Last evening, Johnson & Wales University paid tribute to Miami's most gifted chefs and restaurant owners at its sixth-annual Zest Awards ceremony.
The school created the awards in 2012 to recognize leaders in the local culinary industry, many of whom are JWU graduates.
The Zests, hosted by Veritage Miami's Lyn Farmer, were presented in nine categories (Best Bar/Lounge, Best Wine Program, Baking & Pastry Chef of the Year, Chef of the Year, Best New Restaurant, Best Boutique Restaurant, Best Restaurant, Readers' Choice — Food & Drink Influencer, and Readers' Choice — Food Reporting).
In addition, JWU North Miami Campus president Larry Rice presented a special community leader award to Alison Burgos and Michelle Gaber of Seed Food & Wine Festival. The cofounders were recognized for their commitment to "elevating the conversation around plant-based foods, sustainability, conscious living, vegan living, and the welfare of animals."
The big winner of the evening was Brad Kilgore, who received Zests for both Chef of the Year for his culinary innovations and Best Boutique Restaurant for Alter.
Other winners were Repour Bar (Best Bar/Lounge), Coya (Best Wine Program), Simon Bregardis of the Fontainebleau (Baking & Pastry Chef of the Year), Glass & Vine (Best New Restaurant), Palme d'Or at the Biltmore (Best Restaurant); and the Hungry Post (Readers' Choice — Food & Drink Influencer).
In addition, Miami New Times was presented with the award for Readers' Choice — Food Reporting.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.