Proprietor & Sommelier
Those familiar with Brent and his approachable, sophisticated style, obvious passion for and knowledge of wine, will recognize his influence at Maxwell, where you’re most likely to find him behind the bar. Most recently, Brent was named a 2018 Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Washingtonian, The Washington Post, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator and more, and was named a Rising Star by StarChefs.com in 2014. Prior to opening Maxwell in June 2017, Brent oversaw 16 wine programs for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group where he designed the wine program of the newly re-opened Iron Gate, a historic landmark that was once the longest operating restaurant in D.C. In 2015, Iron Gate was awarded Wine Program of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and Top Wine Program in the D.C. region by DC Modern Luxury, and was also recognized as one of the Best Wine Restaurants in America byWine Enthusiast. In addition, Brent wrote the wine lists for other local restaurants, including Hazel and The Partisan. Brent brings a depth of knowledge and restaurant experience to his current position. Before coming on the scene in D.C., Brent helped open the Michael Mina Group at Saltwater at the MGM Grand in Detroit, worked at the Fairmont Turnberry Country Club in Miami and took his first head sommelier position at Michael Mina Group's Casa Tua in South Beach. Upon arriving in the nation’s capital in 2008, Brent quickly made a name for himself with renowned restaurateur Ashok Bajaj. During that time, Brent oversaw the wine program at Ardeo/Bardeo and later at The Oval Room, where he also created the cocktail menu. In 2010, Brent accepted the position of wine director at Adour by Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis Hotel where he oversaw the sommelier team and designed the beverage program for the hotel. In 2016, he was the general manager of Proof in downtown Washington, which helped prepare him for running his own bar.
SATURDAY, MAY 4TH
Chef Scott Drewno was raised in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes wine region, a rural area known for its vineyards and its family-owned farms. Watching his mother turn fresh, seasonal produce from local farm stands into bubbling pies and cobblers first piqued his interest in cooking and planted the seed for Drewno’s culinary ambition. Drewno joined the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group in 1998. At Chinois, he learned to meld French cooking techniques with vibrant Asian flavors. At Spago, he came to understand the importance of beginning with only the finest ingredients. Drewno furthered his knowledge and solidified his passion for Asian cuisines at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vong and Stephen Hansen’s Ruby Foo’s. In 2007, Wolfgang Puck tapped Drewno as the opening Executive Chef of The Source. The restaurant was honored with numerous accolades including three-star reviews from both The Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) awarded The Source “New Restaurant of the Year” in 2008 and “Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year” in 2011. Drewno received the coveted “Chef of the Year” prize in 2010 and again in 2016. In 2012 and 2013, Drewno was a semifinalist for the “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” James Beard Award. Drewno has won many culinary competitions benefiting important causes, including the DC Crab Cake Competition, Pig Out for Diabetes, and DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight. He won the Washington, DC leg of Cochon 555 (twice), a traveling culinary competition promoting sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs, and won the Cochon 555 Heritage Fire barbecue competition. Drewno serves on the Board of the RAMW, and is an Honorary Board Member of the DC Food & Beverage Collective. Each year, Drewno hosts fundraising events for DCFBC and the George Washington University Hospital Mobile Mammography Unit, two causes he holds near and dear to his heart. In 2017 The Fried Rice Collective was formed with their first restaurant CHIKO, a Chinese-Korean, fine-casual concept. Zagat hailed the restaurant as one of "DC's Most Important Restaurant Openings of 2017". In 2018 the restaurant was nominated as a semifinalist for "Best New Restaurant" James Beard Award. Tom Sietsema (The Washington Post) recently gave CHIKO 3 stars (Excellent), stating "The latest definition of crack in Washington is the “orange-ish” chicken at CHIKO on Capitol Hill." in 2018, CHIKO also received recognition through the Washingtonian for 100 Very Best Restaurants in DC and also received a 3 star rating for the new concept.
