Lee Brian Schrager, the founder and organizer of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival declared on stage the Southern Kitchen Brunch is one of his most beloved events. "I don't know if it's because it's so pretty, because some of the best food of the weekend is here, or because it has one of my favorite food personalities," said Schrager right before introducing the afternoon's host, Trisha Yearwood.
The Grammy-award winning singer, cookbook author and star of Trisha's Southern Kitchen on the Food Network told the large audience, "I love music and I love food -- it's a wonderful combination." Yearwood took the opportunity to announce her upcoming musical tour with husband Garth Brooks, and performed four songs for the starstruck brunchers gathered at the Loews Hotel.
Yearwood was continuously mobbed by fans who seemed more interested in getting a photo-opp with her than trying some of her Southern grub. Luckily, Short Order was able to steal the star away for a moment to get the scoop on the menu. Yearwood told us the key-lime cakelets were a no-brainer because, duh -- we're in South Florida, while the pimento cheese sandwiches are a personal favorite. Surprisingly, many people outside the south don't know about them, and Yearwood said she likes to use the event to educate people.
The singer also served a vegetarian-friendly country quiche, collards and buttermilk cornbread, biscuits with chocolate gravy (intense), and a mishmash breakfast bowl named in honor of the man in her life.
This year marks Yearwood's second appearance at SOBEWFF, and though she expected the chefs to look down on her as merely a "cook," she said she was blown away by the warm welcome she received from heavy hitters like Michael Symon, Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray.
That said, as a judge at Burger Bash, she voted for Shake Shack over winner Symon.
One could easily have filled up at Yearwood's station, but we were determined to make the rounds. There were ten other chefs at the brunch to be exact, so to say we were busy is quite the understatement. Below are some of our top dishes, and a video of Yearwood belting out her first single "She's In Love With a Boy."
Karl Worley from the Biscuit Love Truck in Nashville served this ultra-spicy and crisp chicken alongside grits waffles and his own syrup. He let us in on a dirty little secret: his mother used to make instant grits -- something no self-respecting southern woman should ever do. Rest assured, Worley's stuff was the real deal.
The executive chef at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, Darryl Moiles brought his meat A-game yesterday afternoon. Moiles' tender beef cheek from Creekstone farms was made using Louisiana Bière Noire, and plated with a fried egg, hot green salsa, collard greens and Anson Mills grits.
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The oh-so bubbly Kelsey Nixon of the Food Network's Kelsey's Essentials, told us she was having "a pinch me moment" seeing Trisha Yearwood. The New Yorker was thrilled to be escaping the cold, while we were thrilled scarfing down her almond tea scones and cinnamon buns glazed with cream cheese.
Follow Valeria Nekhim on Twitter @ValeriaNekhim