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Local Chef Gets National Recognition At Sobe Wine and Food Festival

March 01, 2010 By Carlos Miller in  | 1 Comment


Above: Siblings Jorge and Vanessa Montes of Chef George Catering unwind after the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Without a doubt, the main draw of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival are the celebrity chefs.

Names like Rachael Ray, Emeril, Bobby Flay, Masimoto, Daniel Boulud and Guy Fieri, just to name a new were able to draw thousands of people, each of them paying several hundred dollars to attend the events last weekend.

And then there’s Jorge Montes. 

Never heard of him?

He’s the local chef that came in second in the national Amstel Light Burger Recipe Contest, meaning he was one place away from cooking up his burgers among the rest of the celebrity chefs during Thursday’s Burger Bash.

Just another chef out of thousands in South Florida trying to carve out his own niche in an extremely competitive industry.

First place went to Lori Welander of Virginia, who was given one of the 28 booths during the Burger Bash event.

“I was competing against thousands of chefs from all over the country,” said Montes,.

The only requirement was that Amstel Light be used in the recipe.

“It was a burger stuffed with smoke Gouda,” he said. “Then I made a barbecue sauce from scratch using Amstel Light, honey, onions, garlic, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.”

His recipe also called for beer-battered onion rings to be placed on top of the burger, which also included potato bread.

Montes, 28, is just one of thousands of South Florida chefs who one day hope to operate their own restaurant, write their own books and host their own TV shows.

He currently operates Chef George Catering along with his sister, Vanessa.  And the two of them also offer cooking classes through

Although Montes did not get to serve his burgers during Thursday’s Burger Bash, the Peruvian native was able to serve a specialty dish from his native country in Sunday’s Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village.

“We served scallops ceviche with passion fruit and sweet potato crisps with Rocoto cream, which is made from a Peruvian pepper,” he said.

“It was a hit. We served more than 3,000 people in four hours.”

This was his second year working the festival and although it took days and hours of preparation, he loved every minute of it.

“It gives you the opportunity to meet local chefs and celebrity chefs and know that it’s not impossible for you to get to that level one day,” he said.

Above: Jorge Montes, center, strikes a pose with celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud, left, and Allen Susser.

Above: Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto serves up his popular burgers, which won the Heinz Ketchup Best Dressed Burger award.

Above: Jorge Montes poses with Michael Schwartz of Miami’s own Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, whose burger won the Allen Brother’s Golden Grill Award.

Above: Jorge Montes hangs out with Lori Welander, the Virginia woman who won first place in the Amstel Light Burger Bash


Above: Johnny Iuzzini poses next to his book, Desert Fourplay.

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Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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1 Comments on

"Local Chef Gets National Recognition At Sobe Wine and Food Festival"

A very Fat Man says:

Why isn’t there a picture, of such winning burgers to accompany this article?

It would have been visually appeasing to have an actual image of a Amstel light burger, in fact, actually a picture of any burger would have helped this story further.

Needless to mention, the article was too full of “quotations”, as the article did lack a true narrative prospective. As in you were actually there. What was it like to experience Burger Bash first hand?

How were the people acting/behaving? What were the smells like? How was the free champagne, how was the beer? Did any chefs care to share any insight tips with regards to BBQ’ing?

Simple answer’s to these light open-ended questions could have drawn the reader’s in more so, as if, they were actually there with you.

O-well ,... maybe a better article for next years Burger bash….

Posted on 03/04/2010 at 11:47 AM

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