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The First Annual Flavors of Fort Lauderdale (Photos)

If you missed last weekend's Flavors of Fort Lauderdale, you missed out on heaps of delicious food and drinks. With cooking demonstrations, tons of food, and multiple options for inebriation, the festival was a definite success. Headed by Chef Allen Susser, with a focus on sustainable seafood, the four-day event was the kick-off to a new annual culinary event. 

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Flavors of Fort Lauderdale's main goal was to highlight the lifestyle and culinary industry of Fort Lauderdale. While there were multiple events, Saturday night's Flavors After Dark and Sunday's Grand Tasting were the most highly attended and most festival-like events. Both were held at Las Olas Marina.

Saturday's Flavors After Dark featured the Five Fabulous Female Chefs. Organized by Susser, the demonstration was meant to celebrate local women in the culinary industry. Due to what Susser sees as a need for more women chefs, he wanted to give local women chefs the platform to stand out. Participating chefs included Elizabeth Barlow of Dos Caminos, Lauren DeShields of Market 17, Robyn Almodovar of Palate Party, Jennifer Erickson of Roccos Tacos, and Shar Melwani of Cookies by Shar.

Sunday's Grand Tasting featured a line up of well-known local chefs handpicked by Susser. In keeping with the sustainable seafood element of the event, each chef prepared a sustainable seafood dish. Johnny V's Johnny Vinczencz, SEA's Tony Sindaco, Cafe Maxx's Oliver Saucy, Sole on the Ocean's Ralph Pagano, and 3030 Ocean's Dean Max presented dishes for the event.

The Grand Tasting was the most heavily attended of all the events. With nearly 50 vendors, it was actually difficult to sample everything at the event. There were plenty of seafood and meaty options to taste from tons of local restaurants.

More importantly, to match the likes of any good culinary event, there were multiple samplings of beverages. There were plenty of options ranging from beer, wine, and flavored champagnes to high-end bourbon, tequila, and specialty cocktails.

As with any new event, Flavors of Fort Lauderdale does have some room to improve--organizers would do well to bring in a more varied selection of vendors for Flavors After Dark. But we're betting that with the success of this years event--especially the Grand Tasting--more restaurants will want to jump onboard next year. Overall, it was a well organized, well attended, and successful event. We are looking forward to checking out future Flavors of Fort Lauderdale events.

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Sara Ventiera

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