Stefanie Farnsworth Salem is the Founder & CEO of the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival. Salem takes her entrepreneurial and international business background combined with her insatiable love for all things food, wine and cooking to curate and lead all programming for each year’s event. Her 25 years of business experience, which includes living and working in foreign countries, collaborating with political leaders and leading projects with economic corporations, has played a key role in helping her secure high-profile sponsors, participants and partners to make the Festival a true world-class event.
Salem’s impressive career accomplishments have included: promoting foreign investment in emerging markets by working with Heads of State, Ministers and CEO’s of multinational and local corporations in the countries of Greece, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Nigeria. Salem also led editorial advertising in US News and World Report, Sunday Telegraph (UK) and USA Today. Subsequently, she was Founder and President of Hampton Court Publishing, London, which published “In God’s Time, the Building of a Democratic Nation”, focusing on the cultural, historical and political independence of Nigeria where she worked with President Obasanjo, Vice President Abubakar, all 36 Governors and Ministers. After founding the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival in 2014, Salem was honored as one of the “Most Influential People of 2015” by Newport Beach Magazine. In that same year, the Festival was also touted as the “Top 5 Places to Travel to in October (World-wide)” by Forbes Travel.
Salem considers herself a “taste-bud traveler”, gaining much of her inspiration for the Festival by experiencing cultural cuisine throughout her international business travels, and today, traveling the world with her two sons and closest friends. Salem also enjoys frequenting restaurants around Orange County, wining and dining with her chef and master sommelier pals, cooking gourmet meals at home and never missing an episode of “Top Chef.”
Salem was born and raised in Southern California and earned her BA in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara in 1992.
Veteran Restaurateur and “Sommelier for the People” Michael Jordan is Director of Global Key Accounts for Jackson Family Fine Wines. Previously Jordan served three years as vice president of food & beverage for Anaheim’s award winning restaurant and live music venue, THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon (Zagat 28-29-28). Prior to opening THE RANCH, Jordan was president of The Beachcomber Restaurant Group. Before that he served as Global Manager of wine sales & standards and wine education for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts® Worldwide – and also nine years as general manager of the world famous Napa Rose restaurant at Disneyland Resort® in Anaheim. In his career Jordan has been involved with the opening of seventeen restaurants including Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa and was general manager/sommelier of Pavilion at Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach when it received AAA’s Five Diamond Award.
Jordan holds a Master Sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as a Certified Wine Educator diploma from the Society of Wine Educators and is one of only 15 people in the world to hold both these diplomas. Jordan has taught comprehensive wine and beverage courses to well over a thousand students.
Jordan also hosts a weekly radio show, What’s Cookin’ with Wine on CRN Digital Talk Radio and many AM radio markets across the country since 2002.
Personal recognition & awards:
“Michael Jordan is one of just 15 people in the world awarded both Master Sommelier and CWE (Certified Wine Educator) Diplomas. And if there were an equivalent for heirloom tomato expertise, he’d have that, too.”
-Priscilla Mayfield’s column “Taste of Orange County” Orange Coast Magazine – August, 2013
Shane Oh, the owner of Kreative Blueprint, a design and marketing firm, has spent decades in strategic roles including operations, social media, management, and creative rollout for a variety of businesses and start-ups. Kreative Blueprint is strategic in understanding technology, various roles in the creative process, design, social media, data mining, financial technologies, and product placement which are all critical to building our brands and partners that we work with. Current companies would include, Watch Expo of Newport Beach, Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, Twila True Fine Jewelry, ESPN with successful tenure at Sony Electronics, VH1, Cape USA, and SaveDaily.
Recently, Mr. Oh launched the US platform for O!Tree Eyewear, which is based out of South Korea. Also, Mr. Oh successfully launched a collaboration between Kathy Ireland and NuGene Skincare, a clinically based skincare line. As an iconic brand ambassador, Ireland has an international reputation for quality and integrity. Integrating these characteristics with a ground breaking skin and hair care technology has been exhilarating and challenging at the same time.
A true creative hybrid, Jared brings a unique passion for both art and copy. He has worked at some of the top advertising agencies around the globe. This gave him the opportunity to work on some of the world’s best brands and their respective campaigns. Two of which scored #1 and #2 on the Super Bowl and one commercial taking him as far as Antarctica. His work has earned him a host of industry accolades.
Jared received his Masters of Science in Communications from the Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.A. in Philosophy from California State University, Long Beach.
