Culinary, Catering and Special Events Team
Lisa Lavagetto, Culinary School Chef Ambassador
After marrying into a first-generation Italian family, Lisa Lavagetto began her love affair with Italian cuisine at the hands of her husband’s grandmother who was a resort chef on Lake Como in Italy. After refining her craft in the family restaurants Lisa came to Ramekins in 1998. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to work with such luminaries as Mark Miller, Ming Tsai, Rick Bayless, Jacques Pepin, and Paula Wolfert.
Julie Steinfeld, Chef Instructor
Chef Julie Steinfeld brings her extensive culinary experience to the Ramekin’s team in a wide array of areas. Be it teaching in our private and public cooking school, assisting the pastry department, or executing large events, this native New Yorker does it all. She honed her skills over 3 decades working in restaurants in both sweet and savory aspects, catering, and even testing recipes for published cookbooks. Her passion and knowledge of pastry and baking is unending, as well as her calm, thoughtful, and thorough demeanor.
Chat Mingkwan, Chef Instructor
Chat Mingkwan was classically trained in cooking in Rayon, France. A native of Thailand, he began cultivating and cooking Thai food as a child, working along side his mother and aunt in their successful restaurant and hotel. He has traveled throughout the Southeast Asia and mastered the local cuisines. Chat is currently a cooking teacher, author, food and restaurant consultant, and Asian antique trader.
Charles Vollmer, Chef Instructor
Charles Vollmar is a popular chef, cooking instructor, recipe and food developer, writer, international culinary travel guide and owner of Epicurean Exchange. Chef Charlie is an honor graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and trained at the famed Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, CA and Wente Vineyards, in the Livermore Valley East of San Francisco, before establishing his company, Epicurean Exchange in 1999.
Christine Hickman, Chef
Waiting On Bio
Erin Shallat, Chef
Waiting On Bio
John Ash, Chef Instructor
Chef John Ash is a two-time James Beard award-winning author, teacher, and restaurateur. He co-hosts a weekly food and wine radio talk show, The Good Food Hour, broadcast in Sonoma County, and teaches cooking classes at various cooking schools, including the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California. His most recent book, Culinary Birds, won a James Beard Award for Best Single Subject Cookbook. He lives in Santa Rosa, California.
Leta Davis, Chef Instructor
Chef Leta Davis arrived in the culinary world through her kitchen door. 20 years ago, while raising a family and busy with another career, she developed an insatiable passion for exploring the umami wonders of fermentation and its health benefits. Leta is now developing an original line of probiotic cocktail elixirs, probiotic smoothies and exotic hummus ferments coming to market in 2020.
Maria Capdevielle, Chef Instructor
Maria Capdevielle is a classically trained pastry chef from Abruzzo, Italy, and the author of “The Secret of Baking with Olive Oil”. She is consulting pastry chef at several restaurants in the east bay and at V. Sattui in Santa Helena. Her local restaurant experience includes San Francisco’s Rose Pistola, The Townhouse Grill & Restaurant in Emeryville, Market Hall in Berkeley and apprenticeship at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
Mei Ibach, Chef Instructor
Mei was born and raised in a fishing village near Singapore. She learned very early on the art of cooking from the many ethnic cuisines that form the delicious melting pot of Singapore including Thai, Chinese, Malay and the exotic “ Nonya” which means “Food of Love” started as a blending of Chinese and Malay cuisines.
Mike Kalanty, Chef Instructor
Every class I teach must give students the confidence and the techniques to make these breads at home, successfully!” With that mantra, Michael Kalanty served as Dean of Education at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and was twice named Instructor of the Year by Le Cordon Bleu. He seamlessly takes professional techniques and makes them accessible to aspiring bakers, all with a sense of humor and the gentle hand of a master baker.
Roop Soni, Chef Instructor
Roop Soni grew up in Kashmir and Punjab in a family of both professional chefs and talented home cooks and from a young age she began learning essential techniques and treasured family recipes. These days Roop splits her time between New Delhi and San Francisco. She continues to cook amazing meals for her family and friends, document family recipes, and occasionally teach and cook for public events like this one.
Takahisa Shirakawa, Chef Instructor
Takahisa Shirakawa is a renowned chef from Suzuka, Mie Prefecture in Japan. He runs his restaurant for the last 14 years in Kameyama, near Nagoya. His specialty is in Szechuan cuisine and has held the Plate Michelin since 2019. He often travels to China to select spices. He came to Sonoma in 2018 to teach Szechuan cuisine cooking classes at local venues including Williams Sonoma. Chef Shirakawa was also featured at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art for the event, “Chefs, Wineries and Poets.”