Click here for bios on our Taste of St. Louis "behind the scenes" chefs and showcasing chefs (Chef Martin, Chef Vito Racanelli, Chef Angela Komis, Chef Christian Gullet, Chef Casey E. Shiller, Chef Georgious Kastanias)

Click here for the Chef Battle Royale Competing Chef bios


LEON BRAXTON (a.k.a Dieta Pepsi)

Leon has been active in the St. Louis LGBTQIA community for over 35-years, raising countless dollars and serving in many leadership capacities. Leon is excited to be a member of the Board of Pride St. Louis, Inc. as The Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Chair of the Scholarship and Community Outreach Committee. 

In addition to being on the board of Pride St. Louis, Leon has served on the boards of SAGE Metro St. Louis, St. Louis Effort for AIDS, St. Louis AIDS Foundation, Out, Proud and Healthy, was a master Guardian with Project Ark, is the Vice President of The Official Black Pride St. Louis and is the founder of the I CARE! Campaign and Intersex St. Louis.

She brings with him a successful background in finance and is also known in entertainment and fundraising circles for his illusion of the incomparable Dieta Pepsi. As Dieta, Leon has used his talents to raise money for several of our LGBTQIA organizations including Doorways, Food Outreach, Metro East Pride, Power of One, Bethany’s Place, and The Transgender Memorial Garden. Leon is currently on the Grove CID Marketing Committee and owns and operates The Braxton Group, a Recipe Development Consulting Company.

Executive Chef for Levy Sports and Entertainment

Steven Maak is a multiple award-winning Executive Chef whose innovative and consistently evolving approach and dedication to bottom-line results have earned him the reputation as a cutting-edge leader in the culinary industry. Throughout the course of nearly three decades, Chef Maak has cultivated extensive experience in my field, received two “Best Chef” awards within the Kansas City market, and developed a multitude of lucrative single unit restaurants.

What really sparked his interest in the culinary arts was watching his grandmother cook delicious meals from scratch. From that point forward, his intrigue transformed into a passion, and then into a lifelong vocation.

Currently, Chef Maak proudly serves as an Executive Chef for Levy Sports and Entertainment, providing his services to the NHL (National Hockey League), St. Louis Blues/Enterprise Center, and Peabody Opera House. Prior to that, he worked as a Corporate Executive Chef for Cowboys Saloon from 2015 to 2016. When he's not immersed in his career, he enjoys spending quality family time with his wife and two children who, he says, inspire him daily.


México Lindo Cooking School in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Chef Alejandra T. Kauachi was born in Mexico City on February 6, 1978 and was immersed on culinary traditions since she was 6 years old, helping her 2 grandmothers (excellent cooks) in events and traditions. She decided to turn her passion into her profession and studied Culinary Arts at Ambrosía Culinary Center in México City, doing one of her internships with the renowned Basque Chef Iñaki Izaguirre in Irún, Spain at Labeko Etxea Restaurant, a course in Kitchen Management at Escuela de Hostelería de Sevilla and multiple experiences in high an level banquets in Ambrosia and many fine dinning restaurants both in México City and Riviera Maya, where she decided to move in 2005.

She discoverd a great passion for teaching and decided to become a transmitter of Mexican traditions and culture by teaching at the best schools in México City and Quintana Roo. After working in multiple restaurants and schools such as Ambrosia Culinary Center, Maricú, Universidad del Caribe, L'Ecoledes Chefs and Instituto Gastronómico del Valle, in 2015 she materialized her dream and started her own project with México Lindo Cooking a culinary experience/cooking school where foodies from all over the world learn and taste the best flavors and traditions of México in Riviera Maya and Cancún, seeking to continue spreading the values and traditions of Mexican cuisine.

In 2016 she founded the Nixtamalli Project, dedicated to a brand of gourmet tamales. Chef Kauachi also ventured abroad encouraged by the tourism bord sharing flavors and tradition at tourist fairs such as WTM in London, FITUR MADRID 2018 and ITB in BERLIN and she will be at IMEX AMERICA 2018.