Every year, Miami holds one of the largest culinary events in the world: the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Unfortunately, residents of much more subdued Fort Lauderdale, kind of get the shaft.
Yes, there is the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival. And yes, Dine Out Lauderdale does exist, but there is nothing to compare to the remarkable culinary scale of SOBE. Fortunately, some local restauranteurs are hoping to change that. Cue Cheers for Charity.
Clean Plate Charlie caught up with Cheers for Charity chair and President of the Restaurant People--Vibe, Yolo, Tarpon Bend--Tim Petrillo, to get the scoop on the new dining event.
"We've been talking to Southern Wines for a while about doing something in East Broward. This is going to be our first stab at a weeklong food and wine festival" says Petrillo.
The almost weeklong event will run from October 7- 11. Chaired by Petrillo and sponsored by Lorraine Thomas (think Dave Thomas of Wendy's) and Southern Wine and Spirits, the events will benefit local children's charities: Children's Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Children's Home Society, Jack and Jill Children's Center, Joe DiMaggio's Children's Center, Junior Achievement of South Florida and Sun Sentinel Children's Fund.
According to Petrillo, "Most of the events will be held at the Riverside hotel. They'll be setting up an outdoor retail wine shop, on the lawn: selling wines typically not available for retail."
Events include: Sake & Sushi ($125), Gems Tasting ($125), Mixology Madness ($125), Bubblicious ($125), Wine Tasting in Center Court ($70), and the new trend Diner en Blanc
Diner en Blanc, which is French for dinner in white, will be the culmination of the week's events. The new fad has been hosted in cities across the world and has been featured on an episode of Top Chef Masters
"Diner en Blanc will be the main event on Thursday night [October 11]. It's going to be a big white party--guests will wear white, white tables, everything will be uplit white. We're going to have fifteen to twenty restaurants serving 200- 300 people, at one long table in Huizenga Park. Each restaurant is going to serve about twenty people, three courses, cooked on the plaza. We're bringing in kitchen equipment. It's pretty impressive" says Petrillo.
All of the restaurants contributing are from Las Olas and east Broward. The overall goal is to make the weekly event an annual festival.
Accoring to Petrillo, "Hopefully this will grow to be bigger and bigger, just as SOBE did. That festival has become a huge economic generator for Miami Beach; it would be great to have the same here."