The South Beach Seafood Festival returns to the sand for the sixth year in a row, bringing some of South Florida's most talented seafood chefs together for a variety of events, dinners, competitive cook-offs, and beachside tastings.
The seafood extravaganza, dubbed "Seafood Week," runs from Tuesday, October 16, through Saturday, October 20, and benefits CI Foundation's Eat Smart program, an effort that promotes healthy eating among Florida's youth. More than 13,000 fish aficionados attended the event last year helping to raise $75,000 for the foundation, and founders Tod and Valerie Roy expect that number to continue to grow in years to come.
"The level of talent has increased every year, and the best part is that all these chefs come from our own backyard. Ultimately, we want to make sure that the festival is a fun experience and that attendees can enjoy themselves while indulging in great seafood and drinks," Tod Roy says.
Thursday's event, Crabs, Slabs, and Cabs, is a new dine-and-wine-around party that unites well-known local names like chef Janine Booth (Stiltsville Fish Bar), Max Santiago, and the chefs from Menin Hospitality.
Two multi-course dinners with drink pairings will also be hosted at the Regent Rooftop and Meat Market on Thursday. Tickets to these dinners cost $125 and $175, respectively. A stone crab dinner at Joe's Stone Crab has already sold out.
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On Friday, some of Miami's best culinary names go head-to-head in a battle for seafood supremacy at the VIP Chef Showdown. The competition spotlights seven different battles, each pitting two chefs in a duel, with toques like Ralph Pagano from Naked Taco, Bernie Matz from Bodega, and Andre Bienvenu from Joe's Stone Crab competing. "The taco battle is always a fan favorite, and this being Ralph Pagano's return to the kitchen after last year's accident, there's lots of anticipation to see what he comes up with," Tod Roy says.
On Saturday, Seafood Week's main event features more than 20 local restaurants offering 70 different menu items plus cocktails and wine to thousands of revelers. Some of this year's new highlights include a craft cocktail experience with Miami's top bartenders from the Broken Shaker and Beaker & Gray, three music stages, and enhanced interactive experiences at the VIP Village.
"Participating chefs are bringing some of the best seafood that you'll find in fine dining establishments across South Florida and making it festival-friendly and fun," Tod Roy says. "For example, Joe's Stone Crab is planning to serve the Lobster Waffle, an adaptation of the restaurant's signature lobster roll that replaces the bread for an ice cream cone."
South Beach Seafood Festival. Tuesday, October 16, to Saturday, October 20, at various venues. Tickets cost $45 to $800 via sobeseafoodfest.com.