Meet the Judges + the Emcee
The 2019 Top Local Chef is emceed by --- including head judge Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ, and our panel of food critics and bloggers:
- Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times
Michelle Stark became the Tampa Bay Times food editor in 2015, taking on the role of sharing culinary joy through recipes and stories about our community. I cook almost daily, mostly simple dinners and lots of carbs -- all of it from scratch. I grew up in Florida, graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 and joining the Times that same year.
- Scott Pooler, Tampa Bay Restaurant Review
Tampa Bay native Scott Pooler is one of the administrator of the Tampa Bay Restaurant Review group, which has grown to almost 13,000 foodies, chefs, and others in the restaurant industry over the past five years. He is a photographer (PirateFoto) and web developer (Gasparilla Media) with clients throughout the country. Scott lives in St. Petersburg and participates in many events throughout the region, including Tampa’s Gasparilla PirateFest, and serves as the official photographer of various charities, including Best Buddies International.
- Syd Willis, Foodies Network 727
Syd Willis, a professional Vlogger, is owner and founder of Foodies Network 727, which has more than 2,000 members in St. Peterburg. Originally from Long Beach, California, where he attended college for marketing and design, Syd developed a passion for traveling around the city in search of new cuisine, with a focus on authentic ethnic dishes. Syd now lives in St. Petersburg, and continues his quest for the ultimate foodie experience. “We find the best food, so you don’t have to” is Foodies Network 727's Motto.
- Lori Brown, St. Petersburg Foodies Restaurant Reviews
Lori Brown and Kevin Godbee started St. Petersburg Foodies two years ago, and their Facebook group quickly grew to more than 8,200 members. Last year they launched a website, stpetersburgfoodies.com, and this year, a podcast. Lori, a realtor who has lived in Tampa Bay most of her life, is the ultimate foodie: She has been to wine vacations in Napa and Sonoma eight times, and she and a friend once owned a food store in St. Pete. Lori lives in the historic Uptown District with her teenage son and their leopard gecko.