Lee Brian Schrager's Favorite SoBeWFF 2013 Events
|Photo by Melanie Dunea|
|Lee Brian Schrager|
For more on the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, check out New Times' Taste guide, hitting newsstands Thursday, February 21.
Unlike the Wizard of Oz, people who know the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival pay attention to the man behind the curtain -- Lee Brian Schrager. The founder and organizer strives to surprise, entertain, and educate both fans and industry professionals.
Schrager keeps the festival, which is celebrating its 12th year, fresh and new by changing up the celebrities who host signature events like the Q, and introducing new concepts such as Garden to Glass, an evening of cocktails under the stars. He recently told New Times that a successful festival is much like a good recipe: You must choose your ingredients wisely. "The beauty is adding a twist and mixing it up, using Emeril Lagasse at a cocktail event or adding an after-party component to the Q with Curtis Stone as host. That's what keeps us relevant."
Here are Schrager's insider picks for this year's newest and best, listed in chronological order.
Moët Hennessy's The Q and the Q After Dark
The Q, Thursday, February 21, 7 to 10 p.m. ($300); Delano, Beachside, Miami Beach. The Q After Dark, Thursday, February 21, 10 p.m. ($100); Delano, Beachside, Miami Beach.
"I'm excited to see the twist that Paula Deen is going to put on the Q, and I'm looking forward to Curtis Stone hosting the Q After Dark."
Friday, February 22, 7:30 p.m. ($225); the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, Miami Beach.
"Of course, the Burger Bash, hosted by Rachael Ray, is always one of my favorites. I'm always excited to be around all those burgers and all that grease. Michael Symon will be back to defend his historic winning streak. He's got a lot of stiff competition this year, so I'm really excited to see who wins."
Garden to Glass
Friday, February 22, 10 p.m. ($95); Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Miami Beach.
"This is an all-cocktail event that I'm very excited about. We're actually growing herbs at the garden right now to incorporate into the drinks. I'm looking forward to working with the Bar Lab guys, Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi, whom we love. We've paired them up with Emeril, which is going to be amazing. This is a very Miami-centric event, with Roger Duarte from George Stone Crab and Sam Gorenstein from My Ceviche serving up some fresh seafood to pair with the incredible drinks. It gave us an opportunity to have a young late-night party in a cool setting."