Food Industry

Fourth Annual JWU Zest Award Nominees Announced: Vote for New Times

Nominees have been announced for the fourth annual Johnson & Wales University's Zest Awards which celebrate excellence in South Florida's culinary arts scene.

Last year, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill's Timon Balloo was the big winner, taking home the culinary innovator award and accepting an award for Bocce Bar, which was named newcomer of the year.

On March 18, from 7 to 9 p.m., JWU's Wildcat Center at its North Miami campus will host the awards ceremony which showcases leaders in the Miami food scene. Awards are presented in seven categories including best restaurant, best boutique restaurant, best bar/lounge, best wine program, culinary innovator, newcomer of the year, baking and pastry chef of the year, best food blogger, and best food reporting. In addition, Michelle Bernstein will receive a special community leader award, for her work with Common Threads.

See also: Timon Balloo Big Winner at JWU's Zest Awards

The Zest Awards' best food blogger and best reporting awards are chosen by vote, with people encouraged to vote for their favorite food coverage at You can vote only once (unlike other Florida elections), so make it count and vote for New Times/Short Order, which is nominated for a Zest in the best reporting category.

You can tweet about the Zests using @JWUNorthMiami, hashtag #JWUZest.

Here's the full rundown of the nominees:

Best Restaurant

  • Area 31
  • Bourbon Steak at Turnberry Isle Resort
  • Edge Steak & Bar
  • Makoto Bal Harbour
  • Palme d'Or at the Biltmore Hotel
  • Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill

Best Boutique Restaurant

  • Blackbrick Chinese
  • Bread & Butter
  • Drunken Dragon
  • The Federal
  • Hiro's Yako-San
  • MC Kitchen
  • Sakaya Kitchen
  • Whisk

Best Bar/Lounge

  • Blackbird Ordinary
  • Broken Shaker at Freehand Miami
  • db Bistro Miami
  • Khong River House
  • St. Regis Bar at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
  • Swine

Best Wine Program

  • The Biltmore
  • The Dutch at W South Beach
  • Graziano's
  • The Setai
  • St. Regis
  • Uvaggio
  • Zuma

Culinary Innovator

  • Tim Andriola, Timo and Basil Park
  • John Kunkel, 50 Eggs
  • Michael Schwartz, The Genuine Hospitality Group
  • Jose Mendin, Pubbelly Group
  • Danny Serfer, Blue Collar and Mignonette

Newcomer of the Year

  • 1826
  • Basil Park
  • L'Echon
  • Mignonette
  • Oolite
  • Touche at E11even

Baking & Pastry Chef of the Year

  • Antonio Bachour, St. Regis Bal Harbour
  • Jerome Maure, db Bistro Miami
  • Jason Morale, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill and Bocce Ristorante
  • Zak Stern, Zak the Baker
  • Keith Wallace, Four Seasons Miami

Best Food Blogger (Reader's Choice)

  • Adventures of the Foodaholic
  • Burger Beast
  • Food for Thought
  • Lee2Go
  • Miami Dish
  • Miami Food Pug
  • The Hungry Post
  • South Florida Food and Wine

Best Food Reporting - Traditional Media (Readers' Choice)

  • ChatChow
  • Eater Miami
  • Edible South Florida
  • Indulge
  • The Miami Herald
  • MIAMI Modern Luxury Magazine
  • Ocean Drive Magazine
  • Short Order (Miami New Times)
  • South Florida Gourmet

Community Leader

Michelle Bernstein, Founder of the Miami Chapter of Common Threads, chef-owner of Crumb on Parchment and chef of Seagrape

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss