Grand Marshal Information
in 2020, we celebrated four Downtown restaurants, their owners and executive chefs, for their efforts throughout these challenging times! Information on our 2021 Grand Marshal will be available later this year.
- Jon Bonnell, Owner and Chef, Waters Restaurant
- Dain “Adam” Jones, Owner, GRACE, and Executive Chef Blaine Staniford
- Mike Micallef, President, JMK Holdings Management Company – Reata Restaurant, and Executive Chef James Gaines
- Gloria Starling Vázquez, Managing Partner, The Capital Grille, and Derek Venutolo, Executive Chef Partner
Chef Jon Bonnell pairs his native Texas heritage with classic culinary training to create inventive and delicious dishes featuring decidedly Texan ingredients to inspire the palate. Distinguished as one of the foremost experts on fine wild game and Texas Cuisine, his innate understanding of flavor combinations and perfected techniques entices diners to experience new culinary creations. With a passion for sharing knowledge with others, there is never a technique or recipe he won’t share.
Chef Bonnell is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the prestigious New England Culinary Institute. He has authored three cookbooks: Jon Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Jon Bonnell’s Texas Favorites, and Jon Bonnell’s Waters Fine Coastal Cuisine. Chef Bonnell has cooked at the famed James Beard House in New York City in 2004, 2005 and 2008. He has been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CBS’s This Morning, ABC’s Nightline, ABC’s GMA Now, Better TV, as well as The Food Network’s BBQ with Bobby Flay and The Food Network’s Meat & Potatoes. His namesake restaurant, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine in Fort Worth, has won the “Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator each year since 2004 and has been consistently rated among the top restaurants in the state by the Zagat survey. His newest restaurant concept, WATERS, opened to rave reviews in March 2013.
In addition to his two fine dining restaurants (both rated in the top six in the Zagat survey for the DFW Metroplex), Jon also owns and operates BUFFALO BROS, Pizza, Wings & Subs in the heart of the TCU campus, as well as a brand new location in Sundance Square.
Dain “Adam” Jones
GRACE is the culmination of Adam’s lifelong experience in the restaurant industry. Owner Dain “Adam” Jones is focused on providing the best dining experience possible for patrons. “It is never enough to have a satisfied patron,” says Jones. “I have always enjoyed getting to know my customers personally. Whether we are welcoming a group of tourists/conventioneers to our city or getting acquainted with frequent diners or business groups, we strive to provide a level of service that would make any occasion special. It’s important to us that each trip to GRACE will be an experience you will remember, and that you will return regardless of the occasion.”
Executive Chef, GRACE
Blaine Staniford has been a rising star in the culinary world since he first gained notice at the age of 19 for becoming one of the youngest graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Following his graduation, he spent two years under the tutelage of James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit Restaurant in New York City. In 1998, he joined San Francisco based Aqua and Pisces Restaurant under acclaimed Chef Michael Mina, and in 2003 returned to his hometown of Dallas as the Sous Chef at Lola-The Restaurant. Staniford then moved on to Fuse, gaining him national recognition for his inventive Tex-Asian menu.
In October of 2008 Blaine became Executive Chef of the new restaurant in downtown Fort Worth, Grace. Grace may be Staniford’s best work yet: hearty and filling American standards. During his career, he has been named Young Gun by D Magazine, received Four Stars for Food from the Dallas Morning News, and appeared on Good Morning Texas. In addition, the Dallas Morning News named him Rising Star Chef in 2001. In 2012, Blaine earned the title of “Top Chef, Fort Worth” by Fort Worth, Texas magazine. Over the past five years, Blaine has continued to introduce Fort Worth diners to innovative and inspiring dishes through seasonal menu changes and monthly wine dinners highlighting Grace’s passion for fresh and local ingredients.
President, Reata Restaurant
Mike Micallef was born in Fort Worth, Texas on April 11, 1975. Since June 2005 he has been president of his family’s non-manufacturing companies which currently include Reata Restaurants, Sierra La Rana and CF Ranch. In 2008 Mike sold his family’s aircraft management business, Flight Service to Executive Air Share in 2008. Mike also spent two years in Chicago as president of K&M Plastics, a plastics blow molding company mainly serving the water treatment and industrial equipment industries. K&M was a turnaround situation was sold to Pentair in 2003. After graduating from TCU Mike spent two years Tsunami Partners, hedge fund where he managed various equity investments. Mike is single and splits his time between Alpine and Fort Worth, Texas.
Reata Executive Chef
James Gaines grew up in Lubbock, TX where he developed his love for cooking while at small food chain restaurant. After graduating from high school, he tried his hand at other things but always came back to cooking. James graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Dallas with an Associate’s degree of Applied Science in Culinary Arts in 2006. Upon graduation, he relocated to Austin to work for the Four Season Hotel. There he developed a love for catering and large events.
In 2009, he relocated to College Station to team up with the Global Event Group. Through Global, James experienced the world of events and catering and had the opportunity to cook for President George Bush, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Powerman 5000, 3 Days Grace, Austin City Limits, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Randy Rogers Band, The Eagles and many others.
James joined the team at Reata Fort Worth in August of 2014 and became Executive Chef in March of 2016 where he continues to stay true to Reata’s Texas cooking. In his spare time, James enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 daughters and son while exploring what Fort Worth has to offer.
Managing Partner, The Capital Grille
As the Managing Partner of The Capital Grille in Fort Worth, TX, Gloria is committed to delivering exceptional guest service. After falling in love with the restaurant industry at a young age, her perseverance and leadership have led to a lifelong career.
Gloria loves the community and people of Fort Worth, and welcomes any opportunity to give back. She is involved with numerous organizations, including Downtown Fort Inc, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and The Performing Arts of Fort Worth, among many others. Gloria has also been recognized with a Diamond Club Award, The Capital Grille’s highest honor for delivering excellent guest service and team member experiences, as well as making a difference in the community.
When she isn’t working, Gloria loves spending time with her friends and family, especially her son, Gabriel.
Executive Chef Partner, The Capital Grille
Derek Venutolo has been an Executive Chef Partner with The Capital Grille for 10 years. He is a graduate of Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR.
After graduating from culinary school, Derek moved to Long Beach, CA, where he was recruited to work for Christy Bono’s restaurant concepts. Within a few months he was promoted to Executive Pastry Chef, during which time the restaurant was recognized as having the best dessert in LA County. He held positions with several other restaurants in Southern California, including Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef, before accepting a role with The Capital Grille as an Executive Chef Partner in 2010.
Derek lives in Fort Worth with his wife, Kristin, with whom he shares a son and a daughter, Grayson and Arabella, and Bailey Rose, their English Bulldog. When he isn’t cooking, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, exercising and playing music.