Panini Pete's Destin featured in Florida's new Flamingo Magazine

Just Hatched: Debuts to Peruse

"Pete Blohme, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a recurring Food Network guest star, is a household name in coastal Alabama, where diners clamor for his signature beignets served with fresh squeezed lemon. In March, the owner of Panini Pete’s opened his first location in Florida. Serving breakfast and lunch, the restaurant specializes in savory pressed sandwiches and burgers dressed with homemade sauces and fresh vegetables and herbs (for those who can resist the powdered sugary goodness of the beignets) in a fast and casual atmosphere that was formerly a Wendy’s. “This is the fastest-growing segment of the restaurant industry,” says Blohme. “We want to be a part of this trend that offers consumers higher-quality food with fewer frozen or processed ingredients than a fast food restaurant.” Guests on-the-go can pick up a “beach box,” packed with a panini, side, beverage and more to enjoy while soaking up the sun." -Flamingo Magazine
Click here for full article. 

CIA Alumni Council to host 6th Annual "Run for your Knives" 5K Event

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Alumni Council will host the 6th Annual “Run for Your Knives” 5K set for Oct. 22 on Homecoming Weekend. The run will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the racecourse will wind through the streets of the CIA campus. 

Started in 2010 by CIA graduates “Panini Pete” Blohme and Robert Kabakoff, the purpose of the event is two-fold — to raise awareness among student culinary professionals about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and to provide scholarships to CIA students. 

“I personally feel that the health and wellness platform needs to happen sooner rather than later in our industry,” said Kabakoff. “We need to help those of us in the restaurant industry understand how being on our feet all day long every day, and not being in great shape, affects our quality of life down the road. I know too many of my colleagues who have new hips and knees as result of years spent in this business.” 

Kabakoff started running at age 42 and has completed marathons in Chicago, Boston and New York. 

“Running not only keeps me in shape, but it clears my head and opens my mind so that I actually create recipes while I run.”

Last year, the alumni council awarded $50,000 in scholarships directly to students to help with tuition and student loans. Not only do race winners receive an award, but all students who are present at the race are eligible to receive a cash scholarship through random drawings by the donors. 

Chef Pete Blohme said the money impacts the students immediately by helping them financially and allowing them to stay focused on school. 

 “And it’s not just the scholarship recipients who benefit,” said Blohme. “All the students gain so much from the networking opportunity they have by running alongside alumni which frequently results in mentorship and even employment.”

Mobile, Ala., native Sarah Lubitz graduated this past March from CIA and now works as a line cook for James Beard Award-Winning Chef Alon Shaya at his modern Israeli restaurant “Shaya” in New Orleans. Lubitz served as a volunteer for last year’s race and was awarded the $1,500 Bossman Leadership Scholarship given in honor of the late Mike “Bossman” Hardin, co-owner of the iconic “Hodad’s” in Ocean Beach.  

“Run for your Knives is a great way for students to get involved while they’re on campus, and the hope is that it becomes something that will bring them back even after they graduate,” said Lubitz. 

Lubitz says she has made plans to fly up on her own dime to help with the race this fall. 

According to race organizers, attendance has been increasing exponentially every year with 285 participants last year. 

“As alumni, we hope to instill the message in students of the importance of giving back,” Kabakoff said. “One of my favorite stories from Run for your Knives is when one of the students who was already on the GI Bill gave away his $5,000 scholarship to his roommate who was about to be expelled because of lack of funds. Now that is paying it forward.” 

This year’s run will be a “Day of the Dead” theme, and includes a one-mile fun walk, face painting, and hot chocolate.

Students are free and registration for alumni or other participants is $30. 

For more information on participating or about sponsorship opportunities, visit . 

"Fork Full of Freedom" MESSLORDS Tour

Chef Pete recently returned from a 10-day “Fork Full of Freedom Tour” traveling the globe to bring a little bit of “home” to service men and women stationed at U.S. naval bases in the Kingdom of Bahrain and Djibouti, Africa. Through Navy Entertainment and MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) Pete and fellow MESSLORDS chefs Brian Duffy and Erik Berlin were able to provide thousands of meals and say "thank you" to the military men and women who selflessly serve our country. 

Navy Entertainment and MWR’s top priority is to boost the morale and spirits of service men and women around the globe by bringing in some of the top acts in the entertainment arena today, including musicians, movie stars, UFC fighters, comedians and (oh, yes!) celebrity chefs. 

It was Food Network’s Guy Fieri’s idea to partner with Navy Entertainment and MWR to send out chefs to entertain troops in a fun and unique way—offering not only good eats, but high energy cooking demos and culinary shows like only these guys can do. The goal was to spend time interacting with those deployed, as well as work with the culinary specialists to create signature dishes from ingredients they already have in their kitchens and to offer insight to help sharpen their skills. 

