The lineup is out for the 2019 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and the annual event is bigger than ever.
The five-day festival brings some of the world’s best chefs together in South Florida, from Feb. 20-24, for more than 100 unique collaborative dinners, wine tastings, beach parties and cooking demonstrations. The website is live to peruse events, but tickets will not go on sale until Oct. 8 at 9 a.m. at Sobewff.org. Mastercard holders get first dibs. General ticket sales begin at midnight Oct. 22.
And this year, for the first time, Palm Beach County gets in on the action. The festival, which has spurred a dozen Broward County dining events, expands further north with an event in West Palm Beach hosted by Martha Stewart and a pair of James Beard award-nominated chefs with Miami roots.
While there are the usual favorites — such Burger Bash, which crowns the country’s best burger with a party on the sand — every festival brings a new, interesting twist or pairing of chefs. Here are some highlights:
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The Best of the North and the South
Nina Compton, who made a name for herself at the Fontainebleau, won the James Beard award for Best Chef: South in May, and she’s paired with Edouardo Jordan (Best Chef: North), joining Dolester Miles (Outstanding Pastry Chef) at South Beach’s Yardbird.
A Taste of Puerto Rico
Chef José Andrés, who responded to a hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico by serving more than 3 million meals on the island and is donating proceeds from his book about the experience, “We Fed an Island,” to charity, pays homage. The event features his inspired twists on Puerto Rican classics mofongo, bacalaito, tostones and roasted pork. Andrés was the honored chef in last year’s tribute dinner, where, at the end of the night, he tore off his chef’s coat during a speech refuting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies to reveal a T-shirt that read “I am an immigrant.”
Welcome to the neighborhood
This dinner brings together new neighbors Brad Kilgore of Wynwood’s Alter and Brava at the Arsht with brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, whose first restaurant together will anchor the new downtown Miami train station’s food hall.
- Michael Schwartz’s new waterfront restaurant north of downtown, Amara, features the longtime Miami resident’s interpretations of Latin cuisine. For this dinner, he pairs with Argentinean barbecue expert Greg and Gabrielle Denton, fellow James Beard award winners for their cookbook, for a night at his picturesque restaurant.
- For another twist on barbecue, there’s Norman Van Aken — who helped define New World Cuisine with Latin flavors in Miami — hosting West Coast barbecue master Adam Perry Lang at Van Aken’s new Wynwood restaurant, Three.
Getting country in Broward
Country singer Martina McBride joins Southern chef and cookbook author “Grill Girl” Elizabeth Karmel for a Southern meal in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Miami ties in West Palm Beach
For the first festival event in Palm Beach County, Martha Stewart hosts a dinner with a pair of James Beard award-nominated chefs who got their start under Michelle Bernstein at Miami’s Azul in the Mandarin Oriental. Clay Conley, a four-time James Beard semifinalist in Palm Beach, joins another semifinalist, Lindsay Autry, at her West Palm Beach restaurant, The Regional Kitchen & Public House.
Learn from the masters
Several events this year focus on participating in the festival experience by learning from the masters.
- A pasta-making class with Mike Pirolo, the chef-owner of Miami Beach’s Macchialina, where the creative Italian fare has made it an institution on South Beach
- A pastry master who turned her talents toward making perhaps the best cookies in Miami, Cindy Kruse of Cindy Lou Cookies, will host a night of hands-on cookie making at her Little River shop.
A pizza-making master class and lunch hosted by BLT chef Laurent Tourondel at his latest Miami concept, The Alley