Laura Reiley is the Tampa Bay Times' restaurant critic and a former critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Baltimore Sun. She is the author of four books in the Moon Handbook series: Florida Gulf Coast; Walt Disney World and Orlando; Tampa and St. Petersburg; and the Paradise Coast. She has cooked professionally and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. In 2017 she was a Pulitzer and James Beard finalist and won the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism.
Dr. Kanika Tomalin is the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. In this role she works in partnership with Mayor Rick Kriseman to strategically advance one of Florida's largest cities toward its goals.
As deputy mayor, Dr. Tomalin's citywide purview ranges from operations to strategy and serves to extend the mayor's reach. Prior to being appointed deputy mayor, Dr. Tomalin served as a healthcare executive in various senior leadership capacities for Health Management Associates' 23-hospital Florida Group and the five-county Bayfront Health Network.
An experienced strategist, she has also worked as a marketeer and journalist. Dr. Tomalin earned a B.S. in broadcast journalism from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, an MBA from the University of Miami and a Doctorate from Northeastern University.
She is the fifth generation of her family to call St. Petersburg home. She was married to well-known adventurer Terry Tomalin and they have two children, Kai and Nia.
She has received numerous awards and appointments and is committed to many causes, namely improving the health of the community she serves.
Isabel Laessig, better know as Family Foodie, believes we can empower our families by nurturing them around the family table. She is on a mission is to bring back Sunday supper around the family table in every home. It starts off as one day a week and soon becomes a way of life.
As a mother of four, Isabel was touched when her oldest left for college. When asked what she would miss most about home, she said, “The time we spend in the kitchen and around our family table.” That response had such a profound effect on Isabel that it prompted her to start this blog.
Isabel is spreading the word of her mission by working with a group of bloggers that are as passionate about #SundaySupper as she is. Every week they blog about a #SundaySupper theme and now reach an audience of 8 million weekly with their recipes every week on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
We all know Ray Lampe as Dr. BBQ, the Food Network celebrity chef and cookbook author best known, of course, for barbecue, including his latest, “Ray Lampe’s Big Green Egg Cookbook.”
Ray Lampe grew up in Chicago and spent 25 years in his family's trucking business. In 2000, when the trucking business had run its course, he decided it was time to move to Florida and try something new. He had been participating in barbecue cookoffs for fun since 1982, so he decided to take a leap and turn his hobby into a career as an outdoor cooking expert.
The career leap has certainly paid off. Ray Lampe aka Dr. BBQ is now one of the top names in the barbecue world, and in 2014 he was inducted into the BBQ Hall of Fame. Later this year he is opening his own restaurant, Dr. BBQ's, right here in St. Petersburg, where he has lived the past several years.
Dr. BBQ has been instrumental in this year's overhaul of the Top Local Chef competition, serving as a consultant and mentor for us here at LocalShops1. On April 30, he will be aboard Sir Winston, heading the judges' panel.
Here are some of the other things Dr. BBQ does:
• He judges! He is an expert judge on the Food Network's "Chopped" and “Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri,” Travel Channel's "American Grilled," on “Smoked” with Myron Mixon, and now on LocalShops1's Top Local Chef!
• He cooks! Dr. BBQ has cooked in more than 300 barbecue contests, winning more than 300 awards! He is also a featured Pro-Chef on NBC's "Food Fighters" and a contestant on the Food Network Special “Chopped Grillmasters”
• He is the spokesman for several brands, including The Big Green Egg grill and smoker, Cabo Wabo Tequila, Kansas City Steak Company and the National Pork Board.
• He is all over the news! Dr. BBQ was featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” and has appeared on the Food Network, The Talk on CBS, E! News, HGTV, The NFL Network, The Discovery Channel, CNN and several other national and local TV shows. He has also been featured in dozens of publications, including Food & Wine Magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People Magazine and Men’s Journal.
You can follow him on Twitter at @drbbq and on his Facebook page, Dr. BBQ.
Chef Ted Dorsey, chef and owner of The Mill Restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg, practically grew up in the kitchen, in family-owned and operated restaurants where he discovered his lifelong passion for “All Things Food.”
He began his culinary education in Springville, Alabama, where he spent summers with his grandmother. She taught him to recreate magic in the Southern roots recipes and techniques that Chef Ted uses to this day.
Ted went on to attend the international cooking school Le Cordon Blue, and after graduation found a position in South Tampa at the highly regarded Mise en Place with award-winning Chef Marty Blitz. Ted’s next position was as executive sous chef for Bryce Wittlesy of Chez Bryce, a classic French Mediterranean Restaurant.
Chef Ted was then approached by restaurateur Gordon Davis, who was planning a new concept restaurant and wanted Chef Ted to help develop and design exciting new concepts for diners. Over the next five years the two opened three popular new venues in the Tampa Bay area: Ciro’s Speakeasy & Supper Club, Boca Kitchen Bar and Market, and Copperfish Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar. Ted designed all menus and served as executive chef.
Through the years, Chef Ted built relationships with farmers and fresh gulf seafood purveyors, and these relationships helped him create unique experiences for his diners.
Those relationships also caught the attention of a group of developers planning Hotel Zamore and Castille Restaurant in St. Pete Beach. Chef Ted was hired to create the menus and supervise all the dining and bar facilities. The restaurant opened to rave revues
The next step for Ted would be to open his own restaurant. With partner Jason Griffin “Mr. Hospitality,” and their company D&G Holdings, the two brought to life a new exciting concept: The Mill in downtown St. Petersburg. The rest is history in the making.