Sarasota Chefs and Restaurants Earn Top Accolades

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One of the best things about being a Realtor in Sarasota is the town we represent.

Seriously, how easy is it to brag about Sarasota? Every time you turn around Sarasota is winning a “Best of” award, be it #1 Beach in United States (Dr. Beach/Trip Advisor), Happiest Cities in America (Gallup-Healthways), Best Place to Retire (US News and World Report) The Best Place to Buy a Home Where the Average Homes Costs Less than $250k (Business Insider) The Best Places to Live (US News & World Report) . . . And you KNOW the SarasotaFoodies think Sarasota is the Best Town for Dining Out, but lately, there are a lot of other people saying so too!

Conde Nast Traveler recently ranked Sarasota 5th on their list of  Best Small Cities in the United States, and in their accolades, they went right to the heart of what we believe is why Sarasota so high on the list . . . Sarasota’s ever-growing food scene. To quote “We still stand by the aromatic mushroom bisque at Indigenous, the cinnamon roll pancakes at Station 400, and the savory crepes at C’est La Vie. With meals like these, it’s easy to see why so many people decide to spend their golden years in Sarasota.” Well, let me remind you that you don’t have to wait until your golden years to enjoy our local food scene. . . In fact, we made Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Food Cities in the US list as well!

Executive Pastry Chef Lyndsy McDonald

It would be downright scary to live where there weren’t any good places to eat! Which brings me to another recent accolade for Ritz-Carlton Sarasota’s Executive Pastry Chef, Lyndsy McDonald.  Chef Lyndsy is locally known as the mastermind (yes, that’s the word often used) in the creation of the huge Christmas Gingerbread displays at the downtown hotel’s lobby.  Lyndsy recently stepped away from Christmas decor to Halloween gore and WON the Food Network’s 4th annual Halloween Baking Championship.  

For six weeks, this busy mother of three competed against eight other pastry chefs and home cooks challenged to design and bake original Halloween inspired desserts. They didn’t know in advance what the theme would be, and each week one baker won that challenge (Lyndsy won several times) and one baker was sent home.  Lyndsy was never in the bottom two.

This adorable mastermind of confections is responsible for the always unique and delicious desserts on the Jack Dusty menu, as well as those on the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota’s catering menu. While Lyndsy is somewhat famous for her annual Holiday Gingerbread Display, we fear that someone from the Food Network’s international audience may try and steal her away from the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. That would be horrific, because not only was it fun to watch Lyndsy compete during the televised competition, it was a pleasure seeing that Lyndsy is not only a connoisseur of sweetness, she is sweetness personified . . . even while creepiness oozed from her Halloween Baking Championship creations. Just remember, Lyndsy . . . Sarasota has a lot going to it, just check out all the awards we’ve won!

Not Your Mama’s Pot Roast

Not to be outdone, Chef Mark Woodruff and his acclaimed M.A.D.E. Restaurant (which stands for Modern American Delicious Eats) has won quite a few “Best Of” awards of their own.  Recently M.A.D.E. was showcased on The Travel Channel’s Food Paradise show, during a segment called Cranked Up Comfort.  The show was all about the nation’s best restaurants for comfort food and featured Woodruff’s popular Not Your Mama’s Pot Roast.  Watch the segment by clicking on the blue text in the link provided. M.A.D.E.’s segment comes on around 6:22 minutes into the show.  We warn you, it will make you hungry!

While the previous accolades were a pleasant surprise, it didn’t surprise us one bit to learn that Mattison’s Restaurants and Indigenous were included on the Good Food 100 Restaurants™ list for the integrity behind their menus and the promotion of using sustainable ingredients. Only four restaurants in Florida made that list. . . and Sarasota had two of them. (Excuse me while I dance around, all puffed up with pride on that.) I take great joy in watching our local chefs, many of them in Chef’s Collaborative, lead the nation in helping establish food safety and sustainability laws as well as promote protections of our natural resources. Yes, I’m talking about you, Chef Steve Phelps, and the team you put together every year for the Sustainable Seafood Dinner. But we also want to recognize every one of our local folks who campaigned against using plastic straws and other single-use plastics. If you want to get fired up about something, why not get behind a cause you can actually carry out yourself and truly make a difference?

Three of these accolades were announced just in the last 6 days . . . I’m wondering what new awards our local food scene and chefs will win tomorrow? Perhaps you need to go out to eat and choose a few “Best Of” awardees yourself!  Let us know what deliciousness you discover!

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