Executive Chef Jim Rice brings 25 years of catering and event expertise to the Bryan Glazer Family JCC. His well-seasoned career began in the early 1990s, when he moved to Tampa with the alternative-rock band CLANG. Supplementing his drummer’s income with cooking and kitchen work, he had the good fortune to be taken under the wing of Tampa catering legend, Rita Carlino.


 Rice worked with Carlino at various locations, including her restaurant on Bayshore Boulevard, a catering facility on Kennedy Avenue, the historic Seabreeze Restaurant in Port Tampa, and the Don Vicente Hotel in Ybor City. Regardless of their home base, many of their events — including the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball — were held off premise, in locations large and small throughout West Central Florida.


In the 2000s, Rice began to work for the Schmallhorst family at the A La Carte Event Pavilion. Through changes in ownership and personnel, he quickly moved from Sous Chef to Chef du Cuisine, eventually becoming Executive Chef Partner in 2007. Hosting more than 200 events per year, Rice was able to optimize their multi-million-dollar operation for profitability while maintaining exceptional quality, even as the Great Recession presented challenge after challenge.


Rice is thrilled to be able to re-assemble his team from A La Carte here at the new JCC.


 Over the years, he has been fortunate to learn from and share knowledge with other chefs including Damian Mandola (Carrabba’s Italian Grill), Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Pacific Rim Cuisine), Tim Gannon (Outback Steakhouse), Roland Mesnier (The White House) and the incomparable Paul Prudhomme (K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen).


You may know his work and his menus from events like the Fara Ball, the DeBartolo Foundation Fundraisers, and Moffitt Cancer Center’s Annual Gala, high-security events for Centcom and MacDill Air Force Base, the Super Bowl Ring Ceremony for our own Tampa Bay Buccaneers  as well as many Gasparilla-related balls and events.


Indeed, if you have attended any black-tie event in the past 25 years, chances are you’ve already tasted some of his specialties!


Throughout his career, Rice has continued to feed his creative spirit by making music with local bands, including Clang, the Joey Sunshine Band, and the Pagan Saints/Diviners. In 2011, he was awarded a US Patent for a unique drumstick design. A native of Rochester, New York, Rice now lives in the historic Wellswood neighborhood of Tampa with his wife, two teenage children, and one crazy Chihuahua.

April 30 | 7 PM - 8:30 PM
Decorative pastry class that will consist of, Cake decorating and frosting, Chocolate work, and Piping.


Member: $20
Guest: $25



Regardless of where they hail from or if they keep kosher, students from many different backgrounds will be able to come together to cook, eat, laugh, and learn in our festive and informative cooking classes. Sign up now to meet celebrity chefs, learn new recipes, explore exotic ingredients, and cook delicious dishes. And, of course, classes are followed with a great meal you had a part in preparing!