101 W. Broad Street Richmond, Virginia 23220

Behind the Business

The Vine Wine Club is proud to present “Behind the Business- East”, a regional event for Cuisine Noir’s
acclaimed conference. This conference was developed to provide an inside peek at the inter-workings of many successful businesses, to hear stories of perseverance, and to gain the support of others who have experienced closed doors and stiff obstacles.

The regional offering is a mini-conference that focuses on the food and beverage industries. It is designed to also develop an appetite to find your creative niche in the industry. Because we know that everyone can’t be in the kitchen, we encourage and highlight those who are doing phenomenal work outside of the kitchen as well. We end with a network reception that provides time to meet all the guests and panelists.

FEBRUARY 10, 2018

Dominion Arts Center
600 E. Grace Street, Richmond, VA
1:00 PM
5:00 PM Network Reception
Register Now


“Starting My Own Brand” Led by Gwen Hurt, Owner of Shoe Crazy Wine

“Food Carts, Pop-ups and Other Cool Concepts” Led by Michael Sparks of “Pop-Up Revolution”

“Alternative Careers in the Culinary Arts” Led by Dr. Berkita Bradford, Virginia State University

Chef Rhonda Russell

Chef, Sommelier, and Wine Producer!


Chef Rhonda is an internationally acclaimed Executive Chef of Wine Arts (Executive Chef and Wine Sommelier) and the only African-American female in the U.S. to hold that title.

Born and raised in Louisiana, it was at a young age that Chef Rhonda discovered her passion for cooking. Some of Chef Rhonda’s favorite childhood memories revolve around food and her grandmother’s Louisiana kitchen. Little did Chef Rhonda know that her years of assisting grandma in the kitchen would serve as her culinary base and expose her to the rich history of Louisiana culinary art.

In 2006, Chef Rhonda received training at the Culinary Business Academy in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, earning the title of a Certified Personal Chef. The Culinary Business Academy is widely known for bringing the science to culinary arts.

Shortly after, she began training at the International Wine Guild, completing her studies in Level I, II, and finally Level III Advanced Food & Wine Pairing Course earning the title, Executive Chef of Wine Arts and now a Female African-American Winemaker in the United States.

With her advanced knowledge of food and wine, Chef Rhonda enjoys finding ways to bring out the superb taste in a wide array of food through colorful food combinations and now, by sharing her exclusive wines. She continued to establish her own food and wine business, Taste by Chef Rhonda, and her own wine collection, Taste Collection Cellars, to educate and reach new and experienced food and wine lovers to experience great food and wine pairings. Chef Rhonda is a member of the world-renowned United States Personal Chef Association, James Beard Foundation, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and the International Wine Guild as a Certified Wine Sommelier.

After years of education and training, In Houston, Chef Rhonda Russell recently opened the doors to her first brick-and-mortar cafe and wine tasting room and also made her national television debut on the Food Network’s Cooks vs. Cons. The café and tasting room brings her passion for great food and great wine without any pretension to the public. Serving her private label wines Taste Collection Cellars, made with food in mind, and delectable Creole and Cajun inspired food, Chef Rhonda gives us a cozy environment to explore our pallets, ask questions about wine and food, and satisfy our bellies and minds.


Tickets are $59 per adult and $29 for students. Tickets available (here).
Vending Opportunities are limited. $89 including admission to the conference and the reception.




Registration Opens at 1:00 pm.



Conference start

Conference starts at 1:30 pm




Welcome and “Maintaining Financial Security While Pursuing Your Dreams” –Sponsored by BB&T Wealth Managers



First Panel

First Panel (Food Carts, Pop Ups and Other Cool Concepts)



Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions are from 3:00 – 3:45

Session A: Alternative Careers in the Culinary Arts: Dr. Berkita Bradford, Moderator
Session B. Starting my Own Brand: Gwen Hurt, Moderator




Keynote Address: Chef, Sommelier, and Wine Producer – Rhonda Russell from 4:00 to 5:00




Networking Reception featuring The Chan Hall Trio from 5:00 to 6:00