The 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival wrapped up mere hours ago with an over-the-top tasting at The Best of the Munchies: People’s Choice Food Awards, and while the FN Dish team packed in more fried, glazed, grilled and cheesed dishes in four short days than we thought possible, we’re already craving just a few more bites of our very favorite dishes from the weekend. Relive top moments from all the marquee events, and look back at our 10 most-memorable sweet and savory selects from the festival.
While Miami may indeed be in the southern United States, its cuisine is known more for its hearty Cuban flavors and just-caught seafood than any comfort-food influences from down-home states like Tennessee or Georgia. That all changed this weekend when Trisha Yearwood was in town to host her Southern Kitchen Brunch at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. In an elegant ballroom at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Trisha and other chefs from Florida, New York City and beyond came together to dish out the best of what the true South has to offer, like savory chicken and waffles, fluffy biscuits, and rich and creamy grits.
Three big-city chefs from the Midwest and Northeast brought fried chicken to the party: Chef Art Smith from Chicago’s Table 52, as well as Chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth from New York City’s Root & Bone. While Chef Smith’s Southern-style fried chicken was served with his thick Saw Mill Gravy, the Root & Bone team featured its chicken (pictured above) atop a fluffy cheddar waffle with bright pickles.
On day three of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, after back-to-back nights of indulgent alfresco feasting and over-the-top burgering, hungry fans wanted more, and for that, they turned to Guy Fieri. The host of Triple D and Guy’s Grocery Games isn’t known for doing anything on a small scale, and last night’s Meatopia: The Q Revolution was no exception, as he hosted this 30-plus-chef extravaganza that for the first time combined The Q, a longtime festival favorite, with Meatopia, a festival all its own, to create an all-new party at South Beach. From sticky ribs and tender pulled pork to hearty rib-eye steaks, moist brisket, and even veal, lamb and chicken hearts, the competing chefs at this all-out meat brawl brought their best bites in the hopes of taking home the Judges’ Choice trophy or the Fan-Favorite Winner guitar.
As Blues Traveler was jamming on stage, the crowds lined up on the beach at each station to sample the dozens of beefy dishes on display last night, and after a few hours of indulging — and, perhaps, the expected meat sweats — Guy proclaimed The Cecil the judges’ pick of the night. Chef JJ Johnson’s BBQ oxtails, bathed in a spicy tamarind sauce, earned him a whopping $1,000 check and a flame-wrapped trophy.
With dozens of flaming-hot grills set up in the sand, hundreds of hungry guests filling the tents and a cool ocean breeze wafting through the air, the scene was set for South Beach Wine & Food Festival‘s most-anticipated event: the ninth annual Burger Bash. In true festival fashion, your favorite Food Network stars, as well as local and national chefs, delivered a whopping 30 burgers in over-the-top form, each piled high with classic and creative toppings. Once again, Burger Bash veteran Rachael Ray was on hand to host the sold-out soiree as familiar faces like Iron Chefs Jose Garces and Masaharu Morimoto came together to cook up signature between-the-bun offerings and judges Geoffrey Zakarian, Katie Lee and Chrissy Teigen, among others, welcomed the meaty challenge of sampling every burger and deciding which reigned supreme.
While the judges dug into their burger offerings, fans, too, were bellying up to chefs’ tasting stands to get their hands on some of the most-craveworthy bites of the night, including Shake Shack’s Roadside Shack, Emily’s Emmy Burger and STK Miami’s lil’ BRGs. Everyone was given one token upon entering the event, and with that came the power to vote for the People’s Choice winner.
After a few hours of indulgent burgering, Rachael, the judges, and the Schweid and Sons team came together to announce the winners, and sure enough, thanks to his fail-proof Bash Burger, Josh Capon of Miami’s Lure Fish Bar earned the Judges’ trophy this year. Capon’s now-infamous patty topped with sweet, savory and welcomingly rich bacon-onion jam has become a good-luck charm of sorts for the chef, as it’s earned him several Burger Bash titles at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and tonight it clinched his first-ever victory in South Beach. “I’ve always wanted South Beach so bad, baby. So bad,” Capon exclaimed on stage. “Burger Bash forever!”
When Italian food is the name of the game, no two will do it better than Cooking Channel’s own Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, so it’s no surprise that this husband-and-wife duo was on hand to host as the South Beach Wine & Food Festival inaugurated its first-ever Al Fresco Italian Feast last night. The hosts of Extra Virgin, plus native Italian and fearless Food Network competitor Fabio Viviani, as well as dozens of America’s greatest Italian chefs, came together underneath the colorfully lit tents along the sandy shores of Miami to dish out a true feast of a meal celebrating the best of Italian comfort foods and pay tribute to pay tribute to Ronzoni Pasta’s 100th anniversary. Though Mother Nature surprised partygoers with unseasonably low temperatures for Florida, the cool air didn’t stop anyone from cozying up to heaping plates of classic-red-sauce pasta, cheesy ravioli and plenty of sweet roasted meats as they danced to a DJ-band mash-up in the sand.
