The 17th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) drew more than 60,000 attendees to more than 95 events that took place, Feb. 21-25.
Raising approximately $2 million for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, the festival also served as an interactive educational platform for more than 1,200 students throughout the weekend.
“In addition to having raised more than $28 million to date for the school, the festival offers hands-on, real-world experiences for the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry,” said festival founder and director, Lee Brian Schrager, who also serves as senior vice president, communications and corporate social responsibility for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.
“We are proud that our mission to ‘Eat. Drink. Educate.’ provides unique experiences not only for our attendees, but for the future professionals and innovators in food, beverage and hospitality,” he added.
One of most anticipated events of the weekend was the annual Tribute Dinner presented by Bank of America part of The NYT Cooking Dinner Series at Loews Miami Beach, honoring chef, restaurateur, author and beloved Food Network personality Bobby Flay and Treasury Wine Estates managing director and CEO Michael Clarke.
Top-rated, national morning show radio host Elvis Duran served as the evening’s emcee, while more than a dozen chefs hand-selected by Flay served up their widely touted cuisine. The highlight of the evening was during Flay’s speech, where he gave special acknowledgements for each of the participating chefs, his team and daughter Sophie, who was in attendance.
The festival returns for its 18th annual edition Feb. 20-24, 2019. Next year’s festival will honor chef and restaurateur Nancy Silverton and ,CEO of Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, at its annual Tribute Dinner at Loews Miami Beach, as well as welcomes back longtime partner Goya Foods in an expanded capacity as its official spice and olive oil partner.
Between SOBEWFF and its sister NYCWFF, which takes place each October in New York City, more than $39 million has been raised to benefit the respective charities for each festival.