Join top area restaurants in this annual bragging rights competition & fundraiser for naming the “Best Burger in Tampa Bay”, with all proceeds to support Friends of Tampa Riverwalk in their efforts to complete and activate the Tampa Riverwalk.
H Celebrity and Culinary Judges Panel
Corey Dylan - Radio Host, 970 WFLA
Ian Beckles - Radio Host, 620 WDAE
Jeff Houck - Food Writer, The Tampa Tribune
Radio Host, 98Rock
Steve Otto - Columnist, The Tampa Tribune
Erik Youngs, currently serving as Lead Instructor of the Culinary Operations Academy, has over 25 years experience in the Foodservice Industry, and has been a Culinary Educator for the past 16 years. He is the driving force behind the award winning Culinary Operations Academy at Chamberlain High School. Under his direction the Academy’s successes include three (3) ProStart Students-of-the-Years as recognized by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Education Foundation , and four (4) top 5 finishes at the Florida ProStart Competitions. In addition, the Academy’s students have represented the state of Florida the past ten (10) years at the Family, Community, and Career Leaders of America National Leadership conference with two National winners in the event category Hospitality. Erik has been recognized at various levels for his contributions to education including being recognized as teacher of the year from the following organizations:
Florida Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (ProStart)
Hillsborough Technical Career Adult Association (HTCAA),
Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year,
Chamberlain High School Teacher of the Year, and
Hillsborough County Public Schools – Finalist.
In addition, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation also awarded Erik with the prestigious James T. Maynard Excellence in Education Award presented to the top culinary educators in the nation. Erik has also served as an At-Large Trustee on the Board of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Education Foundation, was honored as an Honorary Alumnus of Johnson & Wales University, and most recently named one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterbacks in the Community. This is the second year he will be serving as Lead Judge for "Burger Showdown". Erik currently resides in Tampa with his wife and daughter.
Josh was born and raised in Tampa with young ambitions of becoming a cook. He went through the culinary program at Chamberlain High School and held multiple kitchen jobs around Tampa, which eventually led him to the Culinary Institute of America. During one of Josh's first classes, he had an opportunity to interview Dan Barber, chef /owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. Mid-interview, he kindled a new passion, local organic farming. Immediately following his graduation at the CIA, Josh got an internship at Sweetwater, an organic community farm in the heart of Tampa. Less than a year later, Josh was given the opportunity to start his own farm, and jumped at the chance. Josh is now the owner of Aether Farms in Dade City, a cook at Armani's in Tampa, and locally renowned for his unique ability to cook minute rice in just 59 seconds.
Ralph Underwood II
Owner, Mahoganii Enterprises
Ralph Underwood II is a grassroots and scholarly chef. Ralph has over 10 years of experience in the food industry; while also having a B.S. degree in Food Science and Nutrition. As an industry chef Ralph has worked in many capacities including: Line Cook, Sous Chef, Caterer, and Executive Chef of the many. He currently is a chef instructor, who educates students and future chefs on the benefits of incorporating nutrition into the fundamentals of being a chef.
Ralph makes time to be a personal chef partnering with Mahoganii Enterprises for “Banqueterring”, Culinary Staffing, and Product Development. Ralph is a Tampa native and has a soft spot for the “staples of Tampa” The Cuban Sandwich, Devil Crab, Collard Green Soup, Guava Turnovers, Fried Blue Crab, Crab Shala, Black Beans & Yellow Rice, and Churros to name a few. Ralph is always looking for the best found in town.
Kenneth “Hollywood” Robinson
Chef Kenneth Robinson was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. He learned to cook at a young age by helping his mother in the kitchen. As a “latchkey kid,” Kenneth had ample opportunity to practice his cooking skills. He was raised on Italian dishes, but that did not limit his palate. Even as a child, Kenneth enjoyed combining various items from the pantry to create a great meal.
In 1990, he put his culinary ambitions aside to serve his country. Kenneth joined the Army and served in Desert Storm. After his stint in the military, he moved to Florida. The culinary world beckoned again, and this time Kenneth decided to enter the Academy of Culinary Arts.
Upon graduating in 2001, he embarked on a successful culinary career. Kenneth honed his skills at several Tampa area restaurants including the Bamboo Club, Maggiano’s, the Cheesecake Factory, and The Wine Exchange. He also started Hollywood Cuisine, a high-end catering service that also provided in home gourmet cooking classes.
In 2008, Kenneth became corporate chef for Sweetbay Supermarkets. His role as the “Culinary Cruiser” allowed him to work with many different flavors and styles of cooking while educating consumers about cooking techniques.
In 2010, Kenneth accepted the position of Culinary Arts Instructor for Blake High school. Here he plans to use his culinary education, with his experience in the field, to educate and inspire the next batch of chefs.
Michael Rigberg is currently employed with Land O’ Lakes High School, as the Chef Instructor of the Culinary Arts Academy. He has 35 years of professional experience in the Hospitality Industry. Michael was previously employed by Delaware North Companies, at The St. Pete Times Forum / now Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa Florida. He held the position as Executive Chef CEC CCA, then promoted to the Director of Food and Beverage.
Michael has competed in sponsored American Culinary Federation food salons in Florida medaling in them. Michael graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park N.Y. in 1974. Most recently he has continued his education in achieving ACF certification as CEC & CCA. He plans to continue his education in the fall at Johnson & Wales.
In September of 2011 the ACF Tampa Bay Culinary Chapter honored Michael with the very prestigious Chef of the Year award. The presentation was highlighted by a special visit of Michael Ty, who was present for the presentation. Serving on the board of directors as the fundraiser chairman, Rigberg stated that this is a very special honor to me, I believe in our chapter and what we stand for. We are very involved in the community of Tampa and its surroundings. Our members are loyal, and dedicated to making our Tampa Chapter a leader in the ACF community.
CHEF EDDIE ARRABITO
Eddie is a New Jersey native who attended Hackensack High Schools Culinary Program. He continued his culinary education at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. In 1980, Eddie worked at, and later purchased, Patsy’s Pizza & Bistro in Closter, New Jersey. In 1987 Eddie sold the restaurant and relocated to Tampa, Florida where he became Executive Chef at Harris & Company. Eddie left Harris & Company, to take on the challenge of Executive Chef of Hunters Green Country Club. In 2003, Eddie decided to apply his knowledge and skills to food sales arena, where he now works as Territory Manager for U.S Foods, Tampa.
“A Foodie is a Foodie in one way or another” - C.E.