Wessel said the event, organized by South Beach Wine and Food Festival director Lee Brian Schrager, came together via twitter. "Lee put out a tweet about wanting to do this, and me and a bunch of other chefs thought it was a great idea. That's how it happened."
Team Wessel cooked from a tent in the parking lot. The Iron Chef and his squad worked from Hoffman's top of the line mobile kitchen, and Boulud toqued in house. Philadelphia Chef Jose Garces handled dessert from under another tent in the parking lot.
Lee Schrager at work.
A sold-out house of 250 took on a menu of traditional Haitian appetizers prepared by Tap Tap staff, specialty Belvedere drinks prepared by Ingrid Hoffman, and epis bread with lime butter dipping sauce, "Mirliton Blanche" white shrimp stuffed chayote, Morimoto yellowtail pastrami with panzanella, red wine braised short ribs with winter root vegetables and chanterelles, and coconut tapioca with passion fruit, semisweet chocolate cremeux and quinoa chicharrones for dessert.
But while the crowd soaked up the authentic Kreyol sounds of Manno Charlemagne and his band,
Rain clouds descended on South Beach, forcing FIU school of hospitality students to form an umbrella line to bring food from the outdoor kitchens.
Chef Taka Kimura from Morimoto Sushi Bar in Boca Raton at work in the mobile kitchen.
Michigander Ezra Bertakis readies a dish for the pass.Meanwhile, under Kris Wessel's tent...
Myrtille Quillien from Red Light Little River works the shrimp.
Guillaume Ginther of France from Daniel Restaurant in NYC working food for Boulud.
Maybe our favorite part of the evening came with a 10 minute break at the gas station next door, when we were forcibly locked in with a would-be thief who decided to wreck shop. After dropping and breaking a case of Corona Light bottles, refusing to pay for them, and getting us locked in, he knocked over the ATM, all the chip racks, ate a hot dog, knocked over the hot dog spinner, and eventually got arrested. Check out the video.
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We made it through unscathed, and utterly ignored by a dude who obviously likes jail, and headed back to Tap Tap.
FIU student Lyndon Robinson said, "This is the most awesome thing anybody from the school of hospitality can do. Go FIU!"
As the evening wound down, the chefs and cooks hung around and said their see ya's.
Quintin Nelson (above left), a Johnson and Wales culinary student who works in the Latin Burger and Taco truck said, "It's great being here at an event like this with celebrity chefs."