2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival
The “B-Team,” chef Flay’s personal team is composed of four women (Stephanie Banyas, Sally Jackson, Christine Sanchez, and Elyse Tyrell) help him do everything from writing his cookbooks to keeping his life on schedule. Who better than to give insight into the life of this iconic Iron Chef? In fact, Flay took the panel opportunity to explain and talk up the work these four women do for him. “People ask me how I do it all and they have this image of me doing everything with 400 hands that are all mine,” he said. “These guys are how I do it.” — Arthur Bovino
Saturday, 11:30 p.m.
Chicken Coupe may have started out as a side event a few years ago, but it’s become a signature of the South Beach scene, once again squirreled away in the ballroom of the W Hotel. While Harlem legend Charles Gabriel was there serving his signature Southern pan-fried chicken, many of America's best fried chicken shacks aren’t represented (you won’t find Willie Mae’s, Gus’s, or Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, for example). Despite that, and the difficulties of serving hot fried chicken at an event (hey, even great fried chicken is amazing cold), it’s always a great opportunity to sample great chefs’ takes on a dish that has been a bona fide trend over the past 10 years.
Following in the footsteps of Karl Worley's Biscuit Love Truck, whose Nashville hot chicken with watermelon salad and thinly-shaved pickles was the best offering from 2014's Chicken Coupe, this year’s award for put-it-in-your-pocket or stash-it-in-your-significant-other’s-purse (an award bestowed by this Daily Meal reporter each year) goes to John Lasater of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville, Tennessee. Hot chicken? Hot damn. This hot chicken lollipop with white bread, pickles, and black-eyed pea salad was piping hot, had zip, and tasted great the next day cold. It had at least a few members of the press handing out their cards. — Arthur Bovino
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
Last evening's Tribute Dinner was a banquet fit for royals. This year, some true culinary royalty were honored, and with the likes of José Andrés and Alex Atala in the kitchen, culinary royalty were serving the food as well. Hosted in honor of the legendary Basque cuisine pioneer Juan Mari Arzak, of the eponymous three Michelin-starred restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain; and wine executive Ted Baseler of Ste. Michele Wine Estates, the meal, which was held in the Loews’ Grand Ballroom, showcased the best that both of them had to offer. Arzak’s influence was obvious in each of the dishes served, and wines in the Ste. Michele portfolio were served.
Monday, 4:30 p.m.
Well, folks, that's a wrap. The 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival has come and gone, and, as we’re sure that any one of the thousands of attendees can tell you, it was a resounding success. Even though there was a slight chill in the air, the weather cooperated and the festival went off without a hitch. We'll see you next year!