Florida’s executive chef, culinary ambassador

Pam Griffin
Chef Justin Timineri is the state chef of Florida.

Although he doesn’t have his own kitchen in the Destin area, the influence of Chef Justin Timineri has spread throughout Florida. His recipes are being used in homes and restaurants as he represents the Fresh From Florida brand and is culinary ambassador and executive chef for the state of Florida.

Raised in Florida and exposed at an early age to many cultures and cuisines, Timineri’s straightforward approach to cooking relies on simple ingredients combined with fresh seasonal produce and is a model for the new American cook. 

In 2006, the certified executive chef, author, award winner, teacher and television personality won the Food Network Challenge Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans where he held the title of having the country’s best domestic seafood dish.

His broad background includes being an event chef for NASCAR, PGA and the Kentucky Derby, as well as working nationally and internationally for premier hospitality and catering companies. 

In 2012, at the Olympic Games in London, he showcased Florida’s cuisine to medal winners and Olympic legends at the USA House.

And what did he make? Florida swordfish with a Florida blueberry sauce and sweet corn relish.

Timineri’s many responsibilities include promoting Florida’s many outstanding commodities, creating new recipes, attending trade events around the world, performing cooking demonstrations and educating children on the value of healthy food choices and proper nutrition.

His motto is “cooking should always be fun, simple and flavorful,” which also reflects his style. He always keeps nutrition in mind and enjoys cooking with fresh foods that are harvested regionally or locally.

In 2015, Fresh From Florida recipes will appear in The Log the third Wednesday of each month.

Crispy Pan Seared

Florida Swordfish

6 (5-oz.) filets fresh Gulf swordfish

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

1/2 cup canola oil

Sea salt and black pepper, fresh ground to taste

Pat filets with paper towel until completely dry. Refrigerate until time to cook.

Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Lightly dust both sides of the filets with parsley and then corn starch. Season the fillets with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Add oil to coat the bottom of the heated pan. Carefully lay the filets in the pan skin side down. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on both sides until skin is crispy and filets are done. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of filets. Makes 6 servings.

Spicy Florida Blueberry BBQ

2 tsp. vegetable oil

1/4 cup minced Florida onion

1 Tbsp. minced fresh Florida jalapeño, seeded

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. light brown sugar

3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. hot sauce

2 cups fresh Florida blueberries

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a non-reactive saucepan. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Add the blueberries, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, mustard and hot sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, stirring until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Puree the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pass through a Fine strainer or sieve. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.