Foodies gathered Friday night behind the Delano on SoBe for the ultimate barbecue extravaganza: the Moët & Chandon BubbleQ hosted by Food Network Personality Giada De Laurentiis. The mother to be strutted around the tasting tent, greeting guests and taking breathers and was later joined in her center tent by Grammy award-winning crooner John Legend and his less-than-relaxed lady friend Christine Teigen. Although the singer was not too camera-happy or fan-friendly, he chilled with De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay for some nosh sampling and chatting. The event, in prep phases since Wednesday, drew in a 500-plus crowd ready to get tipsy on the bubbly while takin’ down the beef. Standout dishes included buffalo tacos, pulled pork, slow-roasted ribs, tender fillet mignon and Godiva paninis for dessert, although most bites were not cooked on festival grounds.
According to FIU chef-instructor Michael Moran, there was prep working going on all the way out in Tennessee earlier in the week. Joined by a team of eager soon-to-be sous chefs, Moran’s students were paired with A-list chefs like Iron Chef Cat Cora, Al Roker, Tyler Florence, Govind Armstrong (Table 8), Terry Zarikian (Chinal Grill) and Andrew Swersky (The Forge) to help get the job done. Students and chefs were on site to be sure fest guests packed on the pounds, producing more than 37,000 plates for the occasion. Billy Joel’s wifey, Katie Lee Joel was on-scene fixin’ sandwiches sans hubby, attracting plenty of attention on her own. Busting moves to club-style play lists with endless bottles poppin’ (except for the rosé, which ran out around mid-Q) BubbleQ-goers were certainly getting their money’s worth ($300 a ticket). Even though Legend bailed for bedtime early, the party was going strong hours after.
“Being a part of this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” FIU Chef Moran’s right hand gal, Bianca Rojas said.
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BubbleQs might not be Legend’s thing, but if he were into the true spirit, he would have belted out a tune or two instead of scrambling from the scene, which barely had anything to do with him to begin with! -- Tracy Block