Fieri proposed the idea to Pete, Kansas City restauranteur and artist Jeff “Stretch” Rumaner, “Gorilla” Rich Bacchi of Pacifica, CA., and the late Mike “Bossman” Hardin of Hodad’s in Ocean Beach, and the original MESSLORDS team was born. 

MESSLORDS has toured just about everywhere on the planet, with plans later this year to begin visiting domestic bases across the U.S. 

For more information, visit MESSLORDS on Facebook or Navy Entertainment


Chef Pete Honored For Support of Veterans and Reserve Members

Chef Pete Blohme was recently honored with the “Seven Seals Award” given by the Alabama Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, in recognition of his extraordinary support of those who serve in the Alabama National Guard and the United States Reserve Forces. The “Seven Seals Award” is the second highest honor given by ESGR.

“The ESGR Seven Seals Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize American employers providing extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said Bill Kringel, Ph.D., Alabama ESGR State Chair. “Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.”

The award was presented at the annual Mobile, Ala. Chamber of Commerce’s Military Appreciation Luncheon that took place on April 20th at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. 

Nicholas Bowen, Veterans Employment Representative, Alabama Career Center, Baldwin County was one of the nominators of Blohme for this award. Bowen noted that Panini Pete’s restaurants have been a great source of employment for veterans and for members of the National Guard and members of the Reserve. During the award presentation, Blohme recognized all of the veterans currently working in the restaurants.

“To get special recognition for simply just trying to do the right thing was really cool. But to receive the award in this kind of fashion was very humbling,” Blohme said. “To see all the active military, retired military and civil servants, and to hear Mayor Stimpson and Vice Admiral Lee speak was very inspiring. I was especially proud to have my father-in-law with me who served in the army as young man.”

Outside of overseeing operations at his restaurants, Blohme is a founding member of the MESSLORDS, a group of celebrity chefs who visit various military bases in the United States and abroad conducting culinary shows and cooking demos, with the intention of providing entertainment and education to boost the morale of those in the United States Armed Services and their families. 

"Hot off the Press" with Chef "Panini Pete" Blohme

Are you tuning in to “Hot off the Press” with Chef Pete Blohme? "Hot off the Press" is a weekly podcast bringing food lovers the latest in food, drink and popular culture. 

Chef Pete broadcasts from some of the most renowned food competitions and culinary events in the industry, as well as dishing in-studio each week with some of the biggest names in the food world today—from the 8th Annual Hangout Oyster Cookoff in beautiful Gulf Shores where he chatted with celebrity chef and event headliner Anne Burrell, to the 27th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue where he brought listeners a taste of the action hot off the grill from Lynchburg. Most recently, Chef Pete has welcomed to the show Dee Reed of Lex and Terry morning show, Navy Entertainment Program Director aka “Mama Duck of the MESSLORDS” Karen Fritz, and Gulf Coast restaurateur Johnny Fisher along with Fisher’s Executive Chef and James Beard Award finalist Bill Briand. 

Funny and flavorful, "Hot off the Press" has all of the ingredients for a half-hour of entertainment foodies everywhere will enjoy. Check it out at And for more information on the upcoming guest lineup and all things “Panini Pete” follow Chef Pete on Twitter at @PaniniPetes.


Panini Pete's opens in Destin, Florida

Panini Pete's Destin Location

Panini Pete's Destin Location

Chef Pete Blohme and the team at Panini Pete’s are thrilled to announce the opening of the newest Panini Pete’s location in Destin. Located at 1071 Highway 98 East (in the old Wendy’s building), Panini Pete’s Destin will offer an expanded breakfast menu, new “beach bags” which will include a panini, side item, and a beverage perfect for a picnic, as well as a drive-thru exclusively serving Chef Pete’s signature beignets. I mean, what could be better than beignets on the beach?!

At Panini Pete’s, we’re passionate about putting real food in our food and offering customers a higher quality meal made with fewer frozen or processed ingredients than a fast food restaurant. Our goal is fresh food served fast. By partnering with the folks at Fresh Hospitality, a brand growing and investment group out of Birmingham, Ala., we were able to expand our concept to the Florida market as well. The ‘Fast Casual’ approach to the restaurant business is the fastest growing segment of the industry, and our team is committed to serving delicious food with the freshest of ingredients in a fast, casual and friendly atmosphere. 

Stay tuned for details on our Grand Opening event planned to kick off the summer vacation season. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook and check out our website for all your Panini Pete’s brand gear including our “Sandwich Life” t-shirts just hot off the press (get it?) bumper stickers and hats. 

Destin, we’re open for business and the only thing missing is you!