Chef Johanna Hellrigl
Partner and Executive Chef
Born into a family of chefs, Hellrigl was raised in kitchens in Italy and the United States, including New York City where her mother and father owned Palio, an upscale Italian restaurant in Midtown. Her father Andreas Hellrigl was a Michelin-starred chef who set her up in a mini chef’s coat in the pastry section of the kitchen – the safest place for small hands. When her father passed away, Hellrigl’s mother Maria Pia took over the restaurant. Her mother’s resilience taught Hellrigl the importance of perseverance in a tough industry, while the Chefs who her father entrusted with his recipes and techniques taught her integrity in the kitchen. Hellrigl was previously Head Chef of Via Umbria and Boulangerie Christophe in Georgetown. Her local experience also includes a stagiaire under Chef Jordan Lloyd of the Bartlett Pear Inn. In 2017, Hellrigl founded Johanna’s Table, a unique food and boutique catering business that included XII by Johanna’s Table, a monthly pop-up dinner series held throughout Washington, DC. Hellrigl’s dishes draw inspiration from the women of Southeast Asia she met during her four plus years working for a democracy building organization that focused on empowering women from around the globe to increase their political participation. Says Hellrigl: “By day, I trained them on women’s leadership skills or we built new legislation through women’s caucuses in parliament. By night, they introduced me to their homes, their families, their communities and exposed me to different ingredients, flavors and spices that now play a heavy role in my dishes and the Doi Moi dining experience.” Inspired by her time spent abroad, Hellrigl expanded Doi Moi’s Vietnamese and Thai roots to encompass new and exciting regional flavors from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Sri Lanka. She introduced a more worldly Southeast Asian cuisine to Doi Moi's menu to pay tribute to the cosmopolitan diversity of DC itself. In August, Hellrigl and the Doi Moi team launched Birds Eye Coffee Bar & Eatery, a daytime option open daily for food lovers passing by 14th Street. Most recently, as Culinary Director of the Restaurant Group, Hellrigl spent her time overseeing the menu and kitchen at the former Proof Restaurant in Penn Quarter.
Victor Albisu - Chef/Owner, Taco Bamba and Poca Madre
Chef Victor Albisu has more than a decade of experience in fine dining and upscale French, American and Latin American restaurants. He combines his culinary education with his Latin American heritage to bring a unique style of cuisine to his restaurant concepts Taco Bamba and Poca Madre. In 2015, Albisu was named Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). In 2016, he was selected as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic award. Albisu owns wildly-popular taqueria, Taco Bamba with multiple locations in northern Virginia and one outpost in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. These taquerias reflects his Cuban and Peruvian roots, as well as his take on Mexican fare. The D.C. location of Taco Bamba is adjacent to Poca Madre, Albisu’s first contemporary upscale Mexican concept opened in June 2018. Albisu’s first restaurant, Del Campo was an upscale South American grill in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C. In 2013, it was named a Best New Restaurant by Esquire magazine. In 2014, RAMW nominated Del Campo for Best New Restaurant. That same year, Washingtonian magazine called Del Campo “Washington’s best steakhouse.” Before pursing independent ventures, Albisu served as executive chef of BLT Steak in downtown D.C. While at the helm, Albisu cooked for President and Mrs. Obama and led the restaurant to earn several accolades, including RAMW's Power Spot of the Year in 2012. Outside the kitchen, Albisu is a member of the American Chef Corps, a network of chefs who serve as resources to the Department of State. In 2015, Albisu competed on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay and bested the host and grill master with his signature dish, steak & eggs. Albisu has appeared as a guest judge on Telemundo’s Top Chef Estrellas and the FOX TV series Hell’s Kitchen.
EJ Lewis - Severino Pasta
EJ is originally from Maryland, but moved to Jersey in 2013 and joined the Severino team in 2014. You’ll easily find him at Whole Foods Markets scattered throughout the country—turning anyone he meets into an instant Severino Pasta fan. One of the biggest personalities on the team, he loves spending time around people and showing off his softer side. His biggest passion is cooking and entertaining; just ask anyone who’s been to one of his epic parties! If you ever need advice on what to make out of the random items in your refrigerator, EJ is your guy…in fact, he’ll probably come over and cook it for you.
