Join Us
3rd Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner
Hosted by The Cassar Family and
Ventura County's Top Chefs

The Yummie Top Chef Dinner will take place on Friday, June 3rd at the beautiful California State University Channel Islands. A seven-course feast will be prepared by previous Yummie culinary competition winners, and their food will be paired with award-winning wines plus our “Best in Fest” brew from 2016.

An unforgettable way to kick-off the annual Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival, dinner guests will have a behind-the-scenes look in the VIP tent before the festival begins. Tickets are $200 per person, purchase your tickets early, as the number of seats are limited. Join us for one of the yummiest dinners you will ever have!

Friday, June 3rd, 2016 ~ 6:30 pm

Roz Warner, M.D & Michael Hogan, M.D

Entertainment by : Danny D
Dinner Ticket $200

(Limited Seating: only 8 tickets left!)

For more information please call (805) 366-4021.
All proceeds benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families


Yummie Top Chef Winners:

Chef Nic Manocchio
(2012 - 2nd Savory, 2011 - 2nd Savory, 2009 - 2nd Savory)
University Glen Corp. at CSU Channel Islands
Alison Davis
(2014 – 2nd Sweet)
The Sugar Lab
Missy Drayton-Benado
(2012- 2nd Sweet, 2011 – 1st Sweet)
Missy's Cupcake Creations
Chef John Paolone
(2015 – 1st Savory)
Cafe Firenze
Chef Ernie Borjas
(2014 – 3rd Sweet, 2013 - 3rd Sweet)
The Waterfront Catering Co.
Chef Gabe Garcia
(2014 – 1st Savory, 2013 1st – Savory)
Tierra Sur Restaurant
Chef Robin Higa
(2014 – 3rd Savory, 2013 - 3rd Savory)
The Market Broiler
Barry Davis
(2013 - 1st Sweet)
Biography: Nic Manocchio

Nic Manocchio’s major accomplishments include his first Sous Chef position, working under Executive Chef Karl Host, where Manocchio assisted in opening, Eric’s restaurant in Newbury Park. In 2005, he finished as a semi-finalist in the “The Next Food Network Star,” a cooking competition on the Food Network channel.

Before joining University Glen at CSU Channel Islands as Chef de Cuisine, he was at The Tower Club as Executive Chef for two and a half years. For the five previous years, Manocchio opened and served as Executive Chef at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel and award winning C-Street restaurant. With more than 23 years of experience in the culinary industry, Manocchio contributes his success to the many great chef’s who served as teachers and mentors, lending support and guidance to his cooking aspirations. He says, “Food is like a language and each culture has its own translation.”

Manocchio specializes in fresh, local grown food, by partnering with local farms, orchards and ranches for a “farm to table” dining experience.
Biography: Jason Collis

Jason Collis is the owner of Plated Events Inc. and pass owner of Jonathan’s Inc. Collis’ major accomplishments include being featured as a top dining destination by Zagat Guide 2008-2011 and winning acclaimed Cioppino contest held at Brander Vineyards in Santa Barbara, launching a catering venture with Limoneira’s agritourism special event division, awarded NACE's President's Award for 201 and earning best martini bar honor the five years in a for his former J’s Tapas bar. His former Mediterranean influenced restaurant, Jonathan’s at Peirano’s, was listed as a top destination spot in state and national magazines such as Gourmet, Westways & Sunset Magazine.

Collis apprenticed under world-renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck prior to taking ownership of Jonathan’s. He worked at Spago and assisted Puck with special events, cooking more than 1,200 fine dining plates for the famous Governor’s Ball following the Academy Awards, as well as catering large charity events and high-profile weddings.

In addition to his work in the food and beverage industry, Collis served as the Chair of the Downtown Ventura Organization (DVO). He also currently serves on the Ventura County and Santa Barbara County National Association of Catering and Events board, VC Unified School District Culinary Arts ROP advisory board. Collis also serves on the Holy Cross Consultative School Board and The VC Workforce Investment Board. Collis donates his time for quarterly charity events, including the Special Olympics, Casa Pacifica, FoodShare, Cal State Channel Islands University, Community Memorial Hospital, AG Education, Charity Bocce Ball Festival for Ventura County Sheriff Foundation, Easter Seals and a Hurricane Katrina Benefit where he and other Ventura area chefs raised more than $20,000.

