Food Network’s Jeff Mauro dishes on this year’s mouthwatering plans for the 2022 iteration of Food Network & Cooking Channel’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
Pair your decadent offerings with delicious libations throughout the festival. PHOTO BY WORLD RED EYE
This month, Food Network & Cooking Channel’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival (sobewff.org) celebrates 21 years of its star-studded, multi-day event, showcasing yet another roster of famed culinary talents, wine and spirits producers and experts of the hospitality industry. From grand tasting demos and master classes to celebrity-hosted dinners and late-night cocktail showdowns, these uniquely crafted events guarantee an action-packed weekend of fun and, of course, world-class bites and libations.
Jeff Mauro at a previous SOBEWFF celebration. PHOTO BY WORLD RED EYE
Jeff Mauro, cohost of Food Network (foodnetwork.com) series The Kitchen, and better known to foodies as the “Sandwich King,” joins the SOBEWFF lineup again this year to host the Red Stripe Burger Bash and a Tribute Dinner honoring Guy Fieri. We caught up with Mauro, who divulged his favorite festival memory, and who he thinks serves the best sandwich in Miami.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s SOBEWFF, and which chef are you excited to see?
Being a Chicagoan, I’m looking forward to a face full of sun. I am excited to lead the live auction at Guy Fieri’s Tribute Dinner, which is also hosted by Rachael Ray, whom I always love hanging with!
What’s your favorite SOBEWFF memory?
It was my second year— about nine years ago—and after a long day, afternoon and night of demoing, schmoozing and imbibing, I found myself in a fast food parking lot next to a dumpster at 2AM, in an SUV stuffed with legendary chefs and our significant others, shamelessly scarfing down quarter pounders and 20-piece nuggets. I’ll tell you what, bad food never tasted so good.
At SOBEWFF, the culinary offerings are endless, from zesty tacos to indulgent desserts that satisfy any sweet tooth. PHOTO BY 52CHEFS
As the Sandwich King, where can we find your favorite sandwich in Miami?
Gotta go with the Cubano at Sanguich De Miami on account of the perfect ratio of meat to cheese to bread to spread. Just perfection every time.
It’s been a tough couple of years for the restaurant industry. What are some clever ways you’ve seen restaurants pivot since the start of the pandemic? Are there any long-term positive changes that are here to stay?
So much pivoting and use of the word pivoting, I almost think pivoting is literally just doing these days. I saw and sampled it all, from 14-course, par-cooked meal kits from Grant Achatz and Alinea to really, really good pizza done by people who really never did pizza before. This pandemic took our industry and ultimately widened the landscape and opened it up for so much possibility through direct-to-consumer shipping, pop-ups, ghost kitchens and quality retail products. I started the world’s first line of Craft Giardiniera, a Chicago favorite, and shipped it across the country via my brand Mauro provisions. I’ve learned so much and it’s brought me so much joy and fulfillment it makes me want to cry.
PHOTOS BY 52CHEFS
When you’re not dining, where can we find you in Miami?
At the bar at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel sharing cocktails with old friends, new friends and wonderful fans.