Dirk Koeppenkastrop in Stella


As a University of Hawaii graduate with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and a corporate food background, Dirk studied the Italian art of making gelato at Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy. Later, he trained and worked with renowned international maestros and gelato “champions” in Europe.

Dirk started his culinary carrier in his early twenties, working in the restaurant industry to finance his University education. After his Ph.D. he pursued an international corporate career. After working as managing director in the holding for the world largest private food laboratory for many years, it was time for him to start his own retail and wholesale gelateria in Hawaii (IL Gelato Hawaii). Italian gelato has been a passion all his life and he always wanted to have his own business.

His natural science background allows him to bring gelato-making to a new level. Inspired by Hawaii’s renowned chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, Dirk fuses Hawaiian and Asian flavors with traditional European gelato making. Dirk is collaborating with many executive chefs at high-end hotels and restaurants to develop new flavors and textures. His gelato is made from scratch, “all natural”, using local ingredients. His gelateria has been voted Best of Honolulu in the category Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and been awarded the Hall of Fame Award Best of Honolulu in 2015, 2016. As “Best Gelato” Chef Koeppenkastrop’s gelato has been featured on the title page of the Honolulu Magazine “Best of” edition in 2014.

Chef Koeppenkastrop is an active member of the ACF Honolulu Chapter and has served as Vice Chair, Chair and Past Chair on the board of directors of the Hawaii Restaurant Association.


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John Hui


John Hui is a world renowned Executive Pastry Chef with many accomplishments. Chef Hui is the Corporate Pastry Chef for the world famous Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula with three hotels; the Lodge at Pebble Beach, the Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero. John worked for many fine hotels including Caesars Palace Las Vegas, the Westin St. Francis, the San Francisco Hyatt Regency, the Westin Maui Hotel, and the San Francisco Marriott.

With over 30 years of experience, John has received many awards, medals and has appeared in many food magazines and cookbooks. Chef Hui enjoys sharing his knowledge through teaching, culinary demonstrations, competitions, fundraisers, including international guest chef appearances in China, Singapore, Manila, Japan, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand. His awards include the 2012 International Press Best Taste Award from Coppa Mondo Gelateria, the 2010 National AAC Joseph Amendola Pastry Chef Award, ACF Presidential Medallion, Antonin Carême Medal, Las Vegas Chef of the Year, ACF Western Regional Pastry Chef of the Year and Chef Professionalism Award. John has won numerous ACF competition medals and three prestigious Culinary Olympic Gold & Silver Medals from Germany. In 2004 Chef Hui was inducted in the honor society for chefs “The American Academy of Chefs”.

He is currently the manager of Gelato Team USA, Western Regional representative of the ACF National Pastry Committee and was a the Pastry Coach for the 2008 Culinary Team USA, Coach and Manager of the 2004 Las Vegas Culinary Team and pastry chef for the gold medal winning Team USA 1992. Chef Hui is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Pastry Chef and a Certified Culinary Competition Judge


Michele Pompei


Michele Pompei began his career at the age of fifteen in Venezuela, when he realized his love for pastry while working as an apprentice at one of the area’s most prestigious bakeries. In the early 1990s his desire to expand his knowledge and education made him to move to Italy and enroll in culinary school, where he graduated with a Baking and Pastry degree. He spent the next years working in Italy in various fine restaurants and hotels and gelaterias. After moving to the United States, Michele continued to expand his education and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami with an AS Degree in Culinary Arts.

Michele helped to open a Patisserie, cafes and a wholesale bakery, serving clients such as the Hyatt Hotel, Nordstrom at Merrick Park, Touch Caters and worked as the Executive Pastry Chef for Puff n Stuff Catering, where he developed products for Walt Disney World. He also served as a consultant to a food distribution company in South Florida and worked for Michael Mina at Bourbon Steak House—a 5-Star restaurant in Miami. He became Pastry Chef at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steakhouse in the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, CA, where he worked alongside Lincoln Carson, Corporate Pastry Chef for Michael Mina.

Michele joined the Le Cordon Bleu Miami to share his knowledge and love for the Baking and Pastry Arts. He distinguished himself as both a creative and innovative chef, earning an immediate reputation as an excellent instructor. In 2008, Le Cordon Bleu Miami awarded him as Employee of the Quarter, and he was able to represent the college in numerous special events such as the American Culinary Federation National Convention. The James Beard Foundation has acknowledged him for his outstanding contributions to the field.

