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Lee Schrager on 2013's South Beach Wine & Food Festival: Hip and Hot, Part One

Lee Schrager (Credit  Melanie Dunea) short order.jpg
Melanie Dunea
Lee Schrager
Lee Brian Schrager is a visionary. He transformed a one-day annual event known as the Florida Extravaganza, held at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus, by moving the 5-year-old fete across the causeway in 2002 and renaming it the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Now it's a four-day extravaganza that attracts 60,000 attendees from across the country, cooking-TV-show hosts, and all manner of culinary hotshots.


In 2007, the Food Network joined as a partner and title sponsor of the festival. The network's backing, along with that of Food & Wine magazine, have made it the ultimate who's who of the food scene.

Schrager has emerged as one of the leaders of Miami's gastronomic scene. But the festival's growth has approached certain restrictions. "We've reached our peak and maxed out all our venues," he explains.

Events have overrun South Beach to the point where the fest has had to expand north and south to meet the demands of the visiting public.

In 2013, events will take place at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables as well as in North Miami. There will also be a celebrity golf tournament hosted by chef José Andrés and featuring more than 30 chefs showing off their smoothest swings -- at Turnberry Isle in Aventura, a 25-minute drive from South Beach.

And this edition's closing event on the beach will include a concert by five-time Grammy winner Ziggy Marley. Much about cooking these days is focused on entertainment anyway.

"We are very focused on what's hot, what's current, and what people are looking for," Schrager explains. This makes it difficult to plan for the next few years. "It's hard to do a five-year plan. A chef that we've never heard about today might be hot and new tomorrow."

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, featuring more insights on what Schrager thinks is hot in the food scene right now.

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4 comments
jason_s
jason_s

i agree with momo...overpriced...overhyped

chowdaddy
chowdaddy

That's what Red Lobster is for momo.  Enjoy it.

momo
momo

Another year with countless events that price out the locals, thanks Lee!

momo
momo

Ha, thats funny, considering I have never been to a Red Lobster . . .  I was only pointing out how much of a ripoff Lee Schrager's "curated" events are.  I have been to a few events but not in the past two years because of skyrocketing prices.  As a first year attorney, it is not realistic to spend $250.00 to hob nob with lame ass people (probably like yourself) and enjoy three, albeit tasty bites of food.  Before you respond, don't.  Much obliged.

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