The South Beach Wine and Food Festival kicks off its four-day bacchanal today, February 20. The festival includes all manner of parties, dinners, and seminars -- many commanding a pretty penny.
But there are still plenty of opportunities to mingle with your favorite celebrity chefs without breaking the bank. In fact, there are a number of events centered around the festival that are totally free, with others serving food or drink a la carte.
From a Big Gay Ice Cream Social to a live radio show filled with culinary A-listers, here's a list of the best places to see celebs while keeping your wallet fat.
Celebrity Chefs vs. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Volleyball Tournament
When: Thursday, February 20, at noon
Where: Volleyball courts, beachside near Eighth and Ocean Drive
How: Free (bring your camera)
What do you get when you pit some of the most talented chefs in the country against the most beautiful models in the world? A charity volleyball tournament that benefits the Armed Forces Foundation -- and lots of photo ops.
Participating chefs include Pat LaFrieda; Marc Murphy; Victor Albisu; Michael Symon; Spike Mendelsohn; Paul Denamiel; Alon Shaya; Harold Moore; Chris Santos; PJ Calapa; Harold Dieterle; Bob Truitt; Jeff Mauro; Thomas Griese; Josh Capon; Todd Erickson; Hugh Mangum; Charlie McKenna; and Franklin Becker.
Participating models include: Bregje Heinen; Natasha Barnard; Valerie Van Der Graaf; Anne V; Ariel Meredith; Genevieve Morton; Kate Bock; Emily DiDonato; Sara Sampaio; Gigi Hadid; Hannah Davis; Jessica Gomes; Chanel Iman; Marloes Horst; Irina Shayk; Cris Urena; Emily Ratajkowski; Hannah Ferguson; Samantha Hoopes; Lauren Mellor; Kate Upton; Chrissy Teigen; Nina Agdal; Lily Aldridge.
Broken Shaker Freebies
When: All weekend long
Where: The Broken Shaker
How: No cover, no RSVP needed. Just enjoy free food and cocktails
The Broken Shaker is the place where the chefs go to party, so don't be surprised if the person standing next to you is Tony Bourdain or Scott Conant. That being said, forget all that and just come for the crafted cocktails and good food. Here's what's going on this weekend for SoBe Fest:
Thursday, February 20 from 1 - 3 p.m. - Julio Bernejo conducts a tequila seminar with free Mexican food and drinks courtesy of Don Julio.
Thursday, February 20 from 7 - 9 p.m. - Island Creek Oyster will be serving up a complimentary raw bar with music by Red Monkey.
Friday, February 21 from 5 - 8 p.m. - Classic Hour featuring Jim Meehan from PDT in New York City (sponsored by Grey Goose).
Sunday, February 23 - Broken BBQ featuring Giorgio Rapicavoli from Eating House, sponsored by Leblon Cachaca.
Kelvin Natural Slush Co.'s Boozy Slushies
When: Thursday, February 20 - Saturday, February 22, from 2 - 3 p.m. daily
Where: The James Royal Palm, South Shore bar
How: Free. Just show up and enjoy
Kelvin Natural Slush Co. is giving away free boozy slush treats daily. It's a perfect alcoholic brain freeze after a long day on the beach.
Late Night Bites at Pubbelly
When: Friday, February 21, from 12:30 - 2 a.m.
How: RSVP to email@example.com
If you're looking for some free pork-centric grub paired with fine cocktails, then Pubbelly is the place for you. Chef Jose Mendin (who's a semifinalist for a coveted James Beard award), is opening Pubbelly for a select few. Chow down on pork belly medianoche, ham croquetas with mint aioli, and bacon-wrapped dates with chorizo, spicy tomato, and goat cheese, and candied bacon and brownie mini ice-cream sundaes.
The event is free, but space is limited and you must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a confirmation email to attend.
Sirius XM Radio's Food Talk with Geoffrey Zakarian
When: Friday, February 21 from 3 - 5 p.m.,
Where: Poolside at the James Royal Palm
How: No RSVP, no admission. Just show up and enjoy.
