Meet our Judges

Tahoe Chocolate and Wine Festival logo

26th Annual Tahoe Chocolate & Wine Festival

We have selected four community members with culinary experience to judge participating Chocolatiers in the following categories:

  • Most Decadent
  • Creative Ingredient
  • Original Taste

Guests will have a chance to vote for their favorite chocolate and award a Chocolatier with the coveted People’s Choice award!

Our Judges for 2014:

Johanna Lasseter-Curtis, Owner & Executive Chef of Cake Tahoe

Cake Tahoe has produced top quality wedding, specialty cakes & cupcakes since 1995. She began her studies in San Francisco, Menlo Park & Reno. She has worked in the Truckee area for 25 years as pastry chef for Cottonwood, Passage & Lake Tahoe Brewing Company before she opened her cupcake & creamery shop in downtown Truckee the summer of 2011. She has made cakes for celebrities & been published in magazines. She spends her time managing Cake Tahoe with her husband Rob Curtis & and raising her twin 15 year old daughters Sophie & Mia.

Sue Rock, Tahoe Quarterly Food & Wine Editor

For Sue Rock, chocolate is a family affair: Her mother owned Executive Sweets in Cleveland and her nephews-in-law ship worldwide from their Miami-based Le Chocolatier.

Food and wine have always paired perfectly with travel for Sue. After graduating from Boston University with a master’s degree in journalism, she served as a newspaper editor aboard five-star San Francisco-based Royal Viking Line cruise ships sailing worldwide. She has freelanced for publications such as Harper Collins guidebooks to Europe and South America, United Airlines’ in-flight magazine and trade magazines Travel Age and Travel Weekly. She has also held the positions of new markets managing editor and national content director for the online local guide, Citysearch. Most recently, Sue served as vice president of community content for Newswick, a news sharing start-up.

An Incline Village resident for 15 years, Sue now enjoys, with her husband Tom and sons Max and Ben, culinary pursuits near and far, a highlight of which was learning how to make pizza, pasta and biscotti on a family trip to Italy last summer.

Julie Whitney Wainscoat, Owner of Brockway Bakery, Kings Beach

Julie has lived in Tahoe for 55 years. She attended the University of Nevada and earned a B.A. in 1982 in Fine Arts. She also received her paralegal certificate in 2001. Whitney and her husband John met while attending college. In 1971, they joined John’s family in business at Brockway Bakery where she had the pleasure of learning cake decorating from Troy, John’s mother. Julie has continued her art business with a gallery adjacent to the bakery while continuing to produce cakes and pastries, and supporting the business that her and John purchased when their children, Sarah and Brian, were toddlers. Julie enjoys creating custom cakes, painting art and furniture.

Aaron Zendner, Executive Chef for Sodexo at Sierra Nevada College and Owner/Confectioner of Mr. Z’s Micro Confectionery

Mr. Z’s was honored at the first “Platinum Chocolatier Award” at 2011 Chocolate, Wine & Roses Festival. Between the years 2005 and 2010 Mr. Z’s has received 8 awards including a People’s Choice award in every year entered. Aaron is happy to continue on as a supporting member of the talented chefs providing chocolate creations at the festival as well as a judge in future events.