But more pertinently, he recalled the time when a reputable French chef gave a demo followed by the obligatory cookbook signing, which attracted a dozen or so folks. Rachael Ray followed, and bedlam ensued as hundreds clamored for her autograph. Ticket sales for dinners and other such events have followed the same trajectory: Most of the public is simply more fascinated by Food Network personalities than it is by professional and perhaps taciturn practitioners of the craft.

There have been other gripes concerning the festival, the majority aimed at sky-high ticket prices, occasional overcrowding, and the questionable bang-for-buck value of the Grand Tasting Village — which those in the know have learned to avoid. The most common complaint regards lack of an exit/entry point midway through the village so those requiring use of a Portosan needn't walk a mile to do so.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach

1 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: South Beach

Biltmore Hotel & Resort

1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: South Dade

Blue Door at Delano

1685 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach

Details

2010 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, February 25-28. Click here.

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That said, the Best of the Best at The Fontainebleau and the various dinners and brunches are met with almost universal praise, as is the sheer let-your-hair-down fun found at the BubbleQ and Burger Bash. Nobody, in fact, can credibly dispute that the SBWFF pumps an unfathomable amount of great food, drink, cheer, excitement, and cash into Miami for four splendid days. Plus, it always manages to bring something else along: the unexpected.

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