Lee Brian Schrager is vice president of corporate communications & national events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc. That's a long title, so it's best to just remember him for what made him famous -- creator of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
The event started as a one-day "Florida Extravaganza", held at the Florida International University Biscayne Bay campus. Now,it runs nearly a week and attracts the most important culinary luminaries in the world. To date, the event has raised more than $16 million for FIU, with over 60,000 people attending.
The event has brought world wide attention to our culinary scene, with the likes of Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and Anthony Bourdain eating (and Tweeting) all over Miami and Miami Beach. Schrager has replicated the success of SoBe Fest in New York, with the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival. For being a visionary and a humanitarian, Lee Schrager earns a prime spot on our list of Tastemakers.
The most influential person in my career has been:
Christopher Idone, the founder of Glorious Food, and author known for his beautifully photographed cookbooks.
When you're alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge) the one food or drink you turn to is:
I don't think it's a secret -- my office outed me on this one in my first cookbook! Popeye's Fried Chicken.
What does Miami need more of?
Really good Mexican restaurants.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
Name: Chicken Delight. Featuring: Endless ways of preparing fried chicken!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully, right where I am.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Alice Waters, Edie Beale, John Waters, Helmut Newton, Diana Krall, and President Clinton.
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.