Chef Rov Avila in the kitchen at USFSM’s campus cafe.

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Chef Rov Avila to offer cooking demonstrations at Lakewood Ranch farmer’s market

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: November 07, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. (Nov. 07, 2019) – Rov Avila is known around USF Sarasota-Manatee as the mastermind behind the campus café’s popular soups, salads and made-to-order entrées. Now Avila is bringing his culinary skills to a location off campus, the Market at Lakewood Ranch, where he’ll demonstrate his talents on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The weekly market includes organic produce, meat, poultry, eggs, breads and prepared foods from more than 40 vendors in front of the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard in East Manatee County.

The market will run through April 26. Thankfully, Avila will still apply his talents at USFSM during the week, as well. He said he was drawn to the market because it provides an additional creative outlet.

“I like the challenge of trying to come up with different things each week,” the Honduran-born chef, a regular at the market for the past two seasons, said. “It’s all about freshness and being as creative and inventive as possible.”

He said his entrée choices will depend largely the availability of fresh, seasonal ingredients. From there, he’ll let his imagination take over as he creates delicious and imaginative fare and fields passersby’s questions in the open-air environment. He expects to hold two cooking demonstrations, at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., during the four-hour event.

Classically trained, Avila, 38, says he was first inspired to cook as boy watching his mother, grandmother and aunt prepare food at their home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital city.

“I just wanted to check out what they were doing and I liked it,” he said. “It was a teaching and learning experience. That was the starting point.”

Bulls Bistro set for Nov. 14, Nov. 21

USFSM Culinary Innovation Lab Ribbon Cutting
The Bulls Bistro is held on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

USF Sarasota-Manatee will host additional culinary events throughout the fall. Look for the popular Bulls Bistro to take place this month at USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

The Bistro, organized by the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, costs $30 per person and includes two glasses of wine (red or white) or two glasses of domestic beer, and a tasting of three hors d’oeuvres and one sweet tapas. All of the dishes are prepared by USFSM chefs and students.

Two Bistros remain, on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. The events run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Visit for tickets and more information.

To learn more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

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