by Dwight Casimere
Undisputed as the nation's largest and certainly most fun wine and food festival of the year, the 17th Annual Food Network and Food Channel South Beach Food and Wine Festival was the best in the event's history. With more events, venues, chefs and food and beverage participants, this year's continued to power its reputation as the most prestigious of all gourmet gatherings. To date, the festival has raised more than $26 million for the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Miami's Florida International University. Next year's event promises to be even bigger, with more than 90 events. New this year was an expat dead CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series, which included parties, such as the opening night Lucky Chopsticks event at W along Fort Lauderdale's dramatic coastline. Located on W's signature outdoor terrace, hundreds of revelers wearing Japanese samurai styled headbands noshed on a variety of Asian favorites, such as Short Rib Bao Buns and Spicy Tuna Maki Roll, Crispy Duck Salad over Butter Lettuce from Mr. Chow and a few new wave treats, such as Wagyu Beef Short Rib Ramen in Tonkutsu Broth from Buya Ramen. Suntory, Japan's classic Whiskey, served up exotic craft cocktails with Ginger infusion and essence of Valencia Orange peel. Hosted by Andrew Zimmer, the co-creator, host and consulting producer of the Travel Channel's long running series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmer, Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmer's Bizarre World, and Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, the James Beard Award-winning travel and food expert delighted fans by personally greetings them and posing for selfies and pictures.
The main event still happens under the massive tents stretching along the white sands of South Beach in the Goya Foods' Grand Tasting Village featuring MasterCard Grand Tents and KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations. The David Grumman Experience kept live DJ rhythms pulsing through the tents for the entire two-day massive beach party.
David Grumman Experience courtesy of Belvedere Vodka (below) checkin'
out the sounds
Also on the sand,in the signature white tents behind the Delano Beach Resort and Ritz Carlton near Lincoln Road, the Bacardi Rum and Bass Beach Party featuring Walshy Fire Dance and endless dancing with tracks by Walshy Fire and Friends and DJ Irio. Endless creative rum cocktails and sumptuous treats from a roster of Miami's top chefs such as Janine Booth of Root and Bone Miami Beach, Donald Anderson of Mondrion Caffe, Alex Kuk and Diego Ng of Temple Street Eatery, and Michael Sanchez of Latin House Grill provided more than enough in succulent sips and sizzling savories.
Sipping' at the Palm Bay pavilion
Amarula-South Africa's gift to the world
New to the party, Coca-Cola Beachside BBQ hosted by popular Food Network personality Michael Symon. The outdoor feast was a celebration in advance of his new book Playing with Fire (Clarkson Potter, April 2018). Symon rounded up 30 of his favorite grill masters, including Andrew Gonzales of Night Owl Cookies, Stan Hays of Operation BBQ Relief, Eli Jackson of STK South Beach and Tom Jackson of All Things BBQ. This year's Tribute Dinner Honoree was the ever popular and charismatic Bobby Flay.
Get ready for the South Beach Food and Wine Festival 2019.
The festival has announced next year's honorees. Nancy Silverton is
co-owner of Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza in , and , as well as Mozza2Go and in Los Angeles. Silverton is the author of nine cookbooks, and a multi-time Award-winning chef, including accolades for "Outstanding Chef", "Pastry Chef of the Year" and "Who's Who of Cooking." In addition, she has been named one of FOOD & WINE's "Best New Chefs" and has been named one of the "Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink" by Fortune.