The winners and judges of the 2019 Zest awards
The winners and judges of the 2019 Zest awards
Laine Doss

Stubborn Seed Wins Big at the 2019 JWU Zest Awards

Last evening, Miami chefs, bartenders, wine experts, and restaurateurs gathered at the Rusty Pelican for the eighth-annual Zest Awards.

The awards were founded by Johnson & Wales University to honor the most gifted professionals in Miami's culinary community. This unique, local awards ceremony has become a valuable and coveted "win" for Miami's culinary professionals.

The Zests, hosted by Veritage Miami's Lyn Farmer, were presented in 10 categories (Best Bar/Lounge, Best Wine Program, Mixologist of the Year, 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 Traditional Media). In addition, two special Zest awards were given to community leaders for their lasting impact on Miami's food scene.

Last year, Ralph Pagano was celebrated for his courage. This year, Brustman Carrino's Larry Carrino received the Zest Character award for his efforts in promoting Miami's growing culinary presence, along with his charitable work in the community.

The Wynwood Yard was presented with the annual Community Leader award for its indelible mark as a culinary incubator and a place where people could socialize and learn in a communal space.

This year, Stubborn Seed was the big winner, with the restaurant picking up the Best Boutique Restaurant award. In addition, chef Jeremy Ford was named Chef of the Year for his work there. 

Other winners included Watr at the 1 Hotel Rooftop (Best Bar/Lounge); Zuma (Best Wine Program); Hector Acevedo of Cocktail Cartel (Mixologist of the Year); Sylvain Marrari of La Centrale (Baking & Pastry Chef of the Year); Fiola (Best New Restaurant); La Mar by Gaston Acurio (Best Restaurant); Succulent Bite (Reader's Choice Food & Drink Influencer); and Check, Please! South Florida (Reader's Choice Traditional Media). 

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