Last evening, Johnson & Wales University celebrated the best and brightest luminaries in the Miami culinary scene at the first annual ZEST awards.
The ceremony followed a cocktail reception at the university's North Miami Campus Academic and Student Center where students of the school's culinary program prepared and served passed hors d'oeuvres and signature cocktails.
The winners were selected by the university's culinary instructors,members of the university's epicurean society, and Miami Magazine staff, and were announced by WPLG and Sun Sports broadcaster Johanna Gomez, in the following categories:
The Culinary Innovator award was presented to Bjoern Weissgerber of Zuma, pictured (from left) with Jen Karernick the dining critic at Miami magazine (fo0rmerly of New Times, Bruce Ozga Dean, Culinary Education at Johnson & Wales University, North Miami Campus, Loreen Chant, President, Johnson & Wales University, North Miami Campus.
The Best Restaurant 2012 award was presented to Sra. Martinez. Michelle Bernstein was out of town, so was not present to receive the award.
The Newcomer of the Year award was presented to Juliana Gonzalez of Barceloneta Spanish Bistro & Mercat, pictured (from left) with Jen Karernick, Bruce Ozga, and Loreen Chant.
The Baking & Pastry Innovator award was presented to Michelle Negron of Timo, pictured (from left) with Jen Karenick, Bruce Ozga, and Loreen Chant.
The Top Beverage Professional award was presented to Isaac Grillo of Haven, pictured (from left) with Jen Karenick, Bruce Ozga, and Loreen Chant.
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The Community Nominee award, for a South Floridian who has positively impacted the region through culinary initiatives in the community, was presented to Penny Parham of Miami-Dade Public Schools, pictured (from left) with Jen Karenick, Bruce Ozga, and Loreen Chant.