SoBeWFF: Scott Conant, Laurent Tourondel Talk Diamonds and Dishes

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The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is taking a detour out of South Beach for one of 2012's most unique dinners.

The Diamond Dishes event on Saturday, February 25 allows a lucky few an advance peek at the new state-of-the-art Marlins' ballpark long before the very first pitch.

The sold-out event is based on Julia Loria's book, Diamond Dishes, which features major league baseball players' recipes. An all-star team of celebrity chefs including Michelle Bernstein, Hedy Goldsmith, Scott Conant, and Laurent Tourondel will man the bases, hitting some gourmet home runs.

We happened to run into Scott Conant and Laurent Tourondel to ask them about the dinner and how they felt about the new stadium.While Scott Conant was overjoyed at the prospect of just being in a brand new ballpark, Laurent Tourondel was more interested in cooking. Here's what transpired:

New Times: How big of a baseball fan are you?
Scott Conant: I love baseball. I'm a huge baseball fan and I've never been on the field of a baseball field before. I'm excited about the Marlins. I'm a Yankees fan, but I can root for the Marlins because they're a National League team. I'll be stationed around the second base area.

I'm happy to be in the game, so to speak.

Laurent Tourondel: I've never been to a baseball game. I'm so ashamed right now.

What are you preparing for the event?
Tourondel: I'm doing some meat courses. We're going to do a crusted roasted rib eye with mustard and horseradish, Kobe beef in a blanket, a veal and pork meatball, and some popovers.

Conant: I'm doing a few meat dishes as well. It's not at all ballpark food, believe me.

Will you have any free time while you're here between your restaurant and the festival? If you do have a moment, where do you like to go?
Tourondel: I

will be at BLT Steak all weekend. We have a party for Lee Schrager and some other events. When I do get out, I like Zuma. I like Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau hotel and my favorite restaurant in Miami is Casa Tua.

Conant: The plus side of being in South Beach for the festival is that I enjoy what I do, so I like to take a step back and enjoy the events. But as far as lying on the beach and getting a tan -- not so much. The schmoozing time for me works. I always have a drink in my hand so I'm enjoying myself.

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