SOBEWFF: Meet the Trendsetters, Trailblazers, and Mad Scientists of Food

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Photo by Michael Gobo/BFAnyc.com
Nobu Matsuhisa.
You've probably experienced this before: You're dining at a fashionable restaurant, the kind where miso-glazed black cod coexists with liquid-nitrogen ice cream, and servers introduce themselves by saying, "Everything is served tapas-style." Perhaps there's hamachi jalapeño or pork offal on the menu. You're familiar with this vibe, these flavors. But do you know who started these trends?

At this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival, you can find many culinary pioneers -- including the creator of the Ramen Burger™, the chef behind the first American gastropub, and the mad scientist who deep-fries his mayonnaise. Here's a selection of these trailblazers and where to find them this weekend.

See also: All our coverage of South Beach Wine & Food Festival

April Bloomfield
Originally from Birmingham, England, April Bloomfield opened the Michelin-starred the Spotted Pig in New York City in 2004. It was the first gastropub to open in the United States. The chef/restaurateur is well known for her love of offal -- particularly the deep-fried, stuffed pig's foot for two she proffers at the Breslin Bar & Dining Room. You can get to know her a bit better on season two of PBS's Mind of a Chef -- the James Beard Award-winning show narrated by Anthony Bourdain. So next time you're at a gastropub, remember Bloomfield --- and her pig's foot.

The Forge welcomes Chef April Bloomfield in celebration of the Spotted Pig's 10th Anniversary, part of The New York Times Dinner Series: Friday, February 21, at 7 p.m. at The Forge, 432 41st St., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $250.

Jason Wang
Credit Jason Wang and his father, David Shi, for making New York just a little spicier. With Xi'an Famous Foods, the city got its first taste of the fiery cuisine from Xi'an -- a city in northeastern China. The restaurant began as a tiny stall in Queens and now boasts six take-away locations, serving cumin lamb burgers, hand-ripped noodles, and "spicy and tingly" lamb face salads. Xi'an Famous Foods relishes its authenticity -- and that's its greatest lure.

Intimate Asian Dinner hosted by Andrew Zimmern and Jason Wang with Chef Pai, Sudarat Loasupho: Saturday, February 22, at 7 p.m. at Khong River House, 1661 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $200.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator's Best of the Best sponsored by Bank of America & Merrill Lynch Wealth Management: Friday, February 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $350.

Nobu Matsuhisa
Known simply as Nobu, this prolific chef owns restaurants on five continents. But before that, Nobu ran a sushi bar in Peru. There, he began merging Japanese cuisine with new ingredients. Have you ever tried yellowtail topped with thinly sliced jalapeños? That was Nobu. How about black cod with miso? That was him too. The dishes he created are replicated in restaurants across the United States. Soon, he will ingrain his style even further in Miami. He's opening a hotel and restaurant at the Eden Roc in Miami Beach.

Ultimate Asian Lunch hosted by Nobu Matsuhisa & Hiroko Shimbo: Saturday, February 22, at noon at Nobu, 1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $150.

Cecilia Chiang
You know you've made it big when you're part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Cecilia Chiang -- credited with introducing authentic Chinese cuisine to the United States -- was honored in this way. The show, titled "Cecilia Chiang and the Mandarin Restaurant," featured menus and place settings from the 94-year-old's San Francisco restaurant. In 1961, Chiang opened the Mandarin and went on to make history -- the kind of history that starts in the kitchen and ends at the museum.

Soul of a Banquet Movie Night in partnership with Miami International Film Festival: Sunday, February 23, at 6 p.m. at the New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $175.

Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations: Sunday, February 23, at 11 a.m. at the Grand Tasting Village, 13th Street and Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $225.

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Photo by WorldRedEye.com
José Andrés.
José Andrés
At José Andrés' restaurants, things aren't quite what they seem. The mozzarella in his caprese salad looks solid, but it's actually liquid and explodes in your mouth. There are liquid nitrogen cocktails, baby Japanese peaches, and foie gras peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Andrés -- a Spanish-native chef with outposts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Miami -- introduced tapas-style dining to the United States. He's also a proponent of molecular gastronomy. So when you reach for an olive, well, it just might burst with a single touch.

Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels presents Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament hosted by José Andrés: Friday, February 21, at 10 a.m. at Turnberry Isle Resort, 19999 W. Country Club Dr., Aventura. Tickets cost $500 per person or $1,750 for four.

Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations: Saturday, February 22, and Sunday, February 23, at 11 a.m. at the Grand Tasting Village, 13th Street and Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $225.


Location Info

Venue

Map

The Forge Restaurant/Wine Bar

432 Arthur Godfrey Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Khong River House

1661 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Nobu Miami Beach

1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

New World Center

500 17th St., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

Turnberry Isle Miami

19999 W. Country Club Drive, Aventura, FL

Category: General

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach

1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

The Space

100 NE 25th St., Miami, FL

Category: General

The National Hotel South Beach

1677 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami, FL

Category: General

The Wolfsonian-FIU

1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

Four Seasons Hotel Miami

1435 Brickell Ave., Miami, FL

Category: General

Delano Hotel

1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

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