Collis earned his culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, Calif., one of only 12 facilities world-wide. He currently resides in North Oxnard, Calif.
Biography: Alison Davis

Ali is the creative half of The Sugar Lab. With no formal pastry training, she has turned her passion for sweets into a thriving business. She enjoys experimenting with new flavors and new desserts.
Biography: Rachel Main Holst

Raised in South Louisiana, Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Nicholls State University while working for world-renowned chef John Besh & Cajun cuisine guru John Folse. While spending summers in Sonoma & Napa, Rachel worked under Chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry.

Rachel’s vision is straightforward: combine excellent personalized service, quality ingredients sourced from our local ranchers & farmers with the knowledge of highly trained chefs to produce a culinary company that far exceeds customer’s quality expectations.

Catering Clients work directly with Rachel in planning their events. Her strengths are an uncanny culinary creativity & an ability to take even the vaguest of event ideas & turn them into event reality.
Biography: Ernie Borjas

Ernie Borjas has been the Executive Chef for almost three years at The Yacht Club at Channel Islands Harbor(TYC), a private yacht and social club located off Wooley Ave. near the Whitesails Complex. His first Yummy Competition last year awarded him the 3rd Place honor in the Savory Category. He is back again this year to compete in both the Savory and Sweet Competition. Chef Ernie is a Graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena and his culinary experience includes working with Chef Tim Kilcoyne of The Side Car and also the Ventura Beach Marriott. He is a native of Oxnard, Ca where he lives with his wife and three children. When not in the kitchen at TYC you can find him coaching his two son’s baseball team to victory and/or working at the port as a Longshoreman a few days a week. Members at TYC come in every weekend to enjoy his culinary creations – especially his fresh fish dishes!
Biography: Gabe Garcia

Since graduating from the Los Angeles Art Institute, Santa Monica in 2001, Gabe Garcia has shared his skill and passion with some of the top companies in the hospitality and Foodservice industries. A Southern California native, Gabe has infused a deep respect for local agriculture with his artistry and modern interpretations of American classic cuisine.

For the past six years, Chef Gabe has served Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars under the mentorship of recognized Chef Todd Aarons. Now as head chef, Gabe seeks to continue Chef Todd’s foundation of Mediterranean / New American flavors, using only ingredients sourced fresh from local farmers. In addition to award winning and nationally acknowledged fare, Chef Gabe also effectively manages a staff of cooks and pantry personnel during large public and private events in Los Angeles – putting a 5-star quality touch to every dish that leaves his kitchen. Prior to joining Tierra Sur, Chef Gabe served as a corporate chef in Southern California under Sodexo, Inc.

“For me, cooking is an expression of the relationship that I have with the growers, with my team and my kitchen and with the people who enjoy our food. I want to honor all of the hard work that it takes to grow and produce these ingredients; I want to reflect that care and dedication in the effort that my team and I put into each dish. Our guests have chosen our dining room to make special memories in, and in each bite – we want to capture the honor that it brings us. It is a hand-to-hand relationship, from the farmers, to mine, to yours. It puts an emotion into the food – a passion that our guests can taste.”
Biography: Robin Higa

A native of Hawaii, Robin trained at Kapiolani College of Culinary Arts. He started his career in the restaurant industry at the age of seventeen, and started “moving up the ladder” when he reached the Mainland.

He moved to California in 1988 where he continued to excel as a chef in some of Orange County’s finest restaurants. He spent four years with the top-rated Chanteclair Restaurant, followed by a five-year stint with Jon Dominis in Newport Beach.

Robin is an experienced executive chef adept at creating and managing a wide range of retail food and beverage concepts from casual themed dining, catering operations and fine dining restaurants.

His responsibilities included strategic planning, product ideation, food and liquor menu development, creation of purchasing programs, and establishment of individualized Best Practice training programs. His off-site catering experiences reflect a blend of technical expertise and management skill sets.

Robin is the consummate chef who truly understands the balance of menu item development and the alignment and execution of delicious food, which is complimentary to our operations. He is also an everyday, hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeve team player who goes to great lengths to get the job done.

Robin was named, for the prestigious honor of “The Great Chefs of Orange County” award, for multiple years. And he has won numerous awards throughout the Inland Empire, presenting upscale seafood creations that celebrate his passion with food. Robin joined the Market Broiler Restaurant team in 1998 as Executive Chef, and was promoted in 2003, to Executive Corporate Chef. Robin has been with PHI since 1999.
Biography: Missy Drayton-Benado

Missy has enjoyed baking for as long as she can remember. So with the encouragement of family and friends, she started Missy's Cupcake Creations and what a sweet treat it has been! Missy's Cupcake Creations is located in the Fisherman's Wharf at the beautiful Channel Islands Harbor. Her cupcakes are made with the finest local ingredients available and are always fresh and moist. With over twelve scrumptious flavors to choose from my cupcakes are sure to please the most finicky of palates.
Biography: Tim Kilcoyne

Tim Kilcoyne, Executive Chef and owner of The Local Restaurant Group, Inc. and The SideCar Restaurant in Ventura, is a man who has always been committed to a philosophy that is only recently becoming de rigeur. He has remained passionately true to his roots: It was growing up on his family’s ranch, in the agricultural community of Antelope Valley, where he developed his love of farming and deep respect for the ranchers and farmers’ work ethic and the product it produced.

This love and respect has only grown over the years and it illuminates his culinary approach, which is to respect and enhance the product, not to alter it. “A lot of chefs still think that more is better… It’s not true,” Kilcoyne explains. “Simplicity is what drives my cuisine, it’s the most important element yet the hardest to achieve.”

As one restaurant critic aptly described Kilcoyne’s cuisine, “His dishes have the impeccable flair of just picked produce.” Working in a farming community means that he is able to indulge his passion for finding the best possible quality and Kilcoyne jokingly says that his range of purveyors is a “nightmare for my bookkeeper.”

Kilcoyne describes his culinary philosophy as “simple, seasonal and fresh,” adding that “I want the ingredients to shine; they’re the stars, not the chef!” It is no surprise that the inspiration for his dishes comes from the local farmers markets. “Each season, there is different produce that I look forward to working with: blood oranges in winter, morels in spring, heirloom tomatoes in summer, and figs and butternut squash in the fall.” And Kilcoyne’s passion for using seasonal and local ingredients also extend to his cocktail menu—he features seasonal martinis, made with vodka infused with locally grown blood oranges, beets and lavender, plums and blackberries.
At 35, Tim Kilcoyne is a young man, but he has already many years of experience in the restaurant business, in the kitchen as well as the front of the house.

At The SideCar, Kilcoyne’s love and respect for the product shines. “At the restaurant we take pride in making our own bread, sausages, pates and certain cheeses, as well as pastrami and bacon, and mustards. You can purchase these items but your signature is not on them”, he explains.

He wants “each guest just to be able to come in and relax as if the restaurant is their home for the evening” which explains why Kilcoyne’s hopes that with the ambience and welcome he provides at The SideCar, any customer who has had a bad day will leave those feelings at the door.

Tim is an active member in Slow Food, USA, often hosting events for the local Ventura chapter. He is also a member of the Chef’s Collaborative, American Culinary Federation and the James Beard Foundation. Chef Tim can be contacted at
Barry Davis

Barry Davis is the owner of Scoops in Camarillo Village Square. They serve up unique and unusual flavors using the finest, freshest ice cream, cakes and shakes using only the highest quality ingredients. Our location at 2390 Las Posas Road has taken it a step further by creating custom alcohol ice creams. Barry’s Wine Sorbet won 3rd place in our 2013 Yummie competition.
Biography: Ernie Borjas

Biography: Oscar Ledesma

Biography: John Paolone

Chef John's passion for Italian cooking began at a very young age. As the son of Italian descendents from Abruzzo, Italy, he was taught traditional cuisine and techniques by his grandparents. At the age 14 John started his carrier working in the local butcher shop learning the basics.

John graduated in 2001 from the Santa Barbara Culinary School and from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Pasadena in 2003. He also attended an extensive culinary program in Florence, Italy to expand his knowledge of Italian cooking. After graduating, John quickly became the Executive Chef at Café Fiore, an Italian Restaurant in downtown Ventura, and then moved to become the Chef at Saticoy Country Club.

He has been working as the Executive Chef at Café Firenze since it's opening in 2007 and Executive Chef of Firenze Osteria since its opening in 2009. As Executive Chef, John is a fan of making everything from the freshest and highest quality ingredients. In doing so, he chooses to import ingredients and products from Italy for the sake of keeping things traditional. Among other things, Chef John specializes is making braised meats in rich sauces that bring out the true flavor of Italy. "My favorite dish by far is the braised veal Shank, the Osso Bucco. Nothing says Italy better than a ten-hour braised veal shank," says John.

Confident in his work ethic, and style of cooking, Chef John Paolone feels nothing on this planet can stop him from providing high-quality meals to the true "foodie" in all of us.

Today, John Paolone is an instrumental and driving force in Café Firenze & Firenze Osteria. Teaming up with Fabio, these two exemplary chefs are planning to take over United States, one meal at a time.

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