upscale environment at Summer House on the island of Nantucket, and worked as head chef for 8 years at Prezza, one of Boston’s premier dining destinations located in the North End of Boston.

During his time at Prezza, Chef Rob spent several months in Italy in an immersive work-training program, cooking in three different restaurants, where he learned the Italian way of cooking- using fresh ingredients, discovering local recipes, and incorporating cooking methods used by the great chefs of Italy. This further fueled his passion for creating authentic Italian cuisine by incorporating local ingredients when he returned to Boston.

As head chef of Cappella, Chef Rob is now able to combine what he learned in Italy with his extensive experience in the states to produce authentic Italian cuisine and offer his guests and an unforgettable culinary experience.

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Chef Jessica Brown

As the head chef for Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co., Jessica Brown channels international street food flair into one-of-a-kind dishes. After graduating with a Bachelor of Professional Studies focused in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute she relocated to Boston where she was the Chef de Cuisine at Caffe Umbra, Executive Sous Chef at Rocca Kitchen & Bar and Sous Chef at Bina Osteria. Outside of the savory side Jessica owned and operated Treats on Washington featuring pastries, breads and biscuits which were awarded The Improper Bostonian’s “Best Biscuits 2014.” She looks forward to serving cross-cultured street food inspired dishes alongside our freshly brewed craft beer.

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Chef Felipe Castro

Corner Pub Boston is a not-so-hidden gem in the Leather District, established in 2008 by Pam and Matt Chin. Shortly after, Felipe Castro not only joined the team but became part of the family. Working together, Pam and Felipe became the heart and soul of The Pub. That’s how they discovered that people were not coming to The Pub just for the fun and the good drinks, but they were also big fans of Felipe’s creative passion for food.

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Executive Chef Anthony Figueroa

I always had a passion for food since I was little. I started working in the industry when I was 16 yrs old in Brandon, FL as a busboy/dishwasher and started serving at 18.  It was at that point I fell in love with the kitchen aspect of the business.

I moved to Orlando, FL to attend Le Cordon Bleu in 2003.  While attending school I worked at Samba Room and Timpano under Executive Chef Michael Rodriguez. After graduating in 2005 the restaurant business had taken me to Chicago, Alabama, Tampa, Orlando and Boston.

I reached Executive Chef at age 29 at a restaurant called Tavolino in Westboro, MA.  I then stepped down to join Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group as a Sous Chef for better opportunities and growth. In 2016, I got my chance to uphold the title again of Executive Chef for Del Frisco’s in Boston.

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Executive Head Sushi Chef Ming Cao

In 2000, two years after entrepreneurs Jimmy Liang and Peter Tse opened Quincy’s first Japanese restaurant, Fuji Restaurant, sixteen-year-old Ming Cao started at the company washing dishes. Going above and beyond his duties, Ming could be found offering his help wherever needed. His modesty and hard work started paying off when only six months into working, his close observation of the sushi chefs and their skills piqued his interest, and he was offered an opportunity to become a chef himself. After displaying his potential, his natural skill was honed under the apprenticeship of owner/chef, Jimmy. Ming quickly learned and mastered the basics, and at 21, became head chef at Fuji 1546.

Ming has since become a staple figure in all JP Fuji Group’s on-site catering, competitive, and philanthropic events, e.g. the Taste of South Shore. He has also been featured in numerous publications and has trained over 25 chefs in the past 15 years. 2014 marked the beginning of Chef Ming’s culinary accolades as he placed bronze in an American Culinary Federation endorsed competition in North Carolina 2 years in a row. In 2015 alone, Chef Ming won first place in Kendall Square’s BYTEs competition, Assembly Row’s Chowdah Pot, QCAP’s Best Chef Competition going against Chef Paul Wahlberg, and Taste of South Shore’s People’s Choice. Over the years, Ming has developed a fusion Japanese style of cooking that bleeds through his innovative menu items. He has continued to reinvent himself as a chef, and hopes to one day become the next Iron Chef.

Founder, CEO and Chef Jimmy Liang

Jimmy Liang is the Founder/CEO/Chef of JP Fuji Group. SmartCEO has awarded the serial entrepreneur Boston’s Future 50; South Shore Living has named him one of the 10 Most Influential People You Should Know alongside actor Steve Carell; The Patriot Ledger has deemed him one of the 40 Stars Under 40; Converse has featured him in its Global Exhibition campaign published in the Boston Business Journal.

As a graduate of North Quincy High School and an English major in college, Jimmy Liang discovered his passion for the culinary arts at a young age. After becoming head sushi chef at a local Chinatown restaurant, Jimmy, along with best friend and partner Peter Tse, opened Fuji Restaurant. Although only 19 at the time, Jimmy’s enthusiasm and love of the business helped quickly lead his restaurant to success.

Only a short time later, in 2004, Jimmy and Peter more than quadrupled the size of their restaurant and relocated to Fuji 1546. Amidst opening five restaurants between 2007 and 2011, and three in the span of eight months this past year, Jimmy also started and continues to run the Fuji Design and Construction Company.

