SBWFF 2014: Talking diet books & The Keys with Rocco di Spirito

SBWFF heads south this year with a Little Palm Island Dinner, the Festival’s first foray in the Florida Keys. Hop a seaplane or boat and join Rocco DiSpirito for this intimate dinner. We spoke with the chef and author about the Keys, the Festival and his new book, The Pound a Day Diet.

This is the Festival’s first event in the Keys – what will make the drive worth it?
It’s hard to find something as private, secluded and incredible as Little Palm Island. You can literally have waves lapping at your toes while you eat great food and drink fine wine. Our focus for the dinner is local seafood. My grand plan is to take a few of the guests fishing during the day and try to catch lobster that we’re serving that night – not sure if I can make that one happen yet.

Tell us about A Pound A Day
It’s the perfect storm of every element of a diet program. The food is super easy to make & will absolutely make you swoon. Diets have to make you swoon in order for them to work.

A chef and a diet book seem like an unlikely pair
It’s exactly what the diet world needs – a person focused on flavor. Healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive. We have a 16oz chocolate smoothie that tastes like a bag full of Hershey Kisses, ice cream you make in a blender and potato chips you make in a microwave.

Speaking of flavor, what’s your favorite spot in Miami?
MC Kitchen is really unbelievably good, that was the last memorable meal I had in Miami. I had a pasta that was spectacular. It was an indulgent night.

Doesn’t sound the most diet friendly
The whole reason I try to stay healthy most of the time is that so some of the time I don’t have to worry about it.

What makes SBWFF unique?
The people in South Beach are the difference. They don’t take themselves seriously, they’re not pretentious foodies. They’re people who really like to have fun & food is an important part of their life, but doesn’t define who they are. Every other festival was pretty serious. Miami was a real eye opener for people – a food festival can be fun! You feel really free. There’s just nothing like it – it’s like the world fair of food festivals.

Rocco DiSpirito cooks at the Little Palm Island Dinner Thursday, Feb 20. Click here for details, tickets & availability.