Meet the Chefs of the Taste of the Mountains Cooking School

Steffani Adaska, A Taste of the Mountains Cooking SchoolChef Steffani Adaska, School Director

Chef Steffani Adaska oversees the day to day operations of A Taste of The Mountains. Steffani began her culinary career in New Jersey at the age of 13 and has run several kitchens and catering businesses in NJ, NY and AZ. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion of food and has taught at King’s Cooking Studios in NJ as well as at Kennett High School Adult Education program here in the valley. She has overseen the Test Kitchen for Art Culinaire Magazine and currently does recipe testing for Clean Eating Magazine. Steffani is an active member of American Culinary Federation and Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. Steffani is an inventor, a serial entrepreneur, a Personal Chef. She is also chef/host of The Clean Plate w/Steffani, a local cooking show on Channel 3. Steffani has a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management and is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of American.



Kendra Stanley, A Taste of the Mountains Cooking SchoolChef Kendra Stanley

Kendra is a native of NH. She is a graduate of the highly regarded Balsam’s Culinary Apprenticeship Program, an intense 3½ year culinary program know for delivering top chefs. Chef Stanley earned two Gold Medals and one Silver Medal in competitions while attending the Balsam’s program. She is well traveled, working in several hotel kitchens throughout the US as an apprentice. After culinary school, Chef Stanley worked at The Ritz Carlton Cleveland for three years and then was an opening team member at Classic’s Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel, Cleveland, OH, where they achieved Four Star Four Diamond status in one year.

In addition to her passion for food, Kendra is extremely passionate about her family and friends. She reside in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.



Jonathan Spaks, A Taste of the Mountains Cooking SchoolChef Jonathan Spaks

Chef Jonathan Spak & his wife moved to the Mount Washington Valley in 2007 from CT. A graduate of Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Jonathan and his wife were able to realize their dream of owning their own inn & restaurant when they purchased The Oxford House Inn. They have established a close working relationship with the finest farms and artisan food producers in the area.

They have worked in kitchens across the US, including restaurants in CO, NY and RI. Their love of travel allows them to incorporate unique ethnic flavors and techniques into their seasonally changing menus!






Chef Gary Sheldon

Chef Gary Sheldon, CEC AAC ACE HGT

Chef Sheldon brings 48 years of Culinary experience to his job as Corporate Executive Chef of Sysco Foodservice, Northern New England. He is a Certified Executive Chef and one of only 700 members of the ACF Honor society American Academy of Chefs. As an approved Certification Evaluator he has the task of evaluating chefs who want to be Certified. Chef Sheldon is also 1 of only 100 Chefs in the country inducted into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.

He spent 17 years on the Board of Directors of the Balsam’s Apprenticeship School, 15 years working with High Schools competing in Skills USA, and is the competition Chairman for the State of Maine and New Hampshire for Pro-Start.

Chef Sheldon has twice been named N.H. Chef of the Year, and once Maine Chef of the Year. He has received 2 President Medals for Culinary Excellence, and has won over 20 competition awards at the State, Regional, and International levels.
Chef Sheldon is currently serving his 4th terms as President of the White Mountain Chapter of the American Culinary Federation.


Bryant Alden, A Taste of the Mountains Cooking SchoolChef Bryant Alden, CEC

Executive Chef and Co-Proprietor, The Chef's Market

Bryant Alden was born and raised on Cape Cod, MA. As a child he got his passion for cooking from his grandmother who cooked for affluent families who summered on the Cape. As a teenager, he spent his years cooking in various prestigious Cape Cod restaurants while attaining his culinary skills. Bryant spent the next few years living in Boston working for an upscale catering company that hosted events all over the city including Symphony Hall and JFK Library.

Over the past 20 years, Chef Bryant has taken numerous accredited courses offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and National Restaurant Association. He is a Certified Executive Chef. His extensive career as an Executive Chef and Consultant has taken him throughout New England. He has been an active member of the ACF since 1994 and was awarded the White Mountain Chapter “Chef of the Year” in 2004.

In 2005, Chef Bryant and his wife opened the Chef’s Market of North Conway. The Market is a unique specialty gourmet food market located in the quaint New England village of North Conway, New Hampshire. Chef Bryant’s personal chef services offer customized cuisine to please any palette. Whether your plans include an intimate dinner, relaxed buffet, cocktail party or holiday gathering, the Chef’s Market will ensure a memorable event. The Market offers a creative selection of fully prepared gourmet dishes, hearty sandwiches, homemade soups and salads. Everything from Chef Bryant’s kitchen is completely homemade using only the freshest of ingredients.



Josh Farrington, A Taste of the Mountains Cooking SchoolChef Josh Farrnington

Chef Josh Farrington is the innovative Executive Chef of the White Mountain Hotel & Resort. He is a native New Englander who was raised in Vermont. An active member of the White Mountains Chapter of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), Chef Josh is the distinguished winner of the ACF's “Chef's Pentathlon" competition in 2010 and was chosen “Chef of the Year” the chapter in 2012.






Bud Selmi, A Taste of the Mountains Cooking School

Bud Selmi, CSC

Bud became a Certified Sous Chef (CSC) through the American Culinary Federation (ACF) in. He was the Executive Chef at the Eagle Mountain House, in Jackson, NH a "Historic Hotel of America" for 5 years. In 1999 Bud was awarded the American Culinary Federations New Hampshire Chapter's "Chef of the Year" award. He also has held the positions of Chapter Secretary and Vice President as well as Chair Person for the Chef and Child program for over 12 years. Chef Bud has worked closely with the ACF, NH Chapter's Junior program.

In 2003 Chef Bud started Sizzlin Sauces LLC, an Award Winning Sauce Company that has won 61 National Awards including The Fiery Foods Challenge in Fort Worth, The Scovie Awards in Albuquerque, and The Hot Pepper Awards in New York City.

Sizzlin Sauces is America's #1 Award Winning Sauces!





Chef Cheryl EmersonChef Cheryl Emerson


 Cheryl Emerson is the Sous Chef at the Grand Summit Hotel at Attitash, Bartlett N.H.   Self- taught award-winning pastry chef, native of Bartlett N.H.  Chef Cheryl previously taught cooking classes at Taste of the Mountains Cooking School at the Bernerhof Inn.  Cheryl offers inventive & fun menus that surround the holidays.  Her focus is to utilize simple ingredients that can work with-in a tight budget.  Chef Cheryl also like to cook with “Power Foods” and New England Coastal Foods. She’s a member of the American Culinary Federation and of the Saco Valley Slow Foods chapter. She hosts the Fields on the Saco Dinner.   When not cooking she is gardening,  nordic  skiing, playing tennis, &  fly fishing.   






Chef Michael Evans

Mike grew up in Rhode Island and is currently the Executive Chef at the Attitash Grand Summit in Bartlett, NH. He began his culinary career working throughout restaurants and food establishments in and around his home state. For nine years Mike worked at Foxwoods Resort in Ledyard, CT, where he worked with many talented chefs and opened several restaurants and 5 Star establishments.

Mike and his wife moved to NH in 2012. He loves the outdoors, sea kayaking, hiking and mountain biking.