LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces will host Tampa Bay’s hottest competition on Sunday, April 26th, Top Local Chef 2015, connecting the area’s food lovers with our best restauranteurs and chefs in the region. The event takes place at the Gulfport Casino and Ballroom from 5 to 7 pm, and also features a Neighborhood Market, a specially selected collection of local vendors with unique locally sourced products.
Three Birds Tavern has been a member of LocalShops1 since 2009, proudly supporting the local movement, and now Out of the Weeds is a proud sponsor of Top Local Chef 2015, hosting a table of Tampa Bay VIP’s. Area food lovers were encouraged to “pull up a seat at our VIP table”, and although the selection process was difficult, we have filled our table. Joining me and my husband, Jack; Nichole Crews of Casa de Crews, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg’s First Lady, Kerry Kriseman, Sandra McKenna of Midlife Road Trip, David Mealey of Myself to Shelf, and Nique Mealey, Director of Marketing for Melting Pot.
Nichole is a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys creating flavorful dishes, as well as discovering the next best restaurant in the city she loves, and then sharing with us at Casa de Crews. She shares recipes, photos of her husband and dogs, along with her very personal weight loss journey. “Loving and living in Tampa Bay. It’s all about balance, friends! When I’m not busy as a foodie, I enjoy hanging with my husband and two fur-babes.” I find Nichole’s writing to be real, relatable and inspiring. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
The next two seats will be filled with our ever-supportive of small businesses mayor, Rick Kriseman, along with his lovely wife, and the First Lady of St. Petersburg, Kerry Kriseman. In addition to her duties as first lady, Kerry is the Public Relations Specialist and Grant Writer for Creative Clay, “making the arts accessible to all by providing expressive, educational and vocational opportunities in the arts for people with obstacles to arts access.” Mayor Kriseman is a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 53rd district, and took office as Mayor January of 2014. Rick and Kerry are also proud parents of Jordan and Samuel, and serve as a volunteer puppy raiser family for Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Sandi McKenna is co-host of Midlife Road Trip: Travel, Food, Lifestyle and the Funny Side of Life. “I have read dozens upon dozens of family travel blogs and magazine articles about the merits of family travel with beautiful photos, in exotic locations, everyone looking flawless and fabulous. What the guidebooks don’t tell you about, are the perils of family travel.” She’s a professional traveler, digital correspondent, Brand Ambassador for Expedia Viewfinder, and just downright fun. You’ll want to follow her journey on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, making the most of midlife, and get a photo with her at the Casino on the 26th.
We have another husband and wife team at our table, who in less than four years grew a small BBQ catering business into a company that had over 4,000 retail locations nationwide and became a global brand that they chose to successfully sell in 2014. Meet Nique and David Mealey. Post Back 9’s Buffalo Chicken Dip – “The Chicken Wing on a Chip”, Nique is now the Director of Marketing for Melting Pot, which is part of the Tampa Bay based Front Burner Brands, and David is the President of Myself to Shelf, a full service food brokerage company with products that are represented at seven of the top 10 retailers in the country. You may have seen them on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank or Good Day Tampa Bay, in Entrepreneur Magazine, or on the sideline of one of their two children’s sporting events. Two of Tampa Bay’s movers and shakers in the food industry!
To all of you who entered this contest to sit at our table, I thank you. I am so grateful that you follow my Out of the Weeds adventure, and because I appreciate each of you so much, I am going to host a tasting just for all of you at Three Birds Tavern in May. Stay tuned for more details.
Our table is full, but it’s not too late for you to secure your own seat at Top Local Chef 2015. This event will sell out, so get your tickets today on the LS1 website. Competing chefs are Maggie Loflin of Maggie on the Move, Jill Johnson of Mangia Gourmet, Jonjie Sibayan of PAO Cafe & Truck, Ross Clingman of Marchand’s Renaissance, Jon Riesebeck of Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ and Rene Valenzuela of Taco Bus. The common ingredient is hot off The Intensity Academy shelves, Must Thai, an all natural Thai mustard sauce. See you all April 26th at the Gulfport Casino!