OCEAN CITY — Back by popular demand, Shaun O’Neale, winner of MasterChef season 7, will entertain the audience with his charming personality and sharp culinary skills on both days of the 45th Annual Ocean City Hotel & Restaurant Trade Expo.
O’Neale’s initial obsession was music and he disc jockeyed lots of famous parties in Vegas, however, one thing has remained constant for him through the crazy years — his absolute obsession with all things food. He has had the honor to cook for and learn from true masters in the culinary world like Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi, Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, Richard Blais, Aaron Sanchez, Edward Lee and Kevin Sbraga, which intensified O’Neale’s passion in the kitchen. Transitioning from DJ to chef was a fairly simple task for him.
As a DJ, he mixes music to create a new beat that is all his own and as a chef, he mixes farm ingredients, items from produce vendors and meat suppliers and turns them into something unique. Though he has been traveling around the globe showcasing his talents, Shaun remains humble. He cites perseverance as a way to get things accomplished. His latest passion is following his idea to open a Vegas restaurant. Come meet Shaun O’Neale as he entertains at the Trade Expo on Sunday and Monday at noon. Following his cooking demos, he’ll do meet and greets.
Food Network Chopped Champion Chef David Thomas will appear on Monday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m. on the Culinary Showcase Stage. Thomas is currently the executive chef and partner at Ida B’s Table, located in Baltimore where he was born and raised. His love for food developed at a young age when he watched his grandmother cook for hours. In the 90’s is when he and wife Tonya started catering and continued working in industry restaurants. In 2000, in his pursuit to elevate his skills, he went to work for Master Chef Kevin Zabonick. Under Zabonick, Thomas learned classic techniques and every aspect of the brigade system one station at a time. Soon after his training was completed, he became executive chef at the Metropolitan Kitchen/Lounge in Annapolis. There he developed his signature style as a chef; Modern Soul Food.
In 2012, Thomas, along with his business partner opened Herb & Soul, a farm to table, local and sustainable Café. The demand for Herb & Soul grew to the point that he opened another location, developed a catering program, and launched a food truck. After Herb & Soul ran its course, Thomas became a consultant and helped open restaurants. His consulting work led him to a concept that would become Ida B’s Table. He was brought on as a partner in order to create something in Baltimore that was for Baltimore. Sticking with the local and sustainable model of modern soul food, he built the restaurant and menu from the ground up focusing on highlighting the history and importance of soul food. Ida B’s Table has become nationally recognized in multiple publications including Food and Wine, Gardens & Gun, Eater, and Life & Thyme. Thomas’s goal is to reclaim the narrative of soul food on a national platform starting with Baltimore.