Meet Our Culinary Team

Sheraton Sand Key’s critically acclaimed restaurant, Rusty’s Bistro, has been recognized as one of Florida’s finest dining establishments year after year.  Our award winning cuisine is made possible by our award winning culinary team.

Chef John Harris Headshot

Chef John Harris

Rusty’s Bistro

Before arriving in Florida, Chef John refined his culinary skills in Utah under the expertise of Bernhard Gotz, a classically trained German chef, as well as other great chefs from around the world, including Charlie Trotter, Norman Van Aken and Mark Franz. Utah’s southwestern influence is apparent in Chef John’s flavorful Caribbean fare. Using only fresh, bold-flavored foods and seasonal ingredients from local markets, Chef John and his team create unique culinary sensations. His soups have become legendary with the locals, who often come in to sample a bowl of his latest soup delicacy.

We’re not the only ones to recognize Chef John’s talents! In 2003, he was inducted into The Chaine des Rotisseurs, a prestigious international culinary society. That same year he was named Chef of the Year by the Suncoast Cooks and Chefs Association. Chef John has also been recognized for his charitable giving with the Above and Beyond Award by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Convention and Visitors Bureau. Dedicated to giving back to the community that supports his restaurants, he and his staff have supported many charitable organizations, including The Arc Tampa Bay, the Abilities Foundation and the Ryan Wells Foundation.

Chef John was a featured chef among the Great Chefs of Tampa Bay event which raised over $100,000 for the Family Resources Center. But perhaps the thing closest to Chef John’s heart is his involvement in creating “An Evening with the Chefs,” an event that gives high school culinary students the opportunity to work and cook alongside notable area chefs, while raising funds for culinary scholarships for these same students. “Chef John’s leadership has opened doors in education and employment, and has provided students the opportunity to achieve their dreams,” says the St. Petersburg/Clearwater CVB.

Chef John and his talented staff were recently honored when Florida Trend Magazine gave Rusty’s Bistro its 5th consecutive Golden Spoon Award, recognizing the restaurant as one of the best in Florida. The Tampa Bay Times also recognized Rusty’s Bistro as one of the top 50 restaurants in the Tampa Bay region.

So, whether you’ve got an intimate dining experience in mind, or a large convention meeting in the works, Chef John’s culinary creations at Rusty’s Bistro are sure to bring you back for more.

Vincent Tropea Director of Food and Beverage Operations - Headshot

Vincent Tropea

Director of Food and Beverage Operations

His journey began in the snowy city of Syracuse, New York managing the Sheraton Inn & Convention Center Banquet department. He was initially inspired into the business by his Grandfathers. One a Restaurateur and the other a professional Maître De.  This was the stepping stone for the many accomplishments to come.

Vince decided in 1992 to leave the snow for the sunshine and ended up in the “Tourist Capitol of the World” to start his climb up the Hospitality ladder. Vince is a ‘Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’ food service and wine pin holder and ‘Guild of Sommeliers’ member with accreditation as a member of the NACE “Caterer of the Year” team at The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

He has remained humble while inspiring his staff to exceed expectations with passion and setting an example for all with his actions. Vince is the epitome of a role model to others with a wealth of knowledge he has accumulated over time.

His experience in hospitality has solidified his dexterity with day to day operations and improvisations to best accommodate clients and guests proven by his 6 Corporate Task Force assignments by Starwood’s New Builds and Transitions Team. Vince is just shy of 30 years in the industry and he has yet to decelerate.

Currently known as the Director of Food and Beverage Operations at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort, Vince oversees the complete operation for the food and beverage division, including the 7-time, consecutive, Florida Trend Magazine “Golden Spoon” awarded Rusty’s Bistro!