The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine is celebrating its 15th anniversary from February 24-28, 2016. This national, star-studded, four-day event showcases the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs, and culinary personalities. The Festival attracts more than 60,000 guests annually to its 75+ unique events, featuring world-class wine, spirits, food, and fun throughout the weekend.
Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University (FIU), the Festival benefits FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. To date, the Festival has raised more than $22 million for the school.
Here are our choices for the Festival’s best events:
DINNER HOSTED BY DARIO CECCHINI
Thursday, February 27, 7-10pm
Soho Beach House, 4385 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Get to know the “World’s Best Butcher,” Dario Cecchini, at this dinner at the SoHo Beach House. Cecchini is a seventh-generation butcher who owns and operates Antica Macelleria Cecchini, his famous butcher shop in the Chianti region of Italy. Meet this legendary talent and experience what the New Yorker called “the museum of Tuscan cooking” during this multi-course feast. He will be joined by Cecconi’s own Chef Sergio Sigala, and together they will delight in authentic Italian fare. The emphasis is on meat-centric dishes, paired with the finest offerings from the Antinori family of wines.
DINNER HOSTED BY FRANCIS MALLMANN AND PAUL QUI
Thursday, February 25, 7-10pm
Faena Hotel Miami Beach, 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Set fire to your taste buds as acclaimed chefs Francis Mallmann and Paul Qui demonstrate their mastery of open-flame cooking. Mallmann, the celebrated maestro of Argentinian cuisine, will be at the helm of Los Fuegos, the new Faena property’s fine dining concept, his first U.S. outpost. James Beard Award-winning Chef Paul Qui plays with fire and seafood, and together, these two masterminds will ignite your palate with flavors you won’t soon forget.
Saturday, February 27, 7-11pm
Loews Miami Beach Hotel, 1601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
The 15th-anniversary Tribute Dinner will take place at the Festival’s host hotel, Loews Miami Beach. The dinner pays tribute to the chef, restaurateur and author Jonathan Waxman, and presents the Southern Wine & Spirits Lifetime Achievement Award to Constellation Brands’ Chairman of the Board Richard Sands, and President and CEO Rob Sands. Celebrity Chef and Master of Ceremonies Tom Colicchio will oversee the evening honoring this extraordinary group of gentlemen. The acclaimed chefs who will prepare the evening’s feast include Frederic Delaire of Loews Miami Beach, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Marc Forgione, Aarón Sánchez, Marcus Samuelsson and Nancy Silverton.
DINNER HOSTED BY GASTON ACURIO, ENRIQUE OLVERA, AND DIEGO OKA
Saturday, February 27, 7-10pm
La Mar by Gaston Acurio
Mandarin Oriental Miami, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami
Join renowned chefs Gastón Acurio and Enrique Olvera as they meld Peruvian and Mexican flavors together. Taking place at Acurio’s La Mar in the Mandarin Oriental, guests will relish the bayside view of the city’s glittering skyline. Olvera‘s first restaurant, Pujol, in Mexico City appeared on the prestigious San Pellegrino list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015. Acurio, now with 44 restaurants in 13 countries, is hailed as the man who brought Peruvian cuisine to the world. Together with La Mar’s Executive Chef Diego Oka, this trio will serve up a melting pot of global flavors.
GOYA FOODS SWINE & WINE Presented by National Pork Board
Sunday, February 28, 5:30-8:30pm
Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables
Latin legend and TV personality, Chef Lorena García rounds up her colleagues at the Biltmore Hotel to take pig roasting to a whole new level. This group of professionals has put together a secret arsenal of special spices to tender, all-natural, farm-raised pork, delighting pork lovers with creative tapas served in the Biltmore Club Ballroom. Outdoors on the beautiful courtyard, each chef will slow-roast the whole pigs in their own Caja China. Also, Goya Foods Chefs will serve up roasted pork tapas and whole pigs. Pastry chefs and ice cream makers will be featured in the event’s “Sweet Zone.” All the savory samplings will be accompanied by wines and cocktails from Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida with live entertainment by Grammy Award-Winning performer Marlow Rosado & The Tucan band presented by Miami’s El Tucan Cabaret. ■