February 25, 2014
I Helped Kickoff This Years South Beach Wine And Food Festival!
As in years past, I recently attended the 13th annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBE) in Miami, Florida. Amazing and lots of fun, SOBE is made up of more than seventy events spread over four days. The Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is the recipient of proceeds raised and this year, that impressive sum was about $2 million. This institution is one of the top hospitality management schools in the United States. I was asked to be the Mistress of Ceremonies at an inaugural dinner for the kickoff of SOBE held at the school's campus. The dinner commemorated the naming of the Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Lab, a fully functioning restaurant and kitchen with a built in brewery. It serves as a workshop for Chaplin students to learn everything from table placement to running a full house, to management and operations in a clean and professional environment. I had a great time!
1 On our first night in South Beach, Miami, Susan Magrino and I were dressed to attend a big tribute dinner for Sobe and the Florida International University. I was the Mistress of Ceremonies.
2 Susan wore Chanel, I wore a Louis Vuitton top, and Silvia Tscherassi sequin pants and a fabulous necklace and shoes. Allyn Magrino wore a chiffon top by Jennifer Miller.
3 We ran into Phil Goldfarb - President and Chief Operating Officer of the Fontainebleau. Phil is also an FIU graduate and is Vice Chairman of FIU’s Industry Board.
4 Here I am with Mel Dick - President Wine Division/Senior Vice President, Southern Wine & Spirits of America. Mel is a huge benefactor of FIU. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
5 Susan Magrino and Lee Brian Schrager, the founder of this amazing SoBe WFF event and also the VP of Southern Wine & Spirits of America.
6 Lee is indefatigable and attends every event in an energetic and interested fashion! He is also a wonderful organizer.
7 Lee took the podium and introduced the evening. He had a lot of business to take care, such as honors, thanks, and tributes.
8 Lee introduced me and I spoke about what a wonderful institution The FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is. I reminisced about my early days as a caterer and the many challenges I faced. How fantastic it would have been to have the resources of an institution like this. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
9 Here I am with Daniel Boulud, Susan Magrino, Lee Brian Schrager, and Daniel's beautiful wife Katherine Gage.
10 The tables were elegantly simple and were set by students in the hospitality school. Every detail was carefully considered.
11 There were many, many wonderful wines to choose from. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
12 I enjoyed a sip or two! (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
13 The dinner was hosted by Mark Militello, Allen Susser, Michelle Bernstein, Hedy Goldsmith, Cindy Hutson, and Norman Van Aken at FIU Restaurant Management Laboratory (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
14 Michelle Bernstein presented Croquetas with Fig Jam. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
15 Norman Van Aken presented Key West Shrimp Ceviche. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
16 Allen Susser presented Watermelon Bacon and Goat Cheese Brulée. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
17 My favorite hors d'oeuvre was this potato cake topped with creme fraiche and caviar - I ate two!
18 Cindy Hutson presented Caribbean Breadfruit Fish Taco. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
19 Norman Van Aken presented a Caramelized Plantain Soup with Smokey Ham and Sour Cream. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
20 Michelle Bernstein presented Flor de Calabaza filled with Prawn Mousse, Shrimp Nage, and Heirloom Greens. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
21 Mark Militello presented Charcoaled Spanish Octopus with Za’tar and Pimento. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
22 Here I am with Dean Mike Hampton, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management for Florida International University. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
23 And with Dr. Mark Rosenberg, President of Florida International University (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
24 There was some great background music. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)