45 minutes | Apr 12, 2019
Cru 16: Hope and Jason Ruhe, Owners of Brick & Mortar
A true Power Restaurant couple, Hope and Jason have been hustling the Tampa Bay food scene almost all their lives. They’d been everywhere before starting their own successful business: In Bloom Catering in 2004. Ten years later, St. Pete didn’t know what hit it when they opened Brick & Mortar and started attracting national attention for their exquisite food. Jen and Torrey have been great friends with the Ruhes ever since they designed Cru Cellars’ first food menu (as well as the Northern Michigan Cru menu, which is a story in itself). Hear how they’ve escaped fires, shipwrecks, and drunken college students in their efforts to deliver great food to Tampa Bay. Featured Wine: Vina Sastre Tempranillo Ribera del Duero Spain Featured Restaurant: IL Ritorno and Bern’s Steak House The post Cru 16: Hope and Jason Ruhe, Owners of Brick & Mortar appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
28 minutes | Apr 11, 2019
Cru 15: Shaun C. Wright, Fine Wine Manager (North Florida) of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
Ever wonder why you can’t find the same wines in every US state? Curious about alcohol’s 3-tiered distribution system? (3 Tiers: Licensed Producer, Licensed Distributor, Licensed Retailer.) Shaun takes us through the red tape, protections, and confusion that sprung up after Prohibition. Best of all, he picks CRU CELLARS as the Featured Restaurant, and delivers an impassioned defense of distributors and how they’re more than just middle-men. Featured Wine: The Hilt Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills CA Featured Restaurant: Cru Cellars (813) 831-1117 2506 S. MacDill Ave. Tampa, FL 33629 www.crucellarstampa.com The post Cru 15: Shaun C. Wright, Fine Wine Manager (North Florida) of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
34 minutes | Jan 10, 2019
Cru 14: Joel Davis, Owner of Commune + Co. hand crafted coffee, and Union coffee and tea bar in Armature Works
Jen and Jackie talk to Joel about what makes him tick. Of course he obsesses about the quality of the coffee he serves, but it’s his love for people that makes his business such a magnet for the coffee community in Tampa. Joel is not a roaster: he’s a multi-roaster (he curates selections from the best roasters in the country). But don’t underestimate his creativity. Fed up with the shortfalls of traditional cold brew coffee, he perfected his “Pressure Brew” after years of experimentation. So come get blown away with his blind tasting and learn about coffee terroir, Direct Trade, and tricycles. Featured Restaurant: Ichicoro The post Cru 14: Joel Davis, Owner of Commune + Co. hand crafted coffee, and Union coffee and tea bar in Armature Works appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
32 minutes | Nov 28, 2018
Cru 13: Kendrick Lindsey, Wine Steward at Cru Cellars
Check out our surprise Exit Interview with Kendrick Lindsey! Kendrick is Wine Steward at Cru Cellars and an opinionated authority on the Tampa dining scene at large. Listen in as Kendrick finally tells the owners at Cru what he really thinks before he leaves for a new job in Virginia. We crack open the perfect wine for the occaision: “Flying Solo.” And just what is this new secret project of his? Featured Wine: Dm. Gayda Flying Solo Red Featured Restaurant: Shrimp Boat 1020 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, FL 33596 (813) 571-5858 The post Cru 13: Kendrick Lindsey, Wine Steward at Cru Cellars appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
30 minutes | Oct 16, 2018
Food Fight Series 19: Chef David Benstock and General Manager Ronald Randall of IL Ritorno
