The 2014 Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival rolls into town this Thursday, December 11, for four days of eating, drinking, and food celebrity sightings.
Now in it's eighth year, the festival will take place exclusively in Palm Beach, and although many of this year's events are already sold out, some tickets remain available.
Here, a quick look at what's new, hot, and still open to the public over the course of this year's fabulous food festival.
First Bite at Buccan
Palm Beach Buccan chef Clay Conley will be cooking and eating with chefs Anita Lo, Ken Oringer, Jonathon Sawyer and Stephen Stryjewski at his restaurant, Būccan, in the heart of Palm Beach, to prepare a sampling of their favorite amuse-bouches and entrees to some of the first guests of the 2014 festival. As the initial "taste" of what's to come year, The First Bite will set the tone for the next four days of parties, dinners and soirées, complete with contemporary dishes, innovative flavor combinations, and perfectly paired wines and hand-crafted cocktails. This is the fest's first dinner open to the public. This event is sold out.
Late Night Rock Party
Yes, Jeff Mauro is as much fun as he seems on his Food Network show The Kitchen, but isn't it time you find that out for yourself? Turns out, Jeff is also the king of karaoke. The self-proclaimed karaoke extraordinaire keeps the evening going strong with dancing, late-night cocktails and questionable tunes. All festival chefs are encouraged to sing their hearts out with Mauro on Friday, December 12 at the Four Seasons. Late Night Rock will take place on Friday, December 12, starting at 11:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Resort. Cost is $75 per person.
Although it's not a new event, the ever-popular Kid's Kitchen still has tickets available. Join chefs Robert Irvine and Lindsay Autry as they demonstrate cooking lessons for children during two sessions. Kid's Kitchen will take place on Saturday, December 13, from 9-10:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Four Seasons. Cost is $45 for one child with one adult.
Chillin' N' Grillin'
2014 marks Chillin' N' Grillin's third year anniversary with the festival. This year the event returns with new chefs who are ready to further reinvent their favorite grilled item. Individual stations for the chefs--Elizabeth Karmel, Robert Irvine, Mike Lata, Jeff Mauro, Marc Murphy, Christina Tosi, Fabio Viviani and Darryl Moiles--will be set up throughout Four Seasons Resort's poolside terrace. The Cooking Channel host Eden Grinshpan will interview each chef to discuss their grilled dish and more. For an added treat, Gardens Mall models will showcase the latest fashions, while Eden discusses culinary fashion trends. Chillin' N' Grillin' takes place on Saturday, December 13, from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Cost is $125 per person.
Palm Beach vs. Miami Street Food Showdown
The festival will bring some heat to the streets with a street food challenge event at the Four Seasons Palm Beach resort on Saturday night. Food TV personality and producer Marc Summers will host a battle where Miami and Palm Beach chefs face-off in various food challenges. The evening's lineup includes some of the best chefs in both counties; the categories and competitions were selected November 4 during a reception at the Four Seasons Miami resort. Challenges include: Buccan's Clay Conley will face off against Aaron Brooks from Edge Steak in Miami for a fried chicken challenge; Darryl Moiles of the Four Seasons Palm Beach will take on Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House in Coral Gables in a meatball-making contest; Lindsay Autry (formerly Sundy House in Delray Beach) will go up against Jamie DeRosa of Tongue & Cheek in Miami Beach for a hot dog battle; Tim Lipman of Coolinary Café will face off with Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar and Mignonette in Miami for a taco challenge; and Dean James Max (formerly with 3800 Ocean on Singer Island) will square off with Timon Balloo of Sugarcane in Miami for a "food-on-a-stick" challenge. The Street Food Showdown will take place on Saturday, December 13, from 7-10 p.m. at the Four Seasons Resort. Cost is $125 per person.
Daniel and Friends
Daniel & Friends has evolved from the festival's opening cocktail party to what is now its only Sunday brunch affair. Internationally renowned chef Daniel Boulud welcomes guests into his Palm Beach restaurant, Café Boulud at The Brazilian Court Hotel, for a palatable mid-morning indulgence. The alfresco style brunch will feature table after bountiful table filled with Daniel's favorite and most satisfying brunch dishes served in the setting of the hotel's picturesque courtyard. The event takes place on Sunday, December 14. Tickets are sold out.
Grand Tasting and Grand Chef Throwdown Finale
As a final kick-off to the festival, hundreds of guests gather in the Mediterranean-inspired shopping courtyard at 150 Worth Ave. to enjoy samplings of more than 40 of South Florida's hottest restaurants as well as generous servings of bold and exotic wines from around the world. Choose from dozens of amuse-bouches, vineyard selections, and trendy cocktails. Then, cheer on three local chefs as they conclude the festival with the Grand Chef Throwdown Finale and compete for the $10,000 prize** presented by Creekstone Farms hosted by WPTV's Jay Cashmere featuring celebrity guest judge Chef Marc Murphy.
The Grand Tasting takes place on Sunday, December 14, from 5-9 p.m. Cost is $100 per person.
The 2014 Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival begins Thursday, December 11, and runs through Sunday, December 14. Visit PBFoodWineFest.com.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger 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 Clean Plate's Instagram.
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