Announcing this Year’s Spectacular Lineup of Celebrity Chefs for Tasteful Traditions 2018

Annual Gala on Wednesday, March 21 at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (tickets here)

Celebrity Chefs: Ingrid Hoffmann – Timon Balloo – Todd Erickson – Soraya Kilgore
Co-Hosted by Chef Allen Susser and Linda Gassenheimer

(left-to-right and top-to-bottom)
This year’s invited celebrity chefs: Ingrid Hoffmann, Timon Balloo, Todd Erickson and Soraya Kilgore


MIAMI BEACH [ ABN NEWS ] ― At the top of the marquee for South Florida’s social calendar this year is Tasteful Traditions 2018, the highly anticipated annual gala fundraiser for the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (the event is formerly known as Purim Pairings). Every year some of the world’s top celebrity chefs are selected for this delicious food and wine pairing event, under the direction of Chef Allen Susser and co-hosted by culinary expert Linda Gassenheimer.

Throughout the evening, each celebrity chef will create an original recipe for one course of an amazing four-course meal. Top donors from the community will have the opportunity to act as sous chefs onstage with the celebrity chefs as they demonstrate their signature recipes, then prepared and served by a kosher caterer. A carefully curated Kosher wine, selected by local wine merchant Mike Bittel of Sunset Corners, is paired with each course.

Celebrated as one of the hottest tickets in town and one of Miami Beach’s most popular annual gatherings, this event always sells out and tickets are going fast (link to purchase tickets here at $350 per person). The gala takes place on Wednesday, March 21, 6:30-10:00 p.m. at the museum, located at 301 Washington Avenue on Miami Beach (valet parking available).

On the cusp of its 25th anniversary coming up in 2020, major announcements for the community are anticipated at this year’s gala along with a look back at some of the museum’s milestones during its rich history.

“Our museum is grateful that our community is so supportive of this spectacular culinary event every year, benefiting the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU,” said Susan Gladstone, the Executive Director of the Museum.

Susan Gladstone: Executive Director Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Susan Gladstone
Executive Director
Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

“This year’s gala will be held at the museum, a true homecoming to kick off the countdown to our 25th anniversary in 2020. As we continue to redefine the vision of the new model for museums of the 21st century, we are proud to celebrate our leadership position as one of Miami’s top cultural destinations,” adds Susan Gladstone.


More about this year’s chefs for Tasteful Traditions:

Ingrid Hoffmann
Host of Top Chef Estrellas (Telemundo, NBC), Simply Delicioso (The Cooking Channel) and Delicioso (Univision)

Ingrid Hoffmann: Host of Top Chef Estrellas (Telemundo, NBC), Simply Delicioso (The Cooking Channel)  and Delicioso (Univision)

Ingrid Hoffmann is passionate about food and entertaining and spends each day sharing her enthusiasm and talent with an international audience.

Her goal is to spread the joy of cooking to her many followers via her own cookware line, cookbooks and the media. In 2015, Ingrid launched her own food brand, Cocina by Ingrid Hoffmann, which focuses on easy, delicious and healthy meal solutions for the family. For 2018, Ingrid is working on the launch of a new book and a digital lifestyle brand and website targeting the modern woman with easy recipes, health, travel, entertaining tips and highlighting Ingrid’s favorites all around.

Raised in Colombia and Curaçao, Ingrid moved to Miami where she once owned a high fashion luxury boutique as well as the restaurant Rocca. She writes a monthly column in Delta Sky Magazine and is a frequent guest of shows like Un Nuevo Día, The Talk, Oprah, Martha Stewart, The View, The Today Show, The Early Show, and Wendy Williams Show. Ingrid’s success has afforded her the opportunity to give back to the community as a board member of New York City’s Food and Education Fund and Miami’s Amigos for Kids, as well as an active supporter of Manhattan’s Food and Finance High School and Believe for Colombia Foundation, and more.


Timon Balloo
Executive Chef of Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill

Timon Balloo: Executive Chef of Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill

Chef Timon Balloo was born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents. His scrapbook of memories leads with days on the farm, ethnic recipes, and a favorite pastime of watching the PBS show Yan Can Cook. Little did he know then that he would soon be on the fast track to a James Beard Foundation “Best New Restaurant” nomination for SUGARCANE raw bar grill.

This and a host of other accolades continue to reflect his dedication to the seasonal, local ingredients that fuel his daily inspirations taken from the market’s freshest offerings. Shortly after the restaurant’s debut in 2010, SUGARCANE raw bar grill took “Best New Restaurant” and Balloo was dubbed “Best Up-and-Coming Chef” by Miami New Times.

