The Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival presented by Food &; Wine brought out dozens of culinary stars and thousands of foodies and wine aficionados to Miami Beach Feb. 21-24. People from Boca Raton to Barcelona were in attendance. Food Network celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Nigella Lawson, Martha Stewart, Anthony Bourdain, Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine, Guy Fieri, Rocco DiSpirito and many others came out to the festival to provide live cooking demonstrations, meet with fans, autograph cookbooks and of course, sample some amazing food and wine.
Lagasse was particularly a good sport as he met with fans calling them “baby and sweetheart,” posed for photos and signed everything from his cookbook to a catalog from the festival. He laughed hysterically as one of his fans ambushed him with kisses all over his cheeks. Another man brought six books for him to sign and asked the good-hearted chef for some life advice. “Sometimes I can’t believe all this is really happening,” Lagassee said. “It’s amazing. Life is amazing.”¿
Ray was exactly as you’d picture her to be in real life if you’ve seen her TV show. She was sweet, funny and like Lagasse, genuinely enthusiastic to chat with her fans.
At the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents, festival goers got to sample some of the newest wines and foods on the market. Some of the fun eats included samples of Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle, a create your own chocolate bar tent provided by Buick, mystery candy from Jelly Belly, a Barilla pasta tent, wines from Brazil that will be hitting stores in South Florida next month and edgy foods including Ziggy Marley’s new line of “Hemp Rules” organic seeds and coconut oils, rock ’n’ roll inspired wines from Winesthatrock.com and samples of food from local restaurants such as Spazio in Fort Lauderdale and The Federal in Miami.
But what's the fun of a festival like this without eavesdropping a little in the crowd. Here are some of the best lines we heard at 2013's South Beach Food and Wine Festival.
";I promise you I never drink this much. I just did this cleanse and this is hitting me really hard.";- Drunk chick flirting with a guy at the Cruzan rum bar. Shortly after saying this, she sneezed into his drink.
";I never eat like this unless I'm getting samples at Costco."; - 40-something woman on her way to the Goya stand.
";Isn't this delish? It's all so delish!";- Rachael Ray during her cooking demonstration.
";I'd like to get my hands on those bananas."; - A cougar ogling the men wearing Dole banana suits.
";I need a sip of wine here. Jesus! Are you people even awake?"; - Emeril Lagasse joked as he shared creative ways to prepare chicken.
";Cooking for me has been a salvation and I love habaneros. Chili habaneros are like eating the sun."; - Aaron Sanchez during his cooking demo, which was photo bombed by Robert Irvine.
";Taste it all as you go!"; - Anne Burrell
";I have a whole system when I come here. I come with an empty bag and leave with as much as security will let me take out."; - 30-something woman, who appeared to literally be a starving artist.
";I just love Emeril. His cookbooks are like porn to me."; - A portly 50-something man in line for Emeril to autograph the eight books he just purchased.