An added perk of attending SOBEWFF is you may cross paths with the next big celebrity chef. Now that the festival is upon us, here’s a trip down memory lane with four stars whose fame skyrocketed after their festival debuts.
Giada De Laurentiis
First year at SOBEWFF: 2004
A chef and food stylist, Giada De Laurentiis had only been on national TV for about a year when she led her first cooking demo at SOBEWFF’s Grand Tasting Village. Four years later, in 2008, she was among the most recognizable faces on the Food Network when she returned to host the Bubble Q. De Laurentiis was just days away from giving birth to daughter Jade, and yet few at the event had more energy than she did that night.
This year: Find her on February 21 at Italian Bites on the Beach, an event sponsored in part by the Miami Herald Media Company, in which De Laurentiis will take attendees through a culinary tour of Italy with wine pairings.
First year at SOBEWFF: 2008
It was just a few months after the premiere of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives when Guy Fieri hosted his first event at the festival. That was in 2008, when he fronted the Kids Kitchen, and in 2009 he held an interactive cooking lunch at the Biltmore. By 2010, Fieri was among the country’s most popular food personalities when he took a headlining role as host of the festival’s closing party.
This year: He’s hosting the Beachside BBQ on February 23 at the Delano.
First year at SOBEWFF: 2007
Having worked as a correspondent for The Early Show and Extra, Katie Lee’s first years at the festival were more in the role of journalist than celebrity. That changed after a season hosting Bravo’s Top Chef and making regular appearances on programs like The Rachael Ray Show. She began hosting festival events in 2007, including a brunch at the Delano.
This year: Lee will host Yappie Hour, the family- and pup-friendly event at the Loews on February 23.
First year at SOBEWFF: 2012
Josh Capon wasn’t quite nationally known when he made his South Beach debut in 2012, even though his award-winning hamburger had put him on the map in NYC. He went on to appear as a judge Chopped, win an episode of Beat Bobby Flay and contribute as a culinary consultant on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue. In 2015 he began hosting SOBEWFF’s Oyster Bash, helping it become among the signature events.
This year: He’ll host Oyster Bash on February 22 at his Lure Fish Bar at the Loews.