Chef Raven Allen, Liz & Nomie’s Gourmet Eats | Gulfport, MS
Chef Raven Allen is the owner and executive chef of the award-winning catering service and food truck, Liz & Nomie’s Gourmet Eats. Chef Raven was born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Gulfport; however, she spent many summers during her early years in the Delta of Mississippi with her grandmothers Elizabeth Elder and Nomie Allen. It was in these kitchens that Chef Allen developed a love for cooking. As a Chef Raven grew older, she spent much time visiting New Orleans and fell in love with creole and Cajun cuisine. Combining the two cuisine is how she cultivated her menu for Liz & Nomie’s Gourmet Eats.
Chef Raven also has a cake line called Nothing Bundt Love, where she features eighteen different Bundt cake flavors. She also has developed her own line baking extracts and baking paste.
Liz & Nomie’s Gourmet Eats has been featured in South Mississippi Living Magazine, Gulf coast Woman Magazine, and on WLOX’s, In the Kitchen segment. Liz & Nomie’s has also won an award at the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce’s, Taste, Rattle, & Roll.
Chef David A Crabtree, Island View Casino | Gulfport, MS
Executive chef David Crabtree opened Island view casino resort in Gulfport Ms. September 2006. An uprooted management team from Grand Casino Harrah’s rejoined VP of food, and beverage hotels Ed Layton to create an experienced team of managers that were familiar with each other as well the industry. The smooth opening, and success of island View for the last 17 years is a recipe for success.
Currently chef Crabtree has over 100 Culinary employees managing his numerous outlets which offer a little of everything from casual to upscale between the two sister casinos Island View, and beach view smokeless beach side casino. One of the top foods driven casinos on the Gulf coast.
Chef Crabtree a native of the Gulf Coast with ancestors homesteading over 800 acres in the early 1800s spent ten years cooking on the MS Gulf coast Cooking in various restaurants, and clubs. In the early nineties he took his culinary Journey to New Orleans where he apprenticed under Chef Gerard Maras, , and Emeril Lagasse from the Brennen restaurant group. Attending Delgado Community college culinary program completing his associate of applied science in culinary arts degree.
Returning to the coast chef Crabtree took the reigns of Dimond head country club as executive chef; a familiar resort as he worked there numerous years in his early days as first a dishwasher, janitor, and finally a cook under another mentor William Vrazel.
Chef Crabtree spent five years with Tynwald management group opening, revamping several hotels in Bossier City la. Flipping hotels was the main purpose for the group. “Working for Mike Profit Isle of mann citizen was definitely a great time in my career “.
Upon casinos hitting the coast Treasure Bay casino was his first dip in the casino business; he quickly found the resources of casino life a big plus in his culinary Journeys. From Treasure Bay Chef David spent some years with Grand casino Biloxi opening two outlets for the company. Opening IP casino as executive Chef was a huge task organizing the multi-unit property mirroring the Las Vegas Property was challenging to say the least.
Over the chefs 42-year-old culinary journey he has garnered over 100 awards through many culinary competitions throughout the country. “When you compete, you push yourself beyond your normal comfort zone in order to place your skill against others; even when you lose you still win with the knowledge or plateau that you crossed.” said Chef David at an in-house players chef competition held within the resort family of restaurants. Over the last 6 years he has placed in the top 5 in the World Food Championship seafood category held in Dallas Texas. In 2019 he was a sous chef on Jackie Seavey team to take home the ultimate grand food champion at the WFC final table; which was held in New Orleans La .
Chef Crabtree believes that a balanced life includes a job that you love, hobby’s, family, God as well a love for your country. His hobbies include weekend car shows, boating the Gulf coast, horse riding, Snow Skiing and spending quality time with family, and Friends. Father of two successful children Troy, and Chantelle; Grandfather to one remarkable grand daughter Emily. Resides on a small ancestral ranch in N Mississippi with his wife he met in New Orleans Mary Louise whom as of late has become his culinary competition partner.
Chef Jon Davis, Saint Leo | Oxford, MS
Chef Jon Davis was raised by his grandmother, Marene, in Memphis. Growing up, home-cooked pinto beans and cast iron skillet cornbread were delightful after-school snacks, shaping Davis’ understanding that the best dishes were crafted from simple, quality ingredients. After attending the University of Mississippi and finding his way into a kitchen with chef John Currence, there was simply no going back. Since then, Davis has moved through the culinary world and worked in a variety of restaurants, before finding his current home at Saint Leo in Oxford where his focus is Italian cuisine. Davis’ choice of simple ingredients isn’t an age-old practice, but an application of mindfulness toward the food put on our tables for friends, family, and ourselves.
Chef Lauren Joffrion, Radish and Kaiteki | Long Beach, MS
Lauren Joffrion learned to cook at a young age from her parents. She attended Mississippi State University for Architecture, but dropped out to pursue her love of cooking. She learned by starting at the bottom and working her way up. She has worked for chefs such as David Dickensauge. She received her first executive chef job at the age of 26, running Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar. After Fields, she moved to Thorny Oyster. After Thorny Oyster, Lauren moved to Radish in Long Beach, where she currently works. Lauren and William Rester of Radish are also opening a new ramen restaurant called Kaiteki. Lauren has also won “Best Small Town Chef” by Country Roads Magazine. She looks forward to representing Radish in the Seafood Cookoff because she has grown up on the coast and enjoys showcasing its rich culinary heritage.
