When it comes to kicking off a weekend-long celebration of all things cocktails and culinary at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Paula Deen knows just how to do it. She and her son, Bobby, were on hand last night to host The Q, a seaside bash featuring a feast of barbecue-inspired fare with dozens of top-notch chefs from across the country and crowds of hungry food fans. The Deens and other Food Network stars like Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Robert Irvine, plus past The Next Iron Chef: Redemption rivals Tim Love and Duskie Estes, mingled with guests and dished out a seemingly never-ending supply of their best smoky bites.
While the atmosphere at The Q among chefs and guests alike was relaxed and tropical, the food scene was serious. To start, Robert Irvine put the focus on pig, offering tender braised pork cheeks with fried pickles on a soft brioche bun.
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For Food Network and burger enthusiasts who can’t make it to the Burger Bash at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival this year, there’s still a chance to feel like you were there. Havaianas and Chef Michelle Bernstein recently teamed up to create the ultimate flip flop — almost good enough to eat. In honor of the festival and its most popular event, whimsical pins featuring burgers, pickles, ketchup and fries (dubbed The Meal) will be available on site for purchase, along with Michelle’s custom golden sandal.
You can buy these limited-edition Burger Bash-inspired flip flops and pins right now (until Feb. 24) or you could enter to win a pair of your own, plus the pins. To enter, leave a comment in the field below with the answer to this question: What’s your favorite Food Network burger recipe (must include the recipe URL to qualify)? We’re giving away a pair to five randomly selected commenters, so enter now for your chance to win.
Read official rules before entering
Leave the winter chill behind and take a trip down South to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We’ll be at the festival all weekend long chowing down on grub with Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Robert Irvine, Bobby Flay, Trisha Yearwood, Michael Symon, Giada De Laurentiis, Jeff Mauro, Paula Deen and more.
Want to join us? You can find our editors covering the following events throughout the 4-day festival.
If you can’t make it to the festival this year, tune into FN Dish for our coverage all weekend long, including exclusive videos.
The Q hosted by Paula Deen and Sons (Thurs., Feb. 21)
The First Family of Food Network will host this super-braised festival kickoff party. Join Paula Deen and her two sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, as they host Moët Hennessy’s The Q. More than 40 of the top barbecue chefs from across the country will grill up chicken, ribs, brisket and pork butts from Omaha Steaks with smoky side dishes.
Keep reading for more events
Miami in February — it doesn’t get much better than that. For four sunny days, Food Network and Cooking Channel personalities traveled from far and wide for a cause: to raise money for FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Now in its eleventh year, this has been the focus of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which brings together the best of the best and celebrates food and drink in its finest forms: barbecue, burgers, desserts, wine and so much more.
We caught up with Alex, Bobby, Michael, Guy, Sunny, Jeff, Marc, Geoffrey, Melissa, Anne and Nadia G. to talk about the festival, the events they were participating in and we even caught them doing a little smack-talking.
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Admit it — you don’t drink tequila because of that one regretful run-in in college. You remember it: Shots were slammed, the room seemed to crater, porcelain was embraced, and the next day your head endured a piñata pounding.
So I understand your hesitation. But please hear me out: Today’s high-quality, nuanced, “sipping” tequilas are a world away from the syrupy firewater that you used to hide from your RA, who, it turns out, had his own stash of the stuff.
In fact, I’m so into fine tequila that I discussed it at my seminar with Food Network’s very own Marcela Valladolid at the South Beach Food Network Wine & Food Festival today. Whether you attended the seminar, or just read on, I aim to make you a convert, too, by dispelling these tequila myths:
1. All tequila is heavy and sweet: Not so. The “blanco” or “silver” category of tequila is clear and pure tasting. Citrusy and herbal, good blancos are like a high-alcohol Sauvignon Blanc — perfect as an appetite or joy-stoker.
Five more tequila myths busted »
If fans are looking for a chance to enjoy a glass of wine (hint, how about Food Network’s entwine) and meet some of their favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel stars, The Best Thing I Ever Ate at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is for them. It’s one of the few events where the stars don’t have to cook. Instead, the chefs showcase a dish from one of their favorite restaurants in Miami or New York and a band keeps the crowd dancing until 2 am — that’s right, this is a late-night party.
Chefs presenting their favorite dishes included Alex Guarnaschelli, Sunny Anderson, Anne Burrell, Melissa d’Arabian, Geoffrey Zakarian, Aarón Sanchez and Nadia G.
Since I was at this event so late at night, I had to ask, “What’s the best midnight munchie you’ve ever had?” Some of the answers left me speechless (watch the video above for real-time reactions):
Alex Guarnaschelli: “It’s a toss-up between a super-spicy fish taco, a hot dog with deep-fried bacon on it or a whole cake of any flavor — but it would have to be layered.”
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“Burger Bash is where it’s at,” Michael Symon said as we started our interview. It’s arguably the most sought after-ticket at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, drawing in crowds by the hundreds. Food writers, bloggers and burger enthusiasts travel from far and wide to watch their favorite chefs vie for the title of Best Burger. (And eat them, of course.)
Last year, event sponsors Allen Brothers provided each of the 26 vendors with meat; this year, they increased that number to 32 — that’s right, 32 burgers (see the full list here).
There are three awards to be had for the night: People’s Choice, Judges’ Favorite and the Heinz Best-Dressed Burger Award. While they are all coveted, there is one in particular that each chef has their eye on: The People’s Choice — the award where the guests get to choose their favorite. How do they vote? As you enter the tent, everyone receives one token. Next to each of the chefs’ booths is a box. Once you pick a favorite burger, you drop your token into the box.
Find out who won
So who won Food Network’s 6th Annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash? Well, that depends on the category:
The People’s Choice Award: Michael Symon (B Spot)
The Porky Burger: A pork and bacon burger topped with pulled pork and slaw.
Judges’ Favorite: Brendan B. Connor (Whisk)
Crispy Shallot, Bacon and Swiss Burger: A sirloin patty with melted Swiss cheese, buttermilk-marinated crispy shallots, pecan-wood smoked bacon, tangy horseradish sauce, ripe Florida tomatoes and watercress on a toasted onion bun.
Heinz Best-Dressed Burger Award: Guy Fieri (Guy’s Burger Joint)
Straight‐Up With a Pig Patty: A ground chuck and bacon patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle with a liberal slathering of donkey sauce.
In a tent full of bright lights, loud music and some of the country’s best barbecue, chefs like Chris Lilly, Tim Love and Elizabeth Karmel joined The Q, formally known as BubbleQ, to kick off the 2012 South Beach Wine & Food Festival last night. With the air smelling of sweet and smoky barbecue sauces and spices, the event featured chefs’ signature dishes cooked on grills and smokers, and was hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Food Network’s Guy Fieri.
When people think of barbecue, the usual comes to mind: chicken, steak, burgers, ribs and hot dogs. While they were all present, they were all reinvented classics. Pulled pork was transformed into tacos and egg rolls, lamb ribs were served instead of pork ribs and yellowtail even made an appearance.
More from The Q »
Leave the winter chill behind and take a trip to the tropics (literally) at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We’ll be at the festival all weekend long chowing down on grub with Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Robert Irvine, Bobby Flay, The Neelys, Michael Symon, Paula Deen and more.
Want to join us? You can find our editors covering the following events throughout the four-day festival.
Tune into FN Dish for our coverage all weekend long.