Chef Stephen Sands

Chef Stephen Sands is the co-founder and CEO of Culinaria Cooking School.

A nuclear physicist for more than three decades, he began his culinary career in 1989 as the lead assistant for Francois Dionot, the director and founder of L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, MD. Stephen assisted both L’Academie chefs, and visiting guest chefs, ensuring the execution of classes for the chefs was seamless; and assisted students in the participation classes with instruction and techniques during classes.

He graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine’s part-time professional program in 1996, and began teaching as a chef/instructor at the school. There, he developed curricula and original recipes for classes he taught at L’Academie. Stephen taught both demonstration and participation classes, and also instructed L’Academie’s private parties and team building events.

In 2004, Stephen formed Capital Food Partners, LLC, along with his business partner Pete Snaith, as a cooking school and catering company. He left L’Academie de Cuisine as a chef/instructor in the spring of 2009, and retired in March 2010 after working for 35 years as a nuclear engineer working for Westinghouse, Exxon, and NRC to pursue the development of the Culinaria Cooking School.

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The Chefs of Culinaria Cooking School

Founded in 2008, Culinaria Cooking School brings together professional chefs and wine experts who want to share their passion for the culinary arts with the community.

Conveniently located in the heart of Vienna, VA, this state-of-the art facility will feature modern equipment for use by instructors and students.

The team includes (from left to right) Chef and CEO Stephen Sands, Office Manager Stefanie Sacripante, Chef and VP Pete Snaith, Chef Brian Batsel, Chef Robyn Alexander, Chef Bonita Woods, and Wine Director John Peters.

“Our classes are built around teaching the fundamentals of cooking,” says Chef Stephen Sands. “They appeal to novice chefs, seasoned cooks, and beginners. Not only do our classes emphasize food preparation, but we also teach the presentation aspects of the dishes you serve — and offer tips on how to entertain with style and class.”

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The ER docs of Simplicity Urgent Care

Simplicity Urgent Care is a neighborhood center that is open evenings and weekends, and never requires on appointment.

Located at 3263 Columbia Pike in Arlington, our goal is to provide a medical center where you can see a doctor any day of the week – whether you have insurance or not.

From treating sore throats and cold-and-flu symptoms to cuts and abrasions, strains and sprains, and urinary tract infections, the doctors on our staff provide fast, friendly care, as well as immunizations, X-rays, drug screenings, travel medicine, and more.

For more information, visit

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MorganStanley SmithBarney's Hasenberg Hartsock Group

John Hasenberg is a senior vice president for wealth management with MorganStanley SmithBarney in Washington, D.C. He works with individuals, families, business owners, corporations and non-profits. Featured services range from selecting investments to retirement planning to sophisticated estate planning. Prior to joining Smith Barney, he spent six years with A.G. Edwards, where he was a member of the firm’s President’s Council in 2005 and 2006.

Nancy Hartsock is a Financial Advisor and Financial Planning Specialist with The Hasenberg Hartsock Group at MorganStanley SmithBarney, and specializes in wealth management, financial planning, and multi-generational family work. During her years in the financial services industry, she has helped her clients reach their wealth goals through hard work and a common sense approach to successful investing. Nancy began her career in the financial services industry with AXA Advisors, LLC in 2001 prior to joining Smith Barney in 2005.

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Paige Rhodes, CEO, Rhodes & Weinstock

Prior to co-founding Rhodes & Weinstock in 2009, Paige Rhodes spent more than 15 years in staffing, human resources, and law firm management.

Throughout her career, she gained an intricate knowledge of the temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct placement services. In addition to her staffing industry experience, Paige also spent several years in human resources, and as an HR Manager at two large law firms in the DC Metropolitan area.

The combination of in-house and outplacement recruiting experience gives her a unique understanding of the hiring needs and concerns of her clients, from large multinational corporations to small start-ups.

Paige prides herself on developing long-term relationships with her candidates and clients. She believes superior customer service and honesty are the cornerstones of a successful business relationship. Paige is a member of the American Staffing Association and the National Association of Women Business Owners. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and a proud Gator!

