VOTE via Facebook for Chef to Challenge Roy Villacrusis at Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival Grand Chef Throwdown

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Chef Philip Anthony (Licausi)

Growing up in an Italian family, cooking was in Licausi's blood.

"My father and grandparents owned very successful restaurants in New York and Florida. At a young age I was exposed to cooking, like helping my grandmother pick fresh basil or bake cookies, stuff other kids weren't really that into."

From the age of 13, Licausi was making salads and prepping dough with his father at the family restaurant, the House of Dough in New York and Joseph's Bistro in Palm Coast, Florida. He later enrolled in Johnson and Wales to earn his bachelor's degree -- but it wasn't enough. He wanted to learn more.

"I have a strong drive to be the best at everything I do -- to do better every day," said Lucaisi. How to improve his cooking? Licaisi called the best chefs in the area and asked if he could work for free to learn. It landed him externships with top-name chefs including Todd English at Wild Olives in West Palm Beach, Michelle Bernstein at Sra. Martinez in Miami Beach, Shari Almodovar at Cafe 1451 in West Palm Beach, and Anthony Pizzo at Cut 432 in Delray Beach.

Now a Boca Raton resident, Licausi is currently working alongside Aaron Black at PB Catch on the Island in Palm Beach. When asked about his personal style of cooking, he said he prefers a mix of classical French, American and molecular gastronomy. "My real passion is for everything I make to marry well. Some chefs throw random things together on a dish, but it doesnt mesh with your pallet. I want to make all the ingredients blend together perfectly."

So why does Licausi deserve your vote to participate in the Grand Chef Throwdown? "Cooking keeps me sane, and competition is in my blood. I'm 26, and feel I have just as much knowledge -- if not more -- than the average chef. From molecular gastronomy to French, Asian and Italian cuisine -- I have what it takes to compete. I will bring food to the table that is mind blowing."

If Licausi competes and wins, he said he would like to support a mental health charity that works to help those suffering from anxiety disorders.


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