The 12th annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE, which took place February 21–24, 2013, expects to raise $1.9 million for Florida International University’s (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. After a year of both record ticket and sponsorship sales, the Festival entertained and educated approximately 60,000 passionate gourmands and wine and spirits aficionados during this star-studded, four-day destination event.
“It was an incredible year for the Festival,” noted founder and director Lee Brian Schrager. “We have so many partners to thank – chefs, sponsors, suppliers, and everyone who bought a ticket – for helping us raise an expected $1.9 million for FIU. We couldn’t be happier to continue supporting one of America’s top-rated hospitality management schools committed to educating the future leaders of our industry.”
The Festival kicked off with Moët Hennessy’s The Q presented by Omaha Steaks and sponsored by MIAMI magazine, hosted by Paula Deen & Sons, where Chef Todd English took home The Omaha Steaks Award for Culinary Excellence for his steamed bun of hoisin glazed short rib and roasted five-spice tenderloin with sweet and sour cucumber slaw, and Chef Jonathan Waxman was crowned the Kingsford Charcoal King of Q for his whole roasted New York strip steak with tomato, arugula and salsa picante.
Chef Bobby Flay (Bobby’s Burger Palace) took top honors with his win of the Amstel Light People’s Choice Award at the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael Ray with his Green Chile Cheeseburger, a griddled beef patty topped with queso sauce, roasted green chiles, pickled red onions and “crunchified” with Bobby’s signature layer of crispy potato chips. Other winners of the evening included: Food Network’s Sandwich King Jeff Mauro (Pat LaFrieda’s 2013 SOBEWFF Burger Bash® Champion), Craig Koketsu of Quality Meats (Heinz Best Dressed Burger Award), and Laurent Tourondel of LT Burger (Red Robin’s Best of the Bash Award).
The Festival’s signature event, the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring the MasterCard® Grand Tasting Tents, boasted approximately 100 wine and spirits suppliers and 40 restaurants daily. The event attracted huge crowds for the ultimate tasting experience paired with KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations from Tyler Florence, Emeril Lagasse, Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain, The Neely’s, Curtis Stone, Aarón Sánchez, plus the Festival’s first culinary demonstration conducted entirely in Spanish from José Andrés, and more!
A not-to-be-missed new event this year was the new Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament presented by Benchmark Hospitality International hosted by José Andrés; which took place at the Champion Raymond Floyd-designed golf course at Turnberry Isle Resort for an 18-hole culinary, wine and spirits adventure.
Foursomes were paired with celebrity chefs, winemakers and/or spirit producers, including Ming Tsai, Alex Guarnaschelli, Todd English, Tim Love and Linton Hopkins, among others, making this unique event a hole-in-one!
A Red Hot Night: presented by Target: hosted by Ingrid Hoffman was a new, Latin-themed event celebrating the art of perfect pairings. Party-goers enjoyed an evening of traditional Latin delicacies prepared by well-known chefs and delicious paired beverages, while dancing the night away to Salsa music and mingling with talent from Univison’s hit show, Mira Quien Baila.
Back for its second year at the Festival, diet pepsi presents Trucks on Midtown’s Tracks sponsored by Eventstar Structures hosted by Andrew Zimmern celebrated Miami’s ever-growing street food scene. The food truck rally in Midtown included more than 20 food trucks, and Zimmern’s own newly debuted AZ Canteen. For the second consecutive year, Ms. Cheezious took the People’s Choice Award for its smoked pulled pork sandwich with fried pickles and cheddar served on Texas toast.
Guy Fieri’s Reggae Jam with Ziggy Marley Live presented by Ziggy Marley Organics featuring Cuisine of the Sun by Ortanique and Friends, the Official Festival Closing Party ended the 2013 Festival with a bang. Fieri took to the stage and got the party started; followed by a performance by Ziggy Marley. Guests enjoyed delicious fare by Ortanique and Friends and others, while sipping on islandinspired libations, making the evening a jamming good time!
Mark your calendars: Dates for the Festival’s 13th year are set for Thursday, February 20 through Sunday, February 23, 2014. Fans can follow Festival Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Lee_Schrager or at the Festival’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SOBEWFF