2017 Ribs for Kids Judges
Laurie Figone is an award-winning chef, TV personality, and author. She has won top honors in numerous national and international recipe/cook-off competitions including the Gilroy Garlic Festival’s ‘So You Think You Can Cook with Garlic’, Bob’s Red Mill ‘Spar for the Spurtle’, the 19th Annual World Porridge Making Championship in Scotland, Taste of Home recipe contest, the 1st Annual Cook-Off Before Kick-off, and most recently winning the World Food Championship Dessert Category. Laurie has been featured on the TODAY Show as a Top 3 Finalist in their Burger Battle, and was spotlighted by celebrity chef Paula Dean in the Real Women of Philadelphia contest. She has also been a guest numerous times on FOX 40-TV in Sacramento, CA and has appeared on CBS’s Good Day Sacramento. She recently worked with KTVU Channel 2 in Oakland, CA as a frequent guest chef for their cooking segments.
Laurie has been the featured chef for the last five years at the Sonoma County Fair performing three daily cooking demonstrations, has been a guest speaker at the California Women for Agriculture Annual Convention, and has been a food columnist for the Sonoma County Farm Bureau for three years. From January, 2011 to December, 2013 Laurie hosted her own cooking show on Petaluma Community Access, Cooking With Laurie Figone. The program followed Laurie as she visited local growers/producers and then back to her kitchen where she created culinary masterpieces.
Houston is a local food aficionado and writer for the Petaluma Argus-Courier (among others), bringing years of experience to the panel as a third-time returning Ribs for Kids judge!
"As a certified Kansas City BBQ Society judge, and food writer, I am invited to judge many food and drink events, from chili cook-offs to pizza challenges, to beer competitions, but the Ribs for Kids event is my favorite, by far. Not only does it help a great local cause, but my fellow judges are a genuine pleasure to work with. But best of all, the ribs at this competition are the best I get to judge all year, and that includes judging KCBS competitions, which draw in national competitors. Apparently, Petaluma’s backyard barbecuers know a thing or two about turning out great ribs." June 18th, 2017- Petaluma360.com
We're proud to welcome back returning Ribs for Kids judge Mike Harris! Mike is the Senior Vice President of CrossCheck, Inc., a National Payment Guarantee Company based in Petaluma, and served on the City Council for the City of Petaluma from Jan 2003-Jan 2015. Mike was elected to the City Council in 2002 as one of the youngest Councilmen ever elected in Petaluma, and was re-elected to the City Council as the top vote-getter in both 2006 and 2010. Mike served as the Vice Mayor of Petaluma in 2005 and has served on many boards and commissions during his tenure, including the Transit Advisory Committee for Petaluma (Chairman from 2009-2010), the Technology & Telecommunications Committee (Chairman from 2008-2009), the Petaluma Youth Commission (Chairman 2013) and the Airport Commission to name a few. In 2010, he was honored as one of the top 40 business leaders under 40 years old by the North Bay Business Journal.
Mike currently serves on the Petaluma Educational Foundation Board of Directors and the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, currently serving the Chamber as Vice President of its board. He also serves on the Friends of the Santa Rosa Junior College Trust (Petaluma Campus) and currently serves as its Chairman. In addition, Mike is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Petaluma Valley Hospital Foundation. Mike has also served on the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum Board of Directors
Dan is the President of the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce, an avid community volunteer, Rotarian, and amateur BBQ critic- returning for his second time as a judge for Ribs for Kids! Dan works for Bank of Marin as a Commercial Banking Officer/VP. He was named to the North Bay Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2014. Dan and his wife recently took a road trip across the U.S. They made it a point to enjoy the varying style of BBQ as they journeyed through the southern states – particularly enjoying the Memphis BBQ ribs and North Carolina pulled pork. Dan grew up learning in his grandmother’s kitchen and enjoys spending time in the kitchen with his wife Megan – she’s a phenomenal cook!
Nariman is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations for Xandex, Inc., a technology and manufacturing company that settled in Petaluma in 1984. Nariman is a supporter of numerous non-profits and is returning for his third time as a judge for Ribs for Kids!
Born in Iran and raised in the U.S., Nariman has traveled extensively, but calls Northern California home- appreciating the food, beer, wine, and good life offered in Petaluma.
John Chase is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma, and returning judge from Ribs for Kids 2016! A graduate of Duke Divinity School, he served congregations in Seattle, WA, and Fairfield, CA, before moving to Petaluma with his wife, Tara, in 2013. When not busy saving souls, John enjoys reading comics, drinking coffee, watching Doctor Who, gardening, and cruising around in his '65 Volvo. He and Tara are regularly sighted downtown enjoying a great meal. "Petaluma is God's country - seriously - flowing with locally sourced, organic milk and honey. So many amazing restaurants! Being a judge for this competition...free ribs...well, that's just one of the many perks of being a pastor. And besides, who else are they gonna get to say grace before the meal?”
Chadwick is returning for his second year as a Ribs for Kids judge! A 14-year mortgage professional, handyman, and home-brewer, Chadwick fell in love with Petaluma and settled down here in 2011, serving as President of Active 20-30 Petaluma #30 from 2012-2013, and achieving Past Active Life status. Chadwick lives locally with his fiancée, two sons, and their three dogs, and is passionate about food, live music, and the Golden State Warriors.
Ana Keller has been at the helm of Keller Estate Winery since 1998. Her focus has been to produce the most desirable wines from the fruit that they grow on their family property, ensuring that future family generations can continue to benefit and contribute toward the land. Ana has been at the forefront of creating the Petaluma Gap AVA (American Viticultural Area). Her commitment to this effort is reflective of her passion and love for Sonoma County and, most importantly, Petaluma. We are pleased to welcome Ana back as a returning judge from Ribs for Kids 2016.