Food Festivals

South Beach Wine and Food Festival Expands Into Broward With Three New Events

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine is back, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year when it kicks off February 24 through 28.

This year, Broward County is getting in on the action. According to SoBeWFF event director and founder Lee Schrager, the idea to expand the festival into Broward County with the introduction of this year's Taste Fort Lauderdale Series marks a natural evolution of the nationally recognized event.

This year, Schrager is introducing the inaugural edition of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Taste Fort Lauderdale Series, which will kick off a day earlier than with years past beginning Wednesday, February 24, with an event dubbed Seaside Eats. The dinner will take place at the city's historic Bonnet House Museum & Gardens and will be hosted by Robert Irvine, a British celebrity chef who has appeared on a variety of Food Network programs including Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, Restaurant: Impossible, and Restaurant Express.

Over the next few days the series will continue with several intimate dinners taking place at various Fort Lauderdale restaurants and featuring renowned chefs and culinary personalities including Todd English, Debi Mazar, Gabriele Corcos, Marc Vetri, as well as Auberge Resorts' Robert Curry and Paul Lemieux.

"Broward's dining scene has been growing steadily over the past few years, and we’re always look for new talent to showcase at the festival, so it’s certainly a community of talent we've had our eye on," said Schrager, who also serves as vice president of corporate communications and national events for Southern Wine & Spirits. "We’ve always drawn from areas outside of Miami. We had an event at Little Palm Island in the Keys a couple of years ago, something at Red Fish Grill in South Miami last year, and have been doing events at the Biltmore in Coral Gables since the very beginning. This is an opportunity to really highlight the growing culinary scene in Fort Lauderdale."

The Taste Fort Lauderdale Series will culminate with a Bloody Mary Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton, hosted by the 2015 cast of Food Network's Chopped on Sunday, February 28.

Popular returning events for the SoBeWFF 15th year include the Wine Spectator Wine Seminars, Paella & Tapas by the Pool hosted by José Andrés, Tacos After Dark hosted by Aarón Sánchez, the Art of Tiki hosted by Guy Fieri, and a Yappie Hour hosted by Rachael Ray.
There are also several new Miami-based SoBeWFF events in 2016, including:
  • Grilled Cheese Happy Hour hosted by Laura Werlin & Ms. Cheezious
  • Midnight Breakfast hosted by Chrissy Teigen & Fireman Derek
  • Dessert Party hosted by Duff Goldman
  • Croquetamania hosted by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
  • Like Water for Chocolate Screening & Conversation with Screenwriter Laura Esquivel
As always, the festival’s beachside tents will stretch between 10th Street and 13th Street off Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, housing the Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village featuring culinary demonstrations and samplings from Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and a tri-county array of restaurants lead by culinary "captains" representing neighborhoods across South Florida.

"We’re looking forward to the inaugural edition of the Taste Fort Lauderdale Series in Broward County this year," added Schrager. "From the kick-off event on February 24 hosted by Robert Irvine, to the Bloody Mary Brunch hosted by the cast of Chopped on February 28, it’s a great line-up all weekend long, for both Miami and Broward. This year, our goal is to reach and engage a new audience, as well as highlight the growing culinary scene beyond Miami."

The festival’s exclusive MasterCard presale period begins at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 5 at, or by calling 877-762-3933. Phone sales open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Public ticket sales for the 2016 Festival open at midnight on Monday, October 19.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna