Please join The American at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2020, in support of the James Beard Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture and honor America’s finest culinary students, chefs and scribes. Our Friend of James Beard Benefit Dinner, a delicious tradition on behalf of the renowned culinary arts organization, is the nation’s longest running Friends of James Beard fundraiser event.

Learn more about the impact of the James Beard Foundation.

James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner: Ryan Sciara

Ryan Sciara was introduced to wine at a relatively young age. His earliest memories are sips of homemade wine with his Grandma Vita. His baptism into the real world of wine began with a glass of Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Working his way through college as a server and bartender, Ryan turned his new found love of wine into his career.

Ryan is the owner of Underdog Wine Co. in Kansas City, Missouri, which opened in April of 2014. A second Underdog Wine Co. retail location opened in the Union Hill neighborhood in 2016. Before opening Underdog, Ryan worked in all facets of the beverage industry from wholesale distribution to sommelier and restaurant management and finally retail wine and spirits.


James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner: Andrew Longres

Growing up in a small town north of the city, Andrew Longres knew at an early age that he had a passion for food. At 14 years old, he started his first job at a local doughnut shop and decided at that point to pursue a career in the restaurant industry. By the time he graduated from high school, his drive and determination had propelled him from bussing tables and washing dishes at a local establishment to running the kitchen line.

Longres moved to Arizona and attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute, where he completed an externship at The Breakers in West Palm Beach. He then moved back to his hometown and began working at Starker’s Restaurant. At the restaurant, he learned to incorporate local ingredients and the fundamentals of how an independent restaurant works. Next, Longres took a job working under the James Beard award-winning chefs at 40 Sardines, before he became the sous chef at The American in Kansas City.

He was offered a dream job at The French Laundry in 2011, so he and his wife packed and moved to California. He started in a commis position and worked every station in this world-renowned restaurant. After receiving a call from Colby Garrelts, the chef and co-owner of Bluestem, Longres decided his love of Kansas City was too great to ignore. He started working at Bluestem Restaurant in the fall of 2013 and, after six months, Longres was promoted to executive chef. Most recently, he was selected to be the executive chef for the reimagining of The American. He is once again enjoying Kansas City and working at one of the city’s most popular restaurants.


James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner: David Bancroft

David Bancroft is Chef and Owner of Acre Restaurant and Bow & Arrow Barbecue in Auburn, Alabama. Born in Alabama and raised in San Antonio, TX, David Bancroft’s passion for food began at an early age. Bancroft was heavily influenced by his grandparent’s cooking and farming practices, particularly drawing knowledge and inspiration from his grandfather who farmed cattle, catfish, cotton and peanuts in South Alabama. Bancroft grew up eating some of the best cuisine the South has to offer and parlayed his love of food and farming into a passion for cooking, inspired by his family’s approach to home-style dining. Bancroft spent time on the Alabama family farm hunting and fishing with his grandfather and learning how to smoke brisket and barbeque in South Texas, while developing a deep appreciation and care for the meat and its procurement process. After finishing high school, Bancroft returned to his Alabama roots to attend Auburn University, where Bancroft served as the kitchen steward for his fraternity and later went on to serve as the head chef at Amsterdam Café in Auburn during his senior year.

Under Bancroft’s lead, Amsterdam Café established farm-to-table dining in East Alabama, earning recognition as one of the top ten restaurants in the state. It was here that Bancroft honed his culinary craft and sustainable cooking approach and began developing a name for himself. Feeling confident in his experiences and looking for a way to utilize his self-taught skills as a farmer, forager and chef, Bancroft opened Acre restaurant with his wife, Christin in August 2013.

Situated on a full acre of land, Acre reinterprets the rich heritage of Alabama cuisine. The seasonally-influenced menu focuses on celebrating sustainable ingredients, highlighting an abundance of herbs, fruits and vegetables, along with poultry, meat and seafood. Acre is wrapped in edible landscape including three on-site gardens and fruit orchards designed to provide fresh, seasonal harvest to create delicious offerings, supplemented by ingredients received from friends and family in the local community. A 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: South” award and winner of Food Network’s “Iron Chef Showdown” competition in 2017, Bancroft opened his second restaurant concept in Auburn, Bow & Arrow, in November 2018. Bow & Arrow is Bancroft’s interpretation of a South Texas smokehouse juxtaposed with the communal and casual dining approach of an Alabama potluck. Paying homage to his influences growing up in South Texas, Bow & Arrow serves up an assortment of smoked meats cooked over a custom built live-fire Kudu grill and a selection of southern sides, including tater tot casserole, collard greens, and cream corn. When Bancroft isn’t focusing on his culinary ventures, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, as well as hunting and fishing on his family’s farm in Lower Alabama.


