Lindsay Autry of Sundy House is South Florida's Top Chef

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Being a finalist on season nine of Bravo's Top Chef, may have brought Tastemaker number 9, Lindsay Autry into our living rooms, but the chef had been working on her culinary career long before that.

The Johnson & Wales University graduate's career started as a kid in North Carolina, trying to figure out what to do with all the leftover peaches on her family's orchard. A protegee of Michelle Bernstein, Autry served as executive chef at the Omphoy Ocean Resort and Michelle Bernstein restaurant, spent several years at the best restaurants in Mexico, and co-hosted several pop-up dinners with Roy Villacrusis, before being named executive chef at historic Sundy House.

Autry also serves as resident chef at Swank Farms' Swank Table series and is active in Share our Strength, proving that there is much life before...and after...the television cameras go away.

The most influential person in my career has been...

I think there are two sides to whom has been influential in my career. First and foremost, my parents. They have supported me through this journey of becoming a chef and even come down to Florida to be my "sous chefs" for special events so we can spend time together.

On the professional side, Michelle Bernstein really showed me the ropes of balancing being a chef and giving back to our community. She took a chance on me at a young age and taught me the importance of being a chef behind the stoves and out in public.

When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is...

Pimento Cheese slathered on a piece of cheap white bread.

What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of?

Chef-driven restaurants. I think our area of South Florida has come a long way in the past few years and there are some great chefs doing smart and creative food. However, we need more of that to encourage our community to support local businesses and challenge our food scene.

You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?

Too much bacon-inspired food that shouldn't be bacon-inspired.

You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve?

Hmmm, that's a hard one. I think that the name of the restaurant would be established based on the location and feel of the space. No matter the name, the concept would be conscious, ingredient driven, seasonal cuisine that focuses on local farmers and artisans. I would love to have a little shop next door to the restaurant that serves fun take-out and a small retail section selling house made condiments, jellies, and good kitchen equipment. I think some part of me has always wanted to run an old-school general store.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Still behind a stove calling tickets and yelling at grown men! Ha!

Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?

Julia Child, Nancy Silverton, April Bloomfield, my parents George & Pandy Autry, and my grandfather Raz Autry.

New Times' Best Of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous 2013 Tastemakers are listed below.

30. Robyn Almodovar of Palate Party Food Truck

29. Chris and Jordan Bellus of Laser Wolf

28. Fulvio Sardelli of Sardelli's Italian Steakhouse

27. Brett Chiavari of BC Tacos

26. Mike Halker of Due South Brewing

25. Chrissy Benoit of the Little House Boynton Beach

24. Dean Max of DJM Restaurants

23. Lauren Bowen of Tap 42

22. Vaughan Lazar of Kapow!

21. Eric Guerro, Mark Fee, and Jeff Evans of Angry Union Brewing

20. Ben Lubin of The Blind Monk

19. Susan Kim of Gabose

18. Julieta Bocos of Casa Frida

17. Marc Falsetto of Rok:Brgr

16. Frank Coniglio of E.R. Bradley's Saloon

15. Iliya Dimitrov of Valentino's Cucina Italiana

14 Tim Lipman of Coolinary Cafe

13. Lauren DeShields of Market 17

12. Cleve Mash of Dirty Martini

11. Jodi Swank of Swank Farms

10. David Sabin of Brickhouse PR

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

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