Top Local Chef, produced by LocalShops1, returned for an eighth season with a surprise from organizers: This year's event was held on a yacht, with competitors boarding in St. Petersburg and sailing along Tampa Bay.
Local restaurant chefs were encouraged to apply by completing a short application on the Top Local Chef website, www.toplocalchef.com, a release posted on the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce website said.
Chefs selected were asked to prepare a dish that incorporated locally brewed coffee provided by event sponsor Kahwa Coffee, the release said. The chefs were to bring 300 samples of the new dish aboard the yacht Sir Winston in St. Petersburg, and the yacht was then to sail along Tampa Bay,, the release said.
Celebrity Chef Ray Lampe, known as Dr. BBQ, served as head judge. Noah Pransky of 10 News was the event emcee, the release said.
Guests at the event were able to sample the creations and vote for their favorites in the people’s choice category, the posting said.
There was also a student competition sponsored by Out of the Weeds and Three Birds Tavern, along with The Ryan Wells Foundation, which provides scholarships and support for students looking to enter the culinary industry, the release said.
LocalShops1 is a coalition of independent businesses and shoppers that promotes and supports companies throughout Tampa Bay, the release said.