Local Hospitality Pros that are being celebrated as part of the Top 100 influencers in Orange County are (drum roll please):
Brad Kominek, head brewer at Noble Ale Works in Anaheim, earned gold medals for the same beer at two top competitions. This year, Noble Ale Works’ Imperial IPA, Nobility was awarded a gold medal at the World Beer Cup and at the Great American Beer Festival in a highly competitive category. Kominek, 37, of Santa Ana, also brewed for charity, raising more than $10,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides Walk with his We Love Lucy IPA, created specifically for the fundraiser. (Courtesy of Noble Ale Works)
Ed Lee, 55, of Irvine, was already celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wahoo’s Fish Taco, the fast casual he founded with his brothers Mingo Lee and Wing Lam, when the James Beard Foundation called to invite them to host a dinner at the swanky Manhattan venue that typically hosts fine dining chefs. (Courtesy of Ed Lee)
Joe Manzella, is the owner of TAPS Brewery and Barrel Room which opened to the public in July. The head brewer is Kyle Manns. Founder-owner of the Catch and Taps restaurants, Manzella has stepped up to become a bigger player in the brewery biz, ramping up to 5,000 barrels a year with plans to up that to 25,000 to supply his restaurants, other restaurants and retailers. This year he reopened Taps in Brea and a 19,000-square-foot tasting room in Tustin with a massive tank room, dedicated food truck, bar, wine tasting and soju cocktails.
Gabbi Patrick worked at her parents’ Mexican restaurants since a kid and was a GM by the time she was a teen. She decided to attend culinary school and eventually founded Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, an exceptional restaurant. This year she opened Chaak, a cutting-edge dining room specializing in modern Yucatecan cuisine, in old town Tustin, an area undergoing a revival.