Here’s your chance to kick things up a notch at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Emeril Lagasse will be coming to town. The restaurateur (13 hot spots) will be in town doing what he does best — socializing, eating and cooking — on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village. Later that evening, the Massachusetts native will be both cooking and attending the Jose Andres Tribute Dinner at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, his old stomping grounds (Emeril’s closed in 2011).
What’s your favorite thing about the South Beach Wine and Food Festival?
I have always really enjoyed the Burger Bash, it’s impressive to see the creativity the chefs put into their burgers. Last year, my restaurant Emeril’s was part of Best of the best, and that was a great event. Really it’s just fun to see so many collogues and friends and you can’t beat Miami weather in February. It’s like chef spring break.
We have to ask: If you were on Death Row, what’s your last meal?
This is always so hard to answer, probably a simple pasta with truffles and a lot of great wine and a martini.
Tell us about your biggest kitchen disaster.
I was cooking dessert for a group in Aspen and my pineapple upside down cake literally blew up in the oven and I was left with pineapples on a pan. I didn’t account for the altitude.
The hottest restaurant trend of 2017?
I’m not sure what this year will bring, there are so many talented chefs and restaurateurs doing amazing things but I can tell you that my group and I are focused on the price/value relationship we bring to the customer. With my latest restaurant Meril, this is something we really wanted to offer and people are responding well.
What’s the best meal you ever ate? The worst?
I recently had reindeer heart in Stolkholm with Marcus Samuelson, at Ekstadt in Stockholm. To date that may be the best thing I have eaten. Erik Ekstadt is doing amazing things there and all without electricity. As for the worst meal, life is too short to eat bad food.
Where do you like to eat when you come to Miami?
One of my favorite spots is Joe’s Stone Crab, can’t go wrong there it’s an institution. Recently I’ve also been to Komodo and Wynwood kitchen and bar.
What’s one cookbook you’d never throw out?
I have a huge cookbook library so not often do I like to throw any out, but one I think is a classic and essential to have is Julia Child’s “The Art of Mastering French Cooking,” volumes 1 and 2.
What’s comfort food to you?
Caldo Verde [Portuguese green soup] is one of my favorite comfort foods. I also love my mother in law’s meat and potatoes casserole. Really anything that is homemade and made with passion usually fits the bill for what’s comforting.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Zapp’s Potato Chips, straight out of the freezer!