By Dixie Ann Black
Do you like macaroni and cheese? How about lobster macaroni and cheese? Or would you prefer beef mac and cheese? Well, word on the street is, whether plain or with protein, Chef Teach’s macaroni and cheese is the best around. It just melts in your mouth. And he has a serving of mac and cheese waiting for you…. He is not the only one waiting to feed you.
How about some ribs? Chef Kareem is waiting for you to taste his tender, succulent, mouthwatering ribs with mashed potatoes. His lamb chops are so tender and juicy they are a specialty item.
We are living vicariously through Dr. Lisa Davis, a former councilwoman and Vice Mayor of the city of Miami Gardens. She joined with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival team last year, taking diversity, equity and inclusion to a whole new level. She is back! Her efforts have helped place Chef Irie as the first Black chef to have his picture on a banner on South Beach.
She is proud to highlight other Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) events such as JJ’s Cookout, featuring DJ Nice and Overtown Eat Up. Both events feature various restaurants in the Overtown area. Restaurant owners such as Marcus Samuelsson, owner of the Red Rooster in Overtown and Peter Thomas owner of Bar One on Miami Beach have been instrumental in organizing these events. Among the events at Gulf Stream at the Hallandale Food & Groove will be a jazz brunch hosted by Mashama Bailey from the Netflix series, The Chef’s Table. Tickets for events start at $75 and up but a family focus is built in. There will be activities for families with children including an ice-cream social.
There is a definite swell in creative genius as the field welcomes other newcomers. Kardea Brown from the Food Network will be on hand. She is from South Carolina and is known for dishes honoring her Gullah/Geechee heritage. Chef Kareem from Little Green House and Chef Deborah Williams will be on hand. New chefs include Maria Ealey of Bang N Tacos, Turkessa Wright and Rosalie Picard of Chuchu Macarons, Revella Hadley of Black Swan Special Events, LLC, and Kelly Hunter who has created his new seasonings for meat, fish and more. Overall, the number of chefs has tripled in 2023 according to Dr. Davis.
Last year the SOBWFF had 84 events. This year’s event boasts the theme “Eat. Drink. Educate” and will host 104 events, many of which are already sold out. Beyond the food, wine and festivities, this annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival connects to the community with a real and powerful effect. The festival boasted an attendance of over 60,000 people last year. It has raised over $34 million in net proceeds which has gone directly to the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University. This program graduates more undergraduate Black, Hispanic and international students than any other hospitality school in the country. Each year over 1200 students and volunteers attend and gain experience in the food industry through this experience.
As for the sensory experience of the festival, Dr. Davis reflects on her experience of eating a burger from one of the chefs,
“You’re lying!” she had responded when told that the burger she had just eaten had been made by Krazy Vegan and was indeed vegan.
“It was juicy, flavorful and tastes better than a regular hamburger.”
And if you have a craving for something sweet, just know that she is still raving about Chef Deborah’s carrot cake.
“It is moist, full of fresh pineapple, cherries, raisins and nuts. It’s really, really good.”
In some ways this event is a stepping-stone to other special community events coming in 2024. Dr. Davis loves working with Andrea Moreno, Lee Schrager and Ted Rood at SOBEWFF but she has a long-range vision that includes senior events and much, much more. She encourages us to stay tuned.
The festivities will run from February 23rd. through 26th. Information and tickets are available at https://sobewff.org/events/.
By Dixie Ann Black
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