SOURCE: Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

March 09, 2011 08:15 ET

A Perfect Ten; 2011 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented by Food & Wine Raises Approximately $2.2 Million for Florida International University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

MIAMI BEACH, FL--(Marketwire - March 9, 2011) - The tenth annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine, February 24-27, 2011, captured, in more then 40+ events across four gorgeous days, all the excitement and fun the Festival has been known for since it launched in 2002. More than 53,000 guests attended the event and approximately $2.2 million was raised for the Florida International University (FIU) School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center.

"It was an extraordinary Festival -- a celebration truly fitting for this milestone year," said Festival Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager, who also serves as Vice President of Corporate Communications & National Events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, which hosts the Festival. "In next 10 years, I'm confident that the Festival will continue to grow and remain important and we remain fully committed to keeping the program fresh, introducing new talent, and showcasing the newest wine and spirits brands."

"The Festival has raised over $14 million to date for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at FIU," notes Wayne Chaplin, President and Chief Operating Officer at Southern Wine & Spirits of America. "It is rewarding to see those funds in action -- like with the more than 900 student associates who earned scholarship money volunteering at the 2011 Festival and the unveiling of a state-of-the-art Southern Wine & Spirits Teaching Restaurant at the school in 2012. Southern Wine & Spirits is proud to be the exclusive provider of wines and spirits for the Festival and thanks all of its suppliers who participate for their continued support and commitment to the education of our industry's future leaders."

The Festival's signature event, the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring the American Express Grand Tasting tents, boasting approximately 95 wine and spirits exhibitors and 40 amazing local restaurants each day, continued to draw huge crowds for the ultimate tasting experience. Other notable events included the final year for Perrier-Jouët BubbleQ presented by Allen Brothers, hosted by Bobby Flay and Friends and sponsored by Miami magazine; Wine Spectator's Best of the Best sponsored by Bank of America at the Fontainebleau with one of the country's greatest chefs, Charlie Trotter, as host; and the Festival's 10th Year Anniversary Party, Moët Hennessy USA presents Sobe's 10th Year Anniversary Party "Let Them Eat Cake" hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart sponsored by Ocean Drive Magazine, which transformed the seventh floor of the architecturally-striking 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage into a decadent sweets soirée. Michael Symon (B Spot, Cleveland, Ohio) once again claimed the Amstel Light People's Choice Award at the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Allen Brothers hosted by Rachael Ray, winning for his second year in a row by virtue of a decadent burger topped with fried salami. 

Kohl's presents Fun and Fit as a Family featuring the Kellogg's Kidz Kitchen, the two-day mini-festival at Jungle Island addressing the vital topic of childhood obesity prevention, nutrition education and fitness, drew over 12,000 children and their parents, who enjoyed tips from featured chefs and culinary personalities such as Rachael Ray, Cat Cora, Jamie Oliver, Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis, among others.

Food Network presents The Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach, a new event that was hosted by Duff Goldman, where Food Network and Cooking Channel talent like Sunny Anderson, Anne Burrell, Scott Conant, Marc Forgione, Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, Chuck Hughes, Claire Robinson, Marcela Valladolid, Geoffrey Zakarian and more showcased their favorite items from around the globe. It was a spectacular hit with the Grammy award-winning sounds of KC and the Sunshine Band on the sand at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.

The all-star Tribute Dinner held at the Festival's host hotel, Loews Miami Beach, honored legendary culinary innovator Alain Ducasse. Beautifully emceed by French actress and winemaker Carole Bouquet, the dinner featured a sumptuous Krug Champagne Reception and dinner, perfectly paired with wines by J. Moreau et Fils, Domaine Louis Latour, Chateau d'Esclans, Chateau La Louvière, and Rosenblum Cellars.

Another memorable event: the return of Wine + Dine + Design, part of The New York Times Dinner Series, a multi-course roaming dinner party, presented Gilt City, took guests from one culinary hotspot to another in the Miami Design District with stops at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, SRA. Martinez and Fratelli Lyon. The event featured South Florida favorites Michelle Bernstein, Michael Schwartz, and Ken Lyon as well as welcomed the nationally recognized talents of John Besh, Andrew Carmellini and Michael Symon.

The Wine Spectator Wine Seminar Series at this year's Festival were as impressive as ever, with more than a dozen seminars held throughout the weekend at the Gansevoort South, featuring aficionados like Margareth Henriquez President of La Maison Krug, with session introductions by Wine Spectator Senior Editor Bruce Sanderson and Executive Editor Thomas Matthews

Sunday's events raised the bar, quite literally, with Paula's Down Home Cookin' Sunday Gospel Brunch hosted by Paula Deen presented by Smithfield at the Loews Miami Beach, featuring Paula and friends Cat Cora, Alex Guarnaschelli, Joseph Lenn, Tim Love, Myron Mixon and Elizabeth Karmel, who rustled up vittles way beyond traditional brunch fare. 

A closing night party in true South Beach style, hosted by Food Network chef and rockstar Guy Fieri, brought the house down in true rock n' roll style, with hundreds partying on the private beach behind the Gansevoort South on South Beach, feasting on delicious bites and sipping custom cocktails, ocean-side. 

Major new and returning sponsors for 2011 included Food Network, Food & Wine, bing, Kohl's, Wine Spectator, and many more. Beyond the unforgettable events, over the course of the Festival, some exciting news was released. The event replacing BubbleQ® in 2012 will be Red, White & 'Cue, the 2012 Tribute Dinner will honor Chef Charlie Trotter and a third Festival will be rolled out in Los Angeles (further details on all developments forthcoming). 

Mark your calendars: Dates for the Festival's 11th year are set for Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, February 26, 2012. Keep up to date all year long at www.sobewineandfoodfest.com or www.twitter.com/Lee_Schrager.

Can't wait until 2012? Tickets for the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine go on sale in June 2011. All proceeds benefit the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength®. More information can be found at www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com

About the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine
All proceeds of the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University School of Hospitality and 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. 

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.sobewineandfoodfest.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.

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