The battle was spicier than ever in the fourth annual Top Local Chef competition, produced by LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces. But only one chef could claim the Top Local Chef title and a wild card spot in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas to compete for prizes up to $500,000.
That chef was Ramon Hernandez, two-time Top Local Chef winner and owner of Pipo’s Restaurant on Bay Pines Boulevard in St. Petersburg. Hernandez took home the coveted Giant Silver Knife, which he plans to display next to his prize from the year before, the Giant Silver Fork. Shubee Shack Chef Pat “Shubee” Bearry’s crab cakes earned him the People’s Choice Award and a deluxe LocalShops1 business membership.
The event packed the Gulfport Casino with eight chefs, the area’s top food writers and more than 250 guests. The event helped collect food donations and raise funds for the Gulfport Senior Center Foundation.
“I’m so proud and honored to have been a part of this,” Hernandez said. “I felt confident coming into the competition, but knew that I would be up against some very good local chefs. That’s why it took me weeks to come up with the right combination of flavors, that once combined it would be a winning recipe.”
The chefs had to incorporate Intensity Academy’s Saucy Everything. Top Local Chef 2015 is set for April 26 at the Gulfport Casino. For information go to TopLocalChef.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top Local Chef 2014
Granny Smith Kitchens, St. Petersburg
Island Flavors And Tings, Gulfport
Pipo’s, St. Petersburg
Serendipity Cafe, Dunedin
Shubee Shack, N. Redington Beach
Taco Bus, Tampa & St. Petersburg
Twisted Cork Grill, St. Petersburg
Wine Madonna, St. Petersburg
Janet Keeler, Tampa Bay Times
Isabel Laessig, Family Foodie
Noah Pransky, 10 News
Carlos Hernandez, Carlos Eats
Cathy Salustri, The Gabber
The event, organized by LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces, was sponsored by the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce, Simple with Style Events, Gerardo Luna Photographs, A Sweet Statement and ShoutOUT Tampa Bay. The nonprofit partner was Gulfport Senior Center.
Live Local! is a publication of LocalShops1, Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses.