This month, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is celebrating year 12 of food, cocktails, celebrity chefs, and outrageous parties. We'll be bringing you along with us to the tasting tents and demonstrations, so stay tuned for all of our on-the-scene coverage. In the meantime, see how much you know about this delicious and star-studded festival.Take the Quiz
With cooking shows on both the Food Network and Cooking Channel, a cookbook, and four kids under the age of 8, Melissa d'Arabian has her hands full (and then some). But the chef mom takes time out of her busy schedule every year to honor a tradition that she started more than 30 years ago with her late mom.
"I was raised by a single mom. We were on a tight budget, and she was putting herself through college, then medical school. When I was in kindergarten and my sister was in second grade, we invited friends for hot cocoa and cookies. It was just a lovely time to connect with girlfriends. Some years we went all out and did a big buffet. We'd start cooking a week in advance. It was our one party of the year, and we really put all of our energy into it," Melissa said.
She hosted 15 mother-daughter teas with her mom before she passed away. "I always said that if I ever had a daughter, I'd continue the tradition, and now I have four," she continued. "It's part of the holiday season for us. The girls get new dresses for it, they select the invitations . . . we're all in it as a team. It's a real lesson in hostessing."
This year, some 125 lucky little girls and their moms gathered for the d'Arabian mother-daughter tea, which featured delicacies like Melissa's signature potato bacon torte, yogurt granola trifle, cookies, coffee cakes, scones, and her favorite French tea from Le Palais des Thés. Click through for three of Melissa's favorite "tea time" recipes and her best holiday entertaining tips for busy moms.
Photography by: Melissa and Philippe d'Arabian
Alton Brown's Good Eats days are over, but he's nowhere near throwing in the towel. Alton claims he's on camera more days this year than ever between hosting Iron Chef America and launching a new show on the Food Network this coming Spring. But that's not all that's on Alton's plate: he's also the proud mentor of Food Network Star winner Justin Warner and is the executive producer of Justin's forthcoming show.
I chatted with Alton to discuss all the juicy details of his latest Food Network project, Justin's new show, and The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, which premieres Nov. 4.
YumSugar: What can we expect from The Next Iron Chef: Redemption?
Keep reading for the latest from Alton.
His new show, Rebel With a Culinary Cause, is slated to air this Fall on the Food Network. Prepare for funky fusion dishes like Nippon nachos, a pork wonton dumpling smothered in melted chipotle gouda and a traditional Mexican salsa. He's remixing old-school favorites, too: for the pilot episode, Justin revamped a classic Caesar salad, whipping up a grilled chicken Caesar salad with an aspic Caesar dressing that dissolves into the hot, charred lettuce hearts.
I spoke to the rebel himself only hours after the finale of Food Network Star aired. The quirky chef discussed his love-me-or-leave-me attitude, the mentors in his life, and an illegal ingredient he can't wait to get his hands on. Take a look at what he had to say.
YumSugar: What's it like being a mentor on Food Network Star?
Giada De Laurentiis: In the past we have said that I was a mentor, but truly, I didn't really get a chance to mentor these folks. I think I learned a lot, and I feel emotionally invested in the show. I think you'll find that's what it was like for Bobby Flay and Alton Brown, as well. I really felt like [the people on my team] were almost my kids. I felt so emotionally invested in their future and in their performances.
YS: What was the most important lesson you learned from your team?
GDL: I think that one of the most important lessons I have learned from my team is that sometimes we try desperately to turn someone into something that we think they should be, when really we need to let them grow on their own. I learned that 10 weeks isn't always enough to polish that gem. It's important that [the contestants] stay true to who they are. As much as I want to make them grow and move faster, the experience of turning them into these stars takes time, and I need to be more patient.
Today, the Daytime Emmy Awards revealed who's in the running for top nods, and, as expected, a number of culinary personalities and cooking shows are on the list.Giada de Laurentiis, Rick Bayless, Paula Deen, Sandra Lee, and Nate Berkus are all in the running for outstanding lifestyle/culinary host, and Rachael Ray is up for outstanding talk show host. Even the defunct Martha Stewart Show got props with an outstanding lifestyle program nomination.
One of the biggest honors bestowed on the food community is that of outstanding culinary program, and this year, no matter who wins, the folks at Food Network will be celebrating; all four nominees belong to the Scripps family. Tell us: who would you vote for as the best cooking show?
Source: Food Network
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival offered some of our favorite people in the food world the chance to kick back, drink mojitos, and hang out with one another. Even though we were at a food event, the wine and cocktails part seemed to be the first thing on everybody's mind. From Bobby Flay chugging his two huge drinks on stage to Michael Chiarello doing a bit of a pole dance, click through to see who we spotted.
"Wow, I'm wasted," the Food Network chef admitted to the crowd, after pounding down two giant mojitos in a row. The inebriated audience only encouraged him to drink more. For the most entertaining of Bobby's bytes, keep on reading.
This weekend marks the 11th annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival, and we're en route to check in on the scene as you read this.
You may know that the festival offers an exciting mix of celebrity chefs, culinary demos, and of course, wine and food — but there's plenty more that goes on behind the scenes. We thought it'd be fun to offer a glimpse of the event by the numbers. Let's begin with the biggest one: the festival will see 57,000 ticketed attendees over the course of this weekend. For more surprising facts, keep reading.
Don't forget to check back here for play-by-play coverage and be sure to follow us on Twitter for live updates!