Chef David is the Owner and Executive Chef of IL Ritorno, a modern Italian restaurant in St. Petersburg. He’s cooked at the James Beard House, and he’s been recognized by The Washington Post, Southern Living, Wine Enthusiast, USA Today, the Tampa Bay Times. He’s worked for celebrity chefs (including Wolfgang Puck), in Michelin star restaurants, and in Italy. In fact, just as Chef David left The Modern in NYC to come to St. Pete, Ronald Randall was hired there. Eventually Ronald also left NYC for Florida and two years ago joined IL Ritorno as General Manager and Sommelier. While his wine list obviously needs to skew Italian, he’s managed to diversify things with some wines from around the world. Within the last year they underwent extensive renovations and doubled the size of IL Ritorno. Now Chef David has a much larger kitchen to play in, and Ronald has a full liquor license to play with. Sit back and discover why you’re unlikely to find a heavy cream sauce in IL Ritorno, but you just might find a bottle of oft-maligned Merlot. Featured Restaurant: IL Ritorno Featured Wine: Elena Walch, Alto Adige, Schiava The post Food Fight Series 19: Chef David Benstock and General Manager Ronald Randall of IL Ritorno appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
16 minutes | Oct 15, 2018
Food Fight Series 18: Chef Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill
He’s been named “Best Chef of Tampa Bay” in three different years by Tampa Bay Magazine. Chef Tyson was also appointed as a Chef Ambassador to the Deputy Mayor’s “Healthy St. Pete” initiative (Chef Tyson uses Zoe’s Edible Garden at All Children’s Hospital to educate kids about healthy eating and where food comes from). Parkshore Grill has been in St Petersburg for more than a decade, and just earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the 7th year. As a Chef Ambassador for Niman Ranch, Chef Tyson serves natural meats, sustainably caught seafood and organic, local produce. Now he’s launched Parkshore Grill Catering. As someone with a front-row view of the changes on Beach Drive (and all of Tampa Bay) for the last decade, what does he think of the local eating scene? And how will he extract revenge from the Food Fight for shorting him out of time last year? Featured Restaurant: Parkshore Grill Featured Wine: Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon The post Food Fight Series 18: Chef Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
19 minutes | Oct 15, 2018
Food Fight Series 17: Chef Ted Dorsey of the Mill
Chef Ted has quite a Tampa Bay pedigree. The Le Cordon Bleu graduate worked at Mise en Place before becoming Executive Sous Chef at Chez Bryce. He developed menus for Ciro’s Speakeasy & Supper Club, Boca Kitchen Bar & Market, and Copperfish Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar. Just before he opened The Mill, he was overseeing all the dining and bar facilities at Hotel Zamora (including Castile Restaurant). And, oh yeah, he was named 2015 Best Chef by Creative Loafing. The Mill was named Best New Restaurant by Florida Trend Magazine, and Yelp has highlighted them as Best Restaurant in St. Petersburg by Yelp. Listen up as he talks about “stuff on toast” and how he plans to help turn Tampa Bay into the food mecca of Florida. Featured Restaurant: The Mill Featured Wine: Roca Altxerri Getariako Txakolina The post Food Fight Series 17: Chef Ted Dorsey of the Mill appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
27 minutes | Oct 14, 2018
Food Fight Series 16: Chad Johnson, Executive Chef of Epicurean Hotel and Haven
When he was a young man, Chef Chad struck out for New York from Kentucky. There he attended the French Culinary Institute before working at Montrachet and the Savoy. Now, as Executive Chef of Epicurean Hotel and Haven, he oversees multiple menus (which he created) for a few of the most iconic restaurants in Tampa. The accolades he’s racked up in Tampa are amazing: James Beard semi-finalist in 2014 and 2012 for Best Chef: South Region Top 25 Best Chefs in American South by Best Chefs of America in 2014 2011 and 2012 Best of the Bay Chef by Creative Loafing Top Chef by the Tampa Bay Times (He’s also cooked at the James Beard House, the Kentucky Derby, and as guest Chef by Emeril Lagasse for Boudin, Bourbon and Beer, and Line, Vine and Dine. Chef Chad’s been featured on CNN, Bay News 9, Studio 10, USA Today, Southern Living, Washington Post, The Tampa Tribune, Wine Spectator and DuPont Registry.) Chef Chad oversaw the openings of both Haven and Élevage. Just recently, he expanded the Lobby Bar and had to redo a menu of 50 dishes in just 48 hours. So what does this accomplished man think of the Tampa Bay dining scene? How fast can he chop an onion? And what does he label “…the next hipster-approved wine”? Featured Restaurant: Élevage and Haven Featured Wine: Dubost Beaujolais-Village The post Food Fight Series 16: Chad Johnson, Executive Chef of Epicurean Hotel and Haven appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
