World Festival Miami: Valet Hell

Categories: Food Charity
World Festival terrace john zur.jpg
John Zur
It seemed troubling yesterday morning when only 140 of the $125 tickets for World Festival Miami at the Palms had sold. But a crowd of at least 300 showed and was greeted by bright-eyed, smiling kids who benefit from Common Threads, a nonprofit that educates mostly low-income children about the importance of nutrition and physical well-being. The chefs had prepped for 325, according to Palms executive chef Frank Jeanetti.

In the resort-like lobby of the Palms Hotel, reps from chef Michelle Bernstein's Michy's greeted guests to the right, while Common Threads founder, chef Art Smith, presented to the left. A station of complimentary Fiji water was a nice touch, and butler passed around champagne.

On the terrace, silent-auction tables featured gift certificates, baskets of goodies, and bottles of wine. Bars stocked with donated wines and spirits were set up as well. In either corner of the event, world musicians played, providing a gentle soundtrack to the evening.

World Festival silent auction john zur.jpg
John Zur
Around the perimeter of the terrace, chef Mark Zeitouni, of the Standard's Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill, offered shrimp, mushroom, asparagus, and ginger pot stickers. A logjam formed around Chef Jeanetti, who warmly welcomed guests with guava-habañero shredded beef short ribs on a Manchego cheese arepa with cilantro. "It's one of my favorite events that we've hosted," he said.

Area 31's chef, John Critchley, who showed no signs of defeat following Miami New Times' recent Iron Fork event, prepared seared yellowtail snapper with roasted pumpkin purée and salsa verde. The only dessert offering was anything but disappointing. Essensia's assistant pastry chef, Samantha Frei, along with her Common Threads helper, served passion fruit panna cotta with chocolate almond meringue.

World Festival samantha frei john zur.jpg
John Zur
The terrace was packed. A few more cocktail/highboy tables could have been placed, and service could have been better. Glasses piled up along walls. Disposable plates gathered on tables. Though the valet parking was a reasonable $9, the 45-minute wait was not. A hundred people grew impatient waiting for cars. An impromptu coffee and tea station was set up as an apology.

Chef Jeanetti says that because the event was so well received, the Palms and Common Threads are planning to host the second annual event next year. He assures that the valet parking situation will be remedied by then.

Location Info


The Palms Hotel & Spa

3025 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

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