A monumental foodie fundraiser requires the best culinary stars, and the East End is full of spicy talent. From February 20–24, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival featured more than 100 events across Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to benefit the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.
On Thursday, February 21, East Hampton’s Martha Stewart hosted the festival’s first dinner at The Regional Kitchen & Public House. Working alongside 2018 James Beard Award semifinalists Chef Lindsay Autry and Chef Clay Conley, the three blended traditional Southern and East Coast flavors with a dash of the Mediterranean spice to create the perfect dinner to enjoy on the pure sands of Palm Beach.
Stewart hosted a wine and cheese happy hour at No.3 Social Roof Bar & Lounge on February 22. Guests got to enjoy the finest wine, the best fromages and Stewart’s coveted hosting skills while overlooking the Miami vista.
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Amagansett resident and 2013 Dan’s Taste of Two Forks host Bobby Flay contributed to the culinary festival with an ode to Roman cuisine at Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House. On February 21, Flay was joined by Cecconi’s executive chef Sergio Sigala, chef/owner of Rome’s Santo Palato Sarah Cicolini and the cookbook author who introduced him to the delicacies of the Italian capital, Katie Parla.
The next day, Flay teamed up with world-renowned Lo Scoglio executive chef Tommaso De Simone and Malibu Farm Miami Beach owner/chef Helene Henderson. Between Flay’s Southwestern style, De Simmone’s Souther Italian flair and Henderson’s farm-to-table cooking, guests at were treated to an immense combination of flavors.
On Thursday, guests got to enjoy a Mexican fiesta prepared by 2015 Dan’s Taste of Two Forks host Michael Symon. Tacos and tequilas were enjoyed by the pool at Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
The festival featured a burger bash hosted by East Hampton power couple Neil Patrick Harris and 2018 Dan’s Taste of Two Forks host David Burtka on Friday. Behind the Ritz-Carlton South Beach Hotel, Harris and Burtka emceed the competition as they joined guests and judges in tasting juicy burgers from across the country. With chowing down on beef on the brain, the couple spent the morning before the event showing off their beach bodies before the inevitable food babies hit.
In addition to being star-studded and mouth-watering, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival works as an educational platform for the future leaders of the hospitality industry, with more than 1,000 students and volunteers gaining real-world experience from the festival each year. All ticket proceeds benefit the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.