Brad Kilgore and Timon Balloo Among Winners at JWU Zest Awards

Timon Balloo (with daughter Kirin) brings home the Zest.
Timon Balloo (with daughter Kirin) brings home the Zest.
Photo by Laine Doss

Forget the James Beard Awards. Miami's own celebration of culinary excellence, Johnson & Wales University's Zest Awards, shines a spotlight on our local chefs, restaurateurs, and culinary innovators.

Created in 2012, Zest gets more prestigious each year, and winning is a big achievement for the professionals singled out for their excellence and creativity. This year's award recipients were chosen by a panel of judges including Veritage Miami director Lyn Farmer, event planner Susan Gladstone, Yvette Mansanet of Nestlé Waters, and Bruce Ozga, dean of culinary education at Johnson & Wales University. Farmer, who pulled double duty as master of ceremonies, explained that the decisions were often difficult given the talent of the nominees.

This year, eight awards were presented. In addition, Rev. Ronald Brummitt was honored with the Community Leader Award for his role as president of Miami Rescue Mission. 

The 2016 Zest winners.
The 2016 Zest winners.
Photo by Laine Doss

The Zests also featured the Eaters' Choice award, where the public was invited to vote on the most iconic and memorable food moment in Miami's culinary scene this past year. Moments included the closures of Hy Vong and Fox's Sherron Inn, the emergence of Doral and Westchester as dining destinations, and Univision's Maria Antonieta Collins giving empanadas to the popes. The winner was Wynwood's the Lunchbox, for being Miami's first zero-waste restaurant.

Timon Balloo (with daughter Kirin) brings home the Zest.
Timon Balloo (with daughter Kirin) brings home the Zest.
Photo by Laine Doss

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill's Timon Balloo took home two awards, for Culinary Innovator and Best Restaurant. 

Best Boutique Restaurant honors went to R House. Chef/owner Rocco Carull confided that he was running late and almost didn't make the ceremony. Celebrating with a toast with husband Owen Bale, the chef was clearly glad he rushed over in time to pick up his award.

JWU president Larry Rice with Alter's Brad Kilgore and Dean Bruce Ozga.
JWU president Larry Rice with Alter's Brad Kilgore and Dean Bruce Ozga.
Photo by Laine Doss

Brad Kilgore's innovative Wynwood establishment, Alter, received the Zest for Best New Restaurant. Kilgore, who, along with Sugar Yummy Mama's Giselle Pinto, also received an alumni award in a separate ceremony Monday, is proud to be graduate of JWU. "The greatest part is that I didn't attend the campus here in Miami. I attended Denver. For Dean Bruce Ozga and JWU Miami to embrace me as one of their own, it shows the pride of the school, and I'm proud to be a part of it."

Other Zest recipients were Matador Room (Best Bar/Lounge), Timo (Best Wine Program), and Antonio Bachour (Baking & Pastry Innovator). 

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Alter

223 NW 23rd St.
Miami, FL 33127

305-573-5996

altermiami.com

miles
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
miles
The Lunchbox

78 NW 25th St.
Miami, Florida

www.thelunchboxcuisine.com

miles
Matador Room

2901 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33140

786-257-4600

matadorroom.com

miles
Timo Restaurant & Bar

17624 Collins Ave.
North Miami Beach, FL 33160

305-936-1008

www.timorestaurant.com


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