In 2001 and 2003, Jimmy entered into politics when running for City Counselor at Large, the only two out of three times an Asian name had appeared on the ballot, and for Ward 6 City Council in 2007. During his first campaign at only age 23, Jimmy raised Asian voter turnout by 223 percent.

He has also gone on to serve on the Board of Directors for the South Shore YMCA and works with Father Bill on his annual Food Fest, which raises money to benefit organizations that help the homeless. This collaboration earned Jimmy the honor to serve as Chairman for Taste of South Shore in 2016. In his efforts to provide and give back to the community, Jimmy continues to work with the Asia Outreach August Moon Festival to raise money for Quincy Hospital’s Asian Services Fund and is also an event co-chair and donor for the Quincy Asian Resources Lunar New Year Festivals. He is also a founding member of the Boston chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. Jimmy believes that giving back to one’s community has brought him where he is today.

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Chef Julius Parjarillaga

Chef Julius Parjarillaga is a Filipino chef based in Ipswich, MA. He is the owner of Jules’ Kitchen, an American eatery located at 330 High St., Ipswich MA.

He moved to the US after completing his culinary training in Australia. Prior to opening his own store, he worked in several restaurants in the North Shore area.

In 2016, he established Jules’ Kitchen. It is very famous for its fresh and delicious wraps, deli sandwiches and specialty dinners.

This year, it was recognized as the Best of Ipswich 2019, Restaurant Category. Other recognitions include: Ipswich General Store and Deli Awards, 2nd and 3rd Place Chowder Fest, Judges’ Choice Chowder Fest, Best Deli in Ipswich and People’s Choice for Sandwich Place.

Chef Julius is very passionate about his craft. He also does pop-ups, catering, and private functions. But no matter how big or intimate the event is, he always aims to offer excellent customer service and make everyone smile and satisfied with his unique, innovative and healthy eats. This is what he wants to offer at the Cuisine for a Cause Boston.


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Chef and Owner Youji Iwakura

With familial roots in both fishing and farming, Youji Iwakura deems his culinary journey an “ancestral assignment.” He dreamed of becoming a restaurateur, as a child inspired during an occasional meal out with family in his hometown of Kamakura, Japan. A chef, clad in his signature, white attire, stepped out of the restaurant’s kitchen to personally acknowledge Youji with hospitality. Moved by this experience, Youji solidified his vision to work in the restaurant industry.

At 24, Youji moved to Boston from Japan, attending and graduating from the Berklee College of Music. Entering a tough economy, he became a sushi chef at authentic Japanese restaurants, including Ginza in Brookline, Massachusetts, yielding eight years of sushi training. Youji then transitioned to the front of house, moving one step closer to his ideal restaurateur role. He worked as a bartender at Troquet and as front manager/beverage director of several Boston restaurants, ultimately returning to the kitchen at Ken Oringer’s renowned UNI, which was recognized within a year by Boston magazine for ‘Best Seafood 2005.’

To further hone his skills, Youji traveled back to Japan for two years, working at an upscale Japanese brasserie. He returned to Boston with increased culinary knowledge, passion and desire, becoming Chef de Cuisine at UNI. Under Youji’s leadership, the tiny sashimi bar gained recognition for the most innovative and best-quality Japanese cuisine in the city.

In 2010, Youji opened Basho Japanese Brasserie as Executive Chef, creating an original American-Japanese menu featuring traditional kaiseki. He took on the role of Sake Sommelier at Yakitori Zai in 2013, later to open Snappy Ramen in Davis Square, Somerville, focusing on authentic and healthier takes on Japanese cuisine.

Youji is now opening his first restaurant in downtown Boston. Kamakura – named for and inspired by his hometown – will serve nouvelle washoku (authentic Japanese cuisine) and modern-day kaiseki (seasonal, multi-course meals) in a warm, cozy atmosphere. The menu will also specialize in Youji’s well-seasoned edo-mae-style sushi and an extensive beverage program, featuring warm sake, local sake on tap, as well as Japan indigenous “Koshu” grape wine.

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Executive Sous Chef Chris Verrill

Executive Sous Chef Chris Verrill was born and raised in Bangor Maine. His earliest memories are cooking with his mom straight from the garden. Peeling corn, peas and beans. From strawberry rhubarb pie, to Boston eclairs and whoopie pies.

Executive sous Chef Chris’s father was diagnosed with cancer, after several trips to Boston for better medical help. His mom decided to move to Malden, MA when he was 10 years old after his father passed away from cancer.

Chef Chris started cooking at McDonald’s by his house in Malden to only want more and started venturing his way to Boston with more opportunities to learn and grow. He started cooking as a teen at a temp agency at 530 a.m. going all over Boston to fine dining establishments and business parks learning knife skills and techniques everywhere, he went.

Later on, Executive Sous Chef Chris opened the Odyssey cruise ship, worked at the Top of the Hub and Legal Seafoods.

