If one were to compare Miami to its northern brethren in Broward and Palm Beach, Miami would be the hot cheerleader sister to the just as attractive but more laid-back Broward and Palm Beach.
In terms of food festivals in the area, one would probably say the same.
Where South Beach Wine and Food Festival brings celebrity chefs from all over the place and packs them in to hundreds of events over the course of a few days, Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival takes a select handful and pairs them up for intimate dinners and relaxed demos for a less hectic experience -- around this time of the year, we don't need any more stress.
We chatted to festival organizer David Sabin about the new events, recently added chefs, and the draw of "the island."
Clean Plate Charlie: Over the past few years the festival has grown exponentially. How have you been able to grow it at such an incredible rate?
David Sabin: We've made it to 16 events spread over five days in the past seven years. In 2010 it was a three hour event; in 2011 we had five events; last year we moved up to 13. There has been a mix of chefs who have heard about the event on their own, through other chefs, or who I've met along the way. In most cases, we design events around participating chefs.
Who is new to the festival this year?
Ted Allen of Chopped; Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar bakeries in New York; James Beard award-winner Johnny Iuzzini; owner of FP Patisserie in New York, Francois Payard; Washington D.C. based chef and restauranteur Mike Isabella; Giorgio Rapicavoli, founder of Eating House in Miami; celebrity chef Todd English; Michael's Genuine pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith; Iron Chef America contestant Michael Ferraro; Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill's Timon Balloo; and Joanne Chang of Myers + Chang in Boston.
What differentiates Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival from other food fests?
I think it's the historical facet of Palm Beach; it's an intimate environment that has such a rich culture of important figures like recently celebrated John F. Kennedy Jr. The timing is another factor; it allows us to enjoy the holiday season. We like to say Palm Beach is where foodies go to winter.
Which events are you most excited for this year?
The Kids Kitchen is an important event, because it allowed us to offer family programing. We're really excited about the after-parties, as well; they lend themselves for intimate experiences with the chefs. Returning to the Farm is always a special event with great chefs; this year Marc Vetri is performing with his friend Phil Roy, a grammy-award winning musician, along with the Sosos. For An Evening in the Garden of Good and Evil we're recreating a Savannah with a southern-themed meal at the Breakers. It's really hard to pick just a few; there are so many great events.
The Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival kicks off on Friday, December 13. Visit pbfoodwinefest.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.