John Occhiato, 40, grew up in coastal New England, graduating from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts in 1993. He moved to Minneapolis in 1995 to pursue a career in theater.
Like many struggling artists, John worked in restaurants to support himself financially. While honing his culinary skills at local standouts including Pronto, The Times Bar & Grill and a yearlong stint as a natural foods baker at the Wedge Coop, he discovered that food had taken precedence as his primary passion. Occhiato applied and received Advanced Placement status at the New England Culinary Institute, graduating in 1999.
Upon returning to the Twin Cities, John worked his way up the ranks at D'Amico Cucina; a vestige of Minnesota culinary talent, being named Head Chef at D'Amico Cucina in 2003 where he remained, leading the kitchen, until the restaurant's closing in May of 2009.
Upon the shuttering of D'Amico Cucina, John was named the opening chef of the company's newest project D'Amico Kitchen, located in the Chambers Art Hotel in Minneapolis. Most recently John has donned the toque as the Executive Chef of the Graves 601 Hotel.
For the past 12 years Occhiato has since been a local leader in fine dining cuisine, doing outreach by teaching classes and donating his services to many Twin Cities charities. In his spare time, John can be found foraging in the woods, digging in his garden, playing with his children, or working on his cookbook.
Khanh Tran joined the Graves|601 Hotel in January 2007 as the hotel's Pastry Chef.
She has worked with many talented top chefs around the country, including Barbara Tropp of China Moon Café in San Francisco and James Beard Award winner Chef Lee Hefter of Spago.
Khanh has been a Pastry Chef at local Minneapolis restaurants Auriga, Restaurant Levain and 20.21. This year she was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Khanh was born in Saigon, Vietnam. In 1975 her family fled the war to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they later founded the Lotus Restaurant in 1982.
Khanh is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and École de Gastronomie Française Ritz-Escoffier in Paris, France.