Tuesday, February 27, 2018



 Dwight Casimere with Lamberto Frescobaldi of Tuscany
South Beach Wine and Food Festival Tents (below) Fresobaldi's new Remole wine

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. 

 Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods with Dwight The Wine Doctor
 Photo Op with his fans

 Mr. Chow chefs Ching Vilace (above on the right) and You Ming Tsui (below)

 Spicy Tuna Rolls

 Preparing Orange Zest for the Suntory Whiskey Highballs

 The Sake Bar
 W Ft. Lauderdale rooftop kitchens get a workout

 Shown' down on Rice Cake and Tuna "sliders"

 Wagyu Short Rib Ramen from Buya Ramen Chef Owner  Michael Sponaugle

 Blazing Chefs on the Terrace at W Ft. Lauderdale

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.

 Original Philly Cheese Steak Whiz Wit from Philly Grub LLC Miami
 Chef David Alan Russell, Jr. of Bagatelle with his signature Truffle Chicken
 Mac 'N Cheese and Pigeon Peas with Rice from Jackson's Soul Food Miami

 La Muse Cafe's Arthur Arnaize with The Crabby Sub
 Gotta wash it down with Heineken Lite

Chef Kal Abdalla of a fish called Avalalon with Sesame Seed Ahi Tuna
 The perfect combo-Mezza Corona Prosecco with Sesame Ahi Tuna (below)

 Duffy Sports Bar's Eric Parker with seared Foie Gras (below)


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 Los AngelesNewport Beach and Singapore, as well as Mozza2Go and Chi Spacca in Los Angeles.  Silverton is the author of nine cookbooks, and a multi-time James Beard 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.

Rhonda Carano is the chief executive officer of Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery. She oversees the management and implementation of marketing and advertising strategies, brand identity, packaging and collateral concepts, as well as the coordination of hospitality and special events. Her responsibilities extend to the other California properties the Caranos' own, including Vintners Inn and Spa in Santa Rosa, California, the highly regarded Sonoma County restaurant, John Ash & Co., as well as The Front Room Bar & Lounge. The Caranos' also own a retail and wine tasting business in downtown Healdsburg, Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique, as well as a quaint, small winery in Anderson Valley, Lazy Creek Vineyards, known for its outstanding Pinot Noirs. 
 Ferrari-Carano wines were poured in the tents at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival
Ferrari-Carano CEO Rhonda Carano in her vineyards in Sonoma

"What Nancy and Rhonda have accomplished in their careers serves as inspiration to all students at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at FIU – the Festival's beneficiary," added Lee  Brian Schrager, the festival's co-founder.  "They are fitting role models for the future leaders of the hospitality industry."
The 18th annual Tribute Dinner will take place on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the Festival's host Loews Miami Beach Hotel.  All proceeds from the Festival benefit the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, for which the Festival has raised more than $26 million to date to support the education of the future leaders of the hospitality industry.  
EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE.  Select tickets to this year's Festival, taking place February 21 – 25, 2018, are available online at sobewff.org or by calling 877.762.3933 .

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