Chef Joshua Hernandez was raised in Sarasota, attended college at The Florida State University, and moved to Los Angeles to hone his culinary skills after cooking in Tallahassee in his last year of music school. Joshua trained with influential California chefs, bakers, and charcuterers during his time in Los Angeles and brought his knowledge home to open South Tampa’s rustic Italian eatery, Ava. While at Ava, Hernandez earned the first four star restaurant rating in the history of the Tampa Bay Times and Ava was named the number one restaurant in the Tampa Bay Area in the same publication. Ava’s pizza was named best Italian style pizza in Hillsborough by Creative Loafing in 2015. Hernandez was the first chef in Tampa to develop a HACCP plan for the dry curing of charcuterie and produces all cured meats in house, a distinction unique to Ava in Tampa. Laura Reiley recently lauded his wood fired sourdough in a follow up review, and listed Ava’s newly launched brunch in the top three among Bay Area restaurants. Hernandez oversees a staff of over twenty-five cooks and achieved over three million dollars ($3,000,000) in sales in his first year as Executive Chef.