JWU News

JWU’s 6th Annual ZEST Awards Recognize Miami Culinary Leaders

2017 JWU ZEST Winners

3/30/17 | Johnson & Wales University’s North Miami Campus hosted the sixth annual JWU ZEST™ Awards to showcase and honor Miami’s culinary leaders in 10 categories.

Seven categories, including Best New Restaurant, Best Restaurant, Best Boutique Restaurant, Best Bar/Lounge, Best Wine Program, Baking and Pastry Chef of the Year, and Chef of the Year were selected by the JWU ZEST Awards judging panel, an advisory board of industry leaders and JWU’s dean of culinary education. The Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Food & Drink Influencer and Best Food Reporting were selected by community vote; and the university administration selected the honoree for the Community Leader Award, which highlights an individual or organization who has had an impact on the local community.

“We are committed to continuing to celebrate and honor Miami’s culinary leaders," said Bruce Ozga, JWU North Miami’s dean of Culinary Education. “They are the driving force behind the city’s thriving culinary landscape, which continues to impress both locals and visitors alike.”

The event, which featured food and beverages created and executed by JWU North Miami students, attracted culinary and community leaders such as Simon Bregardis (Fontainebleau Miami), Alison Burgos (SEED Food & Wine Festival), Adrianne Calvo '04 (Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar), Michelle Gaber (SEED Food & Wine Festival), Bradley Kilgore '06 (Alter), Soraya Kilgore (Alter), Gregory Pugin (Palme d’Or), Giorgio Rapicavoli (Glass & Vine) and Levi Richard (Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne).

JWU North Miami’s campus president, Larry Rice, along with Ozga, presented the awards. Wine educator, festival director and James Beard award-winning journalist Lyn Farmer was the emcee for the night.

The 2017 winners:

  • Best Restaurant: Palme d’Or, for being a local restaurant that stood out above the rest both for its delicious food and talented culinary team.
  • Best Boutique Restaurant: Alter, for being an independent, chef-owned or operated restaurant that stood out above the rest both for its delicious food and talented culinary team.
  • Best Bar/Lounge: Repour Bar, for excellence in creating the best cocktails.
  • Best Wine Program: Coya, for being a local restaurant that has demonstrated discriminating taste in offering an exceptional wine program.
  • Baking & Pastry Chef of the Year: Simon Bregardis, Executive Pastry Chef at Fontainebleau Miami, for exemplary creativity and excellence through innovative menu items and restaurant concepts.
  • Chef of the Year: Brad Kilgore '06, ALTER and Brava by Brad Kilgore, for innovative menu items and restaurant concepts.
  • Best New Restaurant: Glass & Vine, for creating a new restaurant concept and quickly garnering a loyal foodie following.
  • Reader’s Choice: Best Food & Drink Influencer: The Hungry Post, for excellence in covering South Florida’s culinary landscape.
  • Reader’s Choice: Best Food Reporting (Traditional Media): Miami New Times, for excellence in covering South Florida’s culinary landscape.
  • Community Leader: Alison Burgos and Michelle Gaber, co-founders of the SEED Food & Wine Festival, for strengthening the community through culinary efforts.

About the Awards
The JWU ZEST Awards were created in 2012 to showcase and honor leaders in culinary arts within Miami. From newcomers to established chefs, the ZEST Awards honors all its nominees in each category for their respective accomplishments.

Each year, the event attracts chefs, culinary entrepreneurs and community leaders from across the region, including JWU alums and industry professionals, to celebrate and honor South Florida’s rich culinary heritage.

Past winners include Timon Balloo '00, executive chef of Sugarcane; award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein '94, '03 Hon.; Brad Kilgore '06, executive chef of Alter; the Pubbelly Group and Chef Allen Susser.

JWU North Miami Campus President Larry Rice with Community Leader Award winners Alison Burgos + Michelle Gaber, co-founders of the SEED Food & Wine Festival

Topics: Culinary Arts North Miami