Food Network and Cooking Channel Brings the Victuals to Miami Beach (February 2015)
By Urban Traveler Lynn Jones
The Food Network and Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival presented by Food & Wine is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Hosted by Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida and Florida International University (FIU), the Festival benefits the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory and the Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center at FIU. To date, the Festival has raised more than $20 million for the School (www.sobewff.com). For foodies and Food Network addicts, The South Beach Wine and Food Festival was a treat for people who regularly watch TV shows such as Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Rev Run Sunday Suppers, The Worst Cooks in America, The Chew and more! South Beach was the location as foodies from around the country were on hand to receive food tips and options on what to cook, how to cook and where to cook! Foodies had the chance to attend brunches, lunches and intimate dinners. Many celebrity chefs were on hand to showcase their talents, wares and spices. Inside the Goya Kidz Kitchen, Rev Run and his wife Justine hosts of Rev Run’s Sunday Suppers presented an interactive food show with families for a “Fun and Fit Family day”. World renowned famous Chef Emeril Lagasse made his rounds through the Lowes Hotel. Lowes was also the scene where I took a “selfie” with my Food Network Restaurant Impossible hero Robert Irvine! Suddenly I stumbled upon more Food Network stars and I took a triple whammy photo with Aaron Sanchez, Michael Samuelsson, and Ann Burrell. Seminars included Let’s Talk About It with Alex Gurarneschell, Mastering Your Mistakes In the Kitchen with Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay, It Takes A Village.
The ninth annual Burger Bash featured Food Network stars as well as local and national chefs who masterminded a burger takeover delivering over 30 burgers each piled high with unusual and artistic toppings. Emeril Lagasse and Spike Mendelsohn were also among the renowned chefs and mixologists who gathered in Miami to participate in the first-ever “Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown” competition. Captain Morgan’s new pineapple, coconut and grapefruit flavored rums took over South Beach with a taste of the tropics.
Last but not least, earlier I mentioned my photo with Food Network Restaurant impossible host Robert Irvin, long story short, I was photo-bombed in the photo by a gentleman named Brenden Connor. After I laughed and chastised Brenden for the photo-bomb, he informed me that he is the owner of the restaurant Whisk Gourmet. Brendan said “stop on by and have dinner.” Well that I did and I must say Whisk Gourmet is a gourmet delectable delight! The food and atmosphere was awe-inspiring! Whisk Gourmet is a spacious café serving American dishes with Southern flair, plus gourmet take-home meals. Whisk Gourmet is located at 7382 SW 56th Avenue, Miami Florida, tucked in a quaint neighborhood surrounded by a flock of trees. Serving wine and beer, I dined on Lump Crab Cakes sautéed spinach, red pepper coulis, crispy shallots, corn relish; Low Country Shrimp & Grits with cremini mushrooms, bacon, Anson Mills grits and scallions; and Pulled Pork Sliders with honey cider slaw, mustard bbq sauce, house pickles. Brenden, Whisk Gourmet is undoubtedly a whisk of gourmet food, ambiance and an excellent staff! Thank you and see you again soon! To sum up the South Beach Food and Wine Festival: This foodie is reporting an extravagant smorgasbord of food, friends and fun on Miami Beach, the coastal resort city where movie stars and retirees sit back and allow the excitement come to them!