Top Local Chef 2014 takes place 5 to 7 pm Sunday, April 27, at the Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd.
Admission is free, but Tasting Passes are required to taste the food. To order a pass, check out our Online Store.
Purchase Your Tasting Pass Here!
First things first. I'm the best chef around. How do I get in??
Sorry! Deadline to apply was Feb. 28. But if you want advance notice for next year's Top Local Chef, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm not a chef, but would like to be involved.
Great! We have limited vendor spots and sponsorship opportunities. Sign up at our Online Store.
I made it as a competing chef! What happens next?
If selected to participate, you will be invited to meet with the Saucy Queen, aka Michele Northrup for Intensity Academy, and will receive a free gallon of the not-so-secret ingredient to use in their dishes. We will also film a short video of you and the Saucy Queen, letting the world know why they will be the next Top Local Chef. Practice your Saucy Smack Talk!
You will have a full month to experiment and create the winning dish. On competition day, April 27, you must arrive at 3 pm and be set up and ready to go by 4:30 pm. Each chef must bring 200 samples for guests and plated dishes for the judges. Doors open to the public at 5 pm.
Who are the judges?
include Janet Keeler, lifestyle editor at the Tampa Bay Times and author
of Cookielicious; Noah Pransky, Emmy award-winning reporter for 10
News; Carlos Hernandez, founder of Carlos Eats; Isabel Laessig, founder
of Family Foody; and Cathy Salustri, reporter for the Gulfport Gabber.
What is the cost to participate?
Chefs do not pay to participate. In fact, they will receive $1 from each sample sold to help cover their costs.
We also offer sponsorship and vendor opportunities at various prices. Please check our Online Store.
Who supplies the ingredients for the dish?
Intensity Academy provides one gallon of Saucy Everything for free. Additional sauce, if needed, will be available directly from Intensity Academy at wholesale price. The chefs are responsible for other ingredients.
Who supplies the serving containers and utensils? Do you have warming dishes? Tables?
Chefs are responsible for all containers/utensils/warming dishes/etc. We provide two 8-foot tables and two chairs. Feel free to bring your custom tablecloths or other branded materials for your table.
Is there an entrance fee for the public?
Admission is free, and you are encouraged to bring a crowd to cheer you on. Samples are $3 each, and Tasting Pass for samples to all dishes will be available at a discounted rate. To order Tasting Passes, go to our Online Store.
Are the dishes made in the chef's kitchen and then transported to the site?
Yes. There will be no cooking on site.
How does the judging work?
There will be a winner each in Popular Choice and Judges' Vote.
For the judges' portion, each chef will present their plate to the judges on stage, and will have opportunity to describe the dish and get input from the judges. Judges will rank each dish on taste, presentation, creativity, and best use of the not-so-secret ingredient.
What size plate is used?
That's up to each chef. Keep in mind that each sample is selling for $3, so consumers should feel like they're getting good value for their money
Can I bring menus and business cards?
Of course! We want you to get a ton of exposure here. Feel free to bring promotional materials to hand out from your booth and/or to leave at the guests' tables. You may also bring stand-up banners, if you have any. There is no space, however, to hang a banner.
What else do I get?
Every participating chef will be heavily featured through LocalShops1's website, social media pages, and e-newsletters, with a combined reach of more than 50,000 local residents. After the competition, each chef will get an additional gallon of Saucy Everything, so they can offer the dish at their restaurant (or next catering job). In addition, the chefs will receive a digital copy of their video and a digital Top Local Chef contestant (or winner!) logo, which they may post on their website and YouTube channels.
Anything else I should know?
Top Local Chef is a production of LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces, This year's sponsors are Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce, ShoutOUT Tampa Bay and Gerardo Luna Photographs. Our nonprofit partner is the Gulfport Senior Center Foundation. Donations of canned goods to their pantry are encouraged.