Taste of Italy 2018 Featured Speakers: Brian Larky, J.C. Reid, Chef Joseph Vargyas, and Jeremy Parzen

IACC Texas is pleased to announce the featured speakers for this year’s Taste of Italy, the largest trade fair in the U.S. devoted exclusively to Italian wine and food (March 4-5, Houston).

We are particularly thrilled to welcome leading importer of Italian wines Brian Larky (see his bio below), for his first appearance at the gathering.

Brian Larky
Dalla Terra

Brian Larky revolutionized the way Italian wine was imported and sold in the U.S. when he started his company Dalla Terra in 1989. Literally decades before anyone else envisioned an importing model that would save consumers money by working outside of the traditional three-tier system (importer-distributor-retailer/restaurateur), he began setting up regional distribution networks that allowed wineries to sell their wines directly to local vendors. Today, Dalla Terra brokers the sales of some of Italy’s most iconic wineries, including Vietti (Barolo), Casanova di Neri (Brunello di Montalcino), Adami (Prosecco), Selvapiana (Chianti), and so many more.

J.C. (Chris) Reid
food/travel writer
Houston Chronicle

Food and travel writer J.C. Reid made history in 2014 when he became the first-ever barbecue columnist for the Houston Chronicle, the paper of record in America’s fourth-largest city. The founder of the Houston Barbecue Festival, attended by 3,000+ food lovers each year, Reid has also written countless feature stories for leading mastheads like the New York Times and Texas Monthly among many others. But his interests stretch far beyond his native Texas: He has also written extensively about his Italian travels and Italian food, including a highly acclaimed series on the history of spaghetti alla carbonara for the Houston Chronicle.

Chef Joseph Vargyas
corporate chef
US Foods

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a veteran food expert who has cooked professionally in Italy and France, Houston-based chef Joseph Vargyas currently serves as a corporate chef for US Foods, one of the largest food distributors in the world today. With $23 billion in annual revenue, US Foods offers its clients more than 350,000 products, including many food items — from meats to produce and prepackaged foods — that top restaurants across the country use on a daily basis. Chef Vargyas is particularly fond of Italian gastronomy and cookery thanks to a stint cooking on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, where he worked with some of Europe’s top chefs.

Jeremy Parzen, Ph.D.
writer, food and wine historian
University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy)

Ever since completing his studies in Italian literature in 1997, Houston-based food and wine writer Jeremy Parzen has written extensively about Italian culture and foodways. An adjunct professor of food and wine writing at the Slow Food university (the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, Italy), Parzen is also an editor of the Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of Italy, Slovenia, and California. A widely published author and translator, he was called a “Master of Place” by Wine & Sprits magazine in 2016 and his blog,, where he writes mostly about Italian wine, is considered to be a leading resource for Italian wine lovers and wine professionals.

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