Matteo Casini: Red Rose Dining Room, Plant City
Following high school, the budding chef earned an associate's degree in culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Miami. That led to a stint as sous chef at The Club at Eaglebrooke in Lakeland. For the past seven years, Casini, 29, has climbed the ranks at Red Rose Dining Room in Plant City, and now serves as its executive chef.
WHY HAVE YOU STRAYED FROM WORKING AT YOUR FATHER'S SIDE?
He was harder on me than everybody else (working at his restaurants). It wasn't all bad, but it was a mutual agreement that I needed to learn somebody else's ways. That's the one thing they taught us in culinary school — you can't get stuck in your ways.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB?
This gives me a chance to create and explore. I have carte blanche to pretty much try and implement anything. I do get the owners' OK first.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
I'm into music. I have some instruments. I'm best at drums, but I'm a bit of a singer. I actually won a karaoke contest, I did Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," and they loved it.
— ERIC PERA/The Ledger