It’s that time of year when cabin fever has hit, and surely there’s no better remedy than a few days of sun, sand and celebration at the 14th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Beginning tomorrow, your favorite Food Network chefs will come together in Miami for a jam-packed weekend of all-star events, including late-night tastings, intimate dinners and culinary demos, while mixing and mingling with fans.
If you’re not a local Floridian, you can still keep up with the action at SOBEWFF. FN Dish editors will be at the festival all weekend long, attending premiere events with Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Alex Guarnaschelli and Rachael Ray, and munching on the best bites up for grabs. And best of all, you’re invited to check out our insider coverage of what’s going down. Keep coming back here for daily reports on the top moments and the most craveworthy dishes and drinks.
Though the chill of fall air might be welcome relief now after a stifling summer, come February you’ll have likely turned a cold shoulder to the frigid temperatures and be ready to warm up in the sun. Enter: The South Beach Wine & Food Festival. For four days, you can escape the slush and snow and join your favorite Food Network stars and chefs for a long weekend at the beach celebrating all things eats and drinks.
2015 will mark the 14th year of SOBEWFF, and this year’s events, running from Feb. 19 through Feb. 22 in Miami, are expected to be bigger than ever. Favorites like Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine and Anne Burrell will be on hand to host walk-around tastings, elegant sit-down dinners, late-night parties and interactive meals alike, all while mingling with fans and enjoying the flavors of Florida.
Tickets are on sale now — buy yours today to guarantee your spot at marquee events like Burger Bash, The Q, Medianoches & Mixology, and more. Here are some of the events where you can find your favorite chefs.
When you imagine brunch at an Iron Chef’s house, you might picture a lavish affair complete with an overflowing spread of all manner of croissants, made-to-order omelets, thick-cut French toast and the bubbliest Bellinis. But according to Geoffrey Zakarian, “less is more” when it comes to this midmorning meal, and it can be surprisingly easy to execute. As he explained, “Everything at brunch is done the day before.” FN Dish recently caught up with Geoffrey in Miami as he hosted his own brunch event, and we chatted with him about what it takes to pull off the ultimate crowd-pleasing meal. Read on below to learn his top tips for entertaining and thoughts on classic brunch picks like eggs, waffles and mimosas.
What’s a go-to rule of thumb to remember when preparing brunch?
Geoffrey Zakarian: I always say less is more. What people do with brunch is they overwhelm you with too much stuff that’s, like, throwaway. They pile breads and pastries and all this stuff, and no one eats it anyways. You end up throwing it away. So I say just be very focused and really edit what you’re going to do. Do seven, eight things maximum. Make people just eat those things, and make them really delicious and different, and it’ll be a very successful brunch.
Michael Symon may be a guru of all things pork, but at the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he switched the focus from pig to chicken as he demonstrated to a standing room-only crowd the fundamentals of fried chicken. “If you learn the technique, you can make a thousand dishes,” he said, explaining his philosophy in the kitchen, which surely applies to the batter-fry process of chicken. He offered sun-soaked fans on the beach a how-to for making the crispiest, juiciest fried chicken yet — a set of must-know strategies that will yield consistent results every time. Read on below to learn Michael’s secrets, then after mastering his approach, update the process with your own ideas to accommodate your tastes.
1. “Buy the best chicken that you can afford.” The overall taste of the dish will be affected by the quality of ingredients that you use, and he says of the meat, “If it can be organic, great.”
2. Proper and frequent salting is key to any recipe. Not only does it add bold flavor, but it also acts as a tenderizer. “Make it rain,” he suggests of this crucial seasoning.
3. He opts for “a quick brine” of buttermilk to offer moisture and enhanced taste when making his fried chicken. This process is different from a traditional long brine, which many do to Thanksgiving turkeys, as this will not break down the meat too much.
Given chefs’ notoriously long hours at their restaurants, plus the efforts they devote to filming television shows, making personal appearances and authoring cookbooks, it’s no surprise that Food Network stars are rarely in one place for long — and hardly ever in the same place at the same time. That all changes, however, when it comes to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival; for one weekend every winter, nearly all of your favorite chefs converge upon the sunny, sandy shores of Miami for the ultimate weekend-long celebration of the best and the latest in eats and drinks.
The 13th annual festival just wrapped up in South Beach on Sunday, but while the cooking demonstrations, seminars, dinners and late-night parties were in full swing, The Kitchen host and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian found time to catch up with some of his closest friends and colleagues in the business. He recorded a SiriusXM Food Talk radio show (airing on SiriusXM Stars Channel 106 on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 8|9c) one afternoon near the pool deck at The James Royal Palm, and he welcomed fellow Chopped judge Marc Murphy, a few co-hosts from The Kitchen, including Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson and Katie Lee, plus Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine and more food folks to dish on all things from competition television to the ever-changing restaurant industry and memorable work projects from days gone by.