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Entrepreneurs of the Month: Jim Bognet & Jeff Kaiser

Jim Bognet’s father thought maybe his son would become a doctor. The lad was so good in math and science, it seemed a natural fit. The young Bognet thought differently. The family business was construction, and since he was 7 he’d snap on his little tool belt and head out on jobs with his dad, Rocco, owner of the general and mechanical contracting firm Bognet, Inc.

As he grew, Jim spent his summers as a laborer and estimator, and operated heavy equipment until he graduated from Penn State University in 1988 with a degree in mechanical engineering. One of his professors was a vice president from the George Hyman Construction Company and helped him land a job with Tiber Construction. By 1991, he was working for Oliver Carr and by 1996, was the director of the DC office for The Leapley Company. That’s where Jim met Jeff Kaiser.

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THE BOGNET WAY: The values that keep Bognet Construction on track

On the office door of Jim Bognet’s office is a sign that reads: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

William Foster said that. He was a 28-year-old United States Marine who received the Medal of Honor for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” during the World War II Battle of Okinawa, where he died on May 2, 1945.

Such a sentiment is part of what Jim, his business partner Jeff Kaiser, and their vice president Jennifer Bognet call “The Bognet Way.”

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Photo Opportunity: Laura Lee Williams on News Channel 8

Photo by Steve Barrett,

Washington DC, January 15, 2008 — Just days before Barack Obama’s Inauguration, luxury handbag designer Laura Lee Williams, owner of Laura Lee Designs, was featured on the noon broadcast of Washington DC’s ABC Affiliate News Channel 8 about the best accessories to carry for the big event.

Options, said the Northern Virginia-based designer, include her collection of styles, ranging from the M Bag, which measures 8×3 inches and has 3,500 beads — perfect for carrying make up, money and a cell phone — to the Positively Pink bag, which is like the M Bag and created to support breast cancer research. She also brought along her higher-end Sitting Pretty bag, a signature purse that’s big enough to handle all the goodies a woman might need to carry.

“It was a thrill to talk with Let’s Talk Live co-host Natasha Barrett about my handbags,” says Williams, who herself attended the Inauguration — and carried one of her favorite cocktail dress accessories, the midnight black M Bag.

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Portrait & Bio: Laura Lee Designs

With a master’s degree in international studies from Harvard University, Laura Lee Williams is a businesswoman with a flair for numbers and fashion. She’s worked for Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, American Express and Apple Computer. But when she was the vp of global business with Hong Kong’s Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW), she was inspired to create a company of her own.

In 2003, she launched the luxury handbag firm Laura Lee Designs, and ever since her stylishly appealing, fabulously chic handbags have adorned the arms and outfits of celebs including Desperate Housewives’ Eva Longoria, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, and Touched by an Angel actress Roma Downey.

“Each bag is handmade with Nepalese fabrics, high quality satins and swirling patterns of Japanese beads,” Laura Lee explains. “Colorful snakeskin accentuates each bag and adds functional elegance to each piece. The bags are less an accessory and more a piece of wearable art. A Laura Lee Designs handbag captures individuality and verve. You definitely can’t be a wallflower and wear one of these bags!”

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Photo & Bio: Peter Noonan, Assistant Superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools

Since April 2006, Noonan has served as assistant superintendent for Cluster VII schools, including the Centreville, Chantilly, and Fairfax High School pyramids. In this position, he initiated instructional and organizational change using professional learning communities, increased accessibility to educational technology resources for students and staff members, and school leadership development to support diverse learners.

Noonan served as principal of Centreville High School from July 2004 until April 2006, where he developed a principal’s round table for aspiring student leaders, initiated a freshman transition team for rising ninth grade students, and secured funding for an Honors and Advanced Placement Summer Institute. Prior to that, he served as principal of Lanier Middle School. Noonan came to FCPS in 2001 to serve as assistant principal at Langley High School.

Prior to joining FCPS, Noonan served as dean of students, assistant principal, and principal of several schools in Albuquerque. He began his career as a special education teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in Albuquerque, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1993.

