South Beach Wine & Food Festival

South Beach Wine & Food Festival 2016: Take a Bite From Lee Brian Schrager's Picks

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival returns to Miami for its 15th season. From February 25-28, 2016, celebrity chefs and culinary greats will come to our beautiful city for four days of culinary demonstrations, parties, dinners, and play. MasterCard pre-sale tickets go on sale October 5-18, but the festival's website goes live today, September 8, so you can check out what's new and form a game plan. 
Of course, all of your favorite celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Robert Irvine, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Emeril Lagasse will be at the festival.
The festival will also bring some familiar faces back to the 305 including Hedy Goldsmith, who will participate in Best of the Best at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Friday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. (tickets $350), and Nina Compton, who will co-host a dinner with her former Scarpetta pals Scott Conant and Michael Pirolo at the restaurant on Saturday, February 27 at 7 p.m. (tickets $250).

South Florida restaurants are well represented, with an impressive roster of local chefs participating in SoBeWFF this year, including Carlos Abreu (Old Lisbon Restaurants), Nedal Ahmad (Pincho Factory), Roel Alcudia (The Cypress Room), Paul Fernandez and Alex Valle (Mr. PB & J food truck), Eileen Andrade (Finka Table & Tap),  Tim Andriola (TIMO/Basil Park), Timon Balloo (Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill), Angelina Bastidas (Piripi), 
Michelle Bernstein (CENA by Michy), Andre Bienvenu (Joe's Stone Crab), Sean Brasel (Meat Market), Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak and Bar), Alex Chang (Vagabond Restaurant & Bar), Jamie Derosa (Tongue & Cheek),  
Todd Erickson (Haven), Lorena Garcia, Richard Hales (Blackbrick), Cindy Hutson (Ortanique on the Mile),  Derek Kaplan (Fireman Derek's Pies), Howard Kleinberg (Bulldog BBQ),  Christopher Lee (The Forge), 
Dena Marino (MC Kitchen), Pascal Oudin (Pascal's on Ponce), Ralph Pagano (Naked Taco), Michael Pirolo (Macchialina), Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House), Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine Food & Drink), Allen Susser
(The Cafe at books & books)  Zak The Baker (Zak The Baker Bakes Bread), and Cesar Zapata (The Federal) just a few of the dozens of Miami toques serving food and kibbutzing during the weekend's festivities.
If the thought of choosing what events are worth your appetite, why not let an expert help you out? We asked festival founder and director, Lee Brian Schrager what parties and dinners he's most excited about this year. Here are his tastiest picks.

Burger Bash  (Friday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m., Beachside at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach - $250)
This is the 10th anniversary of the meat-tastic event, with 30 of the country's top burger chefs serving their most decadent creations. Rachael Ray returns as host and this year there's a new addition to the burgers and beer — mac 'n cheese! As part of this year's smack down, restaurants will be offering their cheesiest and gooiest interpretations of the classic side. 

Dinner hosted by Joel Robuchon (Friday, February 26 at 7 p.m. at the Moore Building - $1,500)
Sure, this dinner is about the cost of a weekend getaway to New York, but this is a chance to get a first taste at what this legenday Michelin-lauded chef is bringing to Miami. Robuchon, who is bringing four of his signature concepts to the Design District in 2016 —  L'Atelier, Le Bar, La Boutique and La Terrace — will give diners at this swanky affair an up close look into these venues. 

Seaside Eats ( Wednesday, February 24, at 7 p.m. at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, 900 Birch Road, Ft. Lauderdale - $125)
SoBeWFF is expanding into Ft. Lauderdale this year, with five different events encompassing the Taste Ft. Lauderdale series. The series kicks off on Wednesday, February 24 with Robert Irvine hosting Seaside Eats at Bonnet House. The evening features South Florida's most talented local chefs including Nicolay Adinaguev (Steak 954) Simon Bai (BAO Bar and Asian Kitchen), David Blonsky (Apiero Kitchen & Bar), Louie Bossi (Louie Bossi's Ristorante Bar Pizzeria), Peter Boulukos(YOLO & S3), Evan Friedman (Miami Grill), Toby Joseph (Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille), Daniel Scala & Matthew Kaiser (Sauced Up Food Truck), Robbyns Martinez(TacoCraft), Jason McLeod (Ironside Fish & Oyster), and Jeff Pfeiffer (Lobster Bar Sea Grille), serving a seafood-centric menu of eats. 

Yappie Hour (Saturday, February 27 at 4 p.m at The Standard Spa - $95)
SoBe Fest is going to the dogs once more, as pampered pooches and the people who love them party down with Rachael Ray in what has to be the best inter-species event in history. This dog-friendly party features snacks and treats from Ray's own Nutrish pet food line and cocktails made with Tito's vodka for their humans. 

Tribute Dinner honoring Jonathan Waxman and Constellation Brands' Richard Sands and Rob Sands ( Saturday, February 27 at 7 p.m. at Loews Miami Beach Hotel - $500)
Master of Ceremonies Tom Colicchio hosts this annual dinner that celebrates the lives of venerable chef Jonathan Waxman and Constellation Brands' Richard Sands and Rob Sands, who are behind names like Robert Mondavi, Simi, Clos du Bois, Franciscan Estates wines and spirits like SVEDKA Vodka, Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy, and Black Velvet Canadian Whisky. Chefs cooking at the tribute dinner include Bobby Flay, Marchs Samuelsson, Aaron Sanchez, Marc Forgione, Nancy Silverton, Tyler Florence, and Frederic Delaire. 

Lucky Chopsticks: an Asian Night Market (Sunday, February 28 at 6 p.m., Beachside at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach - $150)
Andrew Zimmern hosts this year's closing event, which transforms the sands of Miami Beach into an Asian night market. The Bizarre Foods host invites you to sample dumplings, sushi, and exotic delights, while sipping on special cocktails from Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida's portfolio. Participating chefs include Jeremiah Bullfrog (GastroPod), Jeffrey Chen(Momi Goyza), Anthony Fellows(HipPOPs), Hou Lam Dicky Fung(Mr. Chow), Richard Hales(Blackbrick), Alex Kuk & Diego Ng (Temple Street Eatery), Michael Saperstein(Rebel house), Ricky Sauri (SoHo Bay), Dale Talde(Talde Miami Beach), Miguel Trinidad(Maharlika Moderno), and Mei Yu (Tropical Chinese).
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss