2018 Talent



Robyn Almodovar
Winner of Food Network's CHOPPED and Cut Throat Kitchen, Staten Island native and Florida resident Chef Robyn Almodovar knows how to give you “A Party in Your Mouth”. With a half Puerto Rican, half Italian background, Almodovar’s childhood was filled with culture, vibrancy and a deeply ingrained passion for food. By age three, Almodovar was rolling meatballs alongside her grandmother for Sunday’s Gravy. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Almovodar's diverse career has ranged from executive chef of a 172’ yacht on the high seas to South Florida restaurants including The Forge, Danny Devito's Devito South Beach, and the Royal Palm Hotel. Casted for FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen Season 10, Almovodar finished as a Top Finalist. In 2011, Almodovar purchased a 24’ food truck and founded “Palate Party”, a fresh, mobile café that utilizes locally sourced ingredients. Palate Party was the first female-owned food truck in South Florida with a stage on top for live entertainment. In 2013 Miami New Times voted Palate Party as the Best Food Truck in Miami and in 2014 Almodovar served as judge for Food Network's Food Truck Face Off. Welcome to the Virgin Islands, Chef Robyn!
Negust Kaza
Chef Negust is a celebrated award winning former member of the Virgin Islands Olympic Culinary Team, who has spent over a decade learning from and working with gold standard chefs like Todd Grey and Govind Armstrong. With a heritage that spans from Portugal, to Trinidad, to Brooklyn, and finally to St. Croix for the last 15 years, Chef Negust Kaza is quite at home creating dishes with flavors of the island while targeting the key ingredients that will provide the daily nutrients for a complete healthy body. Chef Negust’s passion for food anthropology has developed into his most recent project Kaza House, where he explores his creative side through a myriad of unique projects that allow him to not only bring exquisite original recipes to the public, but also educate and promote Health and Wellness to families across the island.
Julius Jackson
Julius Jackson is a chef, boxer, author and Olympian. He has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Beach Bites with Katie Lee and Food Network’s The Kitchen and the Telemundo series, El Cesar. Chef Julius developed “The Chef's Cooking Lab,” an interactive event where Julius demonstrates his recipes and cooking techniques. Julius' first cookbook, My Modern Caribbean Kitchen: 70 Fresh Takes on Island Favorites, will be published July 2018. He specializes in Caribbean, Italian, and French cuisine and a fusion of all three. Julius is the Head Chef/Manager at My Brother's Workshop Bakery & Cafe, a non-profit training program for at-risk youth.
Michael Ferraro
Michael Ferraro’s culinary career was inspired by his Southern Italian parents and their love and respect for quality and tradition. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America at age 20, Ferraro’s culinary repertoire flourished during an internship under Chef Waldy Malouf at Beacon Restaurant, followed by Jean-Georges’ Mercer Kitchen as Chef de Partie. He proceeded to New York City’s famed 5-star, 5-diamond Four Seasons Hotel where he served as Chef Tournant. It was there where he extended his skills to all outlets of the hotel, landing him at its fine dining restaurant, Fifty Seven Fifty Seven. In 2008, Ferraro took over the kitchen at the SoHo restaurant Delicatessen, moving quickly to open macbar in the fall of 2009, a restaurant fully dedicated to gourmet macaroni & cheese. A member of Zagat’s inaugural class of “30 Under 30” , Ferraro has since established himself as an authority within the culinary industry and has been featured on many national TV networks such as CBS, ABC, NBC, VH1, WPIX, Travel Channel, Iron Chef America and Chopped on Food Network, and the Cooking Channel. Chef Ferraro has also appeared as a judge on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, as well as a reoccurring Chef Expert alongside Jon Taffer on Spike TV’s hit series Bar Rescue. Ferraro works with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Savor Health and Celgene on their initiative Cooking. Comfort. Care., a program to provide nutritional resources, tips and recipes for the caregivers and patients dealing with the disease.