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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.

Olivia Giesler of The Pearl at Water Street on hospitality, the Michelin guide and being a female chef

Olivia Gielser has forged her own path as executive chef of The Pearl at Water Street.

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This is a man’s world—or at least, a man’s kitchen. More than three-quarters of head chefs in U.S. restaurants are men, according to the Census Bureau. But Olivia Gielser has forged her own path in the male-dominated space.

Olivia is executive chef of The Pearl, part of downtown Tampa’s swanky new Water Street dining district. The gastropub opened in 2023, and it’s already earned a nod from Michelin’s Florida Guide.

The Zest team recently visited Chef Olivia at The Pearl to learn how she’s forged her own leadership style in the kitchen, how her Midwestern roots fostered her love of hospitality and how we can all cook smarter at home.

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