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Ligaya Figueras is the food and dining editor and lead dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Prior to joining the AJC in 2015, Ligaya served as the executive editor for St. Louis-based culinary magazine Sauce. Her publishing career spans 20 years, with the last half dedicated to food writing.
Melissa Long is delighted to return as a Taste of Atlanta host in 2019. Melissa is an Emmy award winning journalist pursuing her passion for entrepreneurship as a founding member of Ground News.
Prior to the world of startups, she served as an anchor/reporter with Atlanta’s NBC station. Earlier in her career, Melissa was a correspondent for Bloomberg TV based in Hong Kong, Sydney and New York. She was previously an anchor/reporter with CNN, HLN and CNN.com.
Melissa graduated from Syracuse University and was awarded an MBA from the University of Rochester.
Melissa lives in Atlanta with her husband and two young children.
The culinary students at Miller Grove High School are making a mark on Atlanta, having just won 'Best Wing' at Springer Mountain Farms Southern Wing Showdown. Guests will get to see their kitchen chops at Taste of Atlanta as they compete to win a challenging cooking competition - best twist on a chicken dish!
Chef Dorian Hunter - Season 10 winner of Master Chef and the first African American female winner in the show's history - is bringing her trophy back to her hometown Atlanta to wow everyone with the elevated southern flavors that secured her win. She'll be teaching a seasonal classic: Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Bacon.
Registered Dietician Marisa Moore of Sprouts Farmers Market will lead the audience through her favorite plant-based recipes that will turn even the most discerning meat lover into a fan of veggies.
Chef Will Brown of Wills Way Creole Kitchen will bring his signature spice and flare to Taste of Atlanta and debunk the myth that creole cooking is laborious and time consuming. Guests will learn how to prepare Chicken Etouffee for a weeknight meal in this demo.
Guests will watch along as acclaimed cookbook author and chef Jennifer Hill Booker demonstrates how to make Pecan Crusted North Georgia Trout with Ellijay Mushroom Ragout. Made with a few of her favorite Georgia Grown ingredients, this delectable fall dish is one you shouldn't pass up.
Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler and Emory University Hospital Midtown Dietician Beth Boyett are taking center stage to debunk common myths about peanuts and speak to the amazing nutritional punch the little nut packs. Festivalgoers can stop by to learn something new and try tastings of Southern Peanut Soup.
Atlanta Breakfast Club is arguably one of the busiest restaurants in downtown Atlanta, with 2-hour waits being the norm on weekends. Chef Anthony Sanders will show what the fuss is about when he demos his Pork Belly French Toast Taco with Georgia Peaches, Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Truffled Maple Syrup.