Jose Mendin, Giorgio Rapicavoli Are Only Miamians to Receive James Beard Nods

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Photo by Hector Torres
Jose Mendin gets a Beard nod.
The 2015 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists have been announced, and although Miami has grown by leaps and bounds as a food city, it looks like the Beard Foundation gave us the shaft once again, with only two Miami chefs getting semifinalist nods from the New York-based organization. A Beard Award is the Tony or Oscar of the food world.

Pubbelly's Jose Mendin and Eating House's Giorgio Rapicavoli have both been named semifinalists in the Best Chef: South category, along with 18 other chefs from New Orleans to Orlando. For the complete list of semifinalists, see jamesbeard.org.

See also: Blackbrick, Panther Coffee, Azucar, Wynwood Brewing, JoJo Tea Head to James Beard House

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Fourth Annual JWU Zest Award Nominees Announced: Vote for New Times

Categories: Food Industry

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Vote for New Times.
Nominees have been announced for the fourth annual Johnson & Wales University's Zest Awards which celebrate excellence in South Florida's culinary arts scene.

Last year, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill's Timon Balloo was the big winner, taking home the culinary innovator award and accepting an award for Bocce Bar, which was named newcomer of the year.

On March 18, from 7 to 9 p.m., JWU's Wildcat Center at its North Miami campus will host the awards ceremony which showcases leaders in the Miami food scene. Awards are presented in seven categories including best restaurant, best boutique restaurant, best bar/lounge, best wine program, culinary innovator, newcomer of the year, baking and pastry chef of the year, best food blogger, and best food reporting. In addition, Michelle Bernstein will receive a special community leader award, for her work with Common Threads.

See also: Timon Balloo Big Winner at JWU's Zest Awards

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As Oyster Bars Spread Around Miami, the Bivalve Reigns Supreme

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Photo by billwisserphoto.com
Oyster offerings at Mignonette.
Oysters are a Florida tradition. Long ago, Native Americans found them generously scattered throughout the mangroves that twisted along the shoreline. David Bracha's the River Seafood & Oyster Bar has blessed Brickell for years. Danny Serfer's Mignonette started up in Edgewater last August. Then came the U-shaped raw bar at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. Now there's Midtown Oyster Bar, and soon we'll discover Tongue & Cheek chief Jamie DeRosa's Izzy's Fish & Oyster.

In the past decade here and across the country, a perfect confluence of events -- from eaters demanding to know their food's source to the ease of overnighting oysters -- has helped the shellfish regain their prominence.

See also: Midtown Oyster Nails the Raw Bar but Misses in the Kitchen

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Eddie Zeng Wins Second-Annual FIU & Badia Spice Competition

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Courtesy of Badia
Come February, when the South Beach Wine & Food Festival hits our velvety sands for the 14th year, a lot of money will be raised for Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality. And there will be one particular FIU graduate student eager to get his hands on the goody bags given out at most events.

The student is Eddie Zeng, and he was crowned the winner of the second-annual student spice competition sponsored by FIU and spice giant Badia. Students were invited to create the "ultimate spice of life."

"I was encouraged by friends and family," Zeng says. It was his first time making a spice. After students submitted seasoning recipes with quantities and ingredients, the school reviewed all entries and decided on five students, who then went head-to-head in a spice cook-off.

See also: Five Best Egg Substitutes for Holiday Baking

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FDA New Rules: Mandatory Calorie Counts on Everything, Even Popcorn and Booze

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The FDA is chomping down on food chains.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just announced new rules that will affect nearly everything we, as diners and consumers, put into our mouths.

That above statement is not hyperbole, by the way. The rules, a major extension of the 2010 law that required chain restaurants to disclose certain nutritional information. Listed under section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act, the mandate got push back from chains, especially movie theaters and pizza chains and the final rules were delayed for three year, according to the New York Times.

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Panther Coffee, Cacao Art Nominated for 2015 Good Food Awards

Categories: Food Industry

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Photo by billwisserphoto.com
Panther's Joel and Leticia Pollock are nominated for a Good Food Award.
For the third consecutive year, Panther Coffee has been nominated for a Good Food Award. The Wynwood-based, small-batch roaster is one of 23 finalists in the coffee category for 2015.

Panther took home two awards in 2014 and one in 2013, but husband and wife Joel and Leticia Pollock and their team will have to wait till January 8 to see if their Kenya Kirura coffee gets the top prize.

Located in San Francisco, the Good Food Awards honor America's talented and socially aware food entrepreneurs. For 2015 there are 206 finalists competing in eleven different categories including pickles, cheese, charcuterie, chocolate and beer.

Short Order caught up with Joel Pollock shortly after the nominations were announced and he said he and his team are very excited about the news. "It's a really cool program and a really cool competition that we feel shines a light on people who are working hard to do quality stuff and we're super proud to be part of it," said Pollock.

See also: Panther Coffee opening in Coconut Grove

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Pincho Factory Plans Franchise Expansion

Categories: Food Industry

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Photo by Carina Ost
Pincho Factory's tostones burger.
Ever wanted to make a toston burger for your crew? A pastelito-cradled patty for your people? If you can cobble together a couple hundred thousand dollars, you can become one of Pincho Factory's first franchisees.

Nedal Ahmad's humble burger and pincho place has been on somewhat of a tear over the past couple of years. There are now three restaurants: one near FIU, one in Coral Gables, and the newest under construction in Hialeah. With franchising, many more could be on the way.

See also: Miami's Five Most Outrageous Burgers

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Giorgio Rapicavoli to Appear on Chopped Champions Tonight

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Remember two years ago when chef Giorgio Rapicavoli competed on Chopped and became the first Miami chef to win? The $10,000 gave Rapicavoli the chance to pop up Eating House, which has become a staple of Miami's dining and brunch scene.

Well, tonight the chef is making his way back to the show that kicked things off -- sort of. Tune in to the Food Network at 10 p.m. for the first Chopped Ultimate Champions tournament.

See also: Taperia Raca Offers Easy-to-Enjoy Tapas in MiMo

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Coca-Cola Life: Stevia-Sweetened Coke Available at the Fresh Market

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Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola Life is available!
Coca-Cola Life is here, Miami!

For the first time, the stevia-sweetened soda is available in South Florida, as of yesterday, August 25.

The soda, sweetened with a blend of sugar and naturally sourced stevia leaf extract, caused a sensation in 2013 when it was launched in Argentina and Chile.

Now the soda, packaged in a distinctive green can, is available exclusively at 65 select Fresh Market stores in the Southeast United States through mid-October. Miami is one of the lucky markets.

See also: Real Housewives of Miami's Ana Quincoces at Fresh Market Coconut Grove

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Is Burger King Moving to Canada?

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Burger King, the Miami-based fast-food behemoth, is strongly considering purchasing the Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons in a deal that would essentially merge the two food-service companies.

The deal is sometimes called a corporate inversion, which is "used by companies that receive a significant portion of their income from foreign sources, since that income is taxed both abroad and in the country of incorporation. Companies undertaking this strategy are likely to select a country that has lower tax rates and less stringent corporate governance requirements," according to Investopedia.

See also: Burger King's Proud Whopper Just a Bite in Company's Equality Stance

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