He was also named “Chef of the Year” by Eater, and the accolades have never stopped.

Chef Timon Balloo’s Accolades & Publications

James Beard Foundation – Best New Restaurant semifinalist (2011)

FOOD & WINE – The People’s Best New Chef nominee (2012) – Restaurant of the Year Miami (2015), Best Chef Miami (2015)

Johnson & Wales University – ZEST Awards Culinary Innovator (2014)

Miami New Times Short Order Awards – Best Restaurant, 5 Best Reviewed Restaurants, Best Up-and-Coming Chef, 5 Best Chefs (2010)


Todd Erickson
Executive Chef/Partner of Glam Vegan Miami, Society Fort Myers, and Huahua’s Taqueria South Beach

Todd Erickson: Executive Chef/Partner of Glam Vegan Miami, Society Fort Myers, and Huahua's Taqueria South Beach

Todd Erickson is a critically acclaimed culinary professional with lauded experience garnered at esteemed restaurants around the United States. Erickson’s approach reflects his passion for travel and regional cuisines, and has earned him a following with respected critics and food novices alike.

His unique perspective and creative flair displayed in each dish make him the natural choice to spearhead multiple culinary venues showcasing the depth and breadth of his body of work.

Hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona, Erickson’s fascination with the senses are utilized in the preparation of each meal. In mid 2013, he opened Huahua’s Taqueria, a fast casual concept quickly embraced by tourists and locals alike. Huahua’s has been featured on the Cooking Channel series “Taco Trip” with Chef Aaron Sanchez as well as making several appearances on national “Best Of” lists including, Gayot, Zagat, Miami New Times, Miami Herald and Food Network Magazine. His most recent ventures include GLAM (Green Living Animals Matter) in the Shops of Midtown Miami. Partnering with long-time vegan and animal advocate, Janette Miller, Erickson has designed a chic, organic, plant-based menu with appeal in and out of vegan circles. Chef Todd’s Society Fort Myers is a large-scale modern American steakhouse with focus on re-imagined gulf coast favorites as well as his flair for global cuisine.


Soraya Kilgore
Pastry Chef/Owner of MadLab Creamery

Soraya Kilgore: Pastry Chef/Owner of MadLab Creamery

Born in Honduras, Soraya Caraccioli-Kilgore moved to Denver to attend culinary School at Johnson and Wales University and then moved on to receive a second degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in Hospitality Management from UMKC in Kansas.

Shortly after, Kilgore moved to Chicago where her culinary journey began. Thoroughly immersed in Chicago’s culinary scene, Kilgore decided to take one final step in her education so she enrolled at Kendall College where she studied to become a pastry chef. It was here she realized that her heart belonged to one specific part of the kitchen – pastries – and she has never looked back.

After receiving her degree in Pastry, Soraya moved to Miami where she worked at the Betsy Hotel in the Laurent Tourondale Restaurant BLT, and after that at the Setai. As her career in Miami flourished, Soraya’s experience and knowledge obtained from the restaurant and hospitality industry (along with her natural affinity for creating delectable pastries) landed her the position of Head Pastry Chef at the newly opened 1826 Restaurant and Lounge headed by two-star Michelin Chef Danny Grant and received praise from guests and food critics alike. She later went to work with her husband at their restaurant Alter which was named one of the 300 best restaurants in the world by Condé Nast and a James Beard nod as Best New Restaurant. Soraya is also the Pastry Chef at Brava by Brad Kilgore inside the beautiful Adrienne Arsht Center, her husband’s new venture. The pair also has two other projects coming for 2018, two new restaurants in the Design District.



The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU serves as a major cultural attraction and source of information for a wide audience of residents, tourists, students and scholars of all ages and backgrounds from throughout the state, nation, and the world. Located in a former synagogue that housed Miami Beach’s first Jewish congregation, the museum’s restored 1936 Art Deco building and 1929 original synagogue are both on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 301 building features nearly 80 stained glass windows, a copper dome, marble bimah and many Art Deco features including chandeliers and sconces. The Jewish Museum of Florida is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission: Adults $6; Seniors $5; Families $12; Members and children under 6 always free; Saturdays-Free. For more information call 305-672-5044 or visit The Museum is supported by individual contributions, foundations, memberships and grants from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners and the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council, and the Funding Arts Network.