The Severino Story
Joseph and Ana Maria Severino learned the art of pasta making from Umberto Casoli, an artisinal pasta maker in Rome, Italy. In 1971 they returned to America with recipes in hand and introduced their uniquely handcrafted pasta products made from 100% Semolina flour.The family shop in Westmont, NJ, soon became known as the place to find authentic, richly-flavored pasta. Over 45 years later, the second generation of the Severino Family (Peter, Louis, and Carla) share the same passion for pasta as Joseph and Anna Maria.
SUNDAY, MAY 5TH
Alex McCoy is a 17-year veteran of the restaurant industry. In 2002, at the age of 19, Alex helmed his first kitchen at a small sandwich shop in Bethesda, MD. In 2007 He became head chef of Ralph Lauren & Lincoln Pilcher’s (Kingswood, Eveleigh, Ruby’s) Georgetown, DC cafe, Rugby Food & Spirits. In 2013, inspired by his family’s London upbringing, Alex founded & opened Duke’s Grocery in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of DC which quickly became a local household name garnering such accolades as “33 Best Burgers in America” by Thrillist & “Best Burgers in DC” by Washingtonian Magazine. A lifelong traveller, Alex spent many years traveling back and forth between the US & SE Asia culminating with his opening of Alfie’s in 2015. Alfie’s classic representation of Eastern Thai cuisine earned immediate acclaim by both local and international press being featured by Vogue Magazine & Bon Appetit Magazine a few short months after opening. In the summer of 2015, via a story in the Washington Post, Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit proclaimed Alfie’s as one his 5 favorite restaurants in Washington DC. In 2017 Alex opened two permanent locations of his longtime Sunday, burger-centric pop-up, Lucky Buns. One on the bustling Adams Morgan neighborhood of NW DC and the other in the Capital One Arena. Lucky Buns is already garnering much attention in DC, being recently named one of the “Top 100 Restaurants in 2019” by Washingtonian Magazine and as its Irish / Se Asian / UK and Aussie inspired dishes being written up by newspapers around the globe. Alex’s TV credits include appearances on NBC’s “Chopping Block” hosted by Marco Pierre White in 2008, Food Networks “Food Network Star” Season 11 -where he finished 4th- as well as Cooking Channels “Best Thing I Ever Ate” and Food Networks “Beat Boddy Flay". In addition to his TV appearances, Alex has contributed to several cookbooks and is active in the DC philanthropic culinary scene. Alex has twice hosted dinners at the famed James Beard House in NYC and splits his time between his hometown of Washington, D.C. & locations abroad where he and his amazing team host pop-up dinners in cities from London to Bangkok.
Anthony Hoang, Whole Foods Market
NoLa Born. NoVa Raised. Anthony wants to live in a world where every child has enough to eat, ‘thank you’ notes are hand written and every donut has zero calories. He was fortunate to be the grandson of a green thumb Grandmother and a shrimp boat captain Grandpa. His grandmother cultivated a modest garden that sold to local grocery stores. Asian greens such as Yau Choy, Pea Shoots and Gai Lan were some of her main stays. Summers in New Orleans, meant spending time in the Gulf of Mexico sizing up shrimp with his uncles. This was when Anthony would learn how much food played a role in his life. Moving to Arlington, where he grew up cooking out of necessity for his siblings, he didn’t make it a full time gig until 2005. Since then, he has spent some time at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons and Chef Geoffs. He spent the most time with local restaurant group, Great American Restaurants as their Head Kitchen Manager at Ozzie’s Good Eats. In between his time there and Whole Foods, Anthony staged at some highly regarded restaurants in the area; Rose’s Luxury, one Michelin Star, Himitsu, Eater DC 2017 Best Restaurant of the Year, and Clarity which The Washington Post’s Sietsema awarded 2.5 stars (Good/Excellent). He now serves as the Culinary Associate Coordinator for Whole Foods Market in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Rahman “Rock” Harper is a chef, author, producer and community activist. He’s the winner of the third season of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s hit show Hell’s Kitchen. In 2016 Chef Rock created RockSolid Creative Food Group. He hosts The Chef Rock Xperiment Podcast, SRVC podcast at Eaton Hotel in Washington, D.C. and Shift Drink a visual program with an insiders look at the restaurant industry.
Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute Band
Texas Chainsaw Horns
Pictures from the festivals