Two high profile, and well-seasoned, food champions are about to throw down the grilling gauntlet and bring the heat to the South Tampa dining scene this summer.

Lee Ann Whippen is an award-winning pitmaster whose claims to fame include distinguishing herself in a “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” by beating the Food Network personality with her prize-winning pulled pork shoulder, and starring in TLC Pitmasters as well as Food Network's Chopped. Jennifer A. Daskevich earned the tasty title of 2013 World Sandwich Champion and 2015 Chevron Game Day Chef of the Year, and can be seen regularly on WFLA News Channel 8's Daytime TV Show.

The two are highly competitive and extremely competent chefs, particularly when it comes to their respective specialties, barbecue and sandwiches. Both are recent Tampa transplants who are partnering with Larry Oliphant, a Tampa native and food industry leader, to debut the Deviled Pig on South Dale Mabry Hwy.

Chefs Jennifer Daskevich and Lee Ann Whippen are opening Deviled Pig in South Tampa.

This smokin' hot team plans to open multiple Tampa locations, with all of their smoking done on-site. This BBQ joint is bringing all the classics: brisket, burnt ends, bolognas and a signature dish, the Tampa original Deviled Pig. Sights are set on a late July or early August opening, and the menu is being developed with a distinctive Tampa twang to the smoked meats, sandwiches, side dishes and barbecue for pirates.

The name The Deviled Pig is an homage to deviled crabs, a Tampa delicacy that originated here. Plans also call for a Pitmaster Cuban sandwich plus options like the brine-soaked smoked turkey and whole smoked chicken for on-site dining or as take-out.

The casual setting will feature an outdoor dining area bordered by a privacy wall and planters, but future plans may increase the number of seats with the addition of a patio. A portable pit means there can be road trips to cater backyard barbecues, corporate events or offer lessons for team-building activities. 

Whippen has excelled in BBQ contests over the past 22 years and as executive chef of various restaurants such as Southern Cut Barbecue, an upscale Chicago eatery. Her one-two punch for crafting the perfect ‘cue combines hickory and apple woods to slow smoke bone-in pork butts, pork ribs, beef brisket, chicken and turkey for up to 16 hours. Then she seals the deal with her signature BBQ rub (Pig Powder) and sauces.

Eventually beer and wine will be added to the Deviled Pig’s offerings as well as signature desserts.

“The menu will be diverse and we believe it will offer everything that people are looking for,” Daskevich added. “Within the next three to five years, we hope to open several locations and, eventually, move up to full service. We are focused on Tampa and plan to stay in Tampa as we grow.”

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