Susser is now at the top of his game. Witness his green mango-glazed Long Island duckling or his five-pepper charred yellowtail snapper with grilled chayote. His colorful yet refined restaurant in Aventura is a mecca for Southern Florida dining. Book well in advance for the coveted chef's table next to the kitchen, where Chef Allen will join you at the top of each course to comment on the cuisine.

As committed to humanitarian projects as he is to his restaurant, Susser serves as a board member and advisor to charities such as Share Our Strength, Meals on Wheels, the March of Dimes, and Project Newborn. He also sponsors the Allen Susser Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for Miami-area residents to some of the country's top cooking schools. At this year's South Beach Festival, during a special Saturday seminar, master sommelier Andrea Immer will match wines with Chef Allen's food.

Steven Raichlen

Grill guru and author of Miami Spice (Workman Publishing, $15)

Steven Raichlen is the guru of the grill. But he doesn't have a restaurant. Instead, he teaches people how to barbecue. Grilling fanatics from Tuscany to Tokyo have gathered to listen to Raichlen explain how to cook anything and everything over an open fire, from chicken to sheep intestines, from prawns to pizza. Raichlen has published scads of books on barbecuing, including the mammoth and authoritative The Barbecue Bible, and he also authored a definitive book on new Florida cooking, Miami Spice.

Raichlen's latest project is the recently established Barbecue University, which holds its smoky sessions at the legendary Greenbrier resort in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. What better place for an authentic Appalachian pig pickin'? Barbecue U. provides higher education for enthusiasts eager to get beyond basic backyard hamburgers and hot dogs. Students can fill in gaps between barbecuing sessions with horseback riding, tennis, Sam Snead golf, and treatments at the world-class spa.