Cupcake Smash 2013 Judge Bios
MEET THE JUDGES
Philadelphia-transplant Nima Etemadi, formerly assistant editor of Aperture magazine, is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute’s Classic Pastry Arts program and the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. In his spare time, Nima lounges on bear-skin rugs and eats pomegranates.
Native Philadelphian Lily Fischer worked as a preschool teacher before graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia’s Baking and Pastry Program and founding A Cupcake Wonderland in 2009. In her spare time, Lily tames her South Philly jungle-garden and fries scrapple.
Whipped Bakeshop is the brainchild of Philadelphia artist Zoë Lukas. Zoë’s love of baking was born as a child among her food-loving family. All family gatherings revolve around food, talking about what was eaten, what is being eaten, and what will be whipped up next.
Zoë has a degree in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her paintings have appeared in numerous shows. Zoë’s love of art and baking combined when she moved to Philadelphia in 2003 and worked for three of the top bakeries in the city, all the while continuing to create her own treats for friends and family. In 2007, she decided to take the plunge and start Whipped Bakeshop. Zoë vows never to work in a cubicle again!
Tony Luke Jr.
Tony Luke Jr. was born Anthony Lucidonio Jr. Raised in South Philadelphia, he was a drama major and a music minor at the high school for creative and performing arts (CAPA). After high school, while performing in local theater, Tony’s interests swayed more and more toward music. Tony began to get more involved in the writing and singing of music in the 80s. He wrote songs for Brandi Wells and Motown artist AC Black. He also wrote and performed songs in his own groups such as “Off The Streets”, “AJ Spats”, and “Too Cool Project”.
In 1992 he opened up a sandwich shop in South Philadelphia, with his father, Tony, and his brother, Nicholas, called Tony Luke’s. While doing local commercials for his store, Tony was once again bitten by the acting bug. In 1997 Tony decided to pursue his acting career again.
Since the launch of her career in radio, she has bounced across the country and back working in Georgia, North and South Carolina, Nevada, and now Philadelphia. As the assistant program director at 104.5, Rollins helps run the station, organizes studio sessions and giveaways, keeps up with the website and works on the Live at 5 sessions, a weekly studio session for local bands. She also does a lot of the band and artist interviews for the station and hosts a weekday show from noon to 6 pm.
Caroline Russock is the food editor for Philadelphia’s City Paper. The local food writer has been a contributor and “Cook the Book” columnist for Serious Eats and now oversees the alt-weekly’s dining blog, Meal Ticket.
Tommy Up was well known in Philadelphia as a party and nightlife promoter as owner of Paper Street before opening his first bar and restaurant, P.Y.T. It was his love for California style burgers that led him to develop the space as not just a bar and dance floor, but a full-fledged restaurant. P.Y.T has since become one of the most popular burger joints in Philadelphia.
Most recently Up opened the craft cocktail bar, Emmanuelle, also located in the Piazza at the Schmidts.
Chef Nathan Volz
The finest local and sustainable ingredients inspire Chef Nathan Volz of 10 Arts. Bringing over a decade of experience to his role, Volz is introducing updated menus of the restaurant’s refined, modern American cuisine.
Being a top toque was not always in the cards for Chef Volz. An Illinois native, he studied accounting in college before deciding to return to his first calling. Having cooked alongside his mother from a young age and having worked in restaurants since age 16, Chef Volz went on to attend Le Cordon Bleu. Prior to serving as 10 Arts’ sous chef, he was the chef de cuisine for 2 West at The Ritz-Carlton, New York, Battery Park. Chef Volz has also held positions at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.