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Dining Planner: Heavy-hitting chefs at Food for Thought, Chowder Challenge and 'Dutch Weed Burger' screening


As the second lecture in the Food for Thought series, four heavy-hitting Tampa Bay chefs and restaurateurs come together for the evening starting at 7 p.m. Monday at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg. The first one in the series with award-winning food photographer Penny De Los Santos was an amazing look at how food is a magnifying glass for examining cultures around the world.

For this second event, the brainchild of University South Florida St. Petersburg visiting professor and former Times food editor Janet Keeler, it's a close look at how Tampa Bay culture and history influence the food being made today. Greg Baker (the Refinery and Fodder & Shine in Tampa), Richard Gonzmart (Columbia, Ulele and soon-to-be Goody Goody in Tampa), Jeffrey Hileman (Locale Market in St. Petersburg) and Curtis Beebe (Pearl in the Grove in Dade City and Local Public House and Provisions in San Antonio) gather to talk about the "new" Florida cuisine that draws its roots from Old Florida history and local, seasonal foods.

Given the players and the subject, it's bound to be a lively evening. And there's this: It's free. Register online at 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620.


Sunday marks the third annual Chowder Challenge competition benefiting the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum. Local restaurants compete for the cherished "Golden Ladle" awards, with the crowd voting for their top chowders and a panel of celebrity judges weighing in as well.

The 2014 winners included some heavy-hitters: The Golden Ladle went to RumFish at TradeWinds Island Resorts (extra style points because their Caribbean chowder included the pesky invasive lionfish that we're trying to figure out what to do with), the judges voted Shark Tales' seafood clam chowder as the top draw, and the people's choice awards named Shells, Gennaro's and Friendly Fisherman. This year, restaurants from the Sheraton Sand Key to the Loews Don CeSar go mano a mano for superlative soup.

Soup sipping is accompanied by music from the Boat of Us and the Stowaways, with libations available for purchase, plus raffle prizes. Tickets available at the museum (115 10th Ave.), Paradiso (104 Eighth Ave.), Paradise Gifts, (371 Corey Ave.), all in St. Pete Beach; see website for other locations and list of competing restaurants. $15 advance; $20 day of; 11 and younger free with adult ticket purchase. In a new location this year, the challenge takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at St. Pete Beach Community Center and Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9245.


As part of a collaborative effort between UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County and St. Petersburg College, Sustainability Connections is a series of events that explore the food system through film. On Tuesday at 6 p.m. at St. Petersburg College's Tarpon Springs campus, they screen Dutch Weed Burger, which follows a filmmaker and a food stylist on a journey through New York City's vegan restaurant scene. In search of dishes highlighting seaweed, this pair is out to prove that the future of food may be unexpected (hint: dive deep).

This free event is open to the public, SPC students and faculty, with light refreshments available and free parking. Following the film, a panel discussion will include the controversial Dr. Kevin Folta (chairman of UF's horticultural sciences department), Eric Stewart (manager of Kinship Urban Farm), and Dr. Kevan Main (manager of the Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program at Mote Marine Laboratory). The address is 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs. Registration is required at

Dining Planner: Heavy-hitting chefs at Food for Thought, Chowder Challenge and 'Dutch Weed Burger' screening 11/11/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 10:41am]
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