June 25, 2018

June 25, 2018


June 25, 2018

The Fourth Dinner


In benefit of SEAMAAC

SEAMAAC’s mission is to support and serve immigrants and refugees and other politically, socially and economically marginalized communities as they seek to advance the condition of their lives in the United States.


Seats are limited and non-refundable
Doors open at 6:30pm
Dinner commences at 7pm



Joncarl Lachman
Noord Eetcafe and The Dutch

After years of following his passions for travel (33 countries) and linguistics (4 languages), Joncarl Lachman turned to settling down and acheiving a life long goal of restaurant ownership.
A graduate of New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education, Lachman was the winner of the inauguaral “San Pelligrino Almost Famous Chef” Award in 2002. He has worked under the tutelage of Nora Pouillon (Washington DC “Restaurant Nora”) and in NYC, Anne Rosenzweig (of Arcadia and Lobster Club) who remains a trusted friend and mentor.

In 2005 he opened HB Home Bistro, a 42-seat Michelin Ranked New American Restaurant in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. 2010 saw the opening of his second restaurant Vincent, where he was able to express his love for his Dutch heritage and serve modern takes on the cuisines of Amsterdam.

Returning to his hometown of Philadelphia had always been in the plans. Five years ago, Lachman opened NOORD eetcafe, an homage to classic Northern European bistro fare with an extensive smoked fish program and a big slice of Gezelligheid. Two years ago, Lachman, in partnership with Lee Styer of Fond, opened The Dutch, a breakfast and brunch spot in the heart of Pennsport, Philadelphia.

Ari Miller
Lost Bread Co.

Not so much a chef, as a vagabond with a knife, Ari Miller found a love for food as a kid eating deli, well-done lamb chops, and caviar. After some years as a Tel Aviv-based journalist – including tenure as food writer for an English-language newspaper there – he spent his first day in the professional kitchen cleaning kilos upon kilos of fresh sardines pulled that morning from the sea. A hop, skip, and jump later he returned to Philly and is now chef at Lost Bread Co, where he answers questions like, “Why does a bakery need lamb heads?” I mean, if you have to ask…

Andrew Wood

In 2012, Chefs Andrew and Kristin Wood opened Russet, a casual, intimate, farm-to-table BYOB located in a charming 1800s-era brick townhome in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Together they work closely with farmers and growers, many of whom they know on a personal level to select the finest offerings to design their constantly changing menu. At Russet, The Woods are known for their new American cuisine with nods to northern Italian and southern French flavors and techniques.

Their farm partners, primarily located within 100 miles of the restaurant, include the Brendle family’s Green Meadow Farm, which has dedicated an acre field to supplying Russet, as well as Erdenheim Farm, a sustainable farm that has been operating since the days of William Penn. The Woods also use Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op, representing 70-plus growers, including those who raise Tamworth-Old Spot blend pigs exclusively for Andrew. When the necessity for sourcing beyond these and other local purveyors arises, they always seek out sustainable, organic and/or fair trade products.

Before opening Russet, Chefs Andrew and Kristin Wood held positions in other top kitchens across the country, including Napa Valley, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. They also spent time cooking in France and Italy before returning to Philadelphia. Working alongside some of the most gifted and well-respected chefs, Andrew honed his abilities in animal butchery and hand-shaping pasta, as well as art of sourcing ingredients locally and cooking with the seasons, skills that influence the seasonal fare the couple prepare and serve at Russet. Kristin baked her first batch of cookies at five years old and her first pie at seven. She followed her life-long passion and earned a degree in baking and pastry from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She is also an experienced cheese monger.

Diana Widjojo

Diana Widjojo attended the Art Institute of New York City for Culinary & Management. Food has always been the center of her life and focus. Diana grew up in an open minded environment and learned to appreciate different cuisines from many places. Living in New York City and trying different cuisines from around the globe, she learned how to appreciate every dish, and from that, learned how to appreciate my own ethnic cuisine. The fact that Indonesian food was not known at all inspired Diana to think of ways to introduce it to more people. Ever since Diana and her sisters were young they would help their mother prepare different foods for her catering. They watched their mother work so hard and receive so much joy to be cooking for people that loved her food. Seeing that made Diana and her sisters want to do the same. Diana has worked in many different types of restaurants from hipster fast food in uptown Manhattan to fine dining off 5th Avenue, trying to learn as much as she could. Diana moved to Philadelphia to work at Noord to expand her knowledge of Indonesian cuisine. In February 2017, Diana and her sisters took ownership of Hardena, working tirelessly to introduce Indonesian cuisine and culture to the general public.

Nima Etemadi
Cake Life Bake Shop

Nima Etemadi grew up in Canada after his family immigrated from Iran under dramatic circumstances. Growing up and now, he feels that eating and making Persian food was always the best way to reconnect with his roots. His upbringing as an immigrant to North America also formed his food lens as an intrigued outsider who was inspired by it all, particularly French cuisine and foodways of the American South. Later, he attended culinary school and spent time working in kitchens and catering, but finally decided cooking on a line wasn’t for him. He then enrolled in Sarah Lawrence College where he met his best friend and future business partner, Lily Fischer. After college, he landed a job as assistant editor at Aperture, a photography magazine, but office life gave way to another round in culinary school – this time at the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center) to study pastry arts. After that, he moved to Philadelphia to start Cake Life (first based in Globe Dye Works building) and later opened Cake Life Bake Shop with Fischer.

Ange Branca
Saté Kampar

Angelina Branca

Ange grew up in her grandmother’s kitchen where she learned the traditional techniques of Malaysian cooking, a cuisine that bears the influence of multiple cultures dating back to the 14th century when Malaysia was a spice trading hub. Though she grew up in a culinary family, she spent the first part of her career in business consulting, which landed her in the US. After years of living abroad, her nostalgia for the flavors of home coupled with what she perceived as a dying appreciation for humble Malaysian cuisine back home inspired Ange to open Saté Kampar, a restaurant focusing on saté (skewered meat grilled on coconut shell charcoal) and traditional Malaysian cooking made from scratch. The restaurant quickly became one of Philly’s top restaurants and was nominated for the James Beard Award.

The diversity of food and culture that Ange grew up with in Malaysia inspired the Muhibbah Dinners. From the open kitchen at Saté Kampar, she watches diners from different backgrounds enjoy dinner served in both halal and non-halal preparations: everyone feeling at home, comfortable and happy. The true feeling of Muhibbah — when people of multiple cultures, races and religions come together in peace and tolerance — is best appreciated when a good meal is shared. Ange started Muhibbah Dinners to bring together chefs of different backgrounds and cultures to celebrate the diversity with diners in Philadelphia.

John Peralta
Frog Commissary

Chef John Peralta is the Executive Chef of Frog Commissary at the Franklin Institute. He was the founder and owner of Roast Cebu Lechon, Philadelphia’s first and only mobile food truck specializing in a whole roasted pig cooked in the style of Cebu, a province of the Philippines known to produce one of the worlds best Lechon. John was encouraged by his high school cooking class teacher to attend The Culinary Institute of America. He attained his bachelors degree there in 2004. Soon after, John decided to stay in New York City for the next 8 years working for Top Of The Square Catering in Washington Square Park. In 2012, he moved home to Philadelphia and ran the Barnes Foundation, creating dishes inspired by the foundation’s art. Passionate about food and family, he focuses on the simplicity of food and how contrasting flavors bring out the best in simple ingredients. His Filipino culture allows him to adapt different techniques and flavors paired with his classical training to create new ideas that he applies when he cooks.


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