The city of Miami, international and cosmopolitan, emerges, once again, as one of the world’s top dining destinations. Haute eateries have sprung in Miami’s most elegant neighborhoods for more than a decade with the support of world renowned chefs and emerging local talents to the delight of the local population as well as millions of tourist that come to Miami and Miami Beach every year.
The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, presented by FOOD & WINE, is a reflection of the city’s gastronomic renaissance. It brings an array of culinary VIPs, celebrity chefs, remarkable food and unexpected libations to South Florida for four days, February 20th to the 23rd. Now entering its 13th year, the Festival is hosted by Florida International University and Southern Wine & Spirits and benefits FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center.
Initially called the Florida Extravaganza and held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus, the event didn’t move to South Beach until 2002 when Lee Brian Schrager, director of Special Events and Media Relations at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, brought his vision and relocated. Last year’s fest broke three of its own records with a growing attendance that exceeded 65,000, and raised $5.1 million in ticket sales and $4.1 million in sponsorship donations.
The annual gastronomic feast features special events throughout the city, sure to entice local and visiting gourmands. Here, some of the most anticipated events of Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival 2014.
Bella Cucina: A Dinner Hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli with Dena Marino
Thursday, February 20th // 7:00PM-10:00PM
MC KITCHEN. 4141 NE 2nd Ave, Design District, Miami
Current Winner of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef and Chopped Judge Alex Guarnaschelli is joined by MC Kitchen’s Chef Dena Marino for an unforgettable night of Italian comfort food. Preparing recipes from her recently released cookbook Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I learned to Cook, Chef Guarnaschelli elevates traditional favorites with her own spin. Chef Marino adds her rustic flair and love of seasonal ingredients, and together, the two women will bring to the table iconic Italian-American dishes.
Life’s a Beach, then you eat! Dinner hosted by Gaston Acurio, Jonathan Waxman, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Samuelsson, Paul Kahan & Hedy Goldsmith
Friday, February 21st // 7:00PM-10:00PM
MANDARIN ORIENTAL. 500 Brickell Key, Miami
This sure to be fun walk-around dinner brings together friends and chefs Gaston Acurio, Jonathan Waxman, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Samuelsson and Paul Kahan, along with renowned pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith. Hosted at the beautiful Mandarin Beach, the event will feature delicious bites, mouth-watering deserts and endless libations. The beautiful venue adds glamour to the otherwise seemingly relaxed evening.
The Forge welcomes Chef April Bloomfield in Celebration of the Spotted Pig’s 10th Anniversary
Part of the New York Times Dinner Series
Friday, February 21st // 7:00PM-10:00PM
THE FORGE. 432 41st St, Miami Beach
In celebration of New York City’s The Spotted Pig gastropub’s 10th anniversary, the Forge welcomes Chef April Bloomfield and restaurateur Ken Friedman. The popular English and Italian eatery is Michelin rated and has become a go-to place in New York. In Miami Beach, The Forge restaurant is held in high regard and has reached iconic status. Together with the Forge’s chef, Bloomfield will create a special menu to share with dinner guests. Merging two of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants ensures an enchanting evening.
A Splendid Ice Cream and Dessert Party hosted by Jeni Britton Bauer and Friends
Friday, February 21st // 10:00PM-1:00AM
GALE SOUTH BEACH ROOFTOP. 1690 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
James Beard Award-winning Chef Jeni Britton Bauer knows a thing or two about making delicious ice cream. In fact, she’s been making her delicious frozen creations professionally for nearly two decades. The festival’s first ice cream and dessert party is sure to hit the spot for those craving gelato, sorbet and ice cream. No need to fret if you’re not in the mood for something cold as Johnny Iuzzini, Lee & Marie’s Bakery, Cindy Kruse, Paul Joachim and Hollis Wilder will also be on deck with delicious desserts. The late night event won’t skimp on the cocktails, either as Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida will keep your glasses full.
Barilla Interactive Dinner Hosted by Marc Forgione
Saturday, February 22nd // 7:00PM-10:00PM
BILTMORE HOTEL. 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables
On Saturday night, the Biltmore Hotel becomes a culinary classroom. The instructor? Season 3 winner of Food Network’s Next Iron Chef competition, Chef Marc Forgione. The New York City native owns multiple restaurants including Restaurant Marc Forgione, for which he received his first Michelin Star. Through the dinner, Forgione will guide attendees and help them master tricks of the trade to create restaurant-style dishes in the comfort of their own homes. Specially selected wines will be featured throughout the lesson.
The Art of Cake-Decorating: A Master Class with Sylvia Weinstock
Sunday, February 23rd // 10:00AM-12:00PM
ST REGIS BAL HARBOUR. 9703 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Cake lovers would agree that there is no better instructor than “Queen of Cakes”, Sylvia Weinstock, and for this event guests will be treated to a private class from the woman who has mastered edible art. Joined by St. Regis’ executive pastry chef, Antonio Bachour, Weinstock will help enhance, or hone in, the cake making skills we all have inside. The event will be held at the beautiful St. Regis Bal Harbour, which late last year secured its place as South Florida’s premier wedding destination with the announcement of a partnership with Weinstock.
Goya Foods’ Swine and Wine hosted by Michelle Bernstein
Sunday, February 23rd // 5:30PM-8:30PM
BILTMORE HOTEL. 1200 Anastasia Avenue. Coral Gables
It wouldn’t be Miami without James Beard honoree Chef Michelle Bernstein and a pig roast. Complete with their own caja china (a roasting box) the Chef and selected colleagues elevate the taste of pork with a secret array of unique spice blends. The Biltmore will provide the desserts while participating chefs prepare mouth-watering side dishes. Music and cocktails complete the evening soiree.
Soul of a Banquet Movie Night in partnership with Miami International Film Festival
Sunday, February 23rd // 6:00PM-10:00PM
NEW WORLD SYMPHONY. 500 17th St. Miami Beach
For those looking for dinner and a movie, this year’s collaboration with the Miami International Film Festival will be a deserving addition. While the presentation of the film Soul of a Banquet, the story of Chef Cecilia Chiang, known for introducing America to authentic Chinese food when she established The Mandarin Restaurant in 1961, is open to the public, ticket buyers get an added bonus and secure reserved seating during the movie and a post-screening reception with hors d’oeuvres at the brand new Metropolitan by COMO, a new luxury development scheduled to open this winter in Miami Beach; wines will be provided by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida. The film will be shown at the Frank Gehry designed Miami Beach SoundScape, and the event is the kick-off to Lee Brian Schrager’s Culinary Cinema program at the 2014 Miami International Film Festival.
SOLD OUT EVENTS
Culinary greats Anthony Bourdain and Masaharu Morimoto will also host events at this year’s Festival, both on Friday February 21st. AT 7:00PM, Bourdain brings together esteemed chefs Daniel Boulud, Andrew Carmellini, Frederic Morin, Eric Ripert and Francois Payard to create a selection inspired by Ocean Liner Menus. Hosted at FIU’s Wolfsonian Museum, the intimate event will revisit the sophistication of dining and travel. Later that evening, Iron Chef Morimoto hosts a late night party at the Shelbourne Hotel complete with karaoke and Asian treats. Drinks will flow and keep the party going until the late hours of the night. ■