Later Michele joined the Notter School of Pastry Arts, working alongside World Pastry Champion Ewald Notter, Frederic Moreau, Pastry Chef at the St. Regis Monarch Beach CA, and Olivier Saintemarie, Pastry Chef at Chef de France, in Epcot in Walt Disney World. In 2014 he started working at the Ritz Carlton under the Executive Pastry Chef Stephane Cheramy. He recently moved to the Le Cordon Bleu Seattle as a Baking and Pastry Instructor.


Tim Brown


South African native, Tim Brown, developed his curiosity for the culinary profession while serving in the military. His hard work and wholehearted attitude awarded him the opportunity to prepare the finest South African cuisine for President Nelson Mandela and other heads of state.

Upon completion of his two years in the army, Tim was accepted by the Hospitality & Industrial Training Board (HITB) to further his education in the culinary arts. Three years later he graduated as one of the top in his class and was personally praised for his dedication by Bill Gallagher, President and Founder of the South African Chefs Association. Although Tim’s apprenticeship at Zevenwacht Winery was educational and challenging, he grew more appreciation for fine dining when he was offered a position as Junior Chef De Partie at Restaurant Au Jardin in Cape Town, rated Top 10 best in South Africa. Working under French trained Chef Christophe de Hosse, Tim’s infatuation for quality cuisine became more apparent. He also became more curious about what the culinary arts had to offer in other parts of the world. Tim left South Africa and went to England with the objective to gain international experience. During this time he was able to work as a chef on P&O Ferries, as well as gain exposure to traditional British delicacies. 18 Months later Tim embarked on another career journey; Junior Sous Chef for the opening of The Emerson Inn & Spa, a Small Luxury Hotel in the United States of America. As Assistant Pastry Chef, Tim was able to attend courses at the CIA in New York.

February 2002, Tim was given the opportunity to learn and work under publicly acclaimed Pastry Chef, Shirl Gard at Wheatleigh Hotel. Here he was further exposed to European style pastries, quality house made truffles and signature desserts. One year later Tim was promoted to Pastry Chef. Tim continued to develop his own repertoire through creativity and further educational programs including a number of trips to the pastry mecca, France.

After a period at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club, under Chef Hubert des Marias of Four Seasons fame, Tim returned to New England. He now finds himself in a position that enables him to shape the Pastry Chefs of tomorrow at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island as one of the faculty members at the School of Culinary Arts. Here Tim enjoys been able to introduce students to all aspects of baking and pastry especially chocolate.


Chris Foltz


Graduated Chef & Baker from Baltimore international Culinary College, Chef Foltz worked at private hotels and restaurants in Las Vegas, Nassau, Baltimore, Alaska, Ireland, and around the United States. Currently he is Executive Chef & Instructor at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute and Tribal Chef for the Coquille Tribe on the Oregon Coast creating traditional Native American dishes with modern influence. Chef Foltz has over 20 years experience as a chef and over 9 years as professional Ice & Wood sculptor. Chris Foltz has won 17 international 1st place titles including a record setting 3 wins in a row at the International Ice Championships in Canada hosted by the Fairmont Château in Banff, Lake Louise. Recently Chris Foltz set the record as the only professional to win 1st place at the International Invitational in Chetwynd British Columbia for Wood Sculpture for the 4th time. Chef Foltz was also the winner of the Return of the Champions “Masters Competition” for Wood Sculpture & Ice Sculpture separately in 2012 and 2014.

He is the only professional artist to have received invitations to both the Ice & Wood Sculpting International Championships for the last 6 years.

Chef Foltz has been profiled on Discovery Channel “Saw Dogs” in the season finally “Masquarave” in Whistler BC and has been the consultant for “Carver Kings” (in association with Saw Valley) reality TV series in British Columbia Canada coupled with “Timber Kings”. Chris Foltz holds a seat on the Board of Directors for the National Ice Carvers Association. He is certified ice sculpting instructor through the NICC (National Ice Carving Association) and is captain for the showpiece category for the Collegiate Team from Oregon Coast Culinary Institute and Ice Sculpting Instructor.

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