Starting tomorrow, a constellation of culinary stars, including Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, will be hosting a range of dinners and tastings around Miami and Fort Lauderdale as part of the 18th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF).
But arguably the busiest chef during the festival is Frederic Delaire, who runs the food program at the festival’s host hotel, the Loews Miami Beach. He’s a classically trained French chef who worked for culinary legend Alain Ducasse at the restaurant Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and at the three Michelin-star restaurant L’Aubergade.
He and his team will put in 600 hours of overtime in just one week serving about 800 meals a day and also assisting the dozens of visiting celebrity chefs. Making sure that the ingredients each chef ordered for their individual events is on hand and labeled is a major undertaking alone. “Imagine 50 chefs asking you to order for them their own prep list,” he says. “That’s the craziest part.”
But if anybody can handle the demands of the week it’s Delaire who has worked the last ten South Beach Wine & Food Festivals. He also begins planning for the event back in November and his team grows from around 90 to 200 for the week.
South Beach Wine & Food culminates with the tribute dinner Saturday evening, which this year honors pioneering L.A. chef Nancy Silverton, co-owner of Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza, and Rhonda Carano, chief executive officer of Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery. The event will be attended by around 600 guests who will enjoy a five-course meal. Delaire and his staff plus a team of guest chefs have seven minutes to plate each course. It’s perhaps the most important meal of SOBEWFF with the most pressure. How does Delaire handle it? “It’s like a military operation,” he says. “I like it when it’s over,” he jokes.
You might expect Delaire to go on a long vacation after the festival is finished. But next Monday you’ll find him back in his chef whites and his kitchen humming. Another large group is staying at the hotel and he has to cook lunch for 1,200 people.
But if anybody can handle it, it’s Delaire.
If you’re planning on attending the South Beach Wine & Food Festival there are still tickets available to a select number of events:
- Dinner hosted by Donatella Arpaia, PJ Calapa and Terra Mare, part of the CRAVE Greater Fort Lauderdale Series presented by Capital One
- Craft-y Happy Hour hosted by Robert Irvine
- Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach sponsored by HCP Media and the Miami Herald Media Company hosted by Giada De Laurentiis
- Mixing it up on the Miami River: Best Bars, Bites and Beats hosted by Adam Richman
- Taste Jamaica presented by Jamaica Tourist Board and Tourist Enhancement Fund hosted by Cindy Hutson & Delius Shirley
- Mangia! A Taste of Italy After Dark hosted by Marc Murphy
- Nulo Pet Food Yappie Hour hosted by Katie Lee
- Chicken Coupe hosted by Andrew Carmellini