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Portrait & Bio: City of Fairfax School Board 2008-2010

Photo by Steve Barrett Photography
Bio by Hope Katz Gibbs

Before the City of Fairfax became an independent city, it was a town in Fairfax County and the schools were part of the Fairfax County (FCPS) system. When the town moved to city status in 1961, state law required that a local school board be organized to govern the schools.

A School Services Agreement was entered into with FCPS to continue to manage and operate the schools; the City School Board and Superintendent oversee this Agreement and are responsible for the management of the school buildings owned by the City. Key Elements of the Schools Services Agreement can be found here: City-County Connection.

Today, the City of Fairfax School Board consists of five elected officials who help guide the City Schools in legislative and other school business. Pictured here they include (from left): Chairman Janice Miller, Vice Chairman Jon Buttram, Toby Sorensen, Julie Knight, and Elisa Lueck. Each year, a senior from Fairfax High is chosen to be the Student Representative. This year that is Jonathan Earley.

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Photography: Barbara Mitchell and Sharon Armstrong

Photo by Steve Barrett

Barbara Mitchell (left) and Sharon Armstrong are the co-authors of The Essential HR Handbook, a quick and handy resource for any manager or HR professional. Before launching their website to promote their book, the authors hired Steve Barrett to take their pics.

“Steve was a joy to work with,” says Barbara. “He made us feel so comfortable.” Sharon notes: “We laughed the whole time he was with us. It was a pleasure to work with him.”

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Portrait: Illustrator Michael Gibbs

Michael Gibbs has been a freelance illustrator and designer since attending Pratt Institute as a photography and illustration major in the mid-70s. His award-winning artwork has appeared in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Worth Magazine, Consumer Reports, Harvard Business Review, and publications for United Airlines, Verizon, IBM, Sears, American Airlines, CitiGroup and Oracle. He has also illustrated the covers and features of dozens of alumni magazines including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, the University of Chicago and American University.

His illustrations have been recognized by prestigious art publications such as Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine, Print, and Spectrum. His work has also been exhibited at a variety of museums and galleries including the Society of Illustrator’s Museum of American Illustration in New York City, the Billy Shire Fine Arts Gallery in Los Angeles, and in Washington area at the Corcoran Museum of Art, the Sumner School Museum, Montgomery College Gallery and the University of Maryland Gallery.

View Michael’s portfolio at
Discover his award-winning alter ego M Glenwood at

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Photography: Delaware Market

Photo by Steve Barrett

Photojournalism is Steve Barrett’s passion, and when he has the opportunity to put his subjects in their natural environment he always jumps at the change. Such was the case when he photographed chefs Kim and Edgar Alvarez in their shop, the Delaware Market House.

“We were just about to start preparing the food for a Hillary Clinton fundraiser, and we were a little crazed,” admits Kim, who felt immediately calm when Steve came into the store with is camera and lights. “He let us go about our business, yet managed to capture great shots amidst the chaos. I absolutely love what he came up with.”

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Photography: Alice Waagen

Photo by Steve Barrett

Alice Waagen decided in the Spring of 2008 that the time had come for a make-over of her corporate image for her 11-year-old leadership development company, Workforce Learning. So the entrepreneur called Inkandescent PR. Before we sent out her first newsletter, she had Steve Barrett take new portraits — photos that ultimately became the basis of her new website.

“I absolutely love how Steve captured my image on film,” says Alice. “Now, when a client asks for my picture for a brochure or flyer, I am proud to send it along.”

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Newsletter Photos and Design

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Editor / City School Close-Up
Photos by Steve Barrett
Design by Michael Gibbs
Cover Story, November-December 2006

What students need to know by the end of kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade

Since 2002, writer Hope Gibbs, designer Michael Gibbs, and photographer Steve Barrett have been creating the City Schools Close-Up newsletter, a publication that circulates to 14,000 residents and business owners in the City of Fairfax, Virginia.

The information in Close-Up helped pass a $86 million bond to rebuild Lanier Middle School and Fairfax High, and also has won six awards to date from the National School Public Relations Association.

For more, visit

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