Chef Matthew Kallinikos, IP Casino Resort and Spa | Biloxi, MS
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, Chef Matthew Kallinikos, a native of Danbury, CT, has twenty-nine years of experience in the culinary industry. Matthew has several culinary degrees from the CIA, including an Associate Degree of Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts Management; as well as two post graduate degrees in Kitchen and Dining Room Management.
After graduating from the CIA, Matthew was the Executive Sous Chef for Top of the Hub in Boston, MA, which was ranked among the top restaurants in the city of Boston. At twenty-two years old, he was the youngest Executive Sous Chef ever in the corporation. After moving to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005, Matthew worked at the Isle of Capri as a chef in taste at Farradday’s.
In 2007, Matthew worked at the Island View Casino Resort and Spa as Room Chef of C&G Grille and Carter Green Steakhouse – both of which he opened post Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, Matthew became Chef de Cuisine of Restaurant thirty-two, at the IP Casino Resort and Spa. Restaurant thirty-two holds the AAA Four Dimond Award for the last ten consecutive years, as well as the Wine Spectator Best of Excellence Award for the last ten years. In 2021 Matthew then took a position as steakhouse chef of the Scarlet Pearl Casino. In 2022 Matthew returned to IP Casino Resort and Spa as the Executive Sous Chef for the property and Chef de Cuisine of Restaurant thirty-two.
Matthew has appeared in several publications for his culinary expertise, including Jackpot Magazine, Mise en Place, Sun Herald, and South Mississippi Living. He has also participated and placed in over thirty various ACF culinary competitions. Restaurant thirty-two has received many local and national awards for fine dining during Matthew’s tenure there. In 2017 thirty-two was named in the “Top Thirteen Casino Steakhouses” in the U.S. by Wine Spectator Magazine. Matthew has also been nominated locally for best chef, best fine dining, and best steak house. In 2018-2022, Restaurant thirty-two was named in “3 best casino restaurants” by USA Today’s “10 Best awards”.
Matthew and his wife Patti have four children, and for the past 18 years have called the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast their home.
Chef Calvin Lipe, Dockside Deli at Island View Casino, | Gulfport, MS
Chef Calvin Lipe grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has over 27 years in the food and beverage industry. Lipe trained in the kitchens of several coast restaurants including Mary Mahoney’s old French House and Emeril’s Gulf Coast Fish House. His chef level experience comes from Cobalt in Orange Beach, Alabama and The Great Southern Club in Gulfport. For several years Chef Lipe had a catering service and his own restaurant, Flare Bar and Grill in Gulfport. For the last six years he has been at Island View Casino Resort, where he started as a banquet sous chef and quickly rose to room chef at Dockside Deli.
Chef Lipe has won over two dozen medals over the years at various cooking competitions for fruit and vegetable carvings, ice sculptures and cuisine. For the last four years Chef Calvin has competed in the World Food Championships, two years as Chef David Crabtree’s sous chef and two years as head chef in his category. This year chef placed fourth in the vegetarian category with a final score of 98.2 And most recently took first place in the signature dish and People’s Choice at the Biloxi Shrimp Festival and third place at the inaugural Gumbo Fest in Gulfport.
Chef Cooper Miller, Forklift | Tupelo
Cooper Miller is the chef and owner of Tupelo’s hottest restaurant Forklift, where he serves up his take on Southern Creole Cuisine. He is a native of Amory, Mississippi, where his family has operated restaurants off and on throughout the years. After receiving his Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Mississippi State University, he moved to Atlanta to pursue his culinary career. He graduated summa cum laude from Le Cordon Bleu in 2007 and spent the next decade training with some of the best chefs in the south, including stints with James Beard Award winner Linton Hopkins and Food Network personality Richard Blais. Now back home, he’s living his dream of running a successful restaurant and spending time with his wife, Lauren, and daughter, Harlow.
Chef David Crabtree, Carter Green Steakhouse | Gulfport
For David Crabtree, being a chef is who he is, not just what he does. His passion for creating and sharing great food, which began as a young boy growing up in South Mississippi, led to a 44-year career in the food industry and the position of executive chef at Island View Casino Resort.
Crabtree, who joined the Gulfport, Miss. resort when it opened in 2006 during the area’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina, is responsible for overseeing Island View’s culinary department. Island View operates multiple dining venues, including fine dining, casual, buffet and specialty restaurants, as well as in-room dining for its two hotel towers with 970 rooms.
His professional experience includes holding positions of increasing responsibility for casino resorts located in Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as serving as executive chef for Diamondhead Country Club in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Following Hurricane Katrina,
Crabtree also worked as a subcontractor for Belfore Property Restoration as a disaster relief caterer, operating a satellite kitchen in Gulfport, transporting hot meals for 400 people daily.
