Food Network star Guy Fieri and famed chef Emeril Lagasse hosted the inaugural event, which provided a sold-out crowd with more barbecue, Moët Champagne, Hennessy Cognac, and Belvedere vodka than one could dream of.
The biggest hit of the night came from host Guy Fieri, who served a banh mi taco with barbecue chicken fried rice from his Tex Wasabi restaurant. Also receiving major accolades was the barbecue beef tenderloin on cornbread pudding with mango pickled red onion salad, served by chef Dean Fearing of Fearing’s restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.
Chicago-based chef Yoshi Katsumura’s barbecue Wagyu short ribs on scallion pancake with watermelon salad was also a fantastic mixture of flavors, as was the barbecue baby-back spring rolls with white truffle barbecue sauce served by Celebrity Cruises chef Jacques Van Staden.
Nadia G of Cooking Channel’s Bitchin’ Kitchen was all smiles as her food got raves. “I think we’ve got the best barbecue in the house,” she said with pride. “It’s slow-smoked pork belly with a pineapple balsamic glaze on a fresh challah bun, with a really crisp red cabbage slaw. It has a little bit of cider vinegar, parsley, brown sugar. It’s tangy-sweet.“
Chef Chris Lilly of Alabama’s Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q had the most daring dish of the night: Wagyu beef brisket Benedict with barbecue hollandaise. The Today show’s Al Roker kept his contribution simple with perfect pulled pork sliders.
At the end of the night, the biggest line was at New York’s Big Gay Ice Cream truck, where guests could not get enough of the salty pimp ice cream cone. Also on hand to satisfy a sweet tooth was the Godiva Double Red Velvet, a selection of Daisy Cakes, and Three2OH! chocolate-orange Grand Marnier ice cream with cherries jubilee.
The beach barbecue party continued into the wee hours of the night at The Q After Dark.
The Food Network’s South Beach Food & Wine Festival runs through Friday. Tickets for some events are still available through the website.