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Nicolas Blouin
Nicolas Blouin

Executive Pastry Chef – Destination Kohler

Raised in Toulouse, France, Chef Blouin began his pastry training when he was only 15 years old at a small bakery in his home town. He trained at the Pastry School of Muret and completed apprenticeships specializing in pastry and chocolate confections.

 

Chef Blouin moved to America and worked at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort hotel under two-time world champion pastry chef Laurent Branlard. Eager to expand his knowledge, Chef Blouin returned to Europe and worked at Michelin-starred restaurants Le Richelieu in France and Didier de Courten in Switzerland.

 

In 2006 Chef Blouin returned to America to work at the Bellagio in Las Vegas under renowned Chef Jean-Philippe Maury. He served as a pastry chef at the Aria Resort & Casino, where he managed two locations of the Jean-Philippe Pâtisseries. In 2011 Chef Blouin joined Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in the role of pastry chef. In August 2017, he joined Kohler Co. as Head Pastry Chef for Destination Kohler.

 

With a passion for simple, strong and classic flavors, Chef Blouin strives to create desserts that encourage guests to explore exciting and unique new culinary delights. Featuring whimsical presentations, ingredients of the highest quality and bold colors, his creations offer unforgettable flavors ranging from light to decadent. His many popular desserts, including reimagined cheesecakes and soufflés, showcase his modern interpretation of classic desserts. In 2015 he won first place at the renowned Valrhona C3 Pastry Competition in New York, earning him the opportunity to represent North America in the International Chefs Congress.

 

Chef Blouin continues to follow global pastry trends and French pastry chefs, including culinary icons Pierre Hermé and Christophe Michalak, who have had a profound influence on him both professionally and personally. Visionary creativity drives Chef Blouin to construct adventurous and delectable desserts for his guests at Destination Kohler.

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Sofia Auricchio Krans
Sofia Auricchio Krans

Born in Cremona, Italy and raised in Green Bay, WI in America’s Dairyland, Sofia was exposed to two different cultures.  Her family’s heritage is deeply rooted in Italian cheesemaking, dating back to 1877 when her great-great-grandfather began producing provolone in San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Italy.

 

A century later in 1979, her father Errico Auricchio immigrated with his young family and began his American dream, BelGioioso Cheese in Denmark, WI.  BelGioioso prides itself in traditional artisan cheesemaking techniques married with modern technology. 

 

As a 5th generation cheesemaker, Sofia’s driving force is “doing what is best for creating the highest quality cheese”.  Although this statement seems simple, it guides the decision-making process at BelGioioso, where “Quality Never Stops”.

 

Sofia’s love of food began at a young age, when she was taught traditional focaccia and fresh pasta making by her mother Patrizia, inspiring her joy of cooking.  Sofia and her husband Andy recently founded Strada Pizzeria in De Pere, WI where you will find many BelGioioso Cheeses incorporated into the authentic Italian Roman street pizza they serve.

 

In Sofia’s kitchen, cheese is incorporated into most meals, with a slice, shred or grate, adding plenty of JOY to family dinners.

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Lucas Oppeneer
Lucas Oppeneer

Chef – Destination Kohler Special Events

A graduate of the American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program, Chef Oppeneer has 17 years of culinary experience. He has worked in every Kohler restaurant, including The Immigrant Restaurant, Cucina, The Wisconsin Room and the Horse & Plow, and has been involved in Kohler Food & Wine Experience event each year.

 

During his five years at The Immigrant Restaurant, he was part of the team that moved the restaurant from a three-star rating to four-star status. While head of the culinary team at the Horse & Plow, Chef Oppeneer developed a new menu for the remodeled restaurant featuring innovative pub fare with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. He oversaw events for the 2015 PGA Championship, Kohler Festival of Beer and the 2015 and 2016 Wisconsin Sports Awards events.

 

Chef Oppeneer left the American Club in June 2016 to lead food and beverage operations for Holy Family Memorial Hospital in Manitowoc where he improved patient and employee dining with healthy, fresh, local produce and also lead the community health goals team to promote healthy eating/nutrition and exercise. Chef Oppeneer rejoined Destination Kohler in September 2017 as Special Events Chef just in time to lead the team through this year’s Kohler Food & Wine Experience.

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Cyrstal Thomas
Crystal Thomas

Head Chocolatier, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates

Crystal Thomas, head chocolatier, graduated with honors from Charleston South Carolina at Johnson & Whales University with a degree in culinary and pastries/science. While attending college, Crystal worked in the kitchen at the Charleston Grille, one of the top restaurants in South Carolina at the time. Crystal became pastry chef in Portmeirion in North Wales, United Kingdom, and received her teaching degree in culinary and pastry arts in Wales. After graduating, she worked as an apprentice for 11 years before accepting the position of assistant chocolatier at KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates in 2018.

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Troy Unruh
Troy Unruh

Head Chef – The Wisconsin Room

Trained in the kitchens of renowned chefs Mario Batali, Eric Ripert, David Bouley, Jean George Vongrichten and Marcus Samuelson, Chef Troy Unruh has more than two decades of experience working in the top restaurants in Minneapolis and New York.

 

Born to a Midwestern family with agricultural roots, Chef Troy learned the value of fresh produce and the importance of conservationism while working in his mother’s garden. He began working in restaurants during high school and – after a short stint in construction – realized his passion for cooking would be his path forward. He earned a degree in culinary arts from St. Paul College while working a full-time position at the celebrated Goodfellows in Minneapolis, where he was introduced to his first fine dining experience.

 

After another defining experience in Minneapolis at Aquavit, working under James Beard Rising Star Chef award-winning Marcus Samuelson, Chef Troy decided to move to New York. Arriving with a short list of chefs with whom he wanted to cook, within 24 hours he was hired to work at the famed Jean-Georges. Chef Unruh has a combined 12 Michelin stars on his resume, working in some of the world’s top restaurants. Throughout his 12-year stay in New York, he also worked in the kitchens of Danube, Le Bernadin and Del Posto. He then moved on to become executive chef of Ellabess at the Nolitan Hotel and Zylo at the W Hotel Hoboken. While helming the stoves at Zylo, he was invited to cook “A Taste of Italy” wine dinner at the James Beard House.

 

Chef Troy then returned to Minneapolis, where he helped several high-profile chefs launch new restaurants and took the role of executive chef at the legendary W. A. Frost & Co. A lover of the outdoors, he began searching for a way to use his fine dining experience while enjoying a more rural lifestyle. His role of chef at The Wisconsin Room provides that unique experience, allowing him to continue the tradition of using fresh, local ingredients in a fine dining atmosphere yet quickly immerse himself in nature on days off.

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