MIAMI BEACH, FL--(Marketwired - Mar 6, 2014) - The 13th annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE, which took place February 20-23, 2014, featured more than 250 of the industry's leading winemakers, spirits producers, chefs, and culinary personalities who entertained and educated approximately 60,000 passionate gourmands and aficionados during this star-studded, four-day destination event. This year's Festival raised more than $2 million for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at Florida International University.
"This was a marquee year for the Festival, kicking off with the unveiling of the new Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Lab and Mel Dick Wine Tower at the School," noted Festival Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager, who also serves as the vice president of corporate communications & national events for Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. "The entire weekend was a celebration that resulted in both record ticket sales and more events taking place during the Festival than ever before."
The Festival began with Moët Hennessy's The Q presented by Creekstone Farms sponsored by MIAMI magazine hosted by Michael Symon featuring the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models, where more than 40 of America's best chefs and more than 20 models from Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's 50th anniversary edition, including cover girls Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge and Chrissy Teigen, served up jaw-dropping fare and fun. Chefs Amy and Mike Mills from 17th Street Barbecue were crowned the King and Queen of Q for their whole hog, taking home the Kingsford Award judged by Food Network personalities Katie Lee and Jeff Mauro. Additionally, Creekstone Farm's Fire Up the Flavor Award resulted in a tie, as judged by Anne Burrell, Randy Garutti, Pat LaFrieda, and Mark Rosati, between Joey Campanaro from little owl (Basque BBQ Strip Steak) and Chris Santos from Beauty & Essex (BBQ Beef Cheek Soft Taco), earning them a donation of $500 each to their charity of choice.
Chef Michael Symon (B Spot) took top honors with his fourth win of the Amstel Light People's Choice Award at the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael Ray with his Fat Doug Burger -- a burger with coleslaw, pastrami, Castello aged Havarti cheese, and stadium mustard. Other winners of the evening included Mark Rosati of Shake Shack who was named Pat LaFrieda Meats 2014 SOBEWFF Burger Bash® Champion by judges Anne Burrell, Trisha Yearwood, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Andrew Zimmern for his ShackBurger 10th Anniversary Dry-Aged Blend; and Brad Halsten of The Burger Dive received Red Robin's Best of the Bash Award for The Blackened Sabbath from judges Robert Irvine and Red Robin's John Schaufelberger and Scott Weaver.
Botran's Medianoches & Mixology presented by Smithfield at Wynwood Walls hosted by Anne Burrell and Emilio Estefan was held at one of South Florida's newest hot spots, Wynwood Walls, Miami's open air "museum of the streets" known for its dazzling murals. Alberto Elias of Luis Galindo Latin American took home the prize for Best Medianoches for his Classic Cuban Sandwich.
The Festival's signature event, the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring the MasterCard® Grand Tasting Tents, boasted approximately 100 wine and spirits suppliers and 40 restaurants with the Miami New Times Short Order's Best Bite on the Beach Award going to American Social on Saturday and Chefs on the Run Assorted Cuisine on Sunday. The event attracted huge crowds of about 25,000 for the ultimate tasting experience paired with KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations from The Deen Family, Giada De Laurentiis, Tyler Florence, Martha Stewart, Ming Tsai, and the first ever Kitchen Heat demo -- a charity cooking relay between Miami Heat players Chris Bosh and Shane Battier. In addition, two culinary demonstrations were conducted entirely in Spanish by critically-acclaimed chefs José Andrés and Gastón Acurio.
The Festival broadened its scope of offerings this year, featuring a variety of fitness and lifestyle activities throughout the weekend including: Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels presents Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament hosted by José Andrés, YogArt presents Buddhas and Bellinis, and Flywheel Sports Celebrity Chef Ride presented by Luvo hosted by Josh Capon and Andrew Carmellini with Bobby Deen, Ingrid Hoffmann and more. The 7th annual Fun and Fit as a Family sponsored by Carnival featuring Goya Kidz Kitchen hosted by Robert Irvine, the two-day mini-festival at Jungle Island that promotes an interactive healthy lifestyle education for the entire family, drew more than 12,000 children and their parents.
Sammy's Beach Bar Rum and Cabo Wabo Tequila present Emeril Lagasse and Sammy Hagar's Rockin' Beach Party sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce was a new, rock n' roll-themed event with a splash of Miami flavor celebrating rock legend Sammy Hagar and culinary king Emeril Lagasse. Party-goers enjoyed an evening of traditional Cuban delicacies provided by Versailles, while dancing the night away with Emeril and The Red Rocker's live musical performance and mingling with talent such as cookbook author Ana Quincoces.
This year's Tribute Dinner honoring Danny Meyer and Chuck Wagner with Master of Ceremonies Jonathan Tisch presented by Bank of America, Part of The New York Times Dinner Series featured a who's who of the hospitality industry at the Loews Miami Beach. The exquisite dinner was prepared by some of the country's most celebrated chefs representing Union Square Hospitality Group and dishes were perfectly paired with the finest selection of wines provided by the Wagner family wine establishment.
Best of The Munchies: People's Choice Food Awards presented by PepsiCo hosted by Andrew Zimmern celebrated its debut as the Festival's official closing party. With sweet and savory bites from across the country, this event was put together by the people to feature the nation's best late-night treats. Graeter's Ice Cream took home the Munchies Best of SOBEWFF Sweet Dish Award and Shake Shack was presented with Munchies Best of SOBEWFF Savory Dish Award.
Mark your calendars: Dates for the Festival's 14th year are set for February 19 - 22, 2015. Next year's Festival will honor renowned Chef Juan Mari Arzak. Fans can follow Festival Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Lee_Schrager or at the Festival's official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SOBEWFF.
About the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE
All proceeds from the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management who also assist Festival organizers with sponsorship fulfillment, restaurant and exhibitor recruitment, logistics, and inventory as well as working alongside some of the world's greatest celebrity chefs and winemakers. In October 2013, BizBash named the Festival the #1 Food & Restaurant Industry event in the United States.
The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE is produced by Florida International University and Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information about the Festival, visit www.sobefest.com or call 877-762-3933. For more information about Florida International University visit www.fiu.edu, for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management visit www.hospitality.fiu.edu and for more information about Southern Wine & Spirits visit www.southernwine.com.