Meet the panel of advisors behind Travel’s Best Summer Foods 2014. Our advisors have traveled the nation, and along the way, sampled some of the best cuisine our nation has to offer.
We've tapped the expertise of foodies, food photographers, food writers and TV hosts that know a thing or 2 about great food. From food photographers Peden+Munk, chef and TV co-host (Breaking Borders) Michael Voltaggio and Eater.com editor, Amy McKeever, our experts have determined the best summer foods in America.
Amy McKeever keeps tabs on what is happening in restaurants across America and the globe as the senior writer for Eater.com. She's fortunate that this role involves a lot of eating out in 3-Michelin-star restaurants, talking with world-class chefs about the power of a bakery to transform a neighborhood and researching the newest and hottest shops for purchasing your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.
Though her focus is on restaurants and dining, Amy has a background in travel writing born out of her childhood as a Foreign Service brat. Her work has been published in National Geographic Traveler, AOL Travel, and she updated 2 iterations of the Fodor's guidebook to Northern Virginia and Washington DC's Maryland suburbs. You can occasionally find her on Twitter @AmyMcKeever.
Andrew Zimmern is a 3-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer and teacher; he is also regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the creator, host and co-executive producer of Travel Channel's hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World, he travels the globe, exploring food in its own terroir. In his latest series, Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, the widely-recognized host explores the bizarre foods and cultures in America’s own backyard. His mission is to help viewers understand the relationships we have with foods as wide-ranging as traditional ethnic foods, modern dishes born and bred by American innovation and the foods of the immigrant experience in our country.
Casey Barber is a nationally recognized food writer and photographer, as well as the author of Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand Name Treats. Barber is the editor of the online magazine Good. Food. Stories., which focuses on food from a storyteller’s perspective and features around-the-world restaurant recommendations, original recipes and wide-ranging essays.
Though her Western Pennsylvania upbringing will always make Casey crave Primanti’s sandwiches and Yost’s gobs, she is happy to now call northern New Jersey—with its famed “rippers” and the original White Manna sliders—home. Find her on Twitter at @GoodFoodStories.
4. Danielle Dimovski aka Diva Q
Danielle Dimovski aka Diva Q has a passion for barbecue that knows no boundaries; she lives breaths and eats barbecue. Diva Q travels all over North America competing in a variety of sanctioned barbecue competitions, writing about barbecue and eating anywhere barbecue is served. She has won hundreds of awards, multiples of Grand Championships and is a former World Champion of Pork and World Bacon Champion.
Danielle is currently the host of the Travel Channel hit TV show, BBQ Crawl, a lip-smacking mouth-watering adventure of all things barbecue. The show features barbecue joints from all over the US, the pitmasters' stories and, of course, fun competitions. She lives by the motto, "Life is too short for Bad BBQ! ®"
Chef Michael Voltaggio has successfully run kitchens for a number of esteemed chefs and restaurants, including Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg , CA, where he earned a Michelin Star, and The Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills, CA, where he was rewarded with a 4-Star review. In 2009, Voltaggio earned the title of Top Chef on Bravo TV’s Emmy Award-winning show. He has established a reputation for what critics herald as “serious” food that is also playful, visually stunning and flawlessly executed. Recently, GQ magazine named Voltaggio’s LA restaurant ink. the “Best New Restaurant in America,” in its March 2012 issue. He also opened ink.sack, a sandwich shop located a few doors down from ink. ink.sack has established itself as a staple in LA and can now be enjoyed by an international audience with a second location inside Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) newly-renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal. Follow Michael at @mvoltaggio.
Nevin Martell is a Washington DC-based writer whose work regularly appears in the Washington Post, Plate, Wine Enthusiast and NPR’s blog, The Salt. He is the author of 6 books, including the memoir-misadventure Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations (2014), The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink (2013) and the small-press smash, Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and his Revolutionary Comic Strip (2009). When he can budget the time and money, he loves nothing more than traveling with his wife and son. Right now, their collective bucket list includes Ghana, Iceland, Easter Island, Thailand and Morocco. Find him online at nevinmartell.com and on Twitter @nevinmartell.
Rani Robinson-Kiganda has over 12 years of experience in the media industry. In addition to working for TravelChannel.com as an online producer for 8 years, she has worked as an online producer, video editor and photo editor for FitTV.com, DiscoveryHealth.com, Discovery.com and TLC.com.
Today, Rani manages the TV shows content on TravelChannel.com, including Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Her role as managing producer requires her and her team to provide online support to all of Travel Channel’s shows, and to create original content for the interests section of travelchannel.com, as well as write weekly for the The Traveling Type blog.
Rani has been fortunate enough to sample the best cuisine around the world in places like Singapore, Senegal, Paris and Italy! When she’s not working, Rani is spending time with her husband and two children at the beach, or working on another passion of hers: creating websites for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Follow Rani and her food travel adventures @IAmCraftWeb.
Robin Bennefield is a freelance writer, award-winning digital media producer and author of the travel blog, robinshavewings.com. When she’s on the road, she likes to eat—a lot. Some of her favorite food experiences while traveling have been noshing on lychee from a roadside stand in Sri Lanka, eating taro-leaf wrapped lau lau in Honolulu and digging into a messy torta ahogada in Mexico City while donning a bib and plastic glove. She often shares her travel stories with TravelChannel.com. But she also has written for Discovery.com, TVOne.tv, Ebony.com, and anyone else who likes a good travel yarn. You can drool over her food photos on Instagram and follow her on Twitter.
Robyn Lindars is the fire-obsessed foodie behind GrillGrrrl.com, where she has grilled everything from cocktails to mango cobbler. She hosts quarterly “Women’s Grilling Clinics” in South Florida to show women why grilling is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while making healthy, flavorful dishes (that actually create less dishes!). Robyn has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped Grillmasters and the Cooking Channel’s Foodography. Her recipes have been featured in The Huffington Post, Esquire, Women’s Health, Big Green Egg Lifestyle, The Miami Herald and USA Today. She currently owns 9 grills and counting.
10. Taylor Peden and Jen Munkvold
PEDEN + MUNK (Jen Munkvold and Taylor Peden) met at Art Center and having been working together as a photography team for over 8 years. They have studios on both the East and West Coasts and take photos extensively while on location, shooting food, farms/gardens, travel/lifestyle and portraits. Peden + Munk shoot in a very narrative way and love to focus on process and details while capturing the soul of the environment and surrounding elements. They contribute to Bon Appetit, Afar, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Martha Stewart Living and Glamour magazines.