Timon Balloo Big Winner at JWU's Zest Awards

Miami's finest chefs and most enterprising restaurateurs gathered at Johnson & Wales University last evening for the third annual Zest Awards.

The awards, which were created in 2012 by the university to recognize leaders in the Miami culinary industry.

The awards were presented in six categories (Best Restaurant, Best Bar/Lounge, Culinary Innovator, Newcomer of the Year, Baking & Pastry Innovator and Reader's Choice Best Food Blogger).

See also: James Beard Finalists Announced: Miami Snubbed

In addition, Joe's Stone Crab was recognized with a legacy award.

The big winner for the evening was Timon Balloo, who received the culinary innovator award for his creative dishes at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill and accepted the award for newcomer of the year on behalf of Bocce Bar.

Other winners included The Bazaar by Jose Andres (best restaurant); The Regent Cocktail Club at the Gale Hotel (best bar/lounge); Hedy Goldsmith (baking and pastry innovator); and Fatgirl Hedonist (reader's choice best food blogger).

The most touching moment came from chef Richard Ingraham, who was honored with the community leader award.

The chef, who prepares meals for Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade, also spends much of his time helping the community through SEEK, Inc., a local non-profit that provides meals to Miami's homeless once a month and through Michelle Obama's Chefs Move 2 Schools program. Ingraham, who pointed out his wife and parents in the audience, said that he wakes up every day wondering what he can do to make someone's life better and acknowledged that many of Miami's culinary professionals share his commitment to giving back to the community.

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