The Gulf Okaloosa Island New Chef

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The Gulf Okaloosa Island announces Jesse Romero as new Executive Chef

 MasterChef Reality TV show contestant brings culinary talents to the Emerald Coast

Okaloosa Island, FLA. (July 20, 2017)… The Gulf restaurant proudly announces Chef Jesse Romero has joined the team as the new executive chef of their newest location on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  Romero is widely known from his appearance as a contestant on season six of FOX network’s MasterChef, hosted by culinary superstar, Gordon Ramsay. Romero was selected for the reality show after a month-long audition and interview process amongst hundreds of contests. His culinary talents brought him all the way into the top 12 out of the entire nation.

Romero is very familiar with the Emerald Coast area, having spent many family vacations in Destin as a child. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Romero graduated from Louisiana State University in 2009 and decided to pursue his ultimate passion: cooking.

His maternal grandmother was the culinary director at a local high school, and she was the one who first introduced Romero to the cooking world. She inspired Romero with her ability to feed her seven children on a minimal budget, making everything from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Romero learned from the best, as his lifelong friend and mentor is Chef Kelley McCann, who spent years as the executive chef at New Orleans’ famous Galatoire’s Bistro on Bourbon Street, before branching off to establish his own restaurant, Kalurah Street Grill in Baton Rouge. Each year, Romero and McCann spend two weeks cooking together at Berckmans Place, the private, member’s only restaurant at Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters Golf Tournament.

Today, Romero is looking forward to his new culinary home on the Gulf Coast. “I’m excited to live in a coastal town with access to fresh Gulf seafood, one of my favorite things to cook! It’s great to join a group that is focused on good food, good people, good music and outdoor fun. I’m looking forward to bringing in some new, creative dishes to the menu at The Gulf Okaloosa Island.”

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High Resolution Headshot of Jesse Romero attached. 


About The Gulf: A uniquely designed restaurant destination serving locally inspired food & beverages in a beautiful waterfront setting. The Gulf is about relaxing with friends & family, exploring the unique shop, and listening to the curated vinyl collection. The Gulf is passionately committed to offering the freshest, seasonal menus of locally focused ingredients, with a concentration on Gulf seafood & sourcing from our neighboring regional farmers, and the menu changes daily. The venue is warm, inviting and versatile, making it perfect for special events. We make magic happen at The Gulf! For more information, visit or find us on Facebook