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Top Chef Contestants

Sunday, June 26, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: LocalShops1 Girl
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June 26, St. Petersburg — and Intensity Academy are happy to announce the contestants in the first ever Top (Local) Chef Competition, which will take place July 30 in Clearwater.

Contestants will each create a dish using the limited-edition LocalShops1 Girl hot sauce developed by Intensity Academy. The dishes will all be served during a reception at Canvas Zoo in Clearwater, sponsored by DeZiner Eventz.  Judges will choose the Top Sauce based on taste, originality and presentation.

The event benefits the Warren Backpack Program's Pinellas chapter, which feeds homeless and hungry children.

I am thrilled to be a part of the LocalShops1 first Local Iron Chef Competition. It will be exciting the see our local chef's create a variety of dishes with one saucy ingredient in common,"  says Michele Northrup, founder of Intensity Academy.

The winners will be featured in Northrup's cookbook, which will be published in time for the holidays. The winners will also be featured in's news blog and e-newsletter, which is distributed to more than 10,000 local shoppers and businesses.

"We're very excited to see what the chefs come up with," says Ester Venouziou, founder of "This won't be an easy decision for the judges!"

The competition takes place Saturday, July 30, at Canvas Zoo, 1750 North Hercules, Clearwater. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are free and available on, under the Events tab. For information, e-mail or call 727.637.5586.

There are six chefs each in the professional and amateur categories. They are:


Pia's Trattoria, Gulfport
Pia Goff: "My passion is food and my love goes to the people I cook for."

T & Me Tea Co., Gulfport
James Clark: "I bring not only a serious commitment of fun to the table, but also bring my passion for food, friends (new and old) and an absolute desire to share all of my talents with the world."

Twisted Cork, St. Petersburg
Sean Gwynn: "We have a love and passion for food and would like to be a part of your competition!! Sounds like a fun way to get to know new people and havean opportunity to showcase our talents!!"

St Pete Bagel, St. Petersburg
Oldrich Pleva and Lukas Pleva:  "Our bakery has been operating in St. Petersburg since 1987, and our chefs have more than 25 years of combined experience. This contest will provide us with an opportunity to showcase our skills in a friendly and supportive community of supporters and customers. It will challenge us to come up with a new and exciting bagel flavor, while adding culinary diversity to the contest."

2 Square Pizzaistro, Tampa

Ron Salerno: "I have never entered a contest like this before and would love the opportunity to create a new dish with LocalShops1 Girl Sauce."

The Milk n' Honey Tea Room, Tampa
Kathy Glenn: "I have been cooking with Michele's sauces for over 2 years now ... would love an opportunity to show that a self taught chef with a small restaurant can compete with the big guys!"

The Grand Floridian, Orlando

Debbie Frangipane: "I love the creative challenge of using new ingredients and especially love the sauces from Intensity Academy. Also, not only is my food creative and "saucy" but I enjoy the interaction with the public and would love the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for all things culinary."


Andrew Hewitt, aka "Don Stugots":
  "I have fun cooking and I look great in an apron."

Lisa Fuentes: "I am a HUGE fan of making "Stuff." What is "Stuff?" I'm so glad you asked. "Stuff" is made on those nights the family doesn't know what they want and I don't either. So, "Stuff" comes when I just start throwing things together to come up with something. It would be fun to take a new sauce and create something around it."

Holly Crabtree: "I have fun in the kitchen, love making odd-pairing/odd-sounding far though, no complaints. I am not really looking for recognition, just a day to have fun in the kitchen, meet more LS1's and have a go against the best of the best of Tampa Bay."

Vicki Apple:  "I love to cook. Friends and family rave about my creations. I blog my favorite recipes and meal preparation and presentation is my passion. It would be an honor (and fun) to go head to head with some of the areas professional chefs. My dream is to one day own a fine dining restaurant that serves dinner only, but doubles during the lunch hours as a soup kitchen for those in need...using left over ingredients from the night before to create great free meals and have zero waste to help the environment.

Jennifer Stewart:  "I am an excellant home cook and would love the challenge. I learned to cook at my grandmother's side, she started showing me as soon as I could stand in a chair and reach the stove. Both she and my mother are wonderful cooks. For me both my mother and grandmother are Top Chefs.
I use local and organic ingredients when available. I do not use recipies but cook from my heart. Plus I am pretty cute."

Patti Oriot: "Well you should not until you taste my cooking.. I was married to a professional French Chef for several years and developed my own style of cooking along his side. "

About us, launched in August 2008, connects local, independent businesses and community-minded shoppers all over Tampa Bay. In 2010 was recognized as the region's best voice for small businesses.

Intensity Academy sauces are all natural, award winning gourmet & hot sauces. In less than 4 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.

DeZiner Eventz's mission is to provide comprehensive and complete planning while focusing on corporate, sports, wedding, and fundraising events in the Tampa Bay Area.

Canvas Zoo helps preserve precious memories by creating archival quality canvas' of your favorite photos