French accents: Piquant, chef Gui Alinat partner on new catering company

Chefs behind Artisan Boutique Catering and Piquant have united to create Piquant Artisan Caterers.

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click to enlarge Ricardo Castro and Rosana Rivera - James Ostrand
James Ostrand
Ricardo Castro and Rosana Rivera

Three Tampa Bay chefs with a passion for French cooking have recently teamed up in the kitchen.

Working together since the beginning of January, Rosana Rivera and Ricardo Castro, the chef-owners of Hyde Park's Piquant, and chef Gui Alinat, who owns Artisan Boutique Catering, are behind the new Piquant Artisan Caterers.

The catering company — specializing in creative, refined cuisine for weddings and other events around the region — has merged Artisan Boutique Catering and Piquant's clients to, as Alinat puts it, "take on the market in a big way."

Initially meeting as teachers at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Tampa, the three chefs have known each other for years. 

According to Alinat, they all have a similar vision of food, and respect for each other's professionalism, so their partnership was a natural fit.

"We are all really focused on quality — quality ingredients and execution," Castro says. "We have a lot of really good things in common."

Rivera also notes that it's hard to find people with the same mentality and aesthetic, so they're lucky.

Currently working out of Piquant, the catering company's 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art kitchen being built off Howard Avenue (near Interstate 275) is almost operational. The kitchen will give the trio a localized, centralized spot to focus on their sophisticated fare, more space, and room to create jobs. For instance, they'll be able to hire close to 30 people for an upcoming event.

"The best part of all," Castro says, "these are three chefs that have high standards."

For another taste of what the company has to offer, tune into Alinat's appearance on Beat Bobbly Flay at 10 p.m. Thursday.

After his wife and kids begged him to try his hand at one of the Food Network's shows, Alinat applied to Bobby Flay, got a call from producers the following day, and was in New York before he knew it (during full-on catering season back in December, mind you).

He can't talk about the outcome of his episode until it airs tonight, but tells CL he cooks up a signature Piquant Artisan Caterers item, the classic French chicken dish coq au vin.

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