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Tampa Chef Rosana Rivera successfully ‘Beat Bobby Flay’ on Food Network

Tampa Chef Rosana Rivera made history as the first Latina woman to beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network on December 26th, 2019. She first beat her husband and business partner, Chef Ricardo Castro, in an elimination round before Bobby Flay using the papaya secret ingredient on a special episode called “It Must’ve Been Love”.

Bobby Flay has a fairly high win-ration that is over 60% of his competitions so this is no small victory for Chef Rosana Rivera.

The dish that beat Bobby Flay. Chef Rosana Rivera’s classic empanadas. Photo Credit: BKN Creative

Chef Rosana Rivera beat Bobby Flay with her beef empanada recipe. Flay had equipment malfunctions during the battle and a track record of empanada fails.

“This experience has been one of the highlights of my year. I feel super proud as a Female Chef, Entrepreneur, Puerto Rican, and Tampanian to have had the honor to not only participate in Beat Bobby Flay but to have competed against Ricardo, my other half in business and life. Ricardo is a Chef that has my utmost admiration. Most importantly, competing against Iron Chef Bobby Flay is an experience I will never forget. I have a deep respect for his talent, charisma, and the amazing team that works with him. It is an honor that I was able to cook side by side with him, compete against him, and can proudly say I Beat Bobby Flay,” said Chef Rosana on her win.

The couple previously owned the French-inspired bakery Piquant and are currently proprietors of Xilo at The Hall on Franklin in Tampa. The Chefs also own R2 Provisions, a national catering company, and a gourmet food truck. Additionally, they also own Kofe, The Hall on Franklin’s in-house coffee bar.

You can watch the episode on the Food Network’s website here: http://watch.foodnetwork.com/tv-shows/beat-bobby-flay/full-episodes/it-mustve-been-love

Chef Rosana Rivera has shared her beef empanada recipe with us. Disclaimer: This recipe is not to be shared without the author’s permission. Chef Rosana can be reached at chefrosanarivera@gmail.com.

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2 Tampa Bay chefs named James Beard Award 2019 semifinalists

Tampa Bay is on fire this morning with two chefs named James Beards Award semifinalists for 2019. The James Beard Foundation awards are the most prestigious award a chef can receive in the food industry.

Chef Jeannie Pierola from Edison: Food + Drink Lab has been nominated as a Semifinalist for Best Chef in the South 2019. Chef Pierola has been nominated numerous times in the past for the James Beard Foundation awards. She previously worked as a chef at Bern’s Steak House and SideBern’s in South Tampa. Her most recent project is Edison’s Swigamajig at Sparkman Wharf.

Chef Rachel Bennett from The Library in St. Petersburg is nominated as a Semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year 2019. The Library is the latest project from the owners at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa. Rachel is a graduate of the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Culinary Program. Her past projects include Bern’s Steak House, Edison, Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, and the Oxford Exchange itself.

Congrats to these chefs and keep up the great work!