This February marks the 10th anniversary of Miami’s premier culinary spectacular, and to celebrate, creator Lee Brian Schrager has amassed the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook (Clarkson Potter; $35). A comprehensive assemblage of recipes from the nation’s greatest chefs, the book features stories and photos documenting the event’s most memorable occasions.
Sales of the flashback-filled scrapbook benefit FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Here, Schrager—who also launched the extremely successful Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival and has plans for LA by 2013—serves up the dish.
OCEAN DRIVE: How would you describe your book?
LEE BRIAN SCHRAGER: If People magazine was ever to do a cookbook, they would probably do what I did: behind-the-scenes stories, photos and recipes. It’s also an armchair book, in that if you’ve not been to the festival, it does a good job of showing you what it’s about and how it got started and where we are 10 years later.
What are your favorite featured recipes?
I love Pierre Hermé’s Ligurian lemon cake; it’s fantastic. And Howie Kleinberg’s shrimp and grits. I’m also mad about Mario Batali’s orecchiette with sweet sausage and broccoli, and I love, love, love Alice Waters’ grapefruit and avocado salad.
Dishes from the Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival Cookbook
Tell me about the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s lineup for 2011.
We’re retiring the BubbleQ after Bobby Flay hosts it this year. It’s been so successful, but it’s time for something else. Alain Ducasse cooked at our very first festival, so he’s our tribute-dinner honoree this year, which takes place February 26. We’re holding our 10-year anniversary party at 1111 Lincoln Road; we’re doing a dessert-themed event hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart called Let Them Eat Cake, and at midnight, we’ll have a big party with Shake Shack catering burgers and milkshakes.
What have been some of the most magical evenings over the years?
The Emeril Lagasse tribute dinner was amazing, and having the King and Queen of Spain and Ferran Adrià—the greatest name in the food world—was huge for us. Ferran opened up a lot of doors for me. In a New York Times article, he said, “Only for Lee Schrager will I come across and do this,” and it was the truth.
How have ticket prices and availability changed over the years?
We haven’t raised our prices in three years. When they’re gone, they’re gone. It’s about capacity and safety issues. Burger Bash will sell out on day one; so will BubbleQ and Paula Deen’s lunch.
Do you have a single favorite dish in Miami?
I love the whole truffle chicken at Sugarcane, the poulet rouge that Michael Schwartz does and Michelle Bernstein’s fried chicken.
What do you ultimately want people to get out of the book?
I’d like it to sell like crazy to raise money for FIU. And I hope it introduces people who have not been to the festival to South Beach, so maybe they’ll come down, and for the people who have been, I hope that it’s a great keepsake and commemorative.
The South Beach Wine & Food Festival runs February 24 to 27, 2011; sobefest.com