An international culinary ambassador representing Florida, as well as the state’s executive chef, Chef Justin Timineri is helping the world rediscover fresh, healthy cuisine one meal at a time.
I have the pleasure of helping consumers better understand when the growing seasons are in Florida and teaching them how to incorporate the state’s fresh produce, seafood, beef, chicken and other foods into their everyday diets,” Chef Justin says. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s satisfying to know that I’m serving both consumers and the many Florida farmers and ranchers who work so hard to produce the delicious food we enjoy.”
Chef Justin Starts His Journey
Chef Justin, a Florida native who grew up in Tallahassee, became the state’s international culinary ambassador in 2006. Prior to holding this position, he served as the executive chef for an upscale Tallahassee restaurant and was an event chef for NASCAR, PGA and the Kentucky Derby. He also worked nationally and internationally for premier hospitality and catering companies.
His first assignment as the state’s executive chef and international culinary ambassador was to represent Florida and compete against 20 other chefs in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, La., which was aired on the Food Network.
Chef Justin and his teammate, Josh Butler, who was at that time the executive chef at the Florida Governor’s Mansion, won the contest – the first of many successes for Chef Justin as one of Florida’s most prominent culinary representatives.
“Winning the Great American Seafood Cook-Off was the perfect way to kick off this amazing experience,” Chef Justin says. “Representing the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the ‘Fresh From Florida’ campaign has been an honor since day one.”
Celebrating Florida Food
Chef Justin has a deep appreciation for the many flavors the state’s cuisine offers, as well as the variety of cultural influences that make it unique. As a result, one of his main responsibilities – recipe development – comes easily, and he enjoys coming up with recipes that Florida consumers can easily re-create in their home kitchens.
“Florida has such a diverse population, and we are fortunate to have lots of different cuisines and cultures represented across the state,” Chef Justin says. “I’m always working with different commodity groups to create simple recipes that are fun, fresh and healthy, and I pay attention to consumer trends, so I know what our audience is looking for. We have no shortage of delicious foods at our fingertips, and I want to help Floridians take advantage of it.”
Along with developing recipes, Chef Justin spends his time educating children across the state and conducting cooking demonstrations at various high-profile events such as the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival in Orlando, Fla., and the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La.
“We have a large Florida pavilion at the Fresh Summit Convention & Expo that includes several growers and shippers from throughout the state, and I demonstrate cooking with fresh ingredients from all our Florida vendors,” Chef Justin says. “Buyers can come up and taste our products, and that makes a huge difference when they’re making final purchasing decisions.”
In addition, Chef Justin produces instructional cooking videos available online at freshfromflorida.com.
“It’s incredible to be in this position and have a job I really believe in,” Chef Justin says. “I feel lucky to do what I love – working with Florida-produced foods and educating the state’s consumers.”