The Judging Panel
Meet the 2018 Judging Panel - coming January 2018!
See the 2017 culinary experts tasked with selecting last year's Purple Dish Award winner!
Michael Klein, Restaurant Columnist, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Michael Klein, a restaurant columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com, has covered the dining scene in Philadelphia and its suburbs since 1993, when he took over the “Table Talk” column. He later edited the paper’s “Mystery Muncher” column, leading a merry band of populist “critics” (e.g. his friends) to scour the region for budget eats. Mike is the son of restaurateurs – precisely why he avoided a career in the business. His primary interests lie in the business and people sides of the industry, not the food itself.
Chef Barbie Marshall, Partner of Philadelphia’s SOOP Catering, Finalist on Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen
Chef Barbie Marshall is a Southwest Philadelphia native known as "The Farming Chef," as she often utilizes ingredients she has grown and sourced from the soil to the plate. She started cooking on the stovetop at age 5 and developed a passion early on for cooking as well as teaching others how to cook. Barbie began cooking professionally when offered a job at Ritz Hall Catering at the age of 14. She continued to cooking for her friends while attending high school at West Philadelphia Catholic High School. Soon after, Barbie relocated from Philadelphia to Virginia Beach, Virginia working at The Smokehouse & Cooler, Cuisine & Company, and Cobalt Grille. After graduating from Johnson and Wales University in Norfolk, Virginia, Barbie completed her culinary externship at Todd Jurich’s Bistro where she was hired and began researching and using local sustainable ingredients. Barbie continued her research and work on local sustainable ingredients when she returned to Philadelphia at 1224 Raw Sushi Bar and Sake Lounge, Rx Restaurant, and SOOP Catering. In 2007, Barbie’s research and work on sustainable foods led her to accept a position as a farmer which, when combined with her culinary work, led to her becoming known as "The Farming Chef". Barbie has continued her work as Chef of SOOP Catering and also began traveling to share her experiences through private dinners, culinary demonstrations and cooking classes. Barbie is a regular contributor on the radio show Small Bites with Glenn Gross and Derek Timm of Bluejeanfood.com.
Chef Roberta Pipito, Award winning chef; food, beer and wine connoisseur and blogger
Roberta Pipito is an award winning chef; food, beer and wine connoisseur; TV lifestyle expert, contributor and blogger. Her passion for cooking began with her father (a professional baker) teaching her culinary ways and led her to create her brand in 2011. “Homemade Delish” seemed fitting for this wife and mother of two, who has been called “Philadelphia’s Rachel Ray.” Coming from a long line of family cooks in Brazil and Italy, she enjoys the art and science behind food as well as the taste. She is recognized for her recipes, love for wine, beer and photography, and coverage of major festivals. She wants the world to see that “With creativity and imagination, you can style anything to your taste."
Justin Rosenberg, Founder/CEO, Honeygrow Restaurants
Justin Rosenberg is the Founder and CEO of honeygrow, a wholesome-casual restaurant concept focused on vibrant, healthy and dynamic foods through its stir-fry, salad, and honeybar programs. In 2012, Justin opened and managed the first honeygrow located in Center City, Philadelphia. Since then, Justin and his team have opened 15 stores with locations ranging from the NYC Metro market to Washington DC. In 2016, honeygrow was the recipient of the Nation’s Restaurant News Hot Concept Award. For 2017, the company will be opening 8-10 new locations. While developing honeygrow, Justin spent his weekends working in the kitchen of a fine-dining restaurant within the Washington DC area in an effort to gain a solid foundation to properly run his own restaurant (still then a pipedream!). Lessons learned from the fine-dining kitchen played a significant role in shaping the culture and execution of honeygrow’s fast-casual operations. Justin resides in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife, two daughters and son.
Diana Sabater, Personal Chef, Cooking Instructor, Urban Gardener and Entrepreneur
Diana Sabater is a Personal Chef, Cooking Instructor, Urban Gardener and Entrepreneur. Known as the Cop-turned-Chef, she pursued her dreams of becoming a chef after ten years in the Philadelphia Police Department. Diana appeared on Food Network’s Chopped and won three times, becoming the Ultimate Grand Chopped Champion. Cooked for Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Loren Ridinger. Owner of Diana’s Spice Cantina, LLC, , an artisanal spice store set to open in the Latin Quarters of Philadelphia. Latin American Food Enthusiasts, Event Spokesperson, Brand Ambassador, Recipe Developer.
Chef Rick Tarantino, Professional chef, media personality, QVC Celebrity Chef
Chef Rick Tarantino or “Chef Rick” as he’s known in the media is both a professional chef and media personality. He has a BS degree from UMASS Amherst for the college of Food Science and Nutrition and a Master of Science from the prestigious Johnson & Wales University, where he had a 10-year career as both and executive and professor. From there he began his career on TV after befriending and training the Guinness book of world records youngest chef, Justin Miller, the two appeared on every major talk show and news station across the country from The Food Network to Good Morning America. When is not in the test kitchen or on TV, Rick has strong family centered values and spends all the time he can with family. Together with his wife they have two sons and three daughters and of course spend quality time cooking in the kitchen and sharing his love for food and people...
Niki Hawkins, 6abc Public Affairs Manager
Thank you for your support, Niki!