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And the winners are ...

Posted By Ester Venouziou, Monday, April 29, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013





April 29, ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- The competition was fierce during the third annual Top Local Chef competition, produced by LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy. But only one chef could go home with the Top Local Chef Giant Fork, and that chef was Ramon Hernandez, owner of Pipo's Restaurant on Bay Pines Boulevard in St. Petersburg. 


"There were so many great competitors here," said Hernandez, who won the Judges' Vote. "I'm so proud and honored to have been a part of this. ... I thank and appreciate everyone."


The winning dish -- Pork and Black Bean Croquet with a Corn Reamalaude -- will be featured in a new concept Hernandez is working on, he said.


Pipo's Restaurant was up against five other top local chefs:

Rain Chef Bobby Inthavong's Asian Salad with Garlic Dressing was winner of the Popular Vote and received a deluxe LocalShops1 business membership, valued at $200. 


"With a packed house, the pressure was very intense, but the chefs really delivered," said Mo Venouziou, vice president of LocalShops1, one of the event coordinators. "The restaurants, sponsors and the community pulled together to put the spotlight on independent businesses and on our charity partner."


Top Local Chef 2013 took place in front a sold-out audience of more than 150 at the popular Ale & the Witch courtyard in downtown St. Petersburg. The event, a benefit for the non-profit Community Food Pantry, which helps feed the homeless, aims to spotlight the amazing independent restaurants in the Tampa Bay region.


"It was so exciting to see the variety of dishes from these talented chefs all using the common sauce: Garlic Goodness. From Black Bean Pork Croquettes to Chocolate Cake! The culinary creativity was outstanding!" said Michele Northrup, founder of Intensity Academy, one of the event organizers. "I hope everyone goes to these local restaurants to experience these jewels in our community."


The judges panel was comprised of four of the area's top journalists:

Janet Keeler, Tampa Bay Times

Isabel Laessig, Family Foodie

Noah Pransky, 10 News 

Arielle Stevenson, Creative Loafing


The event was sponsored by Prints Charming Booth, Savory Spice Shop St. PetersburgSunset Appliance Service, The Shoppes at 400 Beach and UNation


More photos available on

About Us:

LocalShops1 is a grassroots coalition of hundreds of businesses, artists and community organizations, and thousands of energized shoppers dedicated to supporting locally-owned businesses. As the region’s most active voice for small business, it has made a name for itself through exciting events; advocacy of the buy-local movement; and uniting businesses, merchant associations, and community organizations from all across Tampa Bay. 

Intensity Academy creates flavors to make the world a saucier place to live… one bottle at a time.  It’s sauces are all natural, award winning gourmet & hot sauces.  In less than four years of being in business they have won 50 national awards, including their Chai Chipotle Chup’ being named the #1 ketchup in the nation thru the 2010 Scovie Awards. 

Tags:  top local chef 2013 

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