2018 Competitor Bios
Jeremy Hanlon – Executive Chef, Benny’s on the Beach
Reigning Garlic Chef Champion
While in school working towards his double major in finance and information systems, Jeremy developed a passion for art, utilizing food as his outlet. It was spurred on by the increasingly popular Food Network and fueled by a part time job he took at the best Italian restaurant in town.
After six months in the financial world, Jeremy returned to his passion and entered culinary school part-time and accepted a full-time job at ZOE, a long time SOHO staple known for creative food with an Asian flare, won the MAYTAG ACCELLIS culinary competition in New York and was escorted to Napa Valley where he finished in the top 5 amongst 25 national competitors. Charlie Trotter, the celebrity Chef judge, was so impressed; he offered Jeremy a paid externship at his acclaimed restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.
Upon his return to NYC, Jeremy accepted a position at Restaurant Daniel and fast tracked his way through every position in the kitchen. Following his four-year progression, Daniel sent Jeremy to Europe for 1 year, where he worked in Spain (Arzak in San Sebastian), France (Triosgros in Roanne and Guy Savoy in Paris) and Italy.
Upon return to the States, Jeremy held the highly coveted position, Saucier, at Restaurant Daniel. One year later, Jeremy moved to Palm Beach to assist in the early stages of Daniel’s Café Boulud. It was here in South Florida; Jeremy launched myfreshchef.com, market-inspired meals delivered daily throughout Palm Beach County. Under Jeremy’s direction, a team of chefs prepared client-specific meals with fresh, local ingredients for an affordable price. It was at this time that Jeremy began working with local television stations in Palm Beach; ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates consistently feature his “fresh perspective” on food and cooking. He also appeared on A&E, Lifetime, HGTV and on the top rated Food Network show, CHOPPED. He was also awarded “Hot Chef” of the year by the National Restaurant Association in 2011 for his inspiring flavor combinations and adventurous use of ingredients.
Jeremy’s next challenge came when he accepted the position as the International Director of Culinary and Menu Development for Carlson Restaurants. He worked with International restaurant groups in over 30 countries developing menus and kitchen operations that could deliver high quality “American food.”
More recently, Jeremy joined a restaurant group and is currently the managing partner/executive chef of Benny’s on the Beach, Lake Worth Florida. Historically located on the Lake Worth pier, it has been a staple in the community, located directly on the beach for over 25 years. Using his fresh perspective, his focus is on improving ingredient quality, the overall menu and experience for the Guests, while maintaining the beloved character and authenticity of the establishment.
This past month, Chef Jeremy was featured on the Food Network appearing on Beat Bobby Flay. Although the final judges did not award Jeremy the win, the audience response disagreeing with the final decision was so overwhelming; the network is scheduling a rematch this year. Chef Jeremy was chosen by the network for his fresh culinary perspective and creativity with seafood.
Adam Koch, Lilo’s – Lake Worth
Relocated from Columbus, OH to Hollywood Beach, FL at the age of 5, Chef Adam Koch was exposed to a variety of cuisines such as French-Canadian, Caribbean as well as a wide spectrum of regional Latin cuisines from Colombian to Cuban. Raised by a single mother who never had much time to spend in the kitchen, most meals were taken at local eateries, giving young Adam a deep sentiment of comfort within the restaurant world.
Fast-forward two decades, he found employment as a porter at a busy Ft. Lauderdale Irish pub, changing kegs of beer and scrubbing pots. In down-time, cases of potatoes, carrots and onions needing to be prepared became the catalyst for a major change in Adam’s life, not just in job title but in lifestyle.Within months he developed the skills to cook on the line and prepare nightly specials, which became a joyful outlet for creativity. His competitive nature was instrumental in pushing him to seek new challenges in different kitchens; proficiency in all stations in high volume restaurants was sought with urgency. Almost like an addiction, his interest in all things culinary and skills became his biggest character asset, so when the opportunity presented itself to take on the role of executive chef at the in-development street food-inspired Lilo’s location in Lake Worth, there was no hesitation on Adam’s part. The chemistry and collaboration between owner Lindsay Lipovich and Adam was immediate.
With the guidance from Lindsay and the influence of Adam’s culinary skill, Lilo’s was made. The unique flavor combinations and heart in every dish has made this young family run operation a success. This won’t be the last you’ll see of Chef Adam.
Paul Niederman, SALT7
From Cooper City Florida.
Johnson and wales graduate n. Miami.
Did the show in honor of my late mother.
Got into culinary arts from my father, Albert. He was the executive chef for Hofstra university, eden rock in south beach as well as private restaurants in Florida.
Chefs that’s inspired me my dad, Gordon, Mario batali.
Inspiration comes from local ingredients, and my travels around the country.
Michael Schenk, Farmer’s Table
With over 34 years of experience, Chef Michael Schenk has an extensive, international culinary background. His career began in Germany, where he honed his craft as a Demi Chef Tourant, Chef De Cuisine and Executive Chef in Michelin-starred establishments, Feinkost Kȁefer and Hotel Königshof. After completing his Culinary Chef’s Master’s Degree from Germany, Schenk served as Chef de Cuisine/Executive Chef at the five-star luxury Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich.
Schenk left Germany to broaden his culinary talents in the United States, taking on New York City’s vibrant and demanding palates with the opening of Commonwealth Brewing Company as Executive Chef where he was featured on The Food Network’s Football Sunday Treats segment. As the Executive Chef at New York’s iconic Tavern on the Green, Schenk had the honor of preparing the traditional Pasta Feast for the prestigious New York Marathon. Continuing his tenure in New York, he worked alongside Rick Moonen at the well-known Oceana as the Chef de Cuisine for four years where they specialized in sustainable seafood and seasonal ingredients using local day boat fish.
In 2002, Schenk was tapped as Executive Chef at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, New York. He went on to run Fresh Meadow Country Club in Great Neck, New York as Executive Chef for nine years. In 2012, he headed south where he led the culinary division at the Polo Club of Boca Raton as the Executive Chef and later at Wycliffe Golf & Country Club in Wellington, where he used ingredients from the club’s private gardens. At the Polo Club of Boca Raton, he oversaw five different restaurants with nearly 100 employees. He implemented conscious cooking at the country clubs in order to please the various dietary preferences and restrictions including clean eating, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, low sodium and low fat.
As of September 2017, Schenk joined the Farmer’s Table team as Culinary Director. He brings decades of experience and a fresh take on the restaurant’s health conscious cuisine, which will in turn creatively enhance the Farmer’s Table’s dining experience.
Brad Costa, Okeechobee Steakhouse
Chef Brad Costa is a fourth generation chef who remembers cooking by the age of three. Costa grew up in Palm Beach County and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. In his 19 years of working in restaurants, he has traveled around the south, learning the art of cooking under top-notch chefs in New Orleans; Birmingham, Alabama, and right here in Lake Worth. “Food is the coolest thing in the world to me,” says Costa. “It’s always changing and that excites me.” When he’s not in the Okeechobee Steakhouse kitchen, Costa enjoys traveling to new places to eat and cook with locals.