ExTravelganza

Be part of the 29th Annual ExTravelganza.

For those patrons attending in person, experience the “Tours of Taste” by sampling delectable delights and libations from some of the top Bay Area Chef’s, Restaurants and renowned wine/spirits from top area producers. Enjoy!

Thank you to our 2021 Participating Chefs


 

Chef Andrew BaschChef Andrew Basch
Sheraton Sand Key Resort

Chef Andrew, a Clearwater native, has spent his entire life around food. With an Italian mother and a German father, Andrew grew up canning, farming, gardening, hunting, and doing everything related to food with his grandparents. With a vegetarian mother, if Andrew wanted to eat meat, he was going to have to learn to prepare it himself. Chef Andrew’s most treasured family memories involve food, which led him to his first job in a kitchen. What started out as a job washing dishes grew into a culinary career built from a hands on education that has spanned 19 years. Andrew has always sought to better his knowledge and experience by learning all areas of the food and beverage industry be it in the kitchen or front of the house operations, making him a well-rounded culinary professional that is very in tune with customer needs and expectations. Most recently, Chef Andrew has joined the team at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort as Executive Chef overseeing the resort’s culinary operations.

In his spare time, Andrew can be found out on the gulf waters. He continues his family memories as well as he lives in a home with four generations – all of whom love to cook. Andrew also finds time to give back to the community through his involvement with Hands On Education. Hands On Education is a non-profit organization that works with learning disabled students to train them in hotel services including the culinary arts. Andrew — who was himself a student there at one time — has trained legally blind students on knife skills and received an award for outstanding achievements.


 

Chef Claude RodierExecutive Chef, Claude Rodier
Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

A graduate of L’Etincelle Culinary School in Nimes France, Executive Chef Claude Rodier brings years of invaluable experience to Wyndham Grand. Chef Claude has hosted high profile clientele, including a Whitehouse Dinner benefiting the Gettysburg Festival Foundation, NBA, All-Star Baseball, Walt Disney, The First Induction of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a National Mayors Convention honoring President Bill Clinton and President Bush. Now dedicated to making an impact on the dining scene in Clearwater Beach, Chef Claude will continue to develop outstanding signature and seasonal menus for Ocean Hai, Dock’s, and eSKPades, alongside his top-notch culinary team.


 

Chef Lahna LaFonChef Lahma LaFon
Sandpearl's Caretta on the Gulf

Chef Lahma LaFon was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. Lahma attended Le Cordon Bleu Orlando and graduated with top honors. After spending two years working with the Tampa Marriott Waterside he then spent a year in California honing his culinary skills. Returning to Florida he started working at the Sandpearl Resort. Starting as a cook with the four diamond Caretta on the Gulf he worked his way to be the lead cook, Sous Chef, Banquet Chef, Chef de Cuisine, and is currently the Executive Chef running the Sandpearl's Caretta on the Gulf.


 

Luke DeckerSous Chef Luke Decker
Renaissance Vinoy

We are delighted to announce Luke Decker’s promotion to Sous Chef, overseeing Culinary operations at our resort.

Luke was on his way to build a career in Supermarket/Retail, and Assistant Manager for Winn Dixie when his brother convinced him to give culinary a try. In 2005, Luke took a job as a prep cook at Bella Brava. He loved it right from the start! He worked his way up through the kitchen and within a year became responsible for Purchasing.

Luke then worked for locally owned restaurants, Valentino’s Little Italy and Jonny Reno’s. He then joined the Birchwood as a Sous Chef when they first opened; later promoted to Chef de Cuisine and Executive Chef. Luke joined The Vinoy team in 2018 to open Paul’s Landing. Under his leadership, Paul’s have become a favorite spot for members, locals and guests and earned many accolades for it’s culinary offerings.

Luke enjoys his spare time with family, especially his two sons, Sean and Michael. He also likes to travel and attend sporting events.

We are proud to see Luke take a new role with The Vinoy!


 

Chef MannyExecutive Chef Manny
Clear Sky Cafe

A Mexican American chef who attended Johnson & Wales, and trained under talented chefs in the Tampa Bay Area and who has been creating dishes at Clear Sky for 10 years . His passion for food has taken him traveling and experimenting all different types of cuisines. Chef Manny continues to open the envelope with every bite stating “the cuisine I create is playful and multicultural."


 

Chef Isaias BurgosChef Isaias Burgos
The Original Crabby Bill’s

Originally from Mexico, Isaias started working in restaurant kitchens at the young age of sixteen. He had an instant passion for creating a wide variety of cuisine.. Isaias had a desire to learn everything about the restaurant industry and every aspect of how to run the kitchen. Working in every station, he quickly moved up into a head chef and kitchen manager role. He has over thirty years of fine dining experience including American, Italian, Greek, Serbian, Mexican, and Seafood, to name a few. He is also a banquet and catering master serving parties of 500 plus guests, including menu creeations. He spent 13 years as the Head Chef at The Wine Cellar in North Redington Beach and has assisted in opening new restaurants and clubs throughout Pinellas County. He is now the Head Chef for The Original Crabby Bill’s on Indian Rocks Beach.


 

Ross ClingmanChef Ross Clingman
Renaissance

Childhood summers spent in vegetable gardens and kitchens of hard working Italian immigrants lead to a love of everything culinary.

Working in a deli as a teenager were the first paid lessons of the trade. I would cut steaks, prepare salads and cook dinners for the supper club.

Starting as a prep cook, long hours lead to opportunities for growth which I took full advantage of. In 2013 I was promoted to kitchen supervisor. Where I was responsible for menu design and execution.

In 2015 I took an opportunity to become the Beach Club Chef at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota.

Fast-forward to 2017 where I took the position of Specialty Chef at the Vinoy.

Traveling is where I find inspiration. I love seeing how different cultures use their local ingredients.

2015 + 2017 Local Top Chef winner (Local Shops 1)


 

Chef Justin WeavernChef Justin Weaver
Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites

Chef Justin graduated culinary school in 2008 with a degree in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management. As a Pennsylvania native, he began his career working throughout the state in all-scratch kitchens, country clubs, and resorts including Nemacolin Woodlands and the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. He relocated to the Clearwater area in 2014 as the Sous Chef at the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key and has since become the Executive Chef of the property. His most notable accomplishments include being voted “Best Restaurant” during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week in 2013 and earning himself the title, Runner Up, as the “Most Enthusiastic Chef” during 2016 Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week.

Justin’s passion lies in hotels where he has been working for the last 11 years. He loves that his team’s creativity in the culinary department can impact the entire operation, and believes that having fun while also being disciplined and consistent is the key to putting out the best product possible. His greatest asset is his team and takes great pride in developing each person individually to elevate the standard in his kitchen. Justin also likes to spend his free time outdoors, at the beach, or at Disney World with his wife and 2-year-old son.

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