Wilson Iron Chef 2017:Sunday, March 26, 2017 | 1-5pmWilson High School______________________________________________________________________________________________
2017 Judges Panel
Kenny MaganaResearch & Development Pastry Chef, Sweet Street DessertsKenny Magana majored in mathematics and chemistry before discovering his love for the culinary arts. “It’s not surprising that I found the pastry arts so compelling. The field coincides with my interests and ability in chemistry - the crucial qualities of texture and temperature, the transformations - it’s like science.”
After high school, Magana enrolled in the culinary arts program at Joilet Junior College in Illinois. Upon his completion in 1995, he began his career at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Chicago. Working for the legendary chef, Magana was exposed to all aspects of the kitchen before finding his home, and passion, in the pastry department. Here, Magana mastered the basics of pastry arts, as well as developing a strong, disciplined work ethic. In 1998, he moved to Las Vegas and continued to hone his skills while working at The Mirage, where he worked alongside such notable chefs. In 2000, he became pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Over the next five years, he developed the restaurant’s pastry program, created stunning, seasonal menus and produced exquisite pastries for private parties and banquets. During this time, Magana’s creativity and hard work were recognized with two distinctions. In 2002, he earned the coveted title of “Best of Show – Patisserie” in the Showpiece Competition at the International Hotel & Restaurant show in Las Vegas. In 2003, Postrio won the Las Vegas Life Epicurean Award for “Best Desserts” in Las Vegas.
In 2005, Magana took on the challenge to start a pastry program from the ground level and opened Sensi at Bellagio. As the Executive Pastry Chef, Magana established and executed a dessert program for the new restaurant concept at the resort. In addition, he was responsible for hiring and managing the entire pastry staff, seasonal menu changes and organizing on-site and off-site events. During his time at Sensi, Magana was awarded Star Chef’s “Rising Star Pastry Chef of Las Vegas.” In addition, he fulfilled a dream of competing in the National Pastry Championship in 2005 in Phoenix.
In 2006, Magana was asked to rejoin Wolfgang Puck to open the renowned chef’s first restaurant on the east coast, Wolfgang Puck American Grille. Magana developed a pastry program to fit the two distinct dining rooms in Wolfgang’s namesake restaurant, ranging from a casual and relaxed menu to a more high-end and upscale menu. In 2007, he returned to Las Vegas as Director of Pastry for Wolfgang Puck’s five fine dining restaurants, including Spago, Chinois, Postrio, Trattoria del Lupo and Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill. In this new role, Magana oversaw all of the pastry programs, pastry production and menu creation for all five Las Vegas restaurants, as well as Wolfgang Puck’s concepts located in D.C., Atlantic City and Detroit. Chef Kenny ensured that all concepts stayed true to the Wolfgang Puck philosophy of using only the highest quality, fresh ingredients to produce innovative menus that continually raise the culinary bar.
In 2013, Magana joined the Research & Development team that is headed by the owner and operator Sandy Solmon, at Sweet Street located in Reading, Pennsylvania. Sweet Street is the leading innovator in the dessert industry that provides desserts for over 60 countries. The R&D team at Sweet Street consists of diverse, like-minded, passionate researchers and recipe developers. Here, Chef Kenny is able to apply his years of knowledge, restaurant and hotel experiences with this dynamic team of individuals. The result is something special that everyone should experience by tasting some of these luscious creations at Sweet Street.Mike Kratz
Executive Chef at The Highlands at Wyomissing
Michael A. Kratz has been Executive Chef at The Highlands at Wyomissing for the past nine years. Chef Kratz follows in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps with his passion for creativity in the culinary arts. He comes with a lifetime of culinary experience from various regions in the United States, including the Southwest and the Northwest. For the past eleven years, he has resided and worked in Berks County (at The Antique Airplane Restaurant, Alvernia College and The Highlands at Wyomissing).
Chef Kratz, as a member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), found the closest local chapter - Susquehanna Valley Chefs Association (SVCA) headquartered in York, Pennsylvania - three years ago. Chef Kratz was compelled by both the professional and the personal comradery of the core group. He is actively involved and in this organization and rarely misses a monthly meeting.
As an active member, Chef Kratz has presented educational demonstrations at meetings, as well as volunteering personal time to prepare a church benefit dinner and coordinated and prepared the Annual York Children’s Home Christmas Dinner.
Recently, Chef Kratz received “Chef of the Year” Award for 2010 from the ACF-SVCA chapter at the 2011 Presidents’ Dinner and Prestigious Awards Presentation.
Chef Instructor of the Culinary Classroom
Linda is the chef instructor of The Culinary Classroom. Her Italian heritage and numerous travels to Italy have inspired her interest in creating fabulous food for her family and friends. Linda has studied culinary skills at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, as well as schools in various locations in the Philadelphia area.
She recently retired from a career in education as a teacher and reading specialist. Since teaching is in her blood, as well as a love of great cuisine and entertaining, The Culinary Classroom provides the opportunity to combine these experiences and interests in an enjoyable way for Linda to share with others. Linda lives in the Reading area with her husband, Mike, and their dog, Sadie.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________There will be an opportunity for attendees to bid to be our 4th judge during the LIVE Auction! One of our judges could be YOU!Please click here to visit the Wilson Iron Chef main page.