The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival was in full swing by Saturday, December 13. With so many events to choose from over the course of the five day fest, they no doubt come with variety. Some are on a large scale, others require you to dawn your fanciest of Island couture. But Saturday's Grillin' N Chillin' event was more like a chef party and we are all invited.
The Four Seasons pool set the stage for a relaxed day, full of all things grilled, with the beach providing the perfect backdrop to prove that South Florida really is the place to be this time of year. Celebrity chefs aplenty all served up their favorite grilled dishes, the bar was flowing and the vibes just right. While the setting played a major role, as expected it was the food that shined through to steal the spotlight.
Proving that local chefs have what it takes to compete with the big guys, The Four Seasons' Darryl Moiles and Zach Orsini served up a hot dog that does not deserve to be called a hot dog. Made fresh with lamb, foie gras and pork shoulder, this sausage gets the royal treatment after the grill. Topped with avocado butter, pickled shrimp and green tomatoes that were pickled for five months, this sandwich quickly turned into a behemoth and set the bar for the rest of the grill stations.
Scheduled host Ted Allen didn't make it to the event in time to fill his emceeing duties, but everyone still got a face full of Food Network. Joining the party was TV host and Food Network personality Marc Summers who told us he digs this fest because "instead of freezing my tuchus off, I'm schvitzing." Summers also told us that Restaurant Impossible's Robert Irvine was serving up the "Best lobster roll I have ever had." Complimented by scallops and roe, the fresh taste of lobster is what made this dish a crowd favorite. Irvine is a repeat Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival contributor who assures that "there is no better place on the planet to be then right here."
Celebrity chef Elizabeth Faulker took to the grill with a twist, serving up a duo of grilled pizzas; classic margherita and a revved up serrano and prosciutto. Marc Murphy also put his twist on a standard flavor profile, serving up big portions of his chicken cordon blue burger.
When it comes to the grill, what's better than slapping something between two pieces of bread? That's always the mentality of Food Network host Jeff Mauro aka the Sandwich King. Witch such a wide variety of options to grill, Mauro went far in the classics direction, serving up a grilled meatloaf sandwich with fried cherry peppers.
What's a meal without desert? Just because the grill was on high, doesn't mean you have to skip the sweet stuff. Johnny Iuzzini from Bravo's Top Chefs Just Desserts knows a thing or two about a post-sandwich treat. Iuzzini went with a mix of sweet and savory with his charred pineapple complimented by a curry cumin meringue.
It might be scrape the windshield, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees weather in the rest of the country. But with the grill and Palm Beach both at center stage all day at Grillin' N Chillin', it's easy to see that winter is not welcome in these parts.