MEET THE WINNERS
Buttacavoli was the chef de cuisine at SideBern’s for eight years under Jeannie Pierola, and at her Ybor City restaurant, Boca, before joining Cena. More recently he’s spent time at the Seminole Hard Rock, ending as chef at Council Oak. He’s got chops, and perhaps more importantly from all that time spent with Pierola, he has the good sense not to try to be all things to all people, but rather to offer a short, idiosyncratic menu of items you won’t find everywhere other than at Cena.
Johnson began his career in the modern Mediterranean kitchen of Layla under Chef Frank Proto. At Layla, Johnson was introduced to and influenced by the fresh ingredients and cooking styles of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. After a stint at Layla, Johnson worked in the popular kitchen of Montrachet where, as he assisted the pastry chefs and plated amuses nightly, he learned, from Chef Chris Gesualdi, how a high volume, fine dining kitchen could be organized for maximum efficiency. While at Savoy, under Chef Peter Hoffman, Johnson was exposed to premium products in their natural state. This was the essence and focus of Hoffman’s cuisine; great ingredients prepared simply, allowing their natural flavors to shine.
Executive Chef Antoine Ludcene originally hails from Nigeria, Africa where he lived as a young child before moving to Montreal. In 1998, he moved to the U.S. where he earned an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University in Miami. Working for such influential culinary geniuses as Wolfgang Puck, Chef Antoine takes his craft very seriously. After a two year stint at Disney, Antoine spent 10 years as Executive Chef at Timpano in Hyde Park before opening Eddie V’s in Tampa. Now serving as Executive Chef at Cask Social Kitchen, Chef Antoine delights in focusing his energy on growing Cask and creating the best possible dishes for his guests.
Born of Korean and Italian descent, Robert Masson has over 25 years’ experience in the restaurant industry. Chef Robert has appeared in over 100 TV and Radio shows, including numerous nationally televised shows such as, the Food Network Live and is seen regularly on “The Daytime Show”, in Tampa, Florida. Chef Robert has twice received the coveted People’s Choice Award, “Best Chef in Tampa Bay” and is the only chef to have won twice. For most of his career, Chef Robert has entertained numerous celebrities and politicians. Chef Robert is the Executive Chef at “717 South Restaurant” in South Tampa, where he oversees an award-winning menu-specializing in Pacific Rim creations to Italian-inspired fare.
Born and raised in South Florida, Chef Richard Anderson began his culinary career at age 15 under Chef Brian Kenny at the Cabana Restaurant. Eight years ago Anderson moved to Tampa to focus on his culinary career. He worked at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club for three years and now is the Executive Chef at Oxford Exchange. Although he has never been classically trained, he believes the key to his success has been learning from great chefs and executing familiar foods perfectly, knowing when to stop and let the ingredients speak for themselves.
Born in Hickory, North Carolina, Ryan has been cooking since he was a little boy. He started his restaurant career at the age of 18, while attending Appalachian State University. In 2000, he joined P.F. Chang’s China Bistro as a Sous Chef and opened both the Virginia Beach and Richmond locations. Looking for a change, and to further pursue his culinary career, Ryan relocated to Tampa, FL. In March of 2006, Ryan begin training at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Chef Partner. Initially, the opportunity presented itself in Knoxville, Tennessee, so he relocated again. After sharing his culinary talents with the Knoxville community for over a year, the opportunity to move back to Tampa finally presented itself. Ryan accepted, and served as chef partner (and later Regional Chef Partner) at Fleming’s Tampa for 7 years. In 2013, Ryan decided he was ready for a new challenge. He joined Ciccio Restaurant Group as a Regional Partner, and helped them expand their Ciccio Cali brand. After a year and a half with CRG, Ryan began helping develop the culinary operations for Fresh Kitchen. He is currently a Regional Partner for Fresh Kitchen, and helps oversee existing locations and new store openings.