About the Chefs
Executive Chef Kenny Hunsberger
Executive Chef for the Loews Don Cesar Hotel, St. Pete Beach, Florida
The Loews Don CeSar Hotel, proudly introduces the world-class gourmet talents of renowned Executive Chef Kenny Hunsberger. Chef Hunsberger deftly blends his Gulf-to-table cuisine, with a heavy seafood sensibility, vibrant, and seasonal, relying greatly on local resources. Chef Hunsberger is responsible for everything that touches the guest palate at the luxury hotel. To execute his acclaimed cuisine, Chef relies on his close relationships with farmers and fishermen from coast to coast to attain the freshest of ingredients. Hunsberger is an enthusiast of mixology and its rightful place in fine dining, along with molecular gastronomy and other cutting edge culinary practices that elevate the dining experience.
Hunsberger’s passion for food and interest in the culinary arts was cultivated from an early age with memories of his grandmother’s kitchen, where together they prepared seafood rich home cooked meals. Hunsberger followed his passion for cooking as a small child and shortly after graduating high school accepted an offer from the Saddlebook Resort, in Wesley Chapel, Florida. There he spent three years honing his culinary skills through various restaurants throughout the resort. Drawing upon his epicurean experiences, Hunsberger grew to become a 25-year veteran with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts around the US. From New Mexico to the coast of California he was able to cultivate various eclectic cooking styles and rich cuisines from numerous regions which can be seen through the seasonal changes to his menus. During his tenure with Hyatt, Hunsberger moved quickly up the culinary ranks from Chef Garde Manger at the Regency Westshore to Chef de Cuisine for Oystercatcher’s in Tampa. Ultimately he held the title of Executive Sous Chef for the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay where he was responsible for all aspects of the culinary operation including the supervision and training of 6 sous chefs and more than 50 cooks. The celebrated chef has been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines and cookbooks and has appeared on Great Chefs of the South for the Discovery Channel.
As Executive Chef of the Loews Don Cesar, Hunsberger is responsible for all operations including menu design, training and food production for all of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets, as well as catering for 38,000 square feet of meeting and event space. This includes three very diverse restaurants, three lounges and the distinguished Chef's Table at the award winning Maritana Grille. In 2012 he supervised renovations of two premiere restaurants, the Three-Diamond Sea Porch Restaurant and the Four-Diamond Maritana Grille. During his time at Loews Don Cesar, the Maritana Grille has earned consecutive awards, named best new restaurant in Tampa Bay, an Exceptional Restaurant of Florida by Gourmet magazine, one of the top 200 restaurants in Florida by Florida Trend, one of the top 100 restaurants in Florida by Epicurean Rendezvous magazine and most recently named 2012 Top 10 seafood restaurants in the United States by Gayot.
Hunsberger currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when he is not steering the culinary ship at the Don, he enjoys downtime as a self proclaimed movie junkie.
Mabel De Beunza
A Recipe from Chef Kenny Hunsberger - John's Green Salad
- 3/4 cup Local Artisan Greens
- 1 oz Shaved Fennel
- 5 Quartered Heirloom Grape Tomatoes
- 1/2 oz Julienne Red Onion
- 1 Shaved Breakfast Radish
- 1 Tbsp Goat Cheese
- 2 Romaine Leafs
- 1 tsp Grated Asiago Cheese
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Basil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Your favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette
Place the romaine hearts on the plate. Place all the greens and vegetables in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle some of your vinaigrette on the greens and reserve some for later. Toss the greens well and place on the romaine leafs, top with the goat cheese and asiago cheese. Drizzle more of your vinaigrette over the top of the greens and garnish with fresh chopped basil.
Executive Pastry Chef Tara Bishop
Sweet endings are a guarantee with Tara Bishop, Executive Pastry Chef at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel. The recipient of an Associate of Science degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Culinary Institute of America and a Hotel Restaurant Management Degree from the Professional Restaurant and Hotel Management Program, Chef Tara honed her decadent skills at some world-famous spots like Walt Disney Worlds Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Westin Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina and the Daufuskie Island Club and Resort in Hilton Head.
Chef Tara in her pink chefs jacket, has been a staple at the Loews Don CeSar for more than ten years. She's won high praise both nationally and internationally for her delicious desserts and pastries, but she's famous for her incredible wedding cakes, which she creates for the nearly 400 weddings hosted by the Loews Don CeSar each year. From traditional fondant and butter cream tiered cakes to outrageous chocolate with green icing and beach-themed confections with white chocolate chaise lounges and sugar-shell sand, Chef Tara customizes her cakes for every bride. In 2008, she took the business of wedding cakes to another level with the wildly successful Custom Cakes by Tara.