If you were to put just one South Florida event on your calendar per year, it should indubitably be the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) presented by Capital One. With ticket sales now underway for its 22nd annual instalment taking place February 23-26, 2023, it is definitely the hottest—tastiest—ticket in town! Merilee Kern provides us with a detailed rundown of what visitors can expect.
Widely recognised as America’s favourite gourmet gathering on the beach, the four-day Festival returns to the sand with more than 100 events spanning Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
For the 22nd instalment, Food Network personalities, Grammy-winning musicians, and more than 450+ chefs and wine and spirit producers will come together for an unforgettable celebration of walk-around tastings, intimate dinners, late-night parties, brunches, lunches, master classes, wine seminars and more!
The Festival kicks off on Thursday, February 23, with iconic chef, restaurateur, television personality and cookbook author Emeril Lagasse as he hosts the 16th annual Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons with a special performance by Grammy-nominated country music group, Midland.
Sprawling several blocks on the sands of South Beach, the Festival’s two iconic open-air tasting tents – North Venue and Grand Tasting Village – return to showcase the nation’s most talented chefs and lifestyle personalities who are supported by more than 1,200 student volunteers from Florida International University.
This year brings with it an array of new events and activities, including the first-of-its-kind FoodieCon event dedicated to the intersection of culinary and social media.
The event will feature an array of top food influencers such as Nick Di Giovanni, Everything Delish, Jeremy Scheck, Black Forager, Jessica Woo, Salt Hank, Owen Han, Wishbone Kitchen, Golden Balance, Robert Lucas, Succulent Bite, The Pasta Queen, Lynja, and more.
The creators will focus on culinary demos, immersive activations and plenty of content-worthy moments onsite.
This year’s fest will also debut a new dinner series with Michelin-awarded chefs, some of the top restaurants in Miami, and the first annual Tea Dance and Drag Show hosted by Kalen Allen with a special performance by Drag Race Winner Symone.
Also new this year is the Overtown EatUp! event hosted by Marcus Samuelsson that aims to highlight Miami’s historic Overtown. Two-time James Beard Award winner Mashama Bailey will take over the Festival’s headquarter hotel, Loews Miami Beach, to host the Sunday Table: Brunch with The Grey and Friends.
As if all of that newness were not enough, those hungering for more can consume this additional line-up of lip-smacking SOBEWFF 2023 events:
- The return of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives LIVE hosted by Guy Fieri, featuring more than 25 eateries from the hit show. (Friday, February 24)
- Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village featuring Publix Culinary Demonstrations sponsored by Sub-Zero Group Southeast will highlight fan-favourite Food Network and Cooking Channel personalities and the nation’s most celebrated chefs. (Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26)
- Tacos & Tequila, presented by Tequila Cazadores, will be hosted by American actor and star of Machete Danny Trejo and feature more than 25 chefs serving up various iterations of Mexico’s most iconic dish. (Saturday, February 25)
- BACARDĺ Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmern will close out the 22nd annual Festival with the ultimate Sunday night beach party! (Sunday, February 26)
From Overtown to Wynwood to Hallandale Beach and the Miami Design District in between, the Festival has curated a series of events to showcase the vibrant local cuisine and culture of these neighbourhoods and their profoundly important role had in shaping the South Florida of today. Event highlights:
- The Cookout hosted by JJ Johnson and Dwyane Wade (Saturday, February 25)
- Smorgasburg After Dark with a special performance by Rev Run (Saturday, February 25)
- Chicken Coupe hosted by Michelle Bernstein, part of the Miami Design District Event Series (Saturday, February 25)
- Hallandale Beach Food & Groove: A Wine, Food and Art Experience part of the Hallandale Beach Event Series (Saturday, February 25)
- Williams Family Kitchen Soul Food Brunch hosted by Pharaoh and Pharrell Williams (Saturday, February 25)
- Farmer’s Market Brunch hosted by Michael Schwartz, part of the Miami Design District Event Series (Sunday, February 26)
There is nothing like the Magic City by day, and the Festival put together a sensational line-up of brunches and lunches to shine a light on the bright and vivacious scene. These include:
- Those looking to shop and dine should snag seats at the Bal Harbour Shops ACCESS: Fashion Show & Luncheon hosted by Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian, featuring a fashion show by Balmain, the Parisian Fashion House.
