ZestFest Celebrity Chef Stage

Cooking sizzling good delights for everyone to sample - come enjoy ZESTFEST 2024

ZestFest 2024

Chef Demonstration Schedule

Friday, May24

2 pm Brian Santiago
3 pm Eddie Deen
4 pm John Hard
5 pm Jon Bonnell

Saturday, May 25


12 pm Jen Williams
1 pm Buffalo Bros Atomic Wing Eating Contest
2 pm Cooking Demo: Jon Bonnell
3 pm Eddie Deen
4 pm Victor Villarreal
5 pm Brian Santiago
6-8 pm  

Sunday, May 26

10 AM Peoples Preference Awards
11 AM Antonio Votta
12 pm  Jenn Williams
1 pm Puckerbutt Eating Contest
2 pm Eddie Deen
3 pm Cooking Demo: CaJohn Hard
4 pm  
Jon Bonnell

Chef Jon Bonnell pairs his Texas heritage with classical culinary training to create inventive and delicious dishes featuring decidedly Texan ingredients. Distinguished as one of the foremost experts on wild game and fine Texas cuisine, his perfected technique and flavor combinations entice diners to experience something new.

Jon’s numerous accolades and honors include three stints cooking at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, winning Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence every year since 2004 and having one of the highest Zagat ratings in the state of Texas. Under Bonnell’s Restaurant Group, Jon oversees a number of popular Fort Worth eateries: Bonnell’s Fine Texas CuisineWATERS Restaurant, and Buffalo Bros Pizza Wings & Subs.

About « Bonnell's Restaurant Group (bonnellsrestaurantgroup.com)

Eddie Deen

Eddie Deen grew up on a working ranch in Wills Point, Texas. From an early age, he learned the value of hard work, determination, and relationships.

A 1979 graduate of Texas A & M University, Eddie opened his first restaurant on the shores of Lake Tawakoni in 1980.

In 1994, he purchased the land and buildings for the “commissary” in Terrell, Texas which is now the main staging area for Eddie Deen & Company Catering.

In 1996, Eddie Deen’s Ranch in Downtown Dallas was created in the old Malouf dress factory just south of the Dallas Convention Center. In December of 2008, Eddie’s newest development Edison’s Dallas opened which expands the services and relationships to a growing, diverse, client base.

Eddie Deen & Company Catering - DALLAS, TX

John "Cajohn" Hard

Screenshot 2024-04-24 160738

CaJohns is moving, although CaJohn is not.

Founder John “CaJohn” Hard sold his 22-year-old hot sauce business to Charlotte, North Carolina-based Hot Shots Distributing Inc. and production has moved.

But the “Godfather” of hot sauces, as he’s known in the industry, isn’t backing away from local retail or recipe development. It isn’t quite retirement for Hard. In his telling, the sale is a “gateway to retirement.”

Flavor & Fire, the North Market shop that sells CaJohns, is owned by his wife, Sue Hard, and will remain open.

Hard said he will spend more time there and might open a second Flavor & Fire shop, ideally in Westerville, where CaJohns was based. He said there’s a good customer base there that he doesn’t want to lose completely.

He also will continue to be a consultant to the industry, working with Hot Shots on possible extensions to the CaJohns lines, as well as with other, smaller companies and startups on products, with the potential of connecting them to Hot Shots.

“That’s in our best interest,” said Hot Shots President Matt Heald, citing Hard’s stature in the industry.

Chef Antonio Votta

Chef Antonio Votta, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada and a graduate of the prestigious hospitality school at UNLV earned his bachelor’s degree while working in some of the city’s top restaurants under acclaimed culinary superpowers such as Michael Mina, Scott Conant and Shawn McClain, Votta spent a majority of his college days at Mina’s Nobhill and the latter after graduation at Mina’s Bourbon Steak inside the Four Seasons, Washington D.C.

Late in 2022, Votta brought his talents to Cowtown to carve his niche in Fort Worth’s accrescent culinary scene, where after some short time he found the perfect home, at Bowie House, that mended seamlessly with his hyper-creative and entrepreneurial mindset.

In his new role he will be bringing the culinary treasures of Texas front and center with his ingredient focused and technique driven approach.  Votta will oversee all Culinary Operations including the flagship restaurant, Bricks and Horses, which aspires to be the blank canvas for his whim.

Jennifer Williams

jenn williams
Jennifer Willaims

If you know chef Jen Williams - and chances are you do if you've ever eaten at a pop-up diner or at any of the top restaurants in the Fort Worth-Dallas area - you know she very well could be the Rosie the Riveter of Fort Worth's culinary scene. Since moving from Chicago to Fort Worth, she has immersed herself in not much else but work - spending equal amounts of time working in restaurants, hosting pop-up events and running a catering business.

Over the course of her seven-year career here, she has cooked in some of North Texas" top kitchens, from the much-missed Magnolia Cheese Company to critically-acclaimed Lucia in Dallas to, most recently, Piattello Italian Kitchen. These days, though, she has made a name for herself as the city's unofficial queen of pop-up events - and as one of the few chefs in North Texas to ever cook for a president. Clarification: a president of the United States of America.

Jennifer Williams made it to episode 7 on MasterChef season 8.  After MasterChef, Jennifer was a Communication Director and offered private dining experiences in her home.

She is currently owner of Second Line Art & Vintage, a boutique store in Charleston and offers interior design services.

Jennifer also caters private dinners and pop up dining events.