I've been lucky enough to attend the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen twice now, but I've never been to the Food Network's annual bash in Miami's South Beach. One's in the mountains, and the other is at the beach: if you could attend only one festival, which would you prefer?
While the entertainment industry turned to LA for the glitz and glamour of the 81st Academy Awards, the best and brightest stars of the culinary world gathered in Florida over the weekend for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
The four-day festival kicked off on Thursday night with the highly anticipated Burger Bash. Reigning Burger Bash queen, Katie Lee Joel, handed her crown over to the new king, Top Chef four's Spike Mendelsohn. His Coletti's Smokehouse burger (with Applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings, and chipotle BBQ sauce) swept the competition.
Other highlights included a special dinner with the king and queen of Spain, a barbecue hosted by Tom Colicchio, a tribute to Emeril Lagasse, an Oscars viewing with Bobby Flay, several grand tastings, and countless demonstrations.
To check out a huge gallery of images of all your foodie favorites, read more
I read on another blog (apologies, I forget which one now...) that the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is like Spring Break for the food industry. I wasn't there personally, but from the pictures I've seen, I'd have to say it seems pretty accurate. There was sun, sand, booze and partying. One of the events, After Hours at 212 Access House which took place on the same night as the Food Network Awards, had everyone partying down on specialty Gran Centenario Tequila cocktails. One of the cocktails was called the Gran Tangria (a tequila based take on Sangria), and I'm pretty sure I'm going to mix up a batch of this for my next party. To check out the recipe and see more pictures of chefs partying hard (including Tom Collichio, Katie Lee Joel, Bobby Flay, and Mikey "Top Chef" Midgley), read more
Okay, now what's wrong with this picture from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival party? Go on take a good look.
Here we have Top Chef winner Ilan Hall, Gail Simmons, Sam Talbot and Tom Colicchio hanging out at the Food & Wine magazine after party. Have you figured it out? I'll give you a hint it has to do with attire. No it's not that Sam is looking under-dressed (although you have to admit that he is), it's that Ilan looks like he's spending his Top Chef winnings on fancy suits and bling!
In fact the folks over at snack spotted Ilan getting on to the plane for Miami and have put together their breakdown of Ilan's attire choices, including a $12,000 diamond encrusted watch.
Moncler black vest: $375
Pink shoe laces for white Nikes: $4
Louis Vuitton duffel bag: $1,100
Louis Vuitton white belt with candy-colored logo:$350
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce watch in pure white (with diamonds): $11,950
To check out more pictures of our favorite Top Chef crew partying the night away, read more
During the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, many celebrity chefs were on hand to chat with fans while signing copies of their books. On hand were the usuals (like Rachael and Giada), however there was one particular Food Network bashing chef on hand as well. Yep that's right, our favorite celebrity chef bad-boy, Anthony Bourdain, was there too. On one hand I'm sort of surprised, I thought he hated these guys, but on the other I'm not surprised at all. I mean he is a celebrity chef, so why wouldn't he be there?
Here's what Charles Passy of the Palm Beach Post had to say about the "Howard Stern of the food world":
Of course, in the process of espousing such a philosophy, Bourdain made note of everything from Giada de Laurentiis’ oversized head to Al Roker’s stomach stapling (Bourdain’s point with the latter: Do you really want to bask in the culinary wisdom of a guy who can’t eat?). I laughed so hard, it almost made up for the five numbingly dull hours I spent at the Food Network Awards the night earlier.
But here’s the thing: Just an hour or so before the talk, Bourdain was doing a book-signing session, sitting in the same seat that Giada had occupied moments earlier. Can he have it both ways — mock the famous and bask in fame at the same time?
So what do you guys think, can he have it both ways or is it hypocritical?
Source: Palm Beach Post
For more pictures of celebrity chefs signing books, read more
As promised, here's the rest of the Food Network Awards red carpet coverage. These chefs really look glamorous when they're out of their day-to-day clothes (I must say I loved Alton suited-up and Nigella looks stunning here). And I know that by saying stuff like this I am just propagating the whole celebrity & beauty over actual amazing food (notice that these food awards somehow didn't include any prominent restaurant chefs and even the likes of Batali and Bourdain are absent from this red carpet moment). But hey! these are (for the most part) talented folks on a red carpet, enjoying their moment. So let's cut the industry some slack...
This weekend marked the First Annual Food Network Awards, which took place at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and will air on April 15 (why such the long wait?!). The event was recorded "live" in front of an audience, however I put live in quotes because according to The Palm Beach Post there's going to be a lot of editing.
Between all the stops and starts for sound and lighting cues, the technical glitches (Emeril actually had to re-present an award after the show was finished because he mispronounced something) and the general confusion, it took about three hours for the show to be done (and I believe it’s only a 90 minute broadcast — it’s slated to air April 15).
Sorta lame if you ask me, but oh well, you know we're all going to watch it anyways.
To see some of the celebrity chefs walking their own red carpet, read more
While the Oscars may have been the event that was on everyone's mind this weekend, over in Miami Beach, the focus was on food instead of fashion. At the South Beach Wine and Food Festival's Culinary and Lifestyle Seminar, some of Food Network's hottest TV stars were on hand to show off their techniques, answer audience questions and sputter off a lot of other useful tips.
And can I just get a little girly here and say that I love Nigella's style? She is in the kitchen, but still so glam... I need to get me a little black cooking dress!
As I mentioned last week, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a big deal in the foodie world. So naturally the event kicked off yesterday with a big bash (make that a burger bash), hosted by our 30 minute meal maven, Rachael Ray. Sadly, I am thousands of miles away on the other coast and wasn't able to attend it, nor will I be able to attend any of the appetite-whetting events (like the Food Network Awards Show, a panel featuring Anthony Bourdain & Tom Colicchio, Al Roker's BubbleQ, Rachael Ray & Giada's Kidz Kitchen, Martha's (and the Mondavi's) tribute brunch, wine-tastings, food-tastings, and other celebrity chef hob-knobbery)... *sigh* oh well... The event (which is expecting over 18,000 people) is mostly sold-out anyway.
Maybe next year, eh?
Until then, I, like most of you (unless you're lucky and if you are, please do share photos and stories with the rest of us!!), will have to settle for images and anecdotes.
To check out some more pictures from last night's Amstel Light's Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray (who, in case you're wondering, is getting groped by Lee B. Schrager - a prominent "event planner and public relations expert"), read more
For the last six years, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a big deal in the foodie world. It's a "star-studded" event that keeps growing year after year. This year the event, which is sponsored by the Food Network, has a new feature to offer: the "first-ever Food Network Awards." The event, which takes place on February 23, will be hosted by Emeril Lagasse and will honor "achievements in the world of food and entertaining."
Some of the presenters include Catherine Zeta Jones & Aaron Eckhart (they're in an upcoming film called "No Reservations" a remake of "Mostly Martha," a European film about a chef) as well as all the usual Food Network stars (Rachael, Giada, Bobby, Paula, Alton, and everyone's favorite Sandra Lee).
To learn more, including what kind of awards they're giving - and surprisingly they're actually food awards and not just Food Network based awards - read more