Chef Alex Guarnaschelli has been a Food Network mainstay for years, from hosting her own show (Alex’s Day Off) to winning The Next Iron Chef being a frequent judge on Chopped. But she happens to have one of the most impressive resumes in the business and is currently at the helm at The Darby and two locations of Butter in New York City, and at the upcoming South Beach Wine & Food Festival (February 20-23), she’ll be hosting a cooking demo, a book signing, and two delicious-sounding dinners that couldn’t be more different.
The first dinner, Bella Cucina, will be held on February 20 at MC Kitchen in the Design District. She’ll be joining the restaurant’s chef Dena Marino, and they’ll be preparing a traditional Italian family dinner inspired by dishes from her recently released cookbook ‘Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook.’
For the second, she’ll be joined by renowned chef Alfred Portale of New York’s Gotham Bar and Grill and chef Matthew Kenney of L.A.’s M.A.K.E. to present a completely vegetarian dinner at The Space Miami. Portale is also the author of the vegetarian recipe journal ‘Greenmarket to Gotham,’ and Kenney is renowned for his raw vegan cuisine.
“I’m really excited about this dinner,” Guarnaschelli told us. “Alfred and I are both vegetable-oriented, and we go to the Union Square Greenmarket all the time, so it really doesn’t feel like much of a stretch for us.”
As for vegetarian cooking in general, Guarnaschelli believes that we’re entering a golden age of restaurants embracing the potential of vegetables. “The era of slapping together a bunch of vegetables if a vegan comes through your doors is coming to an end,” she added.
"I love South Beach, and this festival is a great opportunity to catch up with my colleagues," she added. "There's not only a lot of time for us to interact, but I get to see them in action, which is my favorite pastime. We can connect on a professional level, and share ideas. And the weather is beautiful!"