Barbecue, burgers, cheflebrities — it's all happening on the beach in Miami at The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine. There's parasailing just offshore, planes pull signs through the sky, the palm trees are swaying, and there's a full lineup of events, seminars, lunches, and tastings. The festival benefits Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center (to date, it has raised more than $20 million for the school), but it also benefits the stomachs and taste buds of the winter-weary revelers and tipplers who have descended on South Beach.
The Daily Meal's senior editor Arthur Bovino is on the scene along with Eat/Dine editor Dan Myers, so check in for updates, observations, and interviews from the festival. To follow the goings-on at the festival on Twitter, follow #SOBEWFF, and click here for all our festival coverage.
Thursday, February 20, 11:15 PM: The Q has come to an end, and it was an event that featured some of the nation's leading non-barbecue chefs as well as some of the finest competitive pitmasters around. Rick Bayless, Chris Santos, Michael Symon, Chris Lily,... the list goes on. 17th Street Barbecue's Mike Mills' whole hog took the win. Click here to read all about it. — Dan Myers
Friday, February 21, 5:30 PM: As much fun as the lunches, dinners, tastings, and chef meet-and-greets can be, sometimes it's more rewarding to be far away from the food and the bubbles, listening to sober stars of the industry discussing the minutiae, some of the details that led to their success. So it was at on Friday at the Esplendor Hotel Breakwater in South Beach where Jennifer Baum of Bullfrog & Baum moderated a panel featuring restaurateur Danny Meyer (the 2014 honoree at the festival’s annual Tribute Dinner) and some members of his Union Square Hospitality Group. The subject? Opening up about the challenges, successes, and “a-ha” moments they’ve experienced in the more than 20 years since Danny’s first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, opened its doors. And of course, there are some Shake Shack updates too. Click here for South Beach Food & Wine Trade Talk with Danny Meyer — Arthur Bovino
Friday, February 21, 11:30 PM: The 8th annual Burger Bash has come and gone, and for the fourth year chef Michael Symon took the People's Choice win. Representing his B Spot, he served a 'Fat Doug' burger topped with cole slaw, pastrami, havarti, and mustard. Taking the Judge's Choice win was Shake Shack's offering, topped with fried onions. Click here for all the details. — Dan Myers
Friday, February 21, 11:35 PM: We scored an insider tip from Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti at Burger Bash. Some people may have heard of the kind-of secret menu at Shake Shack, which basically amounts to really a combination of Danny Meyer's hospitality philosophy, having Shake Shack "your way," and how into your requests cashiers get. But this insider tip is actually from the CEO himself. You can get the Judge's Choice winning burger (what Garutti called the "ShackMeister") at any Shake Shack by asking for a burger topped with the crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots, which are on the DogMeister (served with Shack Cheddar and American cheese sauce as well). You heard it here first. — Arthur BovinoYou can get the Judge's Choice winning burger (what Garutti called the "ShackMeister") at any Shake Shack by asking for a burger topped with the crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots, which are on the DogMeister (served with Shack Cheddar and American cheese sauce as well). You heard it here first.
Friday, February 21, 11:45 P.M.: Mmm, Medianoches & Mixology. There are far too few events dedicated to this kind of terrific sandwich, so it was a real treat for anyone passionate about them to be able to graze from one station to the next. But truth be told, the evening's standout wasn't from an old-school Miami joint. Rather, it was from one of Miami Beach's new classic spots: Pubbelly. Plenty of cheese, extra moist both inside and out, freshly-pressed, and presented with delicately-fried Manchego and pork croquette that featured a crisp exterior that barely held their contents. Click here for more from the Medianoches & Mixology at South Beach Food & Wine Festival. — Arthur Bovino
Saturday, February 22, 11:45 P.M.: Chicken Coupe was a bit of a showcase for festival impresario Lee Schrager whose upcoming cookbook “Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America's Best Fried Chicken and Sides” is set for a May release (he spent a good deal of time researching it on some fried chicken tours last year). But the 2014 Chicken Coupe event may have best showcased the fried chicken of chef Karl Worley, a relative newcomer to the scene whose Nashville hot chicken with watermelon salad and thinly-shaved pickles (unfortunately one of the few non-bread and butter versions at the event) a standout dish at a sold-out event. Click here for more from Chicken Coupe. — Arthur Bovino
Monday, February 24, 6 P.M.: The festival officially came to a close last night, and there's no denying that it was one for the ages. Here's our recap. We'll see you in 2015!