Celebrity Chefs


Some chefs are pure craftsmen in the kitchen; others are good businessmen. Rosana Rivera is a rare breed of both culinary artisan and successful entrepreneur. Then again, Rivera was born at the hem of three generations of Puerto Rican cooks whose love of food and country made an early impression. There was never any doubt Rivera would become a chef.

And a passionate, scholarly, and undisputedly talented one at that. A trifecta of degrees – BS in Business Management, an honors degree from the International Culinary School at the Arts Institute of Tampa, and an MBA from Marylhurst University’s Sustainable Business program concentrating in Natural and Organic Products lends Chef Rivera an enviable skill set, both as a culinarian and a restaurateur. A near fanatical devotion to techniques, sustainability, and a global culinary perspective informs her signature cuisine, but her greatest pleasure is sharing her knowledge and enjoyment of good food with as many people as possible. Inspired by the success of their South Tampa catering company, Chef Rivera alongside partner Chef Ricardo Castro transformed their concept into a Hyde Park destination, tantalizing diners with an evolving menu of French-inspired favorites at Piquant. Her formidable mix of skills enables her to understand the business of Piquant from all perspectives and direct its growth in the right direction over the coming years.


It wasn’t so long ago that Ricardo Castro was flipping made-to-order omelets in his parent’s small San Juan, Puerto Rico home, or begging his grandmother to share the secrets of her pastries. Of course, even then Castro knew there was only one place he wanted to be – the kitchen.

With savory ambitions and an appetite for hands-on experience, Castro began first at Culinary Institute of America, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management – the first Puerto Rican to do so. Next came the stagier circuit, working for various restaurants and hotels in New York, Puerto Rico and Florida.

He holds the Certified Executive Chef (CEC) denomination by the American Culinary Federation, has completed his MS, majoring in Management and most recently, was the former Chef Director of Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of Tampa.

Since 2013, Castro has acted as executive chef and co-owner of Piquant, which has quickly garnered high praise with its inventive menu of French-inspired favorites imbued with Castro’s sophisticated, yet playful Caribbean accent.

I make special trips to Hyde Park village for this place. The bakery is a classic French style with croissants, tortes, and breads. Though my favorite highlight is the cornets. The guava cornet is my go to, as are the cookies. The place is great for brunch with wonderfully made coffee and food. I recommend the Banana bread french toast!

Loreal D.


I can’t even put into words how much i loved my breakfast today…. Short Ribs Benedict with a Chipotle Hollandaise sauce… Shut the front door. Amazing. And the Bloody Mary would stop traffic. Our server – the second reason we’ll come back. She was polite, timely, and gave great recommendations. Showed us the dinner menu.. Nice work. Suckered us in for another visit.

Diana N.


The food is fresh and taste amazing. The service is top notch. The chefs put care and effort into their customers. I would highly recommend!

Tracey Scunziano Joline