Chefs

South Beach Seafood Festival Returns for Special Tenth Edition

South Beach Seafood Festival is back in Lummus Park for its tenth edition.
South Beach Seafood Festival is back in Lummus Park for its tenth edition. Photo courtesy of South Beach Seafood Festival
The anticipated South Beach Seafood Festival is back on the sand for its tenth-year anniversary. The four-day event highlights South Florida chefs and the culinary scene with special dinners, tastings, and competitive showdowns.

“What you can expect is really good food," Tod Roy says to New Times. Valerie and Tod Roy cofounded the festival and have watched it grow for ten years now. "The food that the chefs come up with and they come out with is phenomenal. For this festival we want the chefs to come out with their specialty and their creations and it's really cool to see.”

The festival runs from Wednesday, October 19 to Saturday, October 22 and kicks off Miami's stone crab season. The main event stretches along four blocks of Lummus Park. It features an extensive culinary lineup with South Florida staples and local talent.

The sold-out, five-course meal, "An Evening at Joe’s Stone Crab,” starts the event on Wednesday, October 19. Valerie explains to New Times how important Joe's Stone Crab is to them because the restaurant was there for the first edition of the festival.

On Thursday, October 20, Goya Foods’ executive chef Fernando Desa hosts “Crabs, Slabs & Cabs." The five-course dinner highlights surf and turf reimagined by local chefs at High Tide (tickets cost $250).

The "Extraordinary Bartender Showdown" along with the VIP "Chef Showdown" takes place Friday, October 21. For the ten-year anniversary, 20 chefs will compete in ten different battles to create innovative dishes that are then sampled by the public and the judge's panel. Each battle has one champion, but for the first time, an MVP will be rewarded $10,000.

Valerie and Tod Roy admit the showdown is one of their favorite events but say it is impossible to pick a favorite battle. “Our favorite is always the battle that just finished because it is always the best one until the next battle comes," Valerie notes. "There’s just so much good food! The chefs put their hearts and soul into this.”
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Beaker and Gray's dish for Battle Crab in 2021's Chef Showdown
Photo courtesy of South Beach Seafood Festival
Battle crab is always a crowd stopper and this year the two-time champion Beaker & Gray’s Brian Nasajon defends his title against Papa’s Raw Bar’s Chad Wyrosdick. Chef Nasajon says the team has been crafting this recipe since last year and he described it as "crab everywhere."

“It's more pressure!" Nasajon says to New Times about going back as last year's crab champion. "I don’t want to let my team down, I know that they are really excited and they want to keep going so I want to make sure that they get the win too. But again it's all in good fun, everyone is having a good time but for sure there's a little more pressure.... Chef Chad is talented, and he will for sure bring some quality inventive stuff. I think it’s all going to be challenging and fun but very exciting."

Wyrosdick wants to bring Papa's Raw Bar its second win with the team's recipe he described as shocking. “I probably think about it nonstop for the four or five months leading up to it. It's just like you get such a buzz and energy before it and coming up to it, just all the crazy ideas of what you are going to make. Then when you finally get on the stage is even crazier because you're like I'm in front of 15,000 people and I'm finally doing it."

On Saturday, October 22 it's time to head to the beach for the main event and sample from local pop-ups such as Lobster Shack, CJ’s Crab Shack, and Tanuki. The two-block VIP Village includes samplings from Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Mau Miami, Playa, and Papa's Raw Bar. This year, nationally-known country artist Granger Smith is the headliner of the festival, which features Earl Dibbles Jr. and special guest Runaway June. Local entertainment includes Mama Fuma and the Regs.

The festival will once again benefit CI Foundation's Eat Smart program, which strives to teach healthy eating and provide healthy meals to the local community and youth.

"It's just something special to give back to the community that has given us so much," says Valerie Roy.

South Beach Seafood Festival. Wednesday, October 19, through Saturday, October 22. Ticket prices start at $55 via sobeseafoodfest.com.
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