The 2018 Platinum List Awards Panel of Experts
Celebrated Living’s panel of experts helped us chose the world’s top hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars and travel adventures. Here's a quick look at each.
Celebrated Living’s 2018 Platinum List Awards—our annual compilation of the best of the best in luxury travel—is based upon the recommendations of 19 esteemed experts in the fields of food, fashion, media, hospitality and the arts. After the experts selected the nominees, the winners were chosen by the readers of Celebrated Living in an online poll conducted in the late spring.
Here is a look at our experts. To discover the winners of the 2018 Platinum List Awards, click here.
A master of style, Prosper Assouline is known for merging the modern and the classical in publishing and creative design. With a vision of bringing luxury into the world of print, he founded Assouline Publishing with his wife, Martine, in Paris in 1994, creating a world of exclusivity in books and brand identity.
New York native Stacey Bendet founded Alice + Olivia in 2002. Since then, the company has grown into a full contemporary lifestyle brand, including ready-to-wear, gowns, shoes, handbags, accessories and eyewear, with 36 boutiques from Los Angeles to Bangkok. Celebrity fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Obama and Jessica Alba.
A world-renowned floral and fragrance designer, Los Angeles-based Eric Buterbaugh has crafted work for clients including film and fashion celebrities, movie studios and hotels. His new line of fragrances, EB by Eric Buterbaugh, is available at his Melrose Avenue boutique. He was the first American to design florals for Windsor Castle.
The co-star of the Travel Channel’s adventure series Caribbean Pirate Treasure, Ashlan Cousteau dives into maritime mysteries alongside her husband, Philippe Cousteau. Her Discovery Channel documentary Nuclear Sharks premiered at number one in cable programming. For more than a decade, she appeared as a correspondent and anchor on E!
Giada De Laurentiis
The Emmy Award-winning television personality of the Food Network’s Everyday Italian, Giada at Home, Giada in Italy and Giada Entertains, Giada De Laurentiis is a judge on Food Network Star, an NBC Today show correspondent, and the operator of the restaurants Giada and Pronto in Las Vegas. Her ninth cookbook, Giada’s Italy, debuted in April.
The founder of the award-winning management agency Glow Global Events, Cheryl Gentry has produced functions around the world for influencers and charities, including the foundations of Pierre Omidyar and Bill Ackman. She received a 2017 5 Member Alliance MWBE Award from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, and a Brava Award from SmartCEO magazine.
A co-founder of Casamigos Tequila with George Clooney and Mike Meldman, Rande Gerber has been a leading impresario in the nightlife industry for over 25 years, creating the modern hotel lounge concept with his Whiskey Bars. Casamigos, which became the country’s fastest-growing ultra-premium tequila, has recently released a new mezcal.
Beginning her career as a fashion illustrator, Barbara Hulanicki founded the legendary boutique Biba in 1964. It quickly became one of the key haunts of Swinging London, attracting the era’s foremost rock stars and celebrities. She went on to design interiors for the Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood and Chris Blackwell’s Island Outpost. She is the subject of the film Beyond Biba.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Naeem Khan launched his eponymous fashion brand in 2003, with clients including Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Based in New York, he began a bridal collection in 2013. He is a member of Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Host of the Cooking Channel’s Beach Bites and co-host of the Food Network’s Emmy-nominated The Kitchen, Katie Lee released her first cookbook, The Comfort Table, in 2008, followed by Recipes for Everyday Occasions and Endless Summer Cookbook. She is an ambassador for 96 Elephants and is on the board of Food Bank for New York City.
The founder and principal of MAD Architects, Ma Yansong is recognized as an important voice in the new generation of architects. The Beijing native is the first Chinese architect to win an overseas landmark-building project with the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. He was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2014 by Fast Company.
Designer Eugenie Niarchos is the founder of Venyx, described by Vogue as “a cult fine-jewelry label that has seen the fashion crowd flocking to snap up a piece of her special brand of ‘retro-futurism.’” A scion of the Niarchos shipping family, she launched her line after working in Christie’s Fine Jewelry Department in New York.
The chairman of The Related Group, developer and collector Jorge Pérez has been at the forefront of South Florida’s urban evolution for over 35 years. Time magazine named him one of the top 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States, and he has twice appeared on the cover of Forbes. He has donated more than $40 million to the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Lee Brian Schrager
The founder of both the South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals—which to date have raised more than $35 million for charity—Lee Brian Schrager is the senior vice president of communications at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. He serves on the board of trustees for Food Bank for New York City and has published three cookbooks.
A co-founder of Frasca Food and Wine, master sommelier Bobby Stuckey received numerous accolades at The Little Nell in Aspen before winning the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Wine Service Award at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. He opened his first restaurant, Frasca, in Boulder in 2004, and in 2007 co-launched Scarpetta Wines, which now produces eight varietals. Last fall, he opened Tavernetta in Denver’s Union Station. He is also leading American Airline’s wine program, selecting premium wines for Admirals Club lounges, Flagship Lounges, Flagship First Dining and in-flight.
As senior vice president of global sales and distribution at American Airlines, Alison Taylor heads a team of more than 1,100 associates to sell the airline’s product and experience. She also leads the airline’s distribution strategy, ensuring American offers value-added booking options across all channels that customers utilize to access the airline’s products and services. Before joining American, she led the sales team at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and worked in six countries across the Asia-Pacific region where she lived for 20 years.
An acclaimed authority on food and restaurant hospitality, Jeremiah Tower began his career in the 1970s as co-owner and executive chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. He also operated the landmark restaurant Stars in San Francisco. His book Jeremiah Tower’s New American Classics won a James Beard Award, and he also received a James Beard Award as Outstanding Chef in America in 1996. A patron of the Oxford Culinary Collective, he is the subject of the CNN documentary The Last Magnificent.
A three-time NBA champion, Olympic Gold medalist and 12-time NBA All-Star, Dwyane Wade began playing for the Miami Heat in 2003. In 2016 he joined the Chicago Bulls and then the Cleveland Cavaliers before returning to Miami in February. Off the court, he is recognized as a style leader, founder of the fashion show A Night on the RunWade and for serving as an ambassador for the first NYC Men’s Fashion Week. He is also a best-selling author with his book, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball.
A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, GQ and Elle, style expert Molly Young served as the creative leader for the eyewear company Warby Parker. Her illustrated book about New York City, D C-T! (with Joana Avillez), is being released this month. She also operates the design store Young Blanks with her husband, Teddy Blanks.