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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.

How Chef Edouardo Jordan's St. Pete Roots Gave Him a 'Chitlins State of Mind'

We bring you a conversation with history-making chef — and St. Petersburg native — Eduoardo Jordan.

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In 2018, Chef Edouardo Jordan took home two James Beard Awards, including Best New Restaurant for his Seattle eatery JuneBaby. He was the first African-American ever to win in that category.

But before Edouardo was history-making chef, the St. Petersburg native was a member of Boca Ciega High School’s class of 1998 and then a University of Florida Gator. He studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and got his start at Mise en Place Restaurant in Tampa before moving out West.

Edouardo still has strong ties to Florida, including a virtual appearance at the Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival on Saturday, May 15. This year’s festival will be a hybrid event of live and online experiences.

“I’m happy up here [in Seattle], but I’ll never forget the facts of where I come from and who helped me become who I am,” says Edouardo, who now runs three Seattle restaurants and the Foot with Roots fashion line, which includes Chitlins State of Mind hoodies. The slogan is a nod to African-Americans’ ingenuity. “We know how to make something out of nothing,” Edouardo says. “Just growing up in St. Pete taught me about the hustle—always on the grind, always trying to make something out of nothing.”

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