News & Features

Chicago Chefs Head to South Beach

January 27 2014 - 1:00 PM

The 13th annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE is set to take place next month! This amazing four-day festival kicks off February 20-23, 2014 in sunny South Beach and showcases many of the world’s most famous chefs, as well as producers of wine and spirits. Not only is the festival a fabulous four-day affair for lovers of fine food and wine, it’s also a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. The 2013 festival included more than 65,000 attendees and brought in more than $5.1 million in ticket sales. So yea, it’s kind of a big deal.

The festival highlights a variety of nationally and internationally acclaimed chefs, through seminars, tastings, dinners, late-night parties and many more events. Some of the participating chefs include José Andrés, Rocco DiSpirito, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Anthony Bourdain, Emeril Lagasse, Andrew Zimmern and many, MANY others.

Sound amazing? Here’s just a taste of what you can experience at the 2014 festival next month. You can start your day with a visit to the Grand Tasting Village featuring tasting tents and cooking demos and unlimited beer, wine, and spirits tastings (woo). Don’t forget to stop by the burger bash hosted by Rachael Ray at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, where you can sample a variety of burgers from more than 25 chefs and vote on your favorite. After you’ve had time to digest, you can start your night off by attending “The Q,” a night celebrating all things grilled, braised, and barbecued. The event features more than 40 chefs and is hosted by Michael Symon and a few of his friends, namely the 2014 Sports Illustrated models featured in the upcoming 50th Anniversary edition of the swimsuit issue! One of the late-night parties where you can end your night includes the festival’s first-ever ice cream and dessert party. Join chefs including Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and snack on treats from Chef Cindy Kruse, Lee & Marie’s Bakery, Paul Joachim and Hollis Wilder, all paired with wines and spirits from the Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida portfolio.

Even though the wine and food festival takes place in South Beach, there are several Chicago  chef’s making waves (pun intended) at this year’s event. Some of the Chicago chefs making an appearance this year include Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard, Tony Mantuano, Paul Kahan, and Charlie McKenna at the following events:

  • Best of the Best (Stephanie Izard, Rick Bayless, Tony Mantuano): This event at the beautiful Fontainebleau Miami Beach gathers 50 of the nation’s top chefs to showcase gourmet food samplings paired with wines rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s scale.
  • The Q (Paul Kahan, Rick Bayless): Chef Michael Symon (and Sports Illustrated models) host more than 40 American top chefs serving their best dishes and side dishes paired with cocktails from the Moët Hennessy portfolio.
  • Swine & Wine (Charlie McKenna, Stephanie Izard): James Beard Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein joins fellow colleagues to take pig roasting to a whole new level.  The roasted meat served straight from each chef will be accompanied by savory side dishes, as well as desserts created by the Biltmore Hotel.

Tickets to many of the festival’s events are still available if you’re interested in fleeing Chicago’s harsh temperatures in favor of cocktails, gourmet bites, and beachfront views. How bad can that be?