James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner: Daisy Ryan

Daisy Ryan is the chef and owner of Bell’s in Los Alamos, California. She attended the Culinary Institute of America and proceeded to work in both the kitchen and dining rooms of Aureole, per se, Gramercy Tavern and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. She then moved to Austin, Texas to become the Assistant Beverage Director for the 8 restaurants under the McGuire Moorman Hospitality umbrella. She returned to where she grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley and to the kitchen when she and her husband, Greg, opened their French bistro in 2018.


James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner: Matthew Kammerer

Matthew Kammerer’s culinary journey and exploration has taken him around the globe, from Boston, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Belgium to San Francisco. He is the Chef of Harbor House Inn, the first and only Michelin-starred restaurant in Mendocino County in California. Known for his hyperlocal and coastal focused cuisine celebrating products sourced from nearby waters and the restaurant’s own gardens. Matthew is a 2019 Food & Wine Best New Chef and Best Chef Semi-Finalist by the James Beard Foundation.


James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner: Dave Beran

Dave Beran graduated with a B.A. in business from Lake Forest College, but it was a summer job at Latitude Restaurant in Bay Harbour, Michigan where he discovered his passion for cooking. After completing his formal education, Dave worked in Chicago at MK, promoted to tournant in a short time before leaving to work at Tru. Dave joined the Alinea kitchen in early 2006 and moved quickly through the ranks by displaying a native intelligence for food preparation, creativity, and attention to detail. He was promoted to the rank of Chef de Cuisine in July 2008. In 2011 he left Alinea to open Next as the executive chef.

Since Next opened Dave has researched, developed, and executed fifteen distinctive menus exploring cuisine from around the world — Thailand to Paris to Sicily to Kyoto to Vegan. Fourteen of those menus have received the highest 4-Star rating from the Chicago Tribune. Dave has been nominated three times for James Beard awards including both Rising Star and Best Chef: Great Lakes, ultimately winning Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2014. Additionally, Next won a James Beard for Best New Restaurant in America under his leadership. In 2014, Dave was named Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.

In April of 2016, Dave worked his final service at Next and bid Chicago a fond farewell as he announced not only his departure from Next, but also the city he called home for nearly seventeen years. He is currently living in Los Angeles and oversaw the Wolfgang Puck Test kitchen while building his own restaurant concept. In September 2017, Dave opened Dialogue Restaurant in Santa Monica, an intimate 18-seat open kitchen restaurant. Dialogue tells a story through a tasting menu. Guests should expect an immersive experience that plays to multiple senses and emotions. Most recently in September 2019, Dave opened Pasjoli, an elevated neighborhood French bistro. Pasjoli received numerous accolades and positive reviews in its opening months.

Though his spare time is sparse, he makes time to write and train for both marathons and triathlons.


James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner: Shea Gallante

Chef Shea Gallante brings over 20 years of experience cooking in New York’s most renowned kitchens to his role as Executive Chef at Lincoln Ristorante located on the campus of Lincoln Center in New York City.

Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA ‘97), Gallante headed to New York City and earned himself opportunities to cook in some of Manhattans most destined kitchens. Over a span of 10 years, he started his journey working at, the then renowned, Coco Pazzo, then moving on to Felidia with Lidia Bastianich followed working at Bouley with David Bouley After 4 years working with David Bouley and honing his craft for fine dining, he opened his first solo venture, CRU, where he started to collect rave reviews and accolades. Following his successes at CRU, Gallante continued on and opened Ciano NYC and the esteemed Baccarat Hotel in the heart of midtown in New York City earning more favorable reviews along the way.

Throughout his career, Gallante has earned a Michelin Star, Glowing two and three star reviews from the New York Times, Food & Wine Best New Chef (2005) and has made numerous media appearances; Martha Stewart Show, NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and notably, he was a winner on Iron Chef America.


James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner:Laurence Faber

Laurence Faber incorporates the best of seasonal harvests to create dishes that are complex in nature and elegantly simple in presentation. When he took his first role in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher, he was incentivized to finish dishes so he could work garde manger making salads and desserts. From beginning on the The Barn pastry team in 2013, to garde manger, to sous chef for the opening of the Dogwood in 2015, Laurence honed his culinary skills under the chefs at Blackberry Farm.

His journey at Blackberry Farm came full circle when he was promoted to Pastry Chef of The Barn in 2018. Embracing the same farm-to-table philosophy as the savory menu, Laurence’s pastry philosophy aligns beautifully with Executive Chef Cassidee Dabney’s food style, creating a cohesive dining experience for guests of The Barn. Laurence enjoys the art of delivering a surprise on his plates, aiming to give diners a combination of flavors they won’t find anywhere else.