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SoBeWFF Recap: Local Chefs, Celebs, and an American Social Win

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The South Beach Wine & Food Festival wrapped up its four-day domination of Miami Beach on Sunday.

The 14th-annual event, which raises funds for Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management's Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center, sees the best, brightest, and most famous chefs come to South Florida in what has been labeled by Emeril Lagasse as "Spring Break for chefs."

Though cold weather was a deterrent for some beach time, chefs made do, dining at local restaurants and enjoying a break in scenery. Although the event attracted national names like Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, and Geoffrey Zakarian, many local chefs participated in the various dinners and parties, with a particular spotlight on Broward restaurants.

American Social, with locations in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, won the New Times' Best Bites on the Beach award for its chicken and waffles, fried strips of pickle-brined white meat chicken breast served with a rosemary, oregano, and thyme waffle and topped with a dollop of bourbon cream sauce, warm spices, wild cherries, and maple syrup. This is the second consecutive win for American Social, Last year, the popular restaurant's foie gras French toast won the hearts and votes of Grand Tasting Village attendees.

Food Network's Amanda Freitag hosted a Dinner on Fort Lauderdale Beach at S3 on Friday evening, the first festival event to be held in Broward County. S3's executive chef, Peter Boulukos, and chef Chris Miracolo made sure guests were sated with good food and wine.

Casa D'Angelo was at Thursday's Al Fresco Italian Feast.

3030 Ocean's Paula DaSilva and Adrienne Grenier pose with Haven's Todd Erickson at the 101 Gay Weddings event at the James Royal Palm Hotel.

Chops Lobster Bar served perfectly cooked scallops at the Grand Tasting Village.

Seminole Hard Rock set up a mini club, complete with full bar, rock 'n' roll memorabilia, and dancing girls wielding water guns filled with tequila.

Mojo Donuts served a selection of treats, including its decadent bakla-cropolis, at Sunday evening's Best of the Muunchies.

Brett Chiavari of BC Tacos's steak-house taco was an entire meal in a bite. Tender filet, creamed spinach, and crisp fried onions all played together in a taco at the Munchies.

Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock rocked our world with its fried-chicken-and-caviar taco.

Of course, there were tons of celebrity sightings at SoBe Fest. From Guy Fieri to Paula Deen, the stars came out to play.

Rachael Ray hosted the inaugural dog-friendly Yappie Hour.

And Geoffrey Zakarian took a moment to read our sister paper the Miami New Times' Taste Guide.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.



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