Allen Susser – Iron Fork Chef Competition Host
A James Beard award winning chef, Allen Susser's new world cuisine, which takes influences from Caribbean, Latin America and modern American cooking styles, helped shape Miami's culinary scene. Susser, who has been called "the Ponce de Leon of New Floridian cooking" by the New York Times, has also authored several books, has his own line of sauces and marinades, and is involved with Burger Bar by Chef Allen and The Daily Melt. Susser also consults on many projects, helping Ben & Jerry's develop a line of tropical flavors and Kraft work on new salad dressing profiles. Susser is also involved with many chartities, including March of Dimes and Share Our Strength.
Jamie DeRosa – Competing Chef from Tongue & Cheek
After discovering a love of cooking as a child, Jamie DeRosa attended Johnson & Wales University before embarking on a career that would have him work with some of the best names in the culinary world, including Wolfgang Puck, helming Puck's Orlando restaurant and opening operations in Toronto, Las Vegas, and South Florida. DeRosa then joined up with Mark Peel at Campanile, then worked at Michelin Starred Patina restaurant with master chef Joachim Spilchal. DeRosa also served a three-month apprenticeship at The Fat Duck, which was named "Best Restaurant in the World" in 2005 by Britain's Restaurant magazine. In 2009, DeRosa returned to south Florida to open Taste Gastropub in Delray Beach alongside Allen Susser. Most recently, he served as executive chef at Tudor House, owned by celebrity chef, Geoffrey Zakarian before opening Tongue & Cheek restaurant in South Beach, where he is chef/partner.
Giorgio Rapicavoli – Competing Chef from Eating House
Giorgio Rapicavoli's culinary training started before the young chef even entered elementary school, watching both Julia Child and his mother prepare meals. Shortly afterward, young Rapicavoli would help his mother and grandmother in the kitchen, thus sealing his fate as a chef. Rapicavoli attended Johnson & Wales University, but left before graduating to start cooking at Chispa in Coral Gables, where he was promoted to pastry chef. After a stint at Olivos in Doral, Rapicavoli helped open Chispa's Doral location, working as pastry chef, then chef de cuisine. In 2009, he landed an executive chef position at 660 at The Angler's Resort. The chef competed on Food Network's Chopped — taking the victory for Miami, and opened his Eating House pop-up with the winnings. The wildly acclaimed pop-up closed for the summer, to reopen as a permanent restaurant in Coral Gables in fall of 2012.
Daniel Serfer – Judge & 2012 Iron Fork Chef Competition Winner
Pretty much any time of day you can catch Daniel Serfer behind the line at Blue Collar. Since the small restaurant opened in early 2012, Serfer's been busy catering to a full house (most of them regulars). Miami born and bred, Serfer actually studied political science and history at Florida State University before embarking on a career as a chef, working for over five years as chef de cuisine at Chef Allen's and as executive chef at 15th Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale. Serfer is currently the reigning Iron Fork champion.
Timon Balloo – Judge & 2011 Iron Fork Chef Competition Winner
After graduating Johnson & Wales University, Timon Balloo cooked for some of the best names in the restaurant industry including Allen Susser at Chef Allen's and Michelle Bernstein at the five-star Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, before landing an executive chef position at Sushi Samba park in New York City. The chef then returned to Miami to launch Domo Japones in 2008. In 2010, Balloo opened Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill to much acclaim, including Best New Restaurant by Miami New Times. The Sugarcane chef/partner was crowned Iron Fork champion in 2011 and was honored as Distinguished Visiting chef by Johnson & Wales in 2012.
Sean Brasel – Judge and Co-Owner of Meat Market
Behind every great restaurant, there's a creative, talented force that brings forth passion, dedication and excellence to every bite. The partnership between Chef Sean Brasel and co-owner David Tornek exudes such dynamic force that after 12 years together they continue to create the hottest see-and-be-seen restaurants in the business, by virtue of Brasel's exquisite cuisine, Tornek's innovative concepts, and their combined talent for exceeding diners expectations. Their latest creation, Meat Market — a sizzling contemporary American steakhouse with a NYC vibe that has taken the city by storm.
For Meat Market, Brasel has created a menu that embraces the staples of a classic steakhouse — a variety of prime cuts, generous portions of innovative seafood, amazing sides and appetizers, top notch wine list — but infuses it all with an artful, contemporary spin. "We want to appeal to those looking for a more traditional experience as well as more adventurous diners," he says. To that end, Meat Market also features a posh Crudo Bar, an eclectic, sumptuous raw bar featuring seafood delicacies, as well as an affordable bar menu ideal for a light bite or dinner, with a perfect perch for people watching. Menu standouts include tropical braised "fatty" brisket with coconut, mango, Cuban sweet potatoes and wild mushrooms; Kobe skirt steak with lemongrass, ginger and roasted local chili; buffalo tenderloin steak with a chili and espresso rub, topped with bittersweet chocolate mole butter; and a wild African pheasant roasted with tamari and braised chicory. Sides also delight with truffle creamed corn, lyonnaise potatoes with blue cheese gratin, wood roasted hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, summer squash cobbler, brown butter popovers, and green chili cheddar corn bread.