2016 JWU Zest Awards Celebrate Miami Culinary Culture

2016 Zest Award winners

Johnson & Wales University’s North Miami Campus founded the ZEST™ Awards as a way to showcase and honor leaders in Miami’s culinary arts. The 2016 Awards expanded to 9 categories, including the Eater’s Choice Award for Miami’s Big Food Moment, which was selected by community vote.

All of the “Best” categories were selected by the ZEST Awards judging panel, which included faculty from the JWU College of Culinary Arts and local hospitality leaders.

University administration selected the honoree for the Community Leader Award, which highlights an individual who has had an impact on the local community.

“Selecting this year’s winners was no easy feat as our pool of nominees included some of Miami’s best and brightest culinary professionals,” said Bruce Ozga, the North Miami Campus’ dean of culinary education. “It’s important to recognize the work of these talented individuals — they play a major role in making Miami a world class destination.”

The 2016 winners:

  • Best Restaurant: Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, for being a local restaurant that stood out above the rest both for its delicious food and talented culinary team (which is overseen by JWU alum Timon Baloo '00).
  • Best Boutique Restaurant: R House Wynwood, for being an independent, chef-owned or operated restaurant stood out above the rest both for its delicious food and talented culinary team.
  • Best Bar/Lounge: Matador, for excellence in creating the best cocktails.
  • Best Wine Program: Timo, for being a local restaurant that has demonstrated discriminating taste in offering an exceptional wine program for its guest.
  • Baking & Pastry Innovator: Antonio Bachour, for exemplary creativity and excellence through innovative menu items and restaurant concepts using the latest technology and techniques.
  • Culinary Innovator: Timon Balloo '00, for creating innovative restaurant concepts using the latest in technology and techniques.
  • Best New Restaurant: Alter, for creating a new restaurant concept and quickly garnering a loyal foodie following for JWU Denver grad Brad Kilgore '06.
  • Eater’s Choice for Miami’s Big Food Moment: The opening of The Lunchbox, Miami’s first zero waste restaurant concept, which is run by Carlos Dorado '13.
  • Community Leader: Rev. Ronald Brummitt, president and CEO of the Miami Rescue Mission for feeding the hungry and homeless in South Florida.

The event, which featured food and beverages created and executed by JWU North Miami students, attracted culinary and community leaders Timon Balloo '00 (Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill and Bocce), Rocco Carulli (R House Wynwood), Brad Kilgore '06 (Alter), Diego Oka (La Mar), Penny Parham (Miami-Dade Public Schools), and Patrick Rebholz (Quality Meats).

The awards were co-resented by JWU North Miami Campus President Larry Rice and Dean Ozga. Wine and food writer/blogger, broadcaster and arts educator Lyn Farmer served as the evening’s emcee.

About the JWU ZEST™ Awards
The JWU ZEST Awards were created in 2012 to showcase and honor leaders in culinary arts within Miami. From newcomers to established chefs, the ZEST Awards honors all its nominees in each category for their respective accomplishments. Each year, the event attracts chefs, culinary entrepreneurs and community leaders from across the region, including JWU alums and industry professionals, to celebrate and honor South Florida’s rich culinary heritage.

Past ZEST Award winners include Timon Ballo, Adrianne Calvo, Hedy Goldsmith, the Pubbelly Group, and Allen Susser. 

2016 Zest Award winner Timon Kirin