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By Arielle Castillo | April 5, 2011 | Food & Drink
Michael Symon at the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Allen Brothers
Rachael Ray generously stuffi ng hubby John Cusimano’s face at the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Allen Brothers
Charlie Trotter pays homage to Alain Ducasse at a dinner in his honor at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel
Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern at the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village
Emeril Lagasse admires an absolutely “Divine” cake at the Moët Hennessy USA Let Them Eat Cake event he cohosted with Martha Stewart
Gabriele Corcos, Giada De Laurentiis, Debi Mazar and Lee Brian Schrager at the Moët Hennessy USA Let Them Eat Cake event at 1111 Lincoln Road
Guy Fieri mugging it up for Martha Stewart at the Perrier-Jouët BubbleQ
Paula Deen whoops it up at the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village
A cake creation from the Let Them Eat Cake competition
Shirtless acrobats dangled from chandeliers, filling goblets with Moët, buffet tables stressed under the weight of bonbons and truffles, and food-world luminaries commingled with civilians. Such was the scene at Let Them Eat Cake—just one of the extravagant events at 2011’s Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which was back for its 10th waistband-stretching year.
Held on the seventh floor of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed 1111 Lincoln Road, Let Them Eat Cake featured baked decadence from more than a dozen of the country’s most talented pastry chefs. A perimeter of tree-sized cakes lined the room while smiling pastry chefs thrust slice after moist slice upon guests. Meanwhile, rock-star chefs—including chocolatier Jacques Torres, Wylie Dufresne, Rick Bayless, Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell—chatted and chewed.
Favorite Moments from the 2011 Food Network SBWFF
Best of the Fest
The other must-do event was Best of the Best, which sprawled across the Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s glittering Sparkle Ballroom. There, more than 2,700 attendees consumed 1,900 bottles of wine (including ultra-luxe Champagnes like Krug) in swag-able Riedel stemware. To soak all that up were tasting plates from 41 of the country’s top chefs, including Patrick O’Connell from Virginia’s The Inn at Little Washington, who grated fresh truffles atop the pungent, spicy popcorn he doled out to guests. Over at the booth for New York’s WD-50, proprietor and molecular gastronomy king Dufresne plated his establishment’s offering, a peeky-toe crab roll with salt-and- vinegar chips and celery mayonnaise.
The Burger Kings
Also returning this year, of course, was the Rachael Ray-hosted Burger Bash at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. There, 26 chef-created hamburgers went head-to-head, vying for the taste buds and attention of 3,000 guests. More than two tons of Idaho potatoes, 475 pounds of smoked bacon and 2,200 pounds of cheese later, the people spoke. Taking the crown for the second year in a row was Michael Symon, of Lola Bistro in Cleveland. His Yo! Burger went meat-on-meat by featuring a patty topped with fried salami, scoring the final nod from the public. Chef Marc Murphy (of New York’s Landmarc) took home the Golden Grill prize, awarded by judges Art Smith, Todd English, Alex Guarnaschelli, Kate Krader and Ocean Drive editor in chief Suzy Buckley.
Farewell, Dear BubbleQ
A little sadly, this year marked the end of the BubbleQ’s long and beloved run. Sponsored by Perrier-Jouët and hosted by Bobby Flay, it drew more than 3,300 revelers to the Delano’s beach for a fête abundant with barbecue and Champagne. Lots of Champagne, that is—some 3,150 bottles in all, to wash down some four and a half tons of brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, quail, pork belly and more. Even Al Roker himself served up his own version of ’cue along with celeb chefs such as Jonathan Waxman, Cat Cora, English and Bayless. Giada De Laurentiis and Guy Fieri were also spotted in the crowd. There’s good news in BubbleQ’s exit, though. Replacing it next year is a finger-licking event called Red, White, and ’Cue, which should fi t the unfussy vibe of current food trends. And with the success of SBWFF’s sister event in New York, founder Lee Brian Schrager is expanding again, this time to Los Angeles. Mark your calendars for the next must-see stop on the food-lovers’ circuit.
Photographs by Seth Browarnik