Talking Burger Bash, Best of the Best & South Beach Wine & Food Festival with Alex Guarnaschelli

The daughter of cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, Alex Guarnaschelli continues the family food legacy as a restaurateur, chef and television personality. She’s worked globally at La Varenne, La Butte Chaillot, Daniel, Patina and Butter. We caught up with the funny, upbeat chef to talk cerebral partying, the beauty of brunch and burgers as a tabula rasa for cultural expression…

What makes the South Beach Wine & Food Festival unique?
It’s really the context. There’s something about the mixture of really urban and really oceanic qualities that creates this energy. It’s partying & pleasure at the same time  – sort of cerebral partying.

