– Just how hot is Tampa Bay’s sizzling food scene?
In recent months, Tampa Bay’s chefs and restaurants have earned praise from towering culinary figures such as Chef Emeril Legasse and a trophy case full of awards and mentions in national and international media.
And the awards keep coming: this month, Tampa Bay dining landmark Bern’s Steak House earned a stop among the top steak houses in the country, ranking above New York’s legendary Peter Luger by food site The Daily Meal.
Now Visit Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County’s private, non-profit tourism marketing company, has given the local food scene a starring role in its newest video production: “Florida’s Most Culinary Treasures.”
The video shows the world the depth and breadth of Tampa Bay’s culinary offerings. For three minutes and 33 seconds, viewers experience a mouth-watering tour of Tampa Bay’s hippest kitchens guided by its hottest chefs. The video’s luscious images are food for the eye and the imagination.
“When you create a dish that makes you think about where you are, you’ve really created something that people will remember,” says Chef Greg Baker, among the men and women leading Tampa Bay’s culinary revolution.
A Baker recipe is featured in “The Southerner’s Cookbook,” published in October by the editors of Garden & Gun magazine.
Baker and his wife, Michelle, have created The Refinery and Fodder & Shine, two staples of Tampa Bay’s Seminole Heights neighborhood. Fodder & Shine takes its inspiration from Florida’s early Cracker settlers, who got their name from the sound their whips made as they herded cattle left behind by Spanish settlers centuries before.
Just listen to Ulele Chef Eric Lackey recite the list of native and local meats he uses in his recipes -- “boar, venison, duck, alligator” – if you want to know where his native-inspired kitchen finds its inspiration.
“We really thought about what we wanted to do and what would be the best way to do it,” Lackey said. “We made sure not to cut any corners.”
“Florida’s Most Culinary Treasures” follows “Bay Crafted,” an earlier video highlighting Tampa Bay booming craft beer industry. As with the craft beer video, “Florida’s Most Culinary Treasures” helps Visit Tampa Bay build the region’s reputation across the country and around the world as a destination filled with culinary creativity.
In recent months, Tampa Bay restaurants have earned praise as:
- One of the nation’s top steak houses (Bern’s Steak House).
- One of the nation’s most eco-conscious restaurants (The Refinery).
- Home to the country’s best Cuban sandwiches (The Columbia).
“Tampa Bay is home to some of the country’s most talented chefs and storied food traditions,” said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “The Cuban sandwich was invented here. We are home to the world’s largest wine collection. Our chefs create unbelievable meals every day inspired by our local cultural and history. We are proud to invite visitors to experience the fantastic food we get to enjoy here in Tampa Bay.”
Tampa Bay’s booming food scene have given its chefs room to run, says Chef Chad Johnson, executive chef at South Tampa’s Élevage and Haven restaurant.
“Now you’re actually seeing chefs in Tampa doing their food, doing their dishes,” Johnson says. “We’ve got some pretty serious restaurants and some pretty serious folks in Tampa.”
“Florida Most Culinary Treasures” will be included on Visit Tampa Bay’s YouTube channel, added to future press materials and shown at trade shows and other events where Visit Tampa Bay promotes the region.