- Two-time James Beard Award winner Mashama Bailey will take over the Festival’s headquarter hotel, Loews Miami Beach, to host Our Sunday Table: Brunch with The Grey and Friends, part of The NYT Cooking Series featuring an eclectic roster of local and national chefs. A piece of Nashville’s “hot chicken” empire will make its way to Miami with a Lunch hosted by Hattie B’s taking place at SGWS Wynwood.
- Lunch hosted by Cédric Vongerichten and Tyson Cole at Wynwood hotspot, Uchi, will showcase both chefs’ layered approach to multi-cultural cuisine as they deliver a menu with fresh, exotic flavours of the East.
- Pablo Zitzmann and Wilson Tang will team up to host a Dim Sum Brunch at Coral Gables outpost, Zitz Sum, recently awarded a Bib Gourmand by The Michelin Guide.
- Close out the weekend at the North Beach Bandshell with an extravaganza of epic proportions – Drag Brunch hosted by David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris featuring Miami’s very own Athena Dion and the queens from the R House Wynwood’s show-stopping weekend drag brunches. Following the Brunch will be the afore-described first annual Tea Dance and Drag Show.
Guests looking to sharpen their cooking skills alongside the experts should snag seats to one of the Festival’s Master Classes! They can choose from a variety of classes, such as:
- Pierogi-Making Master Class hosted by Martha Stewart
- Sushi-Making Master Class & Lunch at Gekkō Miami
- Croqueta-Making Master Class with Eileen and Jonathan Andrade
- BBQ-Making Master Class and Lunch hosted by Smoke & Dough
- Dumpling-Making Master Class hosted by Temple Street Eatery
- A Master Class and Happy Hour hosted by Flour & Weirdoughs and more!
Wine enthusiasts looking to master their inner sommelier can choose from one of the Wine Spectator Wine Seminars taking place throughout the weekend at Eden Roc Miami Beach.
The Festival’s crown jewel, Tribute Dinner presented by Capital One and part of The NYT Cooking Dinner Series, will take place on Saturday, February 25 and honour the outstanding accomplishments of the culinary community’s beloved and iconic Alex Guarnaschelli, along with Alexandre Ricard of Pernod Ricard.
The 2018 Tribute Dinner honoree Bobby Flay will be the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, and a stellar cast of chefs, including Eric Adjepong, Antonia Lofaso, Scott Conant, Ayesha Nurdjaja, Duff Goldman, and Geoffrey Zakarian, will serve up dishes to pair perfectly with some of the finest wines from the Pernod Ricard portfolio.
A plethora of unique one-night-only collaborations hosted by some of the country’s most critically acclaimed chefs and paired with a variety of high-end wines and spirits from the Festival’s exclusive provider, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, will accent this year’s Intimate Dinner Series.
Participating chefs and personalities include Giada De Laurentiis, Tommaso De Simone, Juan-Manuel Barrientos, Maneet Chauhan, Michael Symon, Andrew Zimmern, Katie Button, Zak Stern, Gabriel Kreuther, Esther Choi, Timon Balloo, Jet Tila, Antonio Bachour, Brooke Williamson, Jonathan Waxman, Lindsay Autry and Marc Vetri.
To date, the Festival has raised more than $34 million in support of its educational mission to cultivate future hospitality industry leaders at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU). Between SOBEWFF® and its sister NYCWFF, more than $48 million has been raised to benefit the respective charities of each Festival.
Beyond the funds raised, both Festivals draw attention to the vibrant dining cultures of their respective cities, provide economic stimulus in their communities, and serve as a platform to drive awareness and engagement for a wide array of philanthropic activities.
The complete line-up of events for the 22nd annual Festival is available online at sobewff.org, and wet your whistle before, during and after the event by following along with the #SOBEWFF hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
The guide to the 2023 South Beach Wine & Food Festival was written and compiled by Merilee Kern, MBA. Merilee is an internationally-regarded brand strategist and analyst who reports on cultural shifts and trends as well as noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate if this is review editorial, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
All images courtesy of SOBEWFF/ WORLD RED EYE.
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