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A-List Appetite

| May 2, 2013 | Parties

Even though it takes over Miami Beach year after year, the culinary excess of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival never ceases to amaze us. The 12th edition of the event, a record year for both ticket sales and sponsorships, drew some 60,000 fine food and wine aficionados and raised nearly $1.9 million for Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism. As founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager put it: “It was incredible. We couldn’t be happier.” Neither were most of the hungry, thirsty gourmands who ate their way through the city at the various dinners, tastings and parties held by the festival during its four-day run. Kicking off the culinary extravaganza this year was The Q, the Moët Hennessy barbecue tasting sponsored by Miami magazine, where, after much sampling and imbibing, Paula Deen presented Todd English with the Omaha Steaks Award for Culinary Excellence. His winning dish? Steamed bun of hoisin-glazed short rib and five-spice tenderloin with sweet and sour cucumber slaw. Of course, winners, like Champagne, were not in short supply. At the Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray, it was Bobby Flay, who walked away with top honors for his green chile cheeseburger, which he “crunchified” with a mean layer of potato chips. Even though it was hotter than usual under those tents, the Grand Tasting days on Saturday and Sunday drew the largest crowds the festival has seen recently. That’s because for foodies this was celeb central thanks to cooking demonstrations from the likes of Tyler Florence, Emeril Lagasse, Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, Curtis Stone and many others—this year, Iberian chef José Andrés made history by conducting his demonstration entirely in Spanish. New to the festival this time around was the Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament, also hosted by Andrés (whom we assume spoke English here) as well as A Red Hot Night, where local kitchen luminary Ingrid Hoffmann showed partygoers the art of pairing Latin dishes and libations. More serious in tone was the Tribute Dinner for Nobu Matsuhisa and Christophe Navarre, which had Martha Stewart as mistress of ceremonies and a six-course dinner prepared by the likes of Daniel Boulud, Yoshihiro Murata, Yuji Wakiya, Roy Yamaguchi, Frederic Delaire and Johnny Iuzzini. Very popular with fried-chicken lovers was the Southern Kitchen Brunch with Trisha Yearwood at the Loews, where spicy wings were plentiful. Ending things on a musical note was Guy Fieri’s Reggae Jam, where guests enjoyed island-inspired cocktails and dishes, and a performance by Ziggy Marley. After that, it was workouts and juice cleanses all throughout Miami. Photos by Billy Farrell Agency


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