St. Petersburg Times staff writer Ben Montgomery's story uncovering resume padding by celebrity chef Robert Irvine has been honored by the Association of Food Journalists as the best food news story of 2008.
The awards were announced at AFJ's annual conference, held this year in New Orleans. Montgomery, who has been at the Times since 2006, is a writer on the paper's enterprise team.
"The reporter exposed a serious case of resume padding by a celebrity chef who may have promised more to St. Petersburg than he could deliver," said one judge.
"Excellent job of digging out facts, especially since these are facts the subject would not like to see in a newspaper," said another judge.
Irvine was poised to open two restaurants downtown when it was discovered that he had inflated his resume. The restaurant projects were canceled and he subsequently lost his show, Dinner: Impossible, on Food Network. He has since been reinstated as host.
To read Montgomery's story, "TV chef spiced up his past exploits," which first appeared in the Times on Feb. 17, 2008, go to links.tampabay.com.
To see a list of other AFJ winners, go to afjonline.com.