Chef Chris joined the U.S Army 101st Airborne the day of 9/11 attack, and did 3 years, 2 in Iraq while earning medals and awards! His Army Accommodation award is for the Battle in Mosul Iraq with Uday and Qusay Hussein (Saddam sons)

After coming home, he went right back to the kitchen at Legal Seafoods before moving to open the new Palm Boston restaurant as a sauté cook. Within 1 year he moved up and was promoted to Sous Chef, And then Executive Sous Chef. With no official culinary training he moved his way up by hands on learning across Boston.

Executive Sous Chef Chris says some people eat just to live! Where he lives to eat, He loves food and the possibilities of creations are endless. Chef Chris has a love for flavors and texture. He loves the Palm restaurant because of the family atmosphere with high intentions of great food with the room to grow and to be able to amaze people every day Is why loves to go to work every day.

Around here at the Palm Boston we call Chef Chris (Superman!) For his energy speed and passion and willing to do anything at any time!!!

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Exclusive Decadent Desserts from…

Seasons 52 is on a mission to provide a better way to eat that starts with food that is full-flavored and satisfies your cravings.

By sourcing ingredients at their peak of freshness, our chefs are able to transform them into memorable dishes all year round.  We think you’ll taste the difference once you’re here.  When we say better, we mean it!

At Seasons 52 a better way to eat means providing a welcoming atmosphere.  You will leave our restaurant feeling better that you did when you walked in.  This kind of experience should not be saved for only special occasions-it should be something you have all the time.  We showcase over 100 bottles of wine, 52 of which are available by the glass so you can discover a new favorite every week of the year.

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Executive Chef Jason Cheek

Owner and Executive Chef Jason Cheek’s passion for Southern food began at a young age. Coming from generations of deep-rooted North Carolinian tobacco farmers, he spent most of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm, where dinner was picked from the fields, and whole hogs slow cooked over coals.

In 2007, Jason moved to Boston, landing in the kitchen with renowned chefs and restaurateurs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette at KO Prime. Under their leadership, he learned the art of charcuterie and whole animal butchery, and worked at Boston’s award-winning restaurants, Toro and Coppa. Jason went on to lead operations at both Sam’s and The Maiden, and eventually reunited with Ken and Jamie for the highly acclaimed Little Donkey in Cambridge. He’s drawn from his North Carolina roots to create Southern Proper — a traditional southern experience.

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Chef Jason Viteri

Originally from Newport, Rhode Island, Chef Jason started his culinary journey in the summer of 1996 as a dishwasher.

Learning and dedication comes easy when you love what you do, and it has blessed him with a fulfilling career in the culinary world.

Now, with a specialization in traditional Latin cuisines, he is honored to share his experience with the award-winning team at Two Chefs Catering.

Two Chefs Are Better Than One Catering can create an ideal menu for any wedding or celebration, whether it’s a quaint family gathering or an extravagant gala with hundreds of guests.

Let Two Chefs worry about the details while you enjoy your special day. Work with their event coordinators to customize a list of options that meets all your needs for an occasion your guests won’t soon forget.

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Chef Damian Zedower

Chef Damian Zedower,  Executive Chef at The University of Massachusetts Club, comes with a vast resume and experience. He is a Five Star – Five Diamond hotel veteran and distinguished Platinum Club of America member. Chef Zedower is elated to be part of the team at the UMass Club! Chef Zedower began his culinary career working in several of New York City’s hottest restaurants and after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Chef Zedower set his sights on Boston.

In Boston, Chef Zedower worked for Chef/Owner, Frank McClelland at L’Espalier and following his trend for working with great chefs and luxury establishments, he went on to work at the Boston Harbor Hotel with Executive Chef, Daniel Bruce. After further honing his culinary skills, Chef Zedower moved west to San Diego and worked for the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club with Celebrity Chef, Bernard Gillas. As a smart man always does, Chef Zedower followed his wife’s advice and joined the Four Seasons family as opening Chef of the Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, subsequently opening the Four Seasons Jackson Hole and then moving on to the Four Seasons Palm Beach.

Chef Zedower had a desire to be back in Boston and sticking with his trend of working with the best in the business, he had the honor of opening the Mandarin Oriental Boston as the Executive Sous Chef, working under Michelin Star Chef Nicolas Boutin. Soon after, Chef Zedower was asked to lead the Mandarin Oriental Boston culinary team after Chef Nicolas departed. Chef Zedower and his team worked hard and within a small amount of time achieved the Forbes Four Star Restaurant rating at Asana, making the Hotel the place to book any/all catering events. Chef Zedower’s other executive chef positions include the Amangani Resort Jackson Hole, the Beacon Grille in Woburn, MA, both Downtown & Back Bay Harvard Club Boston locations, and he runs his own personal culinary business throughout New England.

Having grown up in an Italian family, food is a very important part of Chef Zedower’s life. His fondest memories of his childhood were cooking the Sunday family feasts with his Grandmother and Aunt. Chef Zedower, now loves cooking for his own family led by his supportive wife Tarrah and his two hard working Sous Chef’s Callie, age 10 and Caden, age 7.

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