17 minutes | Oct 12, 2018
Food Fight Series 15: Chef Jonathan Atanacio of Élevage
Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Atanacio grew up in NYC and went to culinary school at The Art Institute. He worked with Francois Payard, became Chef de Cuisine at Aquagrill in Soho, and then Executive Sous Chef at Todd English’s Olives. If he looks familiar, you might have seen him on “Chef Hunter” on The Food Network. Better to be the hunter than the hunted Jon moved to Tampa and joined the opening team for the Epicurean Hotel (which needs to be an episode on its own- I mean, the original restaurant (Bern’s Steak House) is so good that it needs its own hotel with extra incredible restaurants), where his skills quickly got him promoted to Chef de Cuisine. What happens when Southern style meets French technique? Listen in on the latest changes to the Lobby Bar and Élevage. Featured Restaurant: Élevage Featured Wine: Cote de Bordeaux “Duc des Nauves” Chateau Le Puy 2016 The post Food Fight Series 15: Chef Jonathan Atanacio of Élevage appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
17 minutes | Oct 12, 2018
Food Fight Series 14: Chef Rachel Bennett of The Peabody
Executive Chef Rachel Bennett just opened The Peabody in St. Petersburg. I mean, like, days ago. How she managed to scrape herself together enough to get to the Cru Studio to do a stupid onion chopping contest is a testament to her energy and dedication (and, apparently, wrinkle cream). As a graduate of HCC’s culinary program and the kitchens of Bern’s Steak House, Edison, and Oxford Exchange, Chef Rachel probably shouldn’t have been as surprised as she was to find out that she’d been chosen to lead The Peabody. Tune in to find out what this dynamic chef has to say about the Tampa Bay food scene, and how her restaurant is introducing a new paradigm. Featured Restaurant: The Peabody Featured Wine: Bacchus Pinot Noir “Ginger’s Cuvee” The post Food Fight Series 14: Chef Rachel Bennett of The Peabody appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
82 minutes | Oct 11, 2018
Food Fight Series 13: Chef Adam Beckett of Locale Market and FarmTable Cucina
When Executive Sous Chef Adam Beckett moved here from the Bay Area in California, he jumped at the chance to work at a Mina project. Locale Market and FarmTable Cucina in St. Petersburg is, as he puts it, “2200 square feet of awesomeness.” Well, multiply that by the second floor and all the outside seating and you have awesomeness on an exhausting scale. As he points out, because of all the stations and differing menus, it’s more like seven restaurants under one roof. All of which need to be humming to exacting standards. How do they make it happen? Featured Restaurant: Locale Market and FarmTable Cucina Featured Wine: Langhe Nebbiolo Barbaresco 2016 The post Food Fight Series 13: Chef Adam Beckett of Locale Market and FarmTable Cucina appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
23 minutes | Oct 10, 2018
Food Fight Series 12: Chef Chris Fernandez of Red Mesa
Executive Chef Chris Fernandez worked in the best kitchens of Oaxaca, Mexico and learned to cook the nation’s regional dishes and flavors. When Chef Chris came to St. Petersburg, he joined the Veytias and opened Red Mesa Restaurant. Obviously, it did very well. The city demanded more delicious Mexican food, so they opened Red Mesa Cantina… and Red Mesa Mercado. Now there’s Red Mesa Events gourmet banquets services and DeSanto Bar. Each concept is a bit different, so how does he manage this empire? Featured Restaurant: Red Mesa Featured Wine: Bichi Santa, Rosa del Peru, Tecate Mexico The post Food Fight Series 12: Chef Chris Fernandez of Red Mesa appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
