What are you most looking forward to at this year’s SoBe Wine & Food Festival?
Getting to see all of my chef friends! Emeril, Daniel, Ming, Michelle… Hanging with the chefs, all the amazing food, and just being in South Beach, it’s a blast!
How have you seen the festival change over the years?
SOBE Wine & Food Festival has become the premier wine & food festival. It’s the marquee event of the year and has just gotten bigger and better year after year. Everyone looks forward it.
BubbleQ is consistently one of the most anticipated and well-attended events of the festival – what makes it so special?
Well I’ve been to BubbleQ, but this is my first year participating in it and I’m really looking forward to it. I definitely think it’s the combination of everything. You’ve got 25 or more of the best chefs serving up their best food, complimented by the bubbles of course, Perrier-Jouët champagne, and it’s on the beach, under the stars, what’s not to love about that?
Tell us about your plans for BubbleQ
Me and my guys are bringing a taste of New England down to SOBE. We’re doing one of my favorites, Grilled Lobster Roll Sliders but with a bit of a twist!
What’s on your don’t-miss list for Festival weekend?
The Patron after-party at the W South Beach. I’ll be there with my Ft Lauderdale restaurant Da Campo Osteria, and we’ll be having some fun with Aaron Sanchez, and Patron will be mixing up tequila cocktails and margaritas all night.. it’s going to be a great party.
How often you make it to South Florida?
I try to come down as much as possible – especially in the winter because it’s nice to get out of the cold. I have two restaurants right now in South Florida (Wild Olives in Boca & Da Campo Osteria in Ft Lauderdale)… I love it down here – the sun, the beach, the people…it’s a great city.
How does South Florida compare as a dining destination to Boston, NY, etc?
It’s definitely on the map. Within just the last five years top chefs from around the world have moved in and opened great restaurants down here – Michael Chow, Michelle Bernstein, Daniel Boulud, have all brought some great flavors to the region, and more restaurants keep crossing the borders, or the waters I should say, and moving in like Hakkasan. Also, there are a lot of big city diners from New York, Boston, and Chicago who come here because it’s a place that’s got a nice combination and balance of sophistication and fun, and the ambiance – the weather, the beach, all that energy makes for an exciting food market.
What are you favorite restaurants in South Florida?
Definitely Prime 112 and Prime Italian are two of my favorites, also Michelle Bernstein’s restaurants – Michy’s and her more recent Sra. Martinez are great restaurants.