How big of a deal is next week’s Seed Food & Wine Festival?
Big enough that Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, the husband-and-wife chef-owners of what many consider to be America’s best vegan restaurant, are coming to Miami from Philadelphia to participate in the fest. This, even though they’re days from opening V Street, the hotly anticipated sister restaurant to their groundbreaking Vedge.
Seed is “something we really believe in and had to be a part of,” Landau says. “We couldn’t pass this up.”
Landau and Jacoby will be participating in several events tied to the inaugural Seed Food & Wine Festival, which runs Wednesday through Oct. 19.
The main Seed show is an all-day street fair Oct. 18 in midtown Miami that will include cooking demonstrations, a farmers market, wine and food samples, and plant-based lifestyle seminars from celebrity vegan Alicia Silverstone, Edgy Veggie columnist Ellen Kanner, Paradise Farms owner Gabriele Marewski and others.
The festival is the creation of Alison Burgos and Michelle Gaber, Miami-based event promoters and entrepreneurs who turned to a vegan diet last year after doctors diagnosed Burgos with rheumatoid arthritis. She says she shed weight and stopped needing some of her prescribed medications, but most of all, she felt great and realized that being vegan didn’t mean having to subsist on lettuce the rest of her days.
“I think everyone has their own journey with food and how it relates to their body,” Burgos says. “What we have learned through this journey is that, when we talk to people, no matter where they are with their eating habits or health, most of them are really inspired by our story.”
Burgos and Gaber incorporated into festival some of South Florida restaurants and retailers that have helped them discover the joys of plant-based eating, including Choices Cafe, Temple Kitchen, Basil Park, JugoFresh, Bunnie Cakes, Green Bar & Kitchen and Christopher’s Kitchen.
And they’ve tapped out-of-town vegan all-stars like Landau, Jacoby and Silverstone, plus author and entrepreneur Brendan Brazier, as well as chef Matthew Kenney, who is opening veg-centric restaurant White Lotus next year in Wynwood.
The full lineup:
▪ Wednesday: Screening of the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2” followed by a reception of food, juices and craft beer. 7 p.m. at O Cinema, 90 NW 29th St. $30-$40.
▪ Thursday: Cocktail party hosted by Silverstone featuring chef-created bites, a mixology competition and a silent auction. 7 p.m. at Wynwood Walls, 2528 NW Second Ave. $65-$75.
▪ Friday: The Vedge Dinner. Landau and Jacoby cook a four-course meal with wine pairings, hosted by Silverstone. 7:30 p.m. at Tongue & Cheek, 431 Washington Ave. $100-$125.
▪ Oct. 18: Seed Food & Wine Festival. Wine and craft beer tastings, food sampling, lifestyle products and seminars, green-living and gardening tips, farmers market, live music, cooking demos and more. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Northeast 29th Street and First Avenue. $40-$85.
▪ Oct. 18: Cocktails and mocktails from JugoFresh paired with a four-course meal from Kenney. 7:30 p.m. at the Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd. $100-$125.
▪ Oct. 19: Beachside Brunch. 11 a.m. at Baoli, 1906 Collins Ave. $50-$60.
▪ Oct. 19: Kids Day. Children learn to make their own veggie pizzas and plant their own herb gardens at this hands-on lab presented by Whole Foods, JugoFresh and Bunnie Cakes. 2-5 p.m. at Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr. $10-$15.
Proceeds benefit Farm Sanctuary and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The organizers and participating chefs say their goal is for South Floridians to embrace Seed, the first festival of its kind in the region, regardless of whether they’re already vegan or just looking to incorporate more veggies into their lives.
“You can embrace plant-based food without being vegan, and that’s what Seed is doing, that’s what we’re doing,” Landau says. “Ten years ago, only people with dietary limitations or strong vegan values were seeking out vegan dishes, but it’s not that way anymore.”
If you go
What: Seed Food & Wine Festival
When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 18 (main event; satellite events run Oct. 15-19)
Where: Northeast 29th Street and First Avenue, midtown Miami
How much: $40-$85
More info: seedfoodandwine.com