Chef Tapped For OC Trade Expo

Chef Tapped For OC Trade Expo

OCEAN CITY — Plans are underway for the 39th Annual Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Trade Expo which will be held on March 3 & 4, 2013 at the Ocean City Convention Center.

The newly expanded Ballroom, featuring floor to ceiling windows overlooking Assawoman Bay, will provide a stunning backdrop for DC Chef Mike Isabella, who will appear on stage in the Culinary Corner on Sunday, March 3 at noon and following his cooking demo will be available to sign his new “Crazy Good Italian” cookbook.  

Isabella is a Washington, D.C.-based chef and restaurateur, owner of Italian-inspired small plates restaurant, Graffiato, and partner of Bandolero, a modern Mexican concept in the heart of Georgetown.

Before opening Graffiato, Isabella was the executive chef of Jose Andres’ Zaytinya. During his three-year tenure, he generated accolades and national attention for Washington, D.C.’s Mediterranean powerhouse restaurant.

Isabella’s formal training began at The Restaurant School in New York, taking classes and cooking his way through some of New York City’s finest establishments. After honing his skills in the Big Apple, he travelled down the coast to Philadelphia, first as a sous chef for James Beard award winner Douglas Rodriguez at Alma de Cuba, then a host of other Stephen Starr restaurants. At El Vez, Isabella learned the true craft of Latin cuisine under the direction of Jose Garces, and as Executive Sous Chef of Marcus Samuelsson’s Washington Square, Isabella educated himself on the art of opening a fine dining establishment.

Outside the kitchen, Isabella appeared on Season Six of Top Chef and he was the runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars. In 2013, Isabella plans to open Greek concept, Kapnos, and Italian sandwich shop, G. These will be his third and fourth restaurants in Washington, D.C.

"I’m extremely excited to have Chef Isabella coming to Ocean City and I’m certain he will ‘wow’ the crowd," said Expo Director Susan Jones.

The OCHMRA Trade Expo has grown to be one of the area’s premier industry events. It is the place for hospitality industry buyers and sellers to meet. Attendees have the opportunity to experience what will be tomorrow’s hottest trend and to do one-stop shopping on the spot.  This face-to-face interaction provides a valuable, efficient and cost-effective opportunity to engage buyers and sellers. Rather than going door-to-door and cold calling, this regional Expo is a great way for exhibitors to generate leads in just two days.

Additionally, the Culinary Corner will feature some of the region’s finest chefs doing demonstrations throughout the show. Maryland DNR Seafood Marketing Director Steve Vilnit, is lining up a talented cast to showcase the many gifted chefs in our backyards. Vilnit will also be on hand to discuss the species being prepared as the chefs share their preparation techniques.

"This will be a real learning experience and inspiration for many," said Expo Event Manager Amy Tingle.  

As details emerge, complete event schedules will be posted on the Expo show site.

Expo hours are Sunday, March 3 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Monday, March 4 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The Expo is limited to the trade only; to attend, guests must be in the lodging or dining business, or a liquor store, convenience store, cafeteria, nursing home, hospital or school. Exhibitors and attendees must be 21 to attend. For all the details, click to

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.