Alon Gontowski Of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa Crowned Food Network’s "Sweet Genius"

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Pastry Chef Created Electrifying Desserts to Win $10,000

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Chef Alon Gontwoski with his family at the "Sweet Genius" viewing party at Hard Rock Cafe Tampa

The required ingredients on the show were unusual, yet inspired some ultimately winning desserts.

Alon Gontowski, the lead pastry chef at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, won Food Network’s April 5 episode of “Sweet Genius.” During the “Electrifying Genius” episode, the spiky-haired chef competed against three others to win the ultimate title and a $10,000 prize.

The chefs battled it out during a limited amount of time using a mystery ingredient and inspiration. Gontowski was struck by a bolt of inspiration as he incorporated vermicelli noodles and spicy tamarind candy into a chocolate dessert. In the second test, he tapped his inner artist to fold pomelos and honeycombs into an origami-inspired dessert. For the final test, he created a decadent cake from coquitos and watermelon.

“I learned to think outside the box and continue to do so,” said Alon Gontowski, pastry chef at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa. “The required ingredients on the show were unusual, yet inspired some ultimately winning desserts, and I’m excited to incorporate my creativity into my sweet treats.”

The “Sweet Genius” not only found inspiration from the show, but also in knowing his family is always there to support him. He plans to take his wife, daughter and two sons on a vacation to thank them.

Gontowski possesses more than 20 years in the pastry industry. He has been awarded with a silver medal in the American Culinary Federation Pastry Competition. He also helped create the world’s largest wedding cake, weighing 15,032 lbs.

He has worked at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa the past five years. Gontowski will soon hire chefs and restaurant staff for Rise™ Kitchen and Bakery, which is scheduled to open in spring 2012.

“Electrifying Genius” will re-air on Thursday, April 12 at 2 a.m. and 11 p.m. and on Saturday, April 14 at 3 p.m.

About Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa is Florida’s ultimate entertainment destination with nearly 190,000 square feet of non-stop casino gaming action featuring Blackjack, Mini and Midi-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride Poker, Casino War and Texas Hold ‘em Poker along with over 4,200 of the most popular slot machines. The resort also houses Florida’s newest, smoke-free poker room with 50 live action tables dedicated to Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Seven Card Stud. For the sixth year in a row, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has awarded this 250-luxury room hotel its prestigious Four Diamond rating. Guests can enjoy a variety of critically acclaimed restaurants and bars including the Hard Rock Cafe Tampa, part of Hard Rock’s 138 globally recognized rock ‘n’ roll themed restaurants, the award-winning Council Oak Steaks & Seafood Restaurant and the Fresh Harvest seven-station dining experience. Garage parking is free and valet parking is also available. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is located off of I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, between I-75 and I-275, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa.

For more information, please call 813-627-ROCK (7625), 1-800-937-0010 or visit us online at http://www.seminolehardrocktampa.com or http://www.facebook.com/seminolehardrocktampa . Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SHRTampa .

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