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Meet the 2014 Chefs

Posted By LocalShops1, Thursday, March 6, 2014

Get saucy this Spring, at LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces' fourth annual Top Local Chef competition. The battle features chefs from independent restaurants and catering companies from all across Tampa Bay.  

Purchase Your Tasting Pass Here!

Here are the competing chefs, in alphabetical order. Click on their names to check out the Saucy Smack Talk videos:

Chef Desiree is brand new to the scene with her vegetarian catering company in St. Petersburg, but is confident she'll win. She has great dishes, she says, plus "People always go for the underdog, right?" She also says that though she cooks only vegetarian, her "sauciness will have the carnivores begging for more!" 

Helena is owner and chef of the Caribbean restaurant in Gulfport and a popular vendor at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg. The restaurant features lavish menus filled with "Caribbean surprises" and traditional favorites. Helena competed in the 2013 Top Local Chef, where she impressed the judges with both taste and presentation. She's back this year, confident she'll go home with both the judges and the popular votes.

Ramon is owner and chef at Pipo's on Bay Pines in St. Petersburg. Ramon is the winner of the 2013 Top Local Chef Judges' Vote, where he received the coveted Giant Silver Fork. "Let me know when am I getting my sauces so I can practice my winning recipe," he says. "That knife (prize for this year's winner) is going to look great next to my fork."

Chef Kim is the "owner/mastermind" of Serendipity Cafe, a restaurant specializing in healthy and unprocessed food. It opened in Dunedin in 2010. "I am the pied piper of really good-for-you food that tastes awesome!" she says. "From meatloaf to brownies to jalapeno poppers, I can take any food and amp up the nutrition and the flavor! Bring it!"

Chef Pat's North Redington Beach restaurant features crab cakes, seafood, shack snacks and more. Pat has placed first four times at the Seminole Community Mardi Gras Festival and is ready to take on another title: "Look out, Gulfport, you want me SHUBEE to SMACKDOWN succulent sauces with flair, style and creativity by the one and only SHUBEE!"

Rene is chef and owner of Taco Bus, a popular Mexican restaurant with five locations in Tampa, St Pete and Brandon. Before that he owned other restaurants around the U.S. and Mexico. "Gourmet hot sauce is no stranger to me. It runs in my veins," he says. "Paired with a culinary treasure from deep Mexico it should take the judges to an exotic corner of food Nirvana and bring the prize to one of Tampa's favorite sons: Taco Bus."

Chef Sean is owner of Twisted Cork Grill in St. Petersburg, a restaurant that features favorites such as Pulled BBQ Pork Lasagna and Classic Coca Cola Ribs. Sean competed in the first Top Local Chef, in 2011, and returned the following year to win the Judges' Vote and the Giant Silver Spoon. "I need a knife to go with my spoon!" he says.

Kate, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate, is the chef at Wine Madonna in St. Petersburg. She also works as a private/caering chef, and has received two Best of the Bay awards and the 2013 'Golden Spoon' award. She competed in the 2013 Top Local Chef.  "When you're this spicy, you don't need to talk smack!" she says

WHEN:  5-7 pm Sunday, April 27
WHERE: Gulfport Casino & Ballroom, 5500 Shore Blvd., Gulfport FL 33707
ADMISSION: Free, but Tasting Passes required to sample the food
MORE INFO: or 727-637-5586

Links to everything!
Register to Attend
Meet the Chefs
Meet the Judges
Purchase the Tasting Pass
Vendor Opportunities
Sponsor Opportunities
The not-so-secret ingredient
FAQ for Chefs  
Non-Profit Partner & Sponsors

Top Local Chef is a production of LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces. Our nonprofit partner is the Gulfport Senior Center Foundation and this year's sponsors are the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce, ShoutOUT Tampa Bay and Gerardo Luna Photographs.

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