Cooks spotlight

Matt Pittman

Matt is a Live Fire Cooking expert and award-winning Pitmaster Meat Church BBQ; A unique BBQ brand offering BBQ seasoning, apparel, catering, recipes & instruction. Matt has appeared on the hit TV show BBQ Pitmasters and travels the world teaching and sharing his passion for BBQ.

John Henry

Growing up in East Texas where barbeque is king, John Henry has wonderful memories of summer picnics, country fairs and great barbeque. So East Texas flavor was what he had in mind when he created his award winning barbeque sauces, spices and rubs. He recently won first prize for his succulent brisket in his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas while participating in the Do-Dat Barbeque Cookoff. As head of the Culinary Service Department for the Houston Community College System, John has taught the masterful art of cooking for over twenty years before retiring in 2006. He oversaw the training for future cooks, chefs and caterers specializing in the preparation and application of spices, rubs and sauces. His students are nationally-acclaimed, award-winning chefs and most recently took Best of Show and numerous others awards at the Texas Restaurant Association Show held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. In addition to his many awards and degrees, John is also an active member of the Texas Chefs Association, and is certified as a culinary educator and executive chef. John Henry is known nationally and internationally for his culinary expertise. In 1989, John was asked to personally handle the presidential inaugural dinner. He put together a team of 19 chefs, traveled to Washington, and prepared barbeque for President Bush along with 20,000 guests attending the celebration. Later, John was asked to accompany the President to Beijing, China and prepare his barbeque.

Will Rivera

A native of Agua Dulce, Texas [pop. 828], Will Rivera grew up eating farm-to-table before it was a 'thing.' Between his mother's adventuresome repertoire of good home cooking, and his father's ability to prepare anything that came back from a hunting trip, they ate very well, indeed -- and it was not lost on young Will. The hunting culture, and a job at a butcher shop at age seventeen, brought out his talent for butchery while he was still in high school.

Rivera trained at the Culinary Program of the Art Institute of Dallas, working simultaneously at the Gaylord Texan as a prep cook; at age nineteen, he was banquet chef of the busy resort's Old Hickory Steakhouse. Heading north to Napa after graduation, he landed at Farm at The Carneros Inn, starting in pastry plating and working his way up to lead line cook before he returned to Texas. In San Antonio, he was hired as sous chef at Lüke, where, as luck would have it, his chef de cuisine was Steve McHugh. The two former farm boys started the restaurant's charcuterie program, an effort that prepared them well for their current venture: McHugh's acclaimed restaurant, Cured, star of the Pearl Brewery complex revival, where the centerpiece of the menu is the dazzling selection of house-cured meats. While the extensive renovations for Cured were underway, Rivera gained a year's experience as tournade at the Carmel Valley Ranch on the California coast.

Will Rivera is now chef de cuisine of Cured, where his focus is management and menu development, working hand-in-hand with chef Steve McHugh to bring dishes of exceptional purity, integrity, and goodness to the San Antonio public. His favorite? "I love anything and everything we do with lamb!" he reveals. "The lamb section of our menu is constantly evolving through the seasons, and whether it's a tartare with raw quail egg on toasted brioche, or braised with a wild mushroom ragoût, it's always my top pick."

Peter M. McFarlane

Peter graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.S., Resource Management. For several years he worked as a Paramedic, flight medic, and emergency room technician and as a professional ski patrol, slope medic, avalanche control expert and explosives expert in snow slope stabilization. Peter lived above the Arctic Circle in Alaska for nearly 3 years where he was a bush pilot, backcountry and river guide. He has been an avid technical rock climber, ice climber and high elevation mountaineer and scaled the highest point in North America, Denali Mt. in Alaska. Peter began his brewing career by brewing his 1st batch of beer on a wood burning stove in the north woods of Alaska and has been brewing every year since. In 1983, Peter founded the 1st homebrew club in Northern AZ. In 1989 he was a class officer and graduated from the Siebel Institute of Technology Diploma Course for Brewing Engineering. After completing internships at several national breweries, he took a position at Hops! Bistro & Brewery in Scottsdale AZ, as a Brewer and eventually becoming Head Brewer designing & installing four additional brewpubs. He co- founded the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and held positions as President and as Treasurer. In 1994 Peter was Co-Founder and Master Brewer at McFarlane Brewing Company, a 5000 bbl/year micro-brewery in Phoenix, AZ. From 2000 to 2003 Peter was Master Brewer and the sole employee of Leinenkugel's Ballpark Brewery (Miller Brewing Co.) maintaining all aspects of the brewery. Peter consulted with Rogue Ales for one year as Production Manager, Efficiencies Expert and new bottle plant designer. Peter then moved to Napa, CA. to work in small wine production and spent 5 years making small batch, artisanal wines holding positions as Cellar Master, Assistant Wine Maker, Lab Technician and Manager of Packaging. Currently Peter is the Master Brewer, VP Production and Co-Owner of the Pedernales Brewing Company in Fredericksburg, TX. Peter is a 23+ year, Veteran Judge, at the Great American Beer Festival and is an active member in the following organizations: MBAA, ASBC, BA, and TCBG. Peter continues to enjoy the great outdoors and after 25 years of fly fishing he still ties his own flies and travels the waters of North America looking for those elusive trout.