South Beach Wine and Food Festival, passion beyond the plate
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival
includes a roster of chefs with prestigious accolades. With so many options, it may be difficult to decide where to plant your fork this weekend, Feb. 21- Feb. 24. Noire Miami will be following the culinary creations made by these award-winning chefs who have a heart for giving back.
Chef Delius Shirley and Chef Cindy Hutson
Business partners Delius Shirley and Cindy Hutson have a passion for Caribbean food. In 1996, they received the 5 Star Diamond Award while operating the popular caribbean restaurant, Norma’s on the Beach, which was located on Lincoln Rd on Miami Beach.
Today, Hutson and Shirley, are owners of Ortanique On the Mile in Coral Gables. “Cuisine Under the Sun,” said Executive Chef Huston of her cooking style which blends old school appeal meets new world style into one dish.
The owners practice giving back everyday at their restaurant. Every time a customer orders a Norma Terrace salad, $1 goes towards helping students pay to study hospitality management at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica.
The salad is named after, Delius' mother and restauranteur, Norma Shirley, who was once dubbed the "Julia Child of The Caribbean" by Vogue
Nina Compton, a St. Lucia native, says giving back is all a part of her plan.
“I absolutely feel as though I have an obligation to give back to my community,” she said, “and do so in various ways including mentoring young, aspiring chefs so they can someday become the next headlining chef.”
She says that her dream is to open a culinary school in St. Lucia.
“I have been blessed to work alongside very talented chefs and I would like to bring some of what I have learned back to the island,” she said.
Pat and Gina Neely
“I truly consider myself a "Southern comfort food cook,” Pat Neely said. “I love to grill and smoke meats, but I also love good, down-home, Southern recipes. Among his favorites are stews, chilies, roasted veggies, mac and cheese and baked meats.
Pat also has a heart for giving back. “I feel a strong sense of responsibility to our community,” he said. “So many of our youth today are getting lost in crime and we have a large high school drop-out rate. I want those kids to hear my story and know that they too can someday become a successful chef.”
The Neely's hope to one day do more than just inspire. They'd like to start a foundation that helps young people begin culinary careers.