ExTravelganza

Be part of the 30th 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!

Congratulations to Clear Sky Restaurant’s for winning this year’s “People’s Choice Award”!!!

Thank you to our 2022 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 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.

 


Chef Neil EychasChef Neil Eychas
Opal Sands Resort – Sea-Guini Restaurant

Chef Neil Eychas was born and raised in Clearwater and began his cooking career at age 15 and later attending Johnson and Wales North Miami graduating with a bachelor's in culinary arts. Chef Neil moved back to the Pinellas County area to work at The Don Cesar on St. Pete Beach and later relocating to Ft Lauderdale as the Sous Chef at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale for 5 years. Chef Neil took the helm as the Chef De Cuisine at the Playa Largo Resort in Key Largo, FL for Sol by the Sea their feature dining outlet. Chef Neil relocated back to his home town in 2022 work at the Opal Sands Resort on Clearwater Beach in the culinary program as a Sous Chef in their signature restaurant Sea-Guini.


Eileen Sahin MurphyChef Eileen Sahin-Murphy
Hennes Bakery

Hennes Bakery is a Scandinavian forward bakery based in Clearwater, FL. The company's mission is to pay homage to the owner, Eileen's, heritage of Sweden and share the delicious pastries they are known for. While Sweden is the center of our inspiration, we also enjoy blending Swedish and American flavors to highlight our experiences. We operate using seasonal ingredients as often as we can, and only using high quality basics like grass-fed organic butter, organic eggs and high quality chocolates.


Chef Paolo PoloChef Paolo Polo
Acqua Alta

Acqua Alta is an Italian restaurant owned and run by Paolo and Patty who recently moved from Venezia Italy to Florida. At Acqua Alta you will be food transported to Italy by tasting the famous Cicchetti (Venetian style finger food), Homemade Pasta and Ravioli, Classic Venetian main courses like Carpaccio, Chateaubriand, Grilled whole Branzino, Mixed Fried Fish and Venetian pizza, Thin and Crunchy crust, Delicate to digest, leavening for 48 hours. Authentic, fresh, healthy and homemade food, using all Italian techniques and locally sourced ingredients as much as possible! Our Mantra is: Take care of yourself, eat healthy. The vision of AcquaAlta ristorante is to become a central meeting point in the community of Clearwater and to be known among Italians as an authentic Italian restaurant where Italians can sample the cuisine from their country of origin.


Chef Justin WeaverChef Justin Weaver
Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
Watercolour Grill House

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 12 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 his two sons.


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.


Chef Joe Clear SkyChef Joseph Walsh
Clear Sky Restaurant's

Chef Joseph is an accomplished chef with over twenty years of culinary experience and management. His excellence is in composing menu’s, cost containment, staff training and development. His extensive expertise began with working with such greats and Daniel Bouhud (owner of seven restaurant’s in NYC). Chef Joseph has prepared meals with excitement and honor for former President Clinton and his family, the cast and crew of Kaufman Astoria Studios and was the personal chef to President Hohn of the New York Life Insurance Company. He prepares all his meals to satisfy nutritional and dietary wants without substituting taste or texture.


Executive Chef Thomas ParkerExecutive Chef Thomas Parker
The Karol Hotel – K Club Bar &amp: Bistro

Thomas has been honing his craft in kitchens across Ohio since he was 15 years old, The Karol was thrilled to bring his passion and expertise to the Sunshine State, where he has shared with guests his creative culinary vision.

Chef Thomas was most recently Executive Chef of the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Canton, Ohio, the partner hotel of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Prior to that, he was Chef de Cuisine of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Cleveland, and also held chef positions with Landmark Restaurant and Metropolitan at the 9, both based in Ohio. Chef Thomas is a native of Warren, Ohio.

Chef Thomas added his own touch to current menus at The Karol, incorporating a few Italian favorites to the New American cuisine inspired by the flavors of the Florida coast.

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