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Top Local Chef 2012 Wrapup!

Posted By LocalShops1, Monday, May 21, 2012

The second annual Top Local Chef competition in St. Petersburg was saucier than ever, with five of Tampa Bay's top chefs competing for the much-coveted Big Spoon award from LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy.

We'd like to thank everyone who was there, and special thanks to our sponsors, host, chefs, judges and vendors! This was a prime example of the amazing things that can happen when local businesses come together!  At the end, everyone wins. 

But of course, that coveted Bog Spoon award can go to just one, and the judges chose Chef Sean of Twisted Cork Grille in St. Pete. In the popular vote category, and winner of a gift basket from Illuminated Publishing, was Chef Gary of Wimauma restaurant in south Tampa.

Follow-up stories and photos coming over the next few days! Yes, they will leave you drooling.

Meanwhile, if you were at Top Local Chef 2012, we'd love your feedback through this short survey.


The Sponsors
Illuminated Publishing
Olena Photography

The Host
Pipo’s Restaurant

The Chefs
Chef Willie, The Spot Bar And Grill, St. Petersburg: "Between the two of us, we have 50+ yrs in the food industry and with our Latin background and openness to try new and unique foods we have managed to create great flavor pairings or a fusion of flavors whether it’s a burger or a steak.”

Chef Sean, Twisted Cork Grille, St. Pete: "We were there last year!
We want another shot at the title!!

Chef Ant, The Taste Junction, St. Pete: "Item going to be The Saucy King because I take ingredients that everyone is afraid to combine and make that X-factor into a special dish. I challenge all chefs, cooks, etc, and I’ll chop them down one by one”

Chef Gary, Wimauma, Tampa: "I can bring the heat in and out the kitchen with a ton of creativity!”

Chef Paul, Saint Joseph’s Hospital North, Lutz: "The look on their faces is going to be epic when a hospital chef kicks their butts.”

The Judges
Noah Pransky is part of 10 News’ award-winning investigative team. Noah joined 10 News in 2009, but his journalism career goes to age 10, when he reported his first story on radio. In his spare time he likes to run marathons and enter amateur eating contests. Among his favorites: jalapenos and lobster rolls.

Janet K. Keeler is the lifestyle editor at the Tampa Bay Times, where she has worked since 1992. She was named food editor in 2000. The veteran journalist also hosts a video feature called Janet’s Kitchen at and is the author of Cookielicious, a tasty collection of some of her favorite cookie recipes.

David Warner, editor-in-chief of Creative Loafing Tampa, joined the paper in 2004. The alternative weekly is the third-largest print publication in the Tampa Bay region. David, a graduate of Harvard University, also studied theater at Villanova University, where he received his master’s degree.

Isabel Laessig, founder of Family Foodie, is grounded in her mission to bring back Sunday Supper Around the Family Table in every home.

Plus last year’s winners!
Chef Debbie Frangipane, trained at the Culinary Institute Of America, was the winner in the Professional Chef category in 20111. Debbi hones her skills at Armani’s Restaurant in Tampa.

Vicki Apple, an Internet marketing trainer and cooking blogger, is last year’s winner in the amateur division of the Top (local) Chef contest. The winning recipe? Saucy Shrimp Ceviche.

The vendors
Finishing Touch Gourmet Salts: Sea salts sourced from around the world and used by home cooks and chefs to enhance the finished food product.

Gateau OChocolat: Famous flourless & gluten-free chocolate cake and French pates: Chicken liver and Port wine, Duck and Walnuts, Pork and Mushroom.

Scentsy Wickless Candlles, Kelley Weaver: Warmers, fragrance foams, room sprays and much more!

Tags:  top local chef 2012 

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