Raising a Fork

Our Eleventh Annual Platinum Plate Awards Serves Up The Best Restaurants In Coastal Virginia

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The Critics
Dedra Blount is a classically-trained chef and proprietor of Now You're Cooking, a Chesapeake company providing cooking classes, demonstrations and boutique catering.
Marcel Desaulniers is a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef with more than 40 years in the industry, including 30 years as a former owner and executive chef of The Trellis in Williamsburg. The creator of the world-famous Death By Chocolate dessert, Desaulniers has been host to a number of televised cooking shows and penned 10 cookbooks, including his latest, I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas. He is owner of MAD About Chocolate, a chocolate café, in Williamsburg.
Deon Foster is a Le Cordon Bleu London-trained chef and owner of the cooking store, Kitchen Koop, in Olde Towne Portsmouth.
Tammy Jaxtheimer has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, is restaurant critic for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper and is director of the local Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) chapter.
Marisa Marsey, recruiter for Johnson & Wales University nationwide and freelance food writer, frequently contributing to Veer magazine.
David Nicholson writes about restaurants and food for The Daily Press newspaper.
Stella Pomianek is an owner and baker at Café Stella in Norfolk's Ghent, a coffeehouse and café with sweet and savory items.
Patrick Reed is a former Johnson & Wales University culinary instructor and currently teaches culinary arts at Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center.
Ross Riddle is a classically-trained chef with many years of experience in fine dining across the region. Riddle is involved in restaurant development and a soon-to-open food truck, Hashi, specializing in breakfast and lunch honoring Virginia foods and foodways with an Asian twist.
Melissa Stewart is an accomplished home gourmet and editor-in-chief of Coastal Virginia Magazine and Virginia Wine Lover magazine.
Patrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales trained chef, has a degree in culinary arts from Culinary Institute of Virginia and is senior editor for food and wine for Coastal Virginia Magazine and executive editor for Virginia Wine Lover magazine.

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