Cooking Demo Stage


Mani Niall

Natural baking guru Mani Niall has been ahead of the curve his entire career. He learned how to bake with honey in a classic health food restaurant and went on to open two bakeries in Los Angeles, attracting eager customers, including Michael Jackson for whom he worked as a private chef. He is the owner and executive chef of Sweet Bar Bakery, an all-day bakery-café in Oakland’s revitalized Uptown District. He spent six years as director of product development for Just Desserts, a Bay Area wholesaler of cakes, brownies and desserts. Niall spent three years teaching culinary students about the marvels of varietal honey for the National Honey Board, culminating in his second cookbook, Covered in Honey. His third cookbook, Sweet: From Agave to Turbinado Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener, focuses on sugars around the globe – Food & Wine chose Sweet as one of the top cookbooks of 2009. He is also theauthor of Sweet & Natural Baking and Good Morning Baking.


Santana Diaz

SEASONAL. LOCAL. CREATIVE. These descriptions fully define the passion and characteristics that guide Executive Chef Santana Diaz at UC Davis Health. Chef Diaz’ vision has always been to bring a true Farm-to-Fork, restaurant-style culinary experience to all facets of all food venues that he has had the privilege to lead. Most recently joining the UC Davis Health team after setting up the Golden 1 Center food program with the most successful farm-to-fork production in sports as their Executive Chef, his drive to create an impactful program via healthcare intrigued him and offered him more opportunity to impact our local community.

Working with the dieticians and nutritionists of UC Davis Health will continue his path of food education that will be expressed via new food offerings in not only the medical center cafe’s, but also the new in room dining program, catering, and all specialty/sponsored off-site events. He is vital in finalizing menus and working with local purveyors to execute the new UC Davis Health farm-to-fork food vision. The need to fulfill the request of better and healthier food options versus the “processed staples” is the direction that he is proud to support and provide.

Most recently, Chef joins our UC Davis Health family from not only the Golden 1 Center here in Sacramento, but also Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. He was the Head Chef for Super Bowl 50 in 2016 and executed the most farm-to-fork Super Bowl in history while there. Chef Diaz returned to the local Sacramento food scene armed with plenty of enthusiasm! Moving back to the area with his wife Christi and family now completes his recipe for success in his culinary world. Chef Diaz, a regional local from Yuba City, originally worked in the recognized Farm-to-Fork capital of California where he honed his skills at the James Beard acknowledged Taste Restaurant in Plymouth, The Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento, and as the personal sous chef for the NBA Sacramento Kings years ago. He moved on to the East and South Bays developing the culinary teams at Neiman Marcus and Hyatt Regency hotels before making his move back to sports and assisting with the opening of Levi’s Stadium. His love of sports and food proved to be the inspiration he needed to become the Executive Chef at the most innovative facility in the country which he now plans to bring to our UC Davis Health community.

Here in the Sacramento region, Chef and his new team have the opportunity work with the best vendors, artisans and restaurateurs in the marketplace. Ultimately the new direction of UC Davis Health will enhance the patient, visitor and staff experience via food service of the facility and bring the quality to another level. The unique relationships Chef Diaz has established with the local chefs in Sacramento ensures that UC Davis Health will be the culinary blueprint for healthcare facilities in the future. Every effort is made to incorporate quality, local ingredients, seasonality, and sustainable products whenever possible.



Straight from the Firehouse

In 1996, firefighter Kevin was in search of a sauce that would add some heat and flavor to the food he cooked for the others at the fire house. He created Fire Brothers Smoky Chipotle Sauce, which went well on everything from beef, chicken, pork and veggies, to burritos, sandwiches and more. In 2016, we decided to bottle up the smoky chipotle goodness so you can experience the heat in your own home.

​Fire Brothers is all about giving back to our community. A portion of all sales is donated to local charities.


Mason Partak

Mason Partak, at only fourteen years old, is a kid with a passion for cooking. Not only does he love to cook, but believes other kids love to cook, too. “I’ve been baking with my mom since I was two years old, now I’m fourteen and I can cook anything I have a recipe for and some things I just make up. I want to show other kids that they can cook, so I have recorded videos on YouTube to show kids how easy it is.” Mason has tutorials to make complete recipes and videos that show how to do specific techniques. Mason says cooking is cool and kids who can learn to cook feel like they can accomplish anything else they set their minds to – in the kitchen and in life!

Mason has been wowing judges and audiences at cooking demonstrations and recipe contests since 2010 when he won his first cash prize for a cookie recipe at a local community festival. He is often the youngest contestant in the recipe contests he enters, and it is not uncommon for him to be competing with adults who have 20 or more years of experience baking and cooking. He often places in the top three!

In the third grade, Mason set a goal to raise $25,000 to improve his elementary school kitchen. In just 18 short months, he surpassed his goal by raising $26,052 which not only improved his school kitchen but also installed a Culinary Sciences Lab so elementary school kids can learn to cook.

In 2015, Mason went to New York to compete on season one of Chopped Junior on Food Network and he won his episode! Mason came back to Auburn a Chopped Junior Champion with $10,000 and the first thing he did was donate a portion back to his elementary school to help the first year of the culinary sciences lab get off the ground.

Mason makes it known, “Kids need other kids to show them they can cook, they can do it – even if we have to learn together as we go!” He has published his first cook-booklet, “Mason Made, Favorite Recipes” and is on tap to publish 3 more this year. You can find them on

Beyond the culinary world, Mason has started an Entrepreneur Club at his middles school. He is showing kids how they can brainstorm ideas, start a business, and make money all before they are legal to work in the real world and drive!

To see more of Mason and his culinary creations, find out where you can meet Mason and see him do live cooking demonstrations, enter his giveaways, or contact him with your questions, visit You can also find Mason on Facebook  – “Mason Made it,” Instagram, Twitter, and on his channel on YouTube at  – Mason Partak.

Chef Justin Severson is a local boy turned kitchen master at an early age. He began his career at the young age of 16 at Gorman’s in Yolo. By age 19 he began working in such famed establishments as Morrison’s Upstairs, Paragary’s Bar & Grill, Zinfandel Grill, Slocum House, City Treasure, Tazzina Bistro, The Nest at Wild Wings Golf Course, and Road Trip. And now Father Paddy’s is blessed to have him at the helm in their kitchen. Chef Justin’s passion for fresh, honest food sourced locally drives him, and his expertise elicits joy and satisfaction in our customers.





Terry Ritzman

Chef Terry is currently the Executive Pastry Chef at Cache Creek Casino Resort. He is an east-coast native, started cooking at home as a kid for family & social events; at 15 he was already working in the culinary field.  At 17, he left home to pursue his culinary passion.  Acquired his degree in Pastry Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, then moved out west.  He advanced his career in Tahoe & Las Vegas for 20 year, working with talented & prominent chefs.   In 2003, he decided to move to Northern California so they could be closer to his spouse’s family & has been with Cache Creek Casino Resort ever since.

Terry grew up around Amish country, where he developed his taste & desire for excellent home-cooked foods.  His goal is to make desserts healthier but maintain exquisite flavor using local ingredients.  His true passion is in teaching & education people that dessert & all culinary cuisine can be healthier & flavorful.