2019 JUDGES TO BE ANNOUNCED!
KARI CROWE SEHER
Kari Crowe Seher is a dreamer, a doer and an entrepreneur. She worked as a photographer documenting intimate moments for six years before discovering her love of the food sector. In 2014, she turned in her camera for an ice cream spade and opened the city’s first local ice cream shop. Her greatest joy is seeing how food can foster community.
Kari is the founder and owner of MELT ice creams a local ice cream shop in Fort Worth, Texas, that believes ice cream can change the world one scoop at a time. When she’s not dreaming up ice cream flavors or her next adventure she can be found cuddled up with her seven year old boxer and husband reading in their 1920s bungalow.
Russell Kirkpatrick is the general manager of Reata, one of Fort Worth’s most iconic restaurants, as well as the executive director and co-founder of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival.
For over the last decade, Russell has been an integral part of Reata, which is recognized throughout the Southwest for legendary cuisine and casual elegance. From the expansive dining room on the ground floor to the rooftop bar and dining patio, this 20,000-square-foot restaurant continues to set the standards for the Fort Worth dining scene, and Russell plays a significant role in its success.
In the spring of 2014, Russell helped raise the profile of the Fort Worth culinary community to new heights as executive director and co-founder of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival. Russell’s passion and dedication laid the foundation for the festival, and he was the creative force behind the festival’s popular events and programs. Over four days, thousands of patrons celebrated the city’s culinary excellence at a wide range of venues, from Billy’s Bob’s to Bass Performance Hall, from Sundance Square to Edwards Ranch. As executive director, Russell was privileged to work with and direct some of Fort Worth’s most prominent chefs and artisans, including Richard King, Fritz and Erin Rahr, Troy Robertson, Jon Bonnell and many others. He worked closely with sponsors and partners, and led a dedicated group of volunteers who helped bring together the largest festival of its kind in Fort Worth history. Without question, the festival has helped further Fort Worth’s reputation as a culinary force in the Southwest and the U.S.
Richard King is co-owner, general manager and wine aficionado at Ellerbe Fine Foods, the award-winning farm-to-table restaurant and market located in Fort Worth’s Near Southside district. Richard is a native of Shreveport, La., but he has called Fort Worth home since 1994, when he enrolled at TCU, majoring in communications and business, graduating in 1998.
In 2008, after a long career in the restaurant industry starting as busboy, then front-of-house operations and management, and finally sales and consulting, Richard opened Ellerbe Fine Foods with childhood friend and fellow food and wine enthusiast, Chef Molly McCook. While Chef McCook produces Ellerbe’s award-winning dishes and seasonal menus, Richard develops the wine list and manages the restaurant, working the dining rooms almost every night to ensure his diners’ absolute satisfaction at Fort Worth’s finest restaurant. As a result, Ellerbe Fine Foods has earned a variety of notable awards, including Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant in America, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year, and has twice won Open Table’s Diner’s Choice Award for Top 100 American Fare Restaurants in the US, among others.
Richard extends his passion for Fort Worth, food, wine and hospitality beyond the walls of Ellerbe, giving back time, energy, and Ellerbe services to a multitude of local charities. In particular, he serves as a founding board member of the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival, as a member of the BRIT Fête du Vin International Wine judging committee, and on the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. He’s also worked closely with the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau since Ellerbe’s opening day to help the CVB shine a spotlight on Fort Worth culinary scene and community, encouraging tourism to and media attention Fort Worth. Richard, a proud Horned Frog, shares his extensive wine knowledge with the TCU community when he teaches classes through the Extended Education program. He also regularly hosts wine dinners and wine tastings with other local oenophiles in the Fort Worth market.
Richard and Chef McCook founded Ellerbe Fine Foods on the premise of fresh, seasonal, local food and wine, the success of which depends on strong relationships with farmers and purveyors. The Ellerbe owners source their food and boutique wines responsibly, working tirelessly to promote local farmers to the community, bringing awareness to the farmers’ products through Ellerbe cuisine to therefore help to ensure the farms’ success.