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Chefs’ Showcase: a Kick-Off Event with Chef Vivian Howard, Chef Keith Rhodes, Chef William Roberts, and One Belle Bakery

January 21 @ 1:00 pm


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Thank you to everyone who attended the first Chefs’ Showcase!  We hope you enjoyed the food, the wine, and the fun! To learn more about the chefs featured, please see below.

About Chef Vivian Howard
Chef and the Farmer & Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria

Writing a description of yourself is really hard. But under instruction to list the things that make me, me – I’d have to say I’m a first time author whose young adult self dreamt of being a writer. I’m the mother of a twin boy and girl who once doubted her maternal instincts. I’m a chef who cooks for therapy. I’m a lucky daughter who counts her parents among her friends. I’m a strong-willed wife who loves her husband but often struggles to work with him. And I’m a television personality who can’t bear to look at herself in pictures. My greatest strengths are fearlessness, creativity, enthusiasm and humor. My most frustrating weaknesses are patience, organization and numbers.

I always thought winning awards was for someone else and have been genuinely happy to be named a semifinalist 4 times in a row for James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast. But this past year, I won a JBF award for Best Television Personality and I have to say, winning made me happier than being nominated. – Vivian

About Chef Keith Rhodes

Chef Rhodes, an accomplished restaurateur, was voted the city’s best chef for three consecutive years and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as a finalist for Best Southeast Chef. He’s also well known for participating on Bravo TV’s Top Chef season 9.

When Chef Rhodes’ and his partner, Angela, founded Catch, they had one simple concept: to serve the best local ingredients to support the local North Carolina seafood market. However, that’s not all the chef has done for the Wilmington community. When he’s not running a kitchen, he’s partaking in outreach projects that serve local children, as well as mentoring up-and-coming young chefs.

About Chef William Roberts
Hilton Wilmington Riverside

Chef William was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and transplanted to the low country of South Carolina at the age of 13. He had several relatives in the Foodservice industry and was exposed to the culture for the better part of his formative years. With his parents both working long hours to provide he and his younger brother a good life, his interest in cooking was piqued by the extensive collection of cookbooks that his mother had on the bookshelf for several years. He began to teach himself how to cook by using the methods and techniques found in these cookbooks, he was hooked.

At the age of 15, he obtained his first job working as a dishwasher and busboy at a local chain restaurant. He committed himself to going to Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C., as he continued to work his way up to a kitchen manager position at the restaurant, but soon realized he yearned for more. His real passion and desire was to create the type of upscale cuisine that he saw in all of the cookbooks and magazines he cherished so much. In what turned out to be one of the best decisions he ever made, he went to work for “Great Chef of the South”, Jeff Tuttle, at Carefree Catering in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, as the Executive Sous Chef. He spent five years working for Chef Tuttle, obtaining all of the knowledge he could about executing high end Southern food using classic French techniques.

Upon leaving Carefree Catering, in search of the next step in his culinary journey, he decided to travel the country and perform stages at some of the most renowned restaurants along the Eastern United States. Along his journey were stops at Highlands Bar and Grill, Bouchon Bistro, Bottega, Michel Richard, American Grocery Restaurant and Next. After his time on the road, he decided to give the hotel industry a try and his next stop was as the Executive Chef at Marriott of Greenville. While there he helped launch new restaurant concepts for the hotel and brought his modern southern food to banquet side as well, doing several events for VIP clientele from BMW and Michelin. He left the Marriott to take a position with Hilton Worldwide, and soon after took over as the Executive Chef at Hilton Wilmington Riverside, where he continues his pursuit of culinary perfection and takes great satisfaction from helping to mentor the next generation of Chefs. He is married to his muse, soulmate, best friend and beautiful wife, Summer, and they are the proud parents of their son C.J.

About One Belle Bakery

I always dreamed of having a career that allowed me to utilize my creativity. While attending Meredith College, I enjoyed studying different inspiring avenues such as fashion design, interior design, and child development, but I could not seem to find my niche.

After graduating in 2006, I started baking as a hobby to fulfill my creative desires. I thought “I’m going to teach myself how to make really cool cakes”… and that’s exactly what I did.

One day I finally realized that I could turn the hobby I enjoyed into a career I would love. A couple months later, with a car full of clothes and my (then) small collection of cake pans and tools, I drove to Orlando, Florida and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art to study Patisserie and Baking.

While in Orlando, I landed my first job in the cake world at Party Flavors Custom Cakes. I worked alongside a team of incredibly talented decorators and had the privilege of helping to create cakes for clients such as Tiger Woods, Kate Gossilin, and Bill Murray. Some of my cakes from Party Flavors have been featured in The Knot Magazine and on

In 2009, I competed on TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off and had the honor of being the youngest lead competitor to ever be on the show.

With so many cake requests from friends and family in North Carolina, I decided to move back home in 2011 to start my own business. I worked from home until my 6qt Kitchen Aid mixer just couldn’t handle the volume anymore. In September of 2013, I officially opened the doors to One Belle Bakery, specializing in custom cakes and offering a small amount of retail sweets a few days a week.

At the end of 2015 I decided to expand my retail offerings and spent three months making a huge mess and knocking down walls (the very same walls I previously paid good money to construct back in 2013 to make my original space smaller!) in order to add café seating and an extended dessert menu.

My goal was to create an inviting and comfortable environment where friends, families, and coworkers could come relax and enjoy a sweet treat! On March 1st 2016 I re-opened with 1,000 additional square feet of kitchen, production and retail space. – Anna Echols


We would also like to give special thanks to the following for their help with the event:

Pottery Barn Mayfaire
High Performance Lighting & Power
Events by Watermark
New River Pottery
The Plant Place

We would also like to thank the event’s table sponsors:

Rod Flinchum
Melissa Molinini
Acupuncture Associates
Paula Corbett
Smithfield Grain
Universal Loss Consultants, LLC
Thomas Haley
Karen Schmoke
Edward Ward Jr.

The Silent Auction at our Chefs Showcase was also incredibly successful this year and we would like to thank all of our Silent Auction Donors:

Port City Java
Allison Cooper
Janet B. Sessoms
Virginia Wright-Frierson
Dave & Peg Schroeder
Wilmington Grill
Hampton Inn Landfall
Marlene Hieronymus
Mignonne Gavigan NY
Country Club of Landfall
Gentleman’s Corner
Coastal Massage
A La Mode
Cape Fear Academy
Port Land Grille




January 21
1:00 pm
Event Category:


Hilton Wilmington Riverside
301 N Water St
Wilmington, NC 28401 United States
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