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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Chef Justin Timineri of Fresh From Florida offers ideas for eating what’s in season

A bald man wearing a black chef's shirt that says Fresh from Florida stands with his arms crossed.
The Zest Podcast
Chef Justin Timineri is the executive chef and culinary ambassador for Fresh From Florida, which is a marketing and development branch of the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Timineri's job is to help consumers understand what’s growing in Florida and how to incorporate it into our diets.

If you’re stuck in a dinner rut, then Chef Justin Timineri can help. Justin is the executive chef and culinary ambassador for Fresh From Florida, which is a marketing and development branch of the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Justin’s job is to help consumers understand what’s growing in Florida and how to incorporate it into our diets. From a test kitchen in Tallahassee, Justin creates recipes and cooking videos showcasing Florida produce, seafood and beef. He also helps develop ready-to-use products like salsas, spice blends and barbecue sauces.

For mealtime inspiration, the Tallahassee native suggests following Fresh From Florida’s social media accounts. He also recommends letting Florida’s growing seasons be your guide.

“As Americans, we get accustomed to being able to go to the grocery store [and] buy whatever we want all year round. But… things don’t grow all year round, certainly not in the state of Florida,” Justin says. His advice: Go to your local farmer’s market, see what’s in season and build your menu around that.

“I think it’s important to go in there and see what’s fresh. This is what a chef would do,” Justin notes. “The items dictate the menu. The menu doesn’t dictate the items.”

This includes seasonal seafood. Form a relationship with your local seafood market, and keep the preparation simple, Justin advises.

“The simplest preparations are often the best,” he says. “Start with the easy stuff, like shrimp. Then work your way up to the fin fish.”

At home with his 9-year-old son, Declan, Justin loves preparing shrimp, pompano or stone crab seasoned with fresh herbs. “That’s one of the best ways to get flavor into your food without a lot of salt and fat.”

In this interview with The Zest Podcast, Justin shares some of his favorite summertime meal ideas, offers advice for cooking with kids and recounts how he won the 2006 Food Network Challenge Great American Seafood Cook-off.

Hear the full episode on The Zest podcast.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.
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