Best Chef
CandaceWest.com

Niven Patel is the kind of chef all cooks should aspire to become: tenacious, humble, and expressive — one who tells you what's important in life with each of his plates. He has turned the sprawling backyard of his house in Homestead into a farm that now feeds two locations of his Ghee Indian Kitchen, which specializes in the Western Indian cuisine on which he was raised. Moreover, he has trained and maintained a crack team of cooks who help him set a new standard for dining in Miami, all while opening two of the area's favorite restaurants within the span of a year without business partners, a public relations firm, or any of the bells, whistles, and shenanigans most places use to get you and your wallet through the door. Finally, Patel carefully balances serving refined, elevated versions of familiar Indian dishes with offering the country's vast array of cuisines that rarely see the light of day in the West. Hear that, James Beard Award people?

Best Baker
CandaceWest.com

Pastry chefs begin and end a meal. They bake bread that's usually customers' first taste of a restaurant and create a lasting impression with dessert. Devin Braddock, the 27-year-old corporate executive pastry chef at Blue Collar and Mignonette, two of Miami's most intimate and popular eateries, has worked her way up to Miami pastry royalty. Her grandmother, a former executive pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York, taught her at the age of 6 to mold almond paste into the shape of an orchid. After a stint at Johnson & Wales, Braddock dove headfirst into Miami restaurants, where she scored gigs at hot spots such as Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, Michael's Genuine, and Alter. Today find her at Danny Serfer's string of restaurants. Her sea salt and chocolate chip cookies are toothsome, with just the right balance of sweet, salty, and gooey. Then there's her chocolate cake, comparable to a pillowy slice of heaven. Oh, and her pies. They, too, are a delight.

Mr. Bing
Courtesy of Mr. Bing

Mr. Bing's technicolor food truck rolls around Miami peddling a frozen treat like no other. It's called shaved ice cream. Paper-thin ribbons of sweetened frozen cream are shaved off a huge cylindrical block at superhigh speeds. The consistency is comparable to frozen cotton candy, while the appearance is similar to a carnation. Here, the Taiwanese-inspired dessert comes in a variety of flavors, such as coconut and green tea — an homage to the treat's Asian roots — as well as chocolate and original sweet milk. Then come toppings such as Pocky sticks, mini marshmallows, and crushed Oreos. There's no guilt involved either. A standard 3.5-ounce serving of Mr. Bing contains about 100 calories.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®