The event, which celebrates the Broward food, wine, craft beer, and spirits scene at unique venues across the county, is set to take place Monday, January 10, through Sunday, January 16, at Las Olas Oceanside Park in Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Event cofounders Kate Reed and Phil Marro say they dreamed up the event in 2017 to spotlight Broward County's growing food scene.
"We didn't feel like there was enough attention on Broward as a culinary destination," Reed tells New Times. "We wanted an event that would highlight the local chefs and restaurants people may not have known about."
Though they were eager to build on the momentum of the event's debut in 2019, Reed and Marro had to pause in 2020 because of the pandemic. They hosted a reimagined festival week this past March, offering guests a series of small, socially distanced dinners across Broward. The unexpected success of the pandemic-themed event prompted the duo to consider adding a permanent dinner series while putting together the next fest.
"In its first two years, the festival achieved its mission, welcoming visitors from more than 25 different states and more than five countries," says Reed. "After the pandemic, we were able to pivot and stay relevant with our visual cooking demonstrations in 2020 and the dinner series in 2021. We were lucky to keep our momentum going, and the announcements for the upcoming 2022 festival are very exciting for us."
Next year's festival will introduce a new signature event: the VIP Poolside BBQ Battle at Hyatt Centric Las Olas. The event will feature a lineup of local chefs who'll join Master Chef season seven winner Shaun O’Neale and Chopped champion Ed Randolph from New York's Handsome Devil BBQ. An evening of drinks, barbecue-themed bites, and competition will include a silent auction of memorabilia, with proceeds benefitting Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
There'll also be an expanded series of educational, chef-driven food and beverage classes. Details, including ticket availability and sponsorship partners, will be announced this fall.
"Adding the chef-driven dining series to the 2022 festival was an easy decision for us,” Marro says. "After selling out all our chef dinners in 2021, it became apparent that there is a local demand for these types of events — and there is certainly no shortage of creative restaurant partners."
The new additions will join the festival's already popular "Cocktail Confidential," a spirit-focused event that will feature three signature cocktails crafted by a master mixologist with light bites prepared by TRP Taste’s culinary team (Wednesday, January 12); the Grand Tasting, featuring food and beverage tastings from more than 20 restaurants, along with cooking demonstrations and live music (Saturday, January 15); and Family Day, a free event featuring kid-friendly activities, food trucks, and cocktail bars (Sunday, January 15).
Later this month, the festival hosts a "Christmas in July" toy drive at Cali Coffee (2650 N. 29th Ave., Hollywood). The drive will benefit patients at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 25. Donations of new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the drive-through, and guests who donate will receive a $1 discount card to apply toward any Cali Coffee drink.
Greater Fort Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival. January 10-16, 2022, at Las Olas Oceanside Park, 3000 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. For ticket information and a complete schedule of events, visit gflfoodwine.com.