Zagat has just released the semifinalists for its first national "30 Under 30" list, and three Miamians made the grade.
For six years, Zagat has named 30 of the most promising young culinary talent from various cities, including Charleston, New York, and Seattle.
This year, the restaurant-ratings service morphed "30 Under 30" into a national roster, making competition for a spot fierce. In an effort to make the program more elite, Zagat conducted an open call in January asking people around the country to nominate those who deserve the honor, to create one national list.
Three Miami industry professionals made the shortlist: Fooq’s founder David Foulquier, Bakehouse Brasserie pastry chef Tatiana Vernot, and Night Owl Cookie Co. founder Andrew Gonzalez.
For Gonzalez, who's a Miami native, thriving in his hometown means everything. "When I first started Night Owl, everyone thought I was insane because there was nothing like it. But for me, it was about doing something new that would continue to put Miami on the map. The food scene here is world-class, and people are finally starting to take notice,” says Gonzalez, who was honored on Forbes' "30 Under 30" list this past January.
Foulquier hails from New York, but the burgeoning gastronomic scene that Gonzalez describes drew him here. "Miami is really evolving into a culinary hot spot, and it's cool that a list like Zagat, which is so important in New York, is taking notice. I feel honored to represent this city as a semifinalist."
The list of 60 semifinalists will be whittled down to 45 in June and cut to 30 finalists in September.