Meet the Celebrities

Celebrity Hosts

Mary Ann Esposito

Mary Ann Esposito

Mary Ann is the creator and host of the nationally televised PBS series, Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito and the author of 13 cookbooks including her most recent, Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy.

This year, the series celebrates its milestone 30th year of production; making it America’s longest running televised cooking series.

Through Ciao Italia and appearances on other programs including The Today Show, the Food Network, Discovery Channel, Fox, RAI International, The Victory Garden, and many others, she has shared traditional Italian cooking, history and culture with audiences around the world. Mary Ann has worked beside world-renowned chefs like Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin.

Evan Hennessey

Evan is the Chef/Owner of STAGES at One Washington and THE LIVING ROOM, in Dover, NH. A Dover native and a student at Le Cordon Bleu at the Atlantic Culinary Academy, Evan has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens across the country including Aureole, Trio, Café Boulud, Clio, and Per Se. Locally, he was the Executive Chef at 43 Degrees North and The Dunaway Restaurant before opening Stages.

In 2014, he was named StarChefs Coastal New England Rising Star Chef and a semi-finalist for James Beard’s Best Chef, Northeast. Evan is a 3-time Chopped Champion on the Food Network’s nationally acclaimed cooking competition show.


Celebrity Chefs

David Crinieri

Current Position: Culinary Director, Tuscan Brands
Salem, NH

David grew up outside of New York City in a large Italian family. His love for cooking was inspired by his grandfather, with who he worked closely by making homemade sauces for family dinners. In his teen years, David then moved to New Hampshire and began working as a dishwasher, quickly moving up to line cook and eventually sous chef. He worked as the Executive Chef at Tuscan Kitchen in Portsmouth, NH for six years and transferred to the position of Culinary Director for the brand in 2019. He also competed in and won the 2016 Steel Chef Challenge to benefit the NH Food Bank.

Jay Curcio

Current Position: Executive Chef/Owner, White Apron Catering
Dover, NH

Jay graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and during his time there, completed an internship at Restaurant Spiaggia in Chicago under the guidance of James Beard award recipient Paul Bartolotta. Upon his graduation from the CIA, he worked at the Charlestown Figs restaurants in MA and then transferred to L’Espalier, where he worked under James Beard award-winning chef Frank McClelland. He became sous chef at Ascari in Braintree, MA, and then opened his own business, White Apron, in 2004. He is the current owner and executive chef.

Julie Cutting

Current Position: Executive Chef/Owner, CURE Restaurant
Portsmouth, NH

Julie knew she wanted to open her own restaurant the day she began culinary school back in 2004 at the Atlantic Culinary Academy. Growing up, she got her first cooking experience on her grandmother’s canning farm in rural New Hampshire. Since then, she has also attended the famous Cordon Bleu Culinary School, competed on multiple episodes of Chopped, and got to the final round of Cutthroat Kitchen. Cutting prides herself on creating a restaurant environment where every customer is greeted with a smile and leaves feeling satisfied.

Dave Vargas

Current Position: Chef/Owner, Vida Cantina
Portsmouth, NH

Dave is a two-time James Beard-nominated chef (2019, 2020), is the current owner and executive chef at Vida Cantina, which is also co-owned by Jay McSharry, owner of Vida Tortilla and Ore Nell’s BBQ. Dave is originally from Southern California, where his family owned a taqueria, which is where Dave’s love of cooking came to life. Dave makes sure to bring flavors from his Mexican heritage to the menu at Vida Cantina with fresh and local ingredients. Dave has earned countless awards for his dishes at Vida, including ones from Boston Magazine, the Boston Globe, Taste Magazine, etc.