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SOBEWFF Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager shares some personal highlights from the festival’s first 17 years

Think you know the SOBEWFF? The man who started it all, Lee Brian Schrager, lets us in on his favorite moments from the past 17 years, some of which we may have missed or perhaps forgot that we remembered.

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2005: “Making good on a bet from the year prior, Rachael Ray wore a bathing suit for her culinary demo.”

2006: “Who could forget the Great Rainstorm at BubbleQ? People still bring it up to this day. It was the event’s fifth anniversary year. After that, we started tenting the evening beach events.”

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2007: “The Tribute Brunch honoring Peter and Robert Mondavi was the first time the brothers had been together in years. Very special event.”

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Peter and Robert Mondavi

2008: “We were live at Jungle Island with Good Morning America for a segment on our new Fun and Fit as a Family program. I think a monkey tried to steal Rachael Ray’s sunglasses!”

2009: “The gala honoring King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain was a truly memorable evening for everyone who attended. From José Andrés to Julio Iglesias to Charlie Crist to Gloria and Emilio Estefan, so many influential figures came out to make this tribute to the wines and foods and people of Spain very special.”

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Queen Sofia of Spain, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Charlie Crist, & Carole Rome

2009: “We had a marching band burst into the ballroom at Loews Miami Beach and play When the Saints Go Marching In to surprise Emeril at his Tribute Dinner. I will never forget the look of sheer surprise and pure joy on Emeril’s face while it was happening.”

2014: “Seeing Michael Symon surrounded by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models when he hosted The Q was a highlight. The models — including Chrissy Teigen — jumped right in to help the chefs serve barbecue to thousands that evening.”

2014: “Unveiling the Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory at FIU: a state-of-the art teaching facility built as a result of funds raised from the Festival. Martha Stewart gave the most inspiring remarks at the inaugural dinner.”

Through the Years sidebar Michael Symon and models.JPG
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Chef Michael Symon poses with Sports Illustrated swimsuit models at Moet Hennessy’s The Q presented by Creekstone Farms sponsored by Miami Magazine hosted by Michael Symon featuring the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models during Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Beachside at Delano on February 20, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival) *** Local Caption *** Michael Symon; Emily Ratajkowski; Anastasia Ashley; Lauren Mellor; Kate Bock; Ariel Meredith; Valerie Van Der Graaf; Hannah Davis Larry Marano Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival













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