Crabtree’s practice of using fresh, local ingredients, and Gulf seafood was formed early in his career during apprenticeships under Emeril Lagasse at New Orleans’ famed Commander’s Palace and Gerard Maras at Mr. B’s Bistro also located in New Orleans.
An advocate for education in his field, Crabtree has served as an adjunct instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Bossier Parish Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Crabtree’s career accomplishments include more than 80 awards received from culinary competitions throughout the southeast for his creative dishes and talents including ice carving and preparing “food as art.”
Crabtree received an associate degree from Delgado Community College in New Orleans and completed the baker training program at Global Marine Drilling Co. in Lafayette, La. He also received the Reed Certification by the American Culinary Federation.
In 2017 Crabtree began competing in the world food championship competition in seafood category placing in the top 10 in 2017,2018,2019, and finishing 4th in 2021. Joined Chef Jackie Seavey final table team in 2018 assisting her in winning the world food championship $ 100,000 prize.
Currently residing on a small horse ranch in Saucier, Mississippi with his wife Mary whom often assist him in competitions, enjoys power boating, fishing, hunting, wood carving and soccer, for which he is a certified grade-8 MYSA youth soccer coach. He also is an avid classic car enthusiast with over 100 awards for his several dodge show cars.
Chef Josh Stetson, Val's Sports Bar and Grill | Ocean Springs
Chef Josh Stetson, a coast native from Ocean Springs, has been a chef for 23 years. After his first job at Shoney’s, he was swiftly promoted to cook, then joined O’Charley’s in Biloxi. He began to understand cooking and what his talents could become when Sisters restaurant opened at Grand Casino Biloxi. He worked at the Grand Casino for a total of nine years, and after his fifth year, was promoted to Chef of the Oaks Café when the Bayview hotel opened. He worked at Oaks Café for more than two years and was then given the opportunity to serve as Head Chef at LB’s steakhouse, the best steak house on the coast at the time. During this time, he knew that fine dining was what he was meant to do.
After moving to Jacksonville for a year, Josh moved back Biloxi to become Executive Sous Chef at the Palace Casino. Following Hurricane Katrina, when the Palace Casino reopened, he was the Executive Chef of Mignons, Wahoos and Oyster Bar. He credits the Palace Casino with helping extend his knowledge of food and his true passion. Josh won his first American Culinary Federation competition for both Best in Seafood and Best in Show. He also worked at Treasure Bay as Executive Chef and the Chef of Four Points Sheraton.
He moved to Oxford, MS, to open the Chancellors House, a new high end boutique hotel. He built and designed the entire kitchen from ground up. This was extremely exciting as it was a new concept and included everything from employee manuals to over 400 recipes to purchasing all equipment and smallwares. He moved on from there to become the Director of Food and Beverage at the Graduate Hotel. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, his position was eliminated.
Josh has since moved back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast where he currently serves as the chef of Val’s Sports Bar and Grill in Ocean Springs.
Chef Matthew Kallinikos, Scarlet's Steaks & Seafood | D'Iberville
Chef Matthew Kallinikos is a Danbury Ct native. He attended college at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), in Hyde Park, New York. Matthew holds both an Associate Degree of Culinary Arts and A Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts Management. He also has to two Post Graduate degrees from CIA as well, in Kitchen and Dining room Management. He has been in the culinary field for twenty-Seven years. Chef Matthew started when he was fourteen years old at Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury CT, under Chef Carey Favreau. Matthew has worked in fine dining restaurants, country clubs, casinos and hotels throughout CT, NY, MA and MS.
After Graduating CIA, Chef Matthew was the Executive Sous Chef for Top of the Hub in Boston, MA, which was ranked among the top restaurants in the city of Boston. He was the youngest Executive Sous Chef ever in the corporation at twenty-two years old. He later moved to the MS Gulf Coast in August of 2005 and worked at the Isle of Capri as Chef of Farradday’s. In 2007, Chef Matthew then moved to Island View Casino Resort and Spa, where he opened two of the casino’s current post Hurricane Katrina restaurants and as Room Chef of C&G Grille and its other fine dining venue, Carter Green Steakhouse. In 2011, Chef Matthew became Chef de Cuisine of Restaurant thirty-two, at the IP Casino Resort and Spa. Restaurant thirty-two holds the AAA Four Dimond Award for the last ten consecutive years, as well as the Wine Spectator Best of Excellence Award for the last ten years. In 2021 Matthew then took his current position as Steakhouse Chef of the Scarlet Pearl Casino.
In Matthew’s twenty-seven years in the culinary industry, he has been published in several publications such as Jackpot Magazine, Mise en Place, Southern Living Magazine, Sun Harold, South Mississippi Living and various other published articles. He has also participated and placed in over thirty various ACF culinary competitions. In his most recent years as Chef of thirty-two, the restaurant has received many local and national awards for fine dining. Most recently being named in 2017 Top Thirteen Casino Steakhouses in the United States by Wine Spectator Magazine. Matthew has also been nominated locally for best chef, best fine dining and best steak house. In 2018-2021 named in 10 ten casino chefs by USA Today 10 Best awards.
Matthew and his wife Patti, who is also the Pastry Chef for Serious Bread Bakery, have four children. They call the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast their home.