Jaimee began her career in entertainment PR and shifted towards entertainment advertising to pursue more creative work. She has worked on creative advertising for major motion pictures throughout her career with Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures and Good Universe to name a few. Brayton has had a role in a vast number of blockbusters that you have definitely seen at least once, most likely twice.
Jaimee earned her Masters degree in Film at UCLA and her B.A, in Film Theory at UC Santa Cruz.
Private investor and philanthropist who has helped raise millions of dollars for local charities. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Balboa Bay Club. He is a long time member of Les Amis d’Escoffier Society and has been involved in the hotel and restaurant business for over 40 years.
He resides in Newport Beach with his wife Anne, daughter Devon, and son John Jr..
Keith Curry has had a forty year career in business, public service and academia. In 2006, he was appointed to the Newport Beach California, City Council. He was subsequently re-elected in 2006, 2008 and 2012. In 2010 and 2013 he served as Mayor of the city. While on the city council he served as Chair of the Finance Committee, Chair of the 1/1 Marines Memorial Committee and Chair of the Facilities Financing Plan Committee. Under his leadership, the city completed over $200 million in capital facilities, obtained AAA bond ratings and sustained its high level of public services through the 2008 recession. Mr. Curry was the alternate representative for the city to the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency.
He also served as board member and Chairman of the Administration Committee of the Orange County Sanitation District and a member and Chairman of the Orange County Parks Commission.
His local government colleagues elected him as President of the Association of California Cities Orange County and President of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities.
From 2015-2017, he served on the board of directors of MBIA (MBI), the New York based, publicly traded, bond insurance company and re-elected to the board in 2016. He served on the Compensation & Governance and Finance & Risk committees of the board.
From 1987-2011 when he retired, Mr. Curry was a Managing Director and Partner of Public Financial Management (“PFM”), the nation’s largest public finance consulting organization. He helped grow the firm from 67 employees to more than 500 with offices nationwide. While at PFM he advised state and local governments on the issuance of more than $15 billion in debt financing and developed the long range financial plans for some of the nation’s largest infrastructure programs. His projects included the LACMTA headquarters building, the Denver rail transit system, the $500 million Anaheim/Downtown Disney financing, the $1 billion Foothill Eastern Toll Road, over $300 million in Arizona schools, Route 3 North in Massachusetts and the transportation sales tax programs in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. He was one of the original architects of the highly successful HERO finance program for residential solar projects. At PFM he was a member of the board of directors, the strategic planning committee, and director of the national transportation practice, the western states practice and the environmental finance practice.
During this time, he served as President of the National Association of Public Finance Advisors from 2004-2006 and testified before Congress on issues of regulatory reform and consumer protections.
In 2011, he founded and directed the Concordia University Irvine, Center for Public Policy, where he was named Visiting Professor and taught in the graduate business school until stepping down in 2016.
Prior to joining PFM, Mr. Curry served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan as Special Assistant to the Federal Transit Administrator and head of private sector initiatives in the Western States from 1982-1987. He was a Deputy to a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from 1980-1982.
He has a Master of Public Administration, BA in Political Science, and Certificate in Urban Studies from California State University Long Beach and has completed executive programs in Driving Government Performance and Negotiation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Dr. Donald W. Wise is a longstanding Newport Beach resident since 1949, and a hospitality industry investment banking icon. The long-time philanthropist is the Bailli Honoraire of the Bailliage de Newport Beach of La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950, and originally founded in France by King Louis IX in 1248 AD.
Dr. Wise was originally inducted into the La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in 1999 in the Beverly Hills Bailliage under the shepherding of Bailli Howard Gordon of Cheesecake Factory fame, with long-time friends both Chef Wolfgang Puck and Chef Michel Richard. He is the former Bailli, acting Vice Chargé de Missions, and acting Vice Chargé de Presse of the Bailliage de Napa Valley of La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
Laurie Snyder-Veitch is a native of Newport Beach, California. She attended Mariners Elementary, Ensign Intermediate School, Newport Harbor High School, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Public Administration.
Laurie has been an active volunteer for over 30 years as a member of The Assistance League of Newport Beach; a member of The Guilds of The Segerstrom Center for the Arts; and a founding Advisory Board Member for the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival.
In the local business community she has been involved with publishing the Bay Window Magazine for the Balboa Bay Club as the Editorial Assistant; Grand Tour Magazine; the Daily Pilot/Los Angeles Times; and has also assisted in public relations with Main Line Media each for the last 18 years.