Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
News & Press: LocalShops1 Press Releases

Top Local Chef 2015 Finalists Announced

Monday, March 9, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: LocalShops1
Share |

March 9, 2015

What: Top Local Chef, Tampa Bay's hottest competition, connecting the area's foodies with the best restaurateurs and private chefs in the region

When:  5-7 pm Sunday, April 26, 2015
Where: Gulfport Casino & Ballroom, 5500 Shore Blvd., Gulfport
Admission: General admission and VIP passes available online

Event website:

More info: or 727-637-5586

GULFPORT, FL -- Six local chefs have been selected to compete in Top Local Chef 2015, one of the area's top food competitions. They are:

  • Maggie Loflin, Maggie on the Move
  • Jill Johnson, Mangia Gourmet
  • Ross Clingman, Marchand’s Renaissance/Marriott 
  •  Jonjie Sibayan, Pao Truck & Cafe
  • John Riesebeck, Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ 
  • Rene Valenzuela, Taco Bus

Each chef will receive a gallon of Must Thai, Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces' newest creation, and asked to create a new dish using the sauce. The chefs will then bring their dishes to LocalShops1's fifth annual Top Local Chef event, which takes place 5-7 pm Sunday, April 26, 2015, at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom, 5500 Shore Blvd in Gulfport.


"I am really looking forward to the creative dishes the finalists will be dreaming up using our new sauce: Must Thai, an all natural Thai blended mustard sauce," says Michele Northrup, founder of Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces. "Last year I was blown away with the innovative creations!"


General admission and VIP seats are available at


The chefs will be judged by a panel of food experts and journalists:

  • Carlos Hernandez, Carlos Eats 
  • Ramon Hernandez, Pipo's Cuban Cafe
  • Janet Keeler, USFSP
  • Isabel Laesig, Family Foodie 
  • Mark Rivera, 10 News
  • Cathy Salustri, freelance writer 


The event this year also includes the Top Local Chef marketplace, featuring a variety of products, including locally sourced food items from the following businesses:

  • Pinellas Chocolate Company
  • Gigi's Gourmet Caramel Sauce
  • Brooklyn South
  • Vicki's Vittles
  • Big Momma Donna's BBQ Sauce
  • The Pampered Chef
  • Green Living Momma
  • Genaro Coffee Co.
  • Citrus Blossom Scented Candles
  • Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces 

Top Local Chef is a production of LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces, with the support of our nonprofit partner The Gulfport Historical Society and sponsors Out of the Weeds and the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce. For sponsorship or other information email



About LocalShops1

LocalShops1 is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned  businesses and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies throughout Tampa Bay. Founded in August 2008, LocalShops1 is the region's most active voice for small businesses.