top of page

2014 Speakers

Ruth Reichl.jpg

Ruth Reichl, Bestselling author, food critic, and judge on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters

Keynote address

Ruth Reichl is one of the most recognizable and beloved culinary voices, guiding people around the kitchen, showing them what to eat, how to make it, and where to satisfy their cravings. The Seattle Times called her “one of the nation’s most influential figures in the food world.” Most recognizable as a writer and editor, Reichl was the Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine for ten years until its closing. Before that she was the restaurant critic of the New York Times from 1993-1999 and both the restaurant critic and food editor of the Los Angeles Times from 1984-1993.

She is the recipient of six James Beard Awards: two for magazine feature writing, two for restaurant criticism, plus one for journalism and one for multimedia food journalism.

Cynthia Emrich.jpg

Cynthia Emrich, PhD, Catalyst


Cynthia Emrich, PhD, joined Catalyst in 2013 to lead the Catalyst Research Center for Career Pathways, which exposes root causes of gender gaps from the classroom to the boardroom, conducts research that sorts myth from fact, identifies the true problems that hold women and other underrepresented groups back from advancement, and provides a solid basis for more effective talent development.

Deborah Hansen.jpg

Deborah Hansen, Taberna de Haro, Chef/Owner


Deborah Hansen is the Chef and Sommelier of Taberna de Haro in Brookline, MA. She formally trained as a sommelier in Madrid, Spain in 1997, and her passion and knowledge of Spanish wine has only grown since. The wine list at Taberna de Haro offers 320 wines, all from Spain, and has received The Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator each year since 2004. In 2012 the list received “Best Catalán Wine Selection.” Considered Boston’s leading authority on Spanish wine, she conducts weekly wine tastings which have become a forum for locals interested in learning more about Spanish wines and cuisine.

Shelley Lindgren.JPG

Shelley Lindgren, A16, SPQR and A16 Rockridge, Wine Director/Owner


Shelley Lindgren has worked in the restaurant business for 26 years and has been a wine educator for more than 15 years. As Co-Owner and Wine Director for the award-winning A16, SPQR and A16 Rockridge, she has become synonymous with San Francisco’s wine scene and is one of the country’s most respected voices on Italian wine.

Marianne Ruggerio.jpg

Marianne Ruggiero, Optima Careers, President


Marianne Ruggiero founded Optima Careers after 25 years as a senior human resources executive in New York City and abroad. Her experience covers a range of industries and types of firms, from small entrepreneurial companies, global corporations and financial services, to professional services and fashion. Well-versed in nurturing promising talent, Marianne has created staffing, development and coaching programs and accelerated the growth of numerous management teams.

Jordan Salcito.jpg

Jordan Salcito, Momofuku, Beverage Director


Jordan Salcito is the Beverage Director for Momofuku, a contributor and former wine columnist for The Daily Beast, and the founder of Bellus Wines. She has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, The World of Fine Wine and Town & Country, among other publications. In 2014, Momofuku Ssäm Bar was recognized as a semi-finalist for “Outstanding Wine Program” by the James Beard Foundation.

Cynthia Tom.jpg

Cynthia Tom, Whole Foods Market, Northeast, Regional Beer, Wine, and Tap Room Buyer


Cynthia Tom is the Regional Wine, Beer, and Tap Room Buyer for Whole Foods Market in the Northeast Region. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, a TEFL Teaching Certificate from the Czech Republic, Sommelier Certification in NYC, and a Culinary Diploma from the Arizona Culinary Institute.

Marika Vida.jpg

Marika Vida, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, Wine Director


For the past decade, Marika Vida has been one of the most in-demand, highly respected wine professionals in the business. Under her new consulting firm Vida et Fils, she currently works as the wine director for the Ritz Carlton Central Park. Her most recent project with the hotel is the critically acclaimed “Women in Wine Program,” which features female winemakers from around the globe, and includes a popular dinner series. Marika also consults for Architectural Digest and was recently the consulting sommelier for the JW Marriott Essex House in New York.

Kristen Wolfe Bieler.jpg

Kristen Wolfe Bieler, The Beverage Media Group, Senior Editor


Kristen Wolfe Bieler is the Senior Editor at The Beverage Media Group, where she has worked for 13 years, reporting on wine, spirits and beverage industry trends. Her articles on wine, spirits, food and nutrition have appeared regularly in print and online publications including Specialty Food Magazine, Runner’s World, Women’s Health, and The Grape Collective. For several years she was the author of a monthly wine column in GQ.

Valentina Argiolas.jpg

Valentina Argiolas

Guided Wine Tasting

Valentina was born in 1977 into a family of wine growers in the countryside of southern Sardinia near Cagliari. From a very early age she was involved in the winery, playing among the wine barrels and the crates of harvested grapes, and has come to witness more than thirty years the history of her family’s business. Valentina, who holds a degree in Business Studies, now handles the winery’s marketing and public relations.

Maria Pica.jpg

Maria Pica, Portugal Ramos Family Estates, Assistant Winemaker & Export Manager

Guided Wine Tasting

Maria Pica began her winemaking career 20 years ago after graduating with a degree in Agro-Industrial Engineering. Her first position was assistant winemaker at João Portugal Ramos. Before long Maria’s role expanded to include management of logistics, marketing and sales. In 2000 her position grew to include international markets. Currently Maria oversees the investment projects related to international markets for all of the J. Portugal Ramos properties. Her strength and expertise is bridging the link between sales and winemaking areas.

Autumn Stoscheck.jpg

Autumn Stoscheck, Eve’s Cidery, Owner


Autumn Stoscheck lives and works on a farm in Van Etten, New York with her husband, children and dog. At the intersection of the Southern Finger Lakes and the Northern Appalachian Plateau, they grow European and American cider apples and ferment them into cider. Autumn started Eve’s Cidery when she was 21 years old with money she saved picking apples during the day and waitressing at night. At the time she thought it might be a way to achieve her dream career—pruning apple trees for a living. Apart from a few early pioneers, at that point in time, the American cider industry was virtually non-existent.

Izabella Zwack.jpg

Isabella Zwack, Dobogó, Owner

Guided Wine Tasting

Izabella Zwack was born in Florence, Italy in 1976 and is the daughter of the late Peter Zwack, the patriarch of the Zwack Unicum Company in Budapest, and Anne Marshall, an English writer and journalist. Izabella’s school years were spent in Florence, Budapest, and the United States before she graduated from the University of Florence with a degree in Languages, Literature and Philosophy. In 1995 Izabella became the owner and winemaker of Dobogó winery in Tokaj and has enjoyed numerous international awards thanks to its fresh and dynamic approach to winemaking. Dedicated to increasing the reputation and world-wide image of the Tokaj wine region, Izabella is a tireless ambassador and active member of the Tokaj Renaissance Marketing Committee – the region’s leading Wine Association.

bottom of page