Food Network celebrity chef and the most dapper man at SoBe Fest, Geoffrey Zakarian, will host a special episode of his Sirius XM radio show Food Talk. Listen in as Zakarian shares behind-the-scenes intel with guests Martha Stewart, Jeff Mauro, Marc Summers, Sunny Anderson, Ben Ford, Robert Irvine, Anne Burrell, Katie Lee, Andrew Zimmern, Marc Murphy, Daniel Boulud, Michael White and Danny Meyer. That's basically a day's worth of celebrity sightings in two hours -- and you didn't even have to buy a ticket.
Burgers and Binoculars
When: Friday, February 21 from 6 p.m. - midnight
Where: The DiLido Beach Club at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
How: No cover; burgers and drinks a la carte
If you couldn't get your paws on tickets to the sold out Burger Bash...or if you just like to watch, you'll want to head over to The DiLido Beach Club for a little spying over dinner. Enjoy a burger from several custom creations like the Spicy Chorizo Burger, a chorizo patty topped with Chihuahua cheese, smoked paprika aioli, and watercress, and watch the action in the tents through a complimentary pair of binoculars. Sneaky? Yes. But oh, so awesome.
Naked Taco Opening Party
When: Friday, February 21 from 7p.m. - midnight
Where: Naked Taco at the Dream South Beach Hotel
How: No cover; RSVP to email@example.com
Ralph Pagano's Naked Taco officially opens its doors during SoBe Fest and if it's a full-blown party with fire dancers, jugglers, and a DJ you seek (just like those SOBEWFF parties that cost over $100) -- but you're strapped for cash -- this is the place to be. And, because chef Pagano likes to throw a party, expect a good time with lots of celebrity chefs in the crowd.
Chef's Secret After Party
When: Friday, February 21 from midnight - 3 a.m.
Where: Highbar at the Dream South Beach Hotel
How: No cover; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the guest list
This is the super-secret chef's party that everyone talks about the day after. Only this time -- you know ahead of time. We suggest taking a disco nap for this one.
Big Gay Ice Cream Social
When: Saturday, February 22 from 1 - 4 p.m
Where: The James Royal Palm Breezeway
How: No RSVP. No admission. Just show up and enjoy!
Eat ice cream, drink boozy floats and celebrate marriage equality at the second annual Big Gay ce Cream Social. The Big Gay Ice Cream guys, Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff, and chef Art Smith, along with some of the most talented names in the culinary stratosphere (including Florida Cookery, Swine Southern Table & Bar, St. Regis Bal Harbor, R House, Tongue & Cheek, Michy's, Daisy Cakes, Panther Coffee, KindBar and Haven South Beach) are pulling out all the stops to bring you free treats with a message of love for all. Here are just some of the goodies you can enjoy -- all on the house:
Sweet cream ice cream from Big Gay Ice Cream, topped with Jenn Louis's Magical Shell from Jenn Louis of Lincoln PDX
Rainbow paletas - five flavors: hibiscus, pink lemonade, passion fruit, mango and coconut from La Newyorkina
Rue Macclanahan Ice Cream Sandwiches (Pralined Pecan cookies with bourbon ice cream) from Melt Bakery
The "Tony," vanilla bean gelato dipped in Belgian milk chocolate then encrusted in crushed, salted, pretzel pieces; and the "Hot Tamale," Mexican chocolate chipotle gelato dipped in Belgian chocolate and encrusted in caramelized pecan pieces from HipPOPs Handcrafted Gelato Bars.
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Pastries from Art Smith and Lorena Garcia; Rocco Carulli (R House); Jamie DeRosa (Tongue & Cheek); Antonio Bachour (St. Regis Hotel); Michelle Bernstein (Michy's); Kim Adams Nelson (Daisy Cakes); Max Santiago (Swine Southern Table & Bar); Todd Erickson (Haven); KindBar; and Joel Pollock (Panther Coffee).