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Top Five Food Festival Etiquette Faux Pas

Tasting Village 2 (2).jpg
Lesley Elliott
The tents at last year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
It seems premature to say that the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is already a subject of talk about town, but they recently released the 2012 line-up, and we already spoke to Lee Schrager to get the inside scoop. Plus, Wine Enthusiast's Toast of the Town is this Friday night, and the Miami International Wine Festival is upon us this weekend.

So, we thought some festival etiquette ground rules should really be revisited. Here's our list of the top five grievances, because when gastronomes turn ghastly, faux pas happen. Let's all try to be responsible festival goers, oh, and friends don't let friends...never mind, that's hardly ever true.

5. Cutting The Line
I know it's annoying; that small plate sitting pretty is just so close, yet so far. Don't sneak up to the table from the sides, extend a simple gesture of courtesy - "Is this the end of the line?" works nicely (mutual eye rolling and dismay are totally acceptable). Just go get another thimbleful of wine and wait it out like everyone else.

Morimoto autograph 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
Morimoto graciously writes a novella on this man's t-shirt (you should have seen the line behind him).
4. Monopolizing The Chef
Uh, everyone wants to say hi to Morimoto and Michael Symon. Yes, you live for 'Iron Chef', you're their biggest fan, blah, blah, blah...now, please, move on people. Some of us are actually here for the food (this ties directly back to #5 as the main reason those lines are so long).

3. Hands Off Policy
I know it's really loud and many times you will say "excuse me" and go unheard, but that's no justification for pawing at those in front of you when it doesn't work out the first time. Just please try again, and gentlemen, you can still be gentlemen in a crowd. FYI, mob mentalilty is a choice, not an involuntary response (although thanks for the tip that shots of whiskey and rum are in the next tent).

Michael's Genuine Burger Bash 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
Chef Michael Schwartz and his team plating as fast as they can at Burger Bash.
2. One At A Time, Please.
I mean come on, they are making it as fast as they can. Seriously. You try plating a sprig of parsley on top of Asian slaw, on top of short ribs, on top of potato puree, on top of one of those little plastic spoons, in under 60 seconds, while standing in sand. Good luck with that.

1. Where Are Your Manners?
Try saying "thank you" when someone hands you something to eat. Those behind the sign have been standing in the heat all day, most often in their long sleeved chef's whites (or, worse the dreaded black jacket at the beach). Isn't it obvious that the blank stares of those chefs behind the table are really numb looks of shock at how rude you are en masse? An appreciative nod to the staff goes a long way.

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