Chef Spotlight: Giovanni (Gio) Filippone of Vue on 30a
If you are seeking a sophisticated yet laid back atmosphere to nibble on tapas while sipping on a glass of wine, thirsting for a craft cocktail at the bar after a busy day, or wanting to dive into a four or five course chefs tasting, then the Vue on 30a is where you need to be.
Often, when selecting a restaurant with a view, getting a table to see it might be difficult. But, at Vue on 30a everyone has the sought after backdrop of the Gulf to feast by, while experiencing the innovative menu offerings.
Executive Chef Giovanni (Gio) Filippone is at the kitchens helm conjuring up new flavors to savor, while Vue on 30a is the only restaurant on Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A that has been voted as having the Best Waterfront Dining by Florida Travel + Life Magazine, and the Best Place to Watch a Sunset by the readers of Destin Magazine.
Born in 1970 in Givet, France, when he was just 10 years of age, Filippone immigrated to Bayonne, New Jersey where he grew up. The strongest memories of his youth were always around the family table and cooking together. “We never ate fast food and rarely ate out. My mother was my biggest inspiration, and since her passing, I can feel her presence and passion in my creations today, ” said Filippone.
Chef Gio Filippone attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and completed their chef program in 1997. He worked in different restaurants, steakhouses and hotels in New England and said, “When working in the hotels, I was surrounded by such talent each day which pushed me to work hard and do my absolute best. The hotel industry helped me gain a great deal of experience, but also confirmed that cooking was always what I wanted to do.”
An offer came to him to work in Destin, Florida, and Filippone said, “The atmosphere reminded me of being at home as a young kid, and cooking with my family. I was excited to focus on specialty dishes and get creative with all of the fresh seafood, meat and produce available in the region at my fingertips!”
While working as an Executive Chef in Destin, Filippone auditioned for Fox Broadcasting’s culinary reality show, Hell’s Kitchen, hosted by famed chef Gordon Ramsay, and was asked to be a part of the Season 5 cast, which aired in January 2009. Filippone made it into the top six and said, “The audition was a quick decision, and though I hesitated, I realized it was actually the chance of a lifetime, a way to really challenge myself and the skills I have mastered.”
Now, as the executive chef of Vue on 30a, Filippone has incorporated all of his experiences into a refreshed bill of fare that blends his twist of American northern, southern, and Italian cuisine with the greatest ingredients available in the area. Dishes like Pistachio Grouper, or the Whole Fish that is tempura battered and served sweet Thai chili sauce and soy has been a big hit with patrons. However, Filippone has created a new menu for the fall, and said, “Each dish tells a story using what the eyes see and what the palate tastes.” Look for the Venison Osso Bucco, Grilled Lamb Porterhouse with sundried tomatoes in a chimichurri sauce, and the Andouille Fried Oysters to be making waves this season.
In 2013 Chef Gio was awarded “Best Chefs America”, and Vue on 30a continues to be a “Most Booked” restaurant at OpenTable.com. With Chef Filippone at the forefront, it is easy to see why. On his days off you will more than likely find him enjoying time with his family and cooking up a meal of linguini and clam sauce, his personal favorite.
Located at 4801 West County Highway 30A, Vue on 30a is the ideal environment to cater small gatherings, or large wedding events. Hours of operation are Lunch: Monday through Saturday from 11am to 2:30pm, Dinner daily from 5pm-9pm, Happy Hour daily from 3-6pm, and Sunday brunch 10am-2pm. For more information or to make reservation, call 850.267.2305.
Photos: Jack Gardner Photography