53 minutes | Oct 9, 2018
Food Fight Series 11: Chefs Shane Clark and Jonathon Wilson of Oystercatchers and Armani’s
The Grand Hyatt in Tampa boasts two outstanding restaurants: Oystercatchers and Armani’s. As Chef de Cuisine at Oystercatchers, Shane Clark knows his way around Gulf Seafood. Since his customers are literally looking at jumping fish from their waterside seats, the pressure is on to keep the food on their forks just about as fresh. 14 floors above him (in a different building on the property) Chef de Cuisine Jonathon Wilson is busy cooking Northern Italian cuisine for the fine dining restaurant, Armani’s. That is, when he isn’t making cheese. He’s only been there for seven months, but he’s already updated the menu quite a bit. He’s launching a new Fall Menu, and we’ll get to see if he adds a favorite from his days in Wyoming: elk tartare. Featured Restaurants: Oystercatchers and Armani’s Featured Wine: Henri Perrusset Mâcon-Villages White Burgundy The post Food Fight Series 11: Chefs Shane Clark and Jonathon Wilson of Oystercatchers and Armani’s appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
34 minutes | Oct 8, 2018
Food Fight Series 10: Chef Rob Reinsmith of Noble Crust
It’s a good thing that Executive Chef Rob Reinsmith worked at Bone Fish Grill while attending Le Cordon Bleu. At Bone Fish, he made such an impression on founders Tim Curci and TJ Thielbar, that they kept in touch while Chef Rob left Florida and went off to NYC. In New York, he helped open the Michelin star- awarded restaurant Torrisi Italian Specialties. With that massive success, they saw a need for a more casual spot next door, and so Rob designed the menu for Parm (2 stars from the New York Times). Eventually, Tim Curci and TJ Thielbar convinced Chef Rob to come back to Florida to help them open their latest Italian/Southern concept in St. Petersburg. We’re glad he did. After a year of sweat, culinary experimentation, and a visit from the Fire Department, Noble Crust opened to rave reviews. It’s grown to 3 locations (with more on the way?), and Chef Rob even gives us a sneak peak at their latest projects: Fat beet Farm and Fat beet Farm market and bakery. Featured Restaurant: Noble Crust Featured Wine: Cedre Heritage Malbec, Cahors FR The post Food Fight Series 10: Chef Rob Reinsmith of Noble Crust appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
12 minutes | Oct 5, 2018
Food Fight Series 9: Chef James Maita of Sacred Pepper
Although he’s classically trained, Executive Chef James Maita has probably learned more from his 20 years of experience than any program could teach. Sacred Pepper is a bold restaurant, and the food he makes reveals plenty of twists. North Tampa has been energized by the contemporary American (with Italian flare) cuisine that Chef Maita brings to the table. Featured Wine: Praja, Monica di Sardinia Featured Restaurant: Sacred Pepper The post Food Fight Series 9: Chef James Maita of Sacred Pepper appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
17 minutes | Oct 4, 2018
Food Fight Series 8: Chef Felicia Lacalle of Hemingway’s
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Chef Felicia (“Phe”) Lacalle won 1st prize for Best Cuban Sandwich in the home of Cuban Sandwiches mere months after opening her new restaurant, Hemingway’s, in the Heights Public Market at Armature Works in Tampa. Chef Felicia was the Executive Sous and Regional Pastry Chef at Roy’s, and Executive Chef at Samba Room. Recently she’s been busy with her own meal prep service, but now she’s jumped back into the restaurant scene with her own concept. Hemingway’s serves traditional Cuban cuisine with a soulful twist and only the best ingredients. Is there more to come? Featured Wine: Vina Sastre, Ribera del Duero, Tempranillo Featured Restaurant: Hemingway’s The post Food Fight Series 8: Chef Felicia Lacalle of Hemingway’s appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
17 minutes | Oct 3, 2018
Food Fight Series 7: Chef Courtney Orwig of Haven
The grandson of a spice merchant, Courtney Orwig moved to Florida from St. Louis and learned the art of pastry. After a few years he expanded to savory cooking, and eventually he became Sous Chef at SideBern’s (now Haven). Now Chef de Cuisine of Haven, Courtney has cooked at the Mondavi Winery, Star Chefs annual International Chefs Congress, and the James Beard Awards. Check out his thoughts on the changing restaurant and brewery scene in Tampa Bay. Featured Wine: Drouhin Oregon “Rose Rock” Pinot Noir Featured Restaurant: Haven The post Food Fight Series 7: Chef Courtney Orwig of Haven appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
17 minutes | Oct 2, 2018
Food Fight Series 6: Chef Michael Buttacavoli of Cena
After a serving as Chef De Cuisine at Boca and SideBerns under Chef Jeannie Pierola, Chef Michael Buttacavoli helmed Council Oak at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Now, of course, Chef Michael is the Executive Chef of the award-winning restaurant, Cena. The modern Italian menu has been a hit in the Channel District, even as the neighborhood has changed. But wait… Chef Michael has just added something new to his resume: Cover Model. He’s on all the marketing materials as the face of the 2018 Tampa Bay Food Fight. Because of his experience as one of the contenders from last year’s close match, he returns to the fray this year as a coach for Team Tampa. In this episode, Chef Michael gives us the inside dirt on the importance of a game-plan, and what it takes to compete in the Tampa Bay Food Fight. Featured Wine: Alberto Nanclares “Dandelion” Albariño Featured Restaurant: Cena The post Food Fight Series 6: Chef Michael Buttacavoli of Cena appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
34 minutes | Oct 1, 2018
Food Fight Series 5: Chef Ferrell Alvarez, Co-Owner of Rooster & the Till, Nebraska Mini Mart, and Gallito
If you’re into the Tampa Bay food scene, then you already know who Chef Alvarez is. The James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef South is the co-owner of Rooster & the Till, named the best restaurant in the Tampa Bay area by The Tampa Bay Times. From the Cincinnati Culinary Arts Academy, Chef Alvarez worked his way up to Chef De Cuisine at Mise en Place, and then Executive Chef at Café Dufrain. Of course, now you can find him cooking at Friends of James Beard dinners or appearing on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. But if you only know Chef Alvarez from his work at Rooster & the Till, you’re missing out on the whole picture. He and partner Ty Rodriguez own Proper House Group, which is the umbrella company for the new Nebraska Mini Mart and the soon-to-open Gallito taqueria at Sparkman Wharf. Listen in as Chef Alvarez gives us the breakdown on these two new concepts. See if you can catch the deafening silence that follows when, while reaching for an easy analogy to describe one of his dishes, he asks the hosts, “Have you ever had Indian Mango pickle?” Come learn how he’s breaking the clichés of the restaurant industry, and why he’s here in Tampa instead of NYC. Featured Wine: Terre Nere Etna Rosso Featured Restaurant: Rooster & the Till, Nebraska Mini Mart, and Gallito The post Food Fight Series 5: Chef Ferrell Alvarez, Co-Owner of Rooster & the Till, Nebraska Mini Mart, and Gallito appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.
21 minutes | Sep 26, 2018
Food Fight Series 4: Chef Brad Sobo of Cru Cellars
Executive Chef, St. Louis transplant, and Hand Model. A graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute and formerly of Sidebern’s; the enigma that is Chef Brad has brought inspired cuisine to Cru Cellars for the last 4 years. But all of that will amount to nothing if he doesn’t do well in the “Make Me Cry” onion chopping contest. It’s a shame you can’t see his hands in this photo, but then we’d have to pay extra. Join us for a fun discussion on food, the best wine bar in Tampa Bay (Cru), wine, and the restaurant scene in Tampa. Featured Wine: Eric Texier “Chat Fou” Cotes du Rhone Featured Restaurant: CRU CELLARS! The post Food Fight Series 4: Chef Brad Sobo of Cru Cellars appeared first on Cru Cellars Tampa.