Chef Thomas Harkins approaches his menu of contemporary, yet inherently American dishes with energy and creativity, while honoring the simplicity of the ingredients. His connection to creating updated American classics, comes from his own passion and love of developing flavors that blend the familiar with the unexpected. Chef Harkins’ culinary creativity has been recognized by local and national press. He has been awarded “Best of” by local publications, but states his proudest accomplishment has been cooking four times at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.
He found his love for cooking as a teen and started in the restaurant industry at age 15 and has been cooking ever since. A 1989 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Harkins is a native Philadelphian. His culinary resume includes more than 20 years of experience in positions such as chef de cuisine at top Zagat-rated restaurants. Chef Harkins has worked in the kitchen of Olivier de St. Martin, then executive chef of the acclaimed Founders at Philadelphia’s Hotel Atop the Bellevue. He moved quickly from gourmet cook to sous chef to chef de cuisine. In 1993, he decided he wanted to run Restaurant 210 at the AAA Five Diamond Rittenhouse Hotel. During his tenure, the restaurant received the Distinguished Restaurant Award by Conde Nast Traveler magazine and Zagat named it “Best Continental Restaurant” in the City.
Chef Harkins also had the opportunity to work beside some of the world’s most lauded chefs. From each, he acquired more knowledge, more skill and more inspiration. Included among this elite group were Jean André Charial, a three-star Michelin chef from France’s L’Oustau de Baumaniere; Charlie Trotter of the eponymous restaurant in Chicago; and The Food Network’s Malto Mario, Mario Batalli of New York’s Po, Babbo and Esca. He has also cooked with New Orleans’ Emeril Lagasse on numerous occasions.
He received accolades for his creative and consistent dishes while in the kitchens of The Moshulu, Circa and Plate. He served as Executive Chef of SoleFood, located at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, for nearly a decade.
Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Kaewvichien has created desserts for Oprah Winfrey, Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jerry Ford. She now employs her talents at Bank & Bourbon.
Born in Vientiane, Laos, she arrived in Philadelphia in 1980 and did not immediately enter the pastry profession. Instead, she attended nursing school. During this time she also took her first culinary job at the Rittenhouse Hotel working under Executive Chef Gary Coyle, formerly the chef at the renowned Tavern on the Green, New York City. She then worked for Jim Coleman, a celebrated author and TV show host. Kaewvichien began her culinary career in garde manger. After two years of making salads and sandwiches, she realized baking was her calling. While at the Rittenhouse Hotel, she requested to work in the pastry kitchen. There, she worked her way up from a cook to becoming an assistant pastry chef under Stanley Keenan. She joined The Loews Philadelphia Hotel in 2000 working under Corporate Chef Tom Kriebel.
In addition to her time in the pastry kitchen, Kaewvichien has appeared on local and regional television programs and has prepared desserts for a collaborated dinner at James Beard House, in New York City.