Celebrity Chefs Announced for 1st New Hampshire Restaurant Week

Ten chefs from around the state have been chosen as Celebrity Chefs for the first ever statewide New Hampshire Restaurant Week by the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association. The eight-day event, slated for May 18-25, features more than 125 restaurants presenting three-course prix fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner.

“We’re excited to have such a talented and diverse group representing New Hampshire and the fine cuisine this state has to offer,” said Mike Somers, president and CEO of the NHLRA. “These chefs are working hard to promote New Hampshire as a culinary destination, and I can’t wait for New Hampshire residents – and visitors from around New England – to be able to experience what these chefs and others will be serving this May.”

The Celebrity Chefs were chosen for their contributions to the culinary community in New Hampshire, according to the NHLRA. They each strive to bring quality food, unique menus and a higher standard to the restaurant offerings in the Granite State.

The 10 Celebrity Chefs representing Restaurant Week NH are:

Celebrity Chef Nicole Barreira

Nicole Barreira joined Great NH Restaurants in 2006. Receiving three degrees from Southern New Hampshire University and hoping to start her doctoral studies soon, she has been the face of T-BONES and Cactus Jack’s for years, known to regulars as “Chef Nicole” and for her pink chef’s jacket. She began working in the industry at 14, and now as executive chef, she plans and develops all seasonal and specialty menus for T-BONES and Cactus Jack’s.

Celebrity Chef Michael Buckley

Michael Buckley and his wife, Sarah, are the founders of Michael Timothy’s Dining Group, featuring MT’s Local Kitchen and Wine Bar in Nashua; Surf in Nashua and Portsmouth; and Buckley’s Great Steaks in Merrimack. Chef Michael is very active in the Nashua community, serving on the board of directors for the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, and he is a member of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association. He works daily as chef-owner of his four restaurants.

Celebrity Chef Stuart Cameron

Stuart Cameron has worked in fine cuisine for more than 20 years, most currently at Hanover Street Chophouse in Manchester. A graduate of Cornell University, he’s worked in restaurants in San Francisco, Napa Valley, Boston, Chicago and Rhode Island. Chef Stuart specializes in combining French techniques with traditional American influences. He previously was executive chef at C.R. Sparks in Bedford.

Celebrity Chef Josh Farrington

Josh Farrington is a native New Englander, having grown up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He began his culinary career at the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vt., and the Black Bear Tavern & Grille in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Chef Josh is an active member of the NH chapter of the American Culinary Federation. He has worked at the White Mountain Hotel & Resort in North Conway since 2008, and was recently promoted to executive chef.

Celebrity Chef Benjamin Knack

Benjamin Knack started his career at a four-star restaurant rated as one of the top 20 in America, and he continues that high standard with his work at the Bedford Village Inn. A graduate of the New York Institute of Technology, he worked in Phoenix and Boston before arriving at the Bedford Village Inn. Reality TV show fans may recognize Chef Benjamin from his time on Season 7 of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay.

Celebrity Chef Jeffrey Paige

Jeffrey Paige is a 25-year veteran of the food service industry, opening Manchester’s Cotton in 2000. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he’s cooked for Julia Child, President George Bush, President Bill Clinton and the European Parliament. In 1991, he began New Hampshire’s first Farm to Restaurant Connection. Chef Jeffrey has authored three cookbooks, most recently in 2009: “Cotton – The Cookbook.”

Celebrity Chef Luca Paris

Luca Paris dreamed of opening a Mediterannean restaurant since he was 14, finally doing so in 2000 with Luca’s Mediterranean Café in Keene. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, he honed his skills in New York before moving to the Granite State. Chef Luca has his own weekly radio show, “What’s Cooking with Luca Paris,” and hosts a cooking show, “A Culinary Journey with Luca Paris,” for Cheshire TV. He has served celebrities such as Paul Newman and Stevie Wonder.

Celebrity Chef Adam Parker

Adam Parker of Indian Head Resort in Lincoln lives by the motto, “Be good to your food, and it will be good to you!” A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he has experience in both entrees and pastries. Chef Adam has won New Hampshire Magazine’s Valentine’s Chocolate Dessert competition, as well as Best Slider at the 2011 Lincoln-Woodstock Oktoberfest. In 2011, he self-published his first cookbook, “Now We’re Cooking.”

Celebrity Chef Bud Selmi

Bud Selmi has worked in the Mount Washington Valley for more than 40 years, currently at the Margarita Grill in Glen. A Certified Chef through the American Culinary Federation, he also works closely with the ACF’s NH Chapter’s Junior Program. In 1999, Chef Bud was named Chef of the Year by the ACF’s White Mountain Chapter. He is also the owner of Sizzlin Sauces, an award-winning line of sauces and marinades.

Celebrity Chef Todd Sweet

Todd Sweet has worked in professional kitchens since he was 12 years old; currently he’s behind the creations at the Portsmouth Brewery. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he has worked in Paris, Vienna and even a five-star cruise ship across the Pacific. He previously taught at the McIntosh Atlantic Culinary Academy, where he taught American regional cuisine.

The 10 Celebrity Chefs will be featured on radio, TV and in print publications throughout the state. Restaurant Week NH media partners are WZID, WMUR and New Hampshire Magazine.

Restaurant Week NH is presented by The NH Liquor and Wine Outlet and Great New Hampshire Restaurants. Supporting sponsors are Coca-Cola and Horizon Beverage. Contributing sponsors are American Express, Stella Artois, Sysco, Laconia Savings Bank, General Linen and PSNH. The kickoff event sponsor is the Common Man. Restaurant Week NH is also funded in part by NH Division of Travel and Tourism.

Any restaurant or lodging facility may participate in this event by visiting http://www.RestaurantWeekNH.com, or by calling the NHLRA at 603.228.9585. The NHLRA is at 341 Loudon Road, Unit 3, Concord, NH 03302.

For updates on Restaurant Week via social media, follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RestaurantsNH or like the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/RestaurantWeekNH.

For more information about the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, visit NHLRA.com. For further information about New Hampshire, visit www.VisitNH.gov.