The South Beach Wine & Food Festival released its list of events for 2020 and notably absent are half of the events from its latest push into Fort Lauderdale.
The festival, now in its 19th year, still will offer more than 100 celebrity-studded dining events from Feb 19-23 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. But the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau pulled $75,000 in funding that the festival had counted on, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Instead, the festival will host six events in Broward, which had been growing in the county every year since 2014.
“I’d like to see some economic data supporting the contention that this generates room nights, and they don’t have that data,” GFLCVB head Stacy Ritter told the newspaper. “We’re spending our Tourist Development dollars to promote someone else’s destination and I don’t know if that’s the best use of Broward’s money.”
The festival will receive partial funding from Fort Lauderdale, festival founder Lee Schrager wrote the Miami Herald in an email.
“We received confirmation from Fort Lauderdale that we would be receiving funding (Tuesday). It is not the full funding we received in the past, which is why the program is reduced,” Schrager wrote. “We currently have six great events programmed in Fort Lauderdale and may add a couple more.”
Palm Beach, which hosted its first event at the 2019 festival, gets to host two dinners, one with Martha Stewart and another with chef Mauro Colagreco, whose Menton, France, restaurant was just named No. 1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. His new Palm Beach spot in the Four Seasons, Florie’s, has drawn rave reviews.
In South Beach, the festival returns to its roots.
Rachael Ray returns to host Burger Bash, an annual fan favorite where chefs from around the country compete to see who has the best burgers.
Guy Fieri, who recently opened his first Miami restaurant, Chicken Guy! which he announced at the last festival, returns to host a beachside barbecue. And Andrew Zimmern will be the emcee for the annual tribute dinner, where this year the festival will fete chef Marcus Samuelsson who has a restaurant in the works in Overtown and was a guest on the Miami Herald interview series La Ventanita.
“Machete” actor Danny Trejo, whose turn to food now includes a restaurant and two cookbooks, hosts a taco night at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
Ticket sales open to the general public Oct. 28 at sobewff.org. Capital One credit card holders get early access and exclusive dining opportunities: limited-seating dinners with Anne Burrell and Scott Conant (Feb. 20), Ashley Christensen and Mike Lata (Feb. 21), Bobby Flay and Tommaso De Simone (Feb. 21), and a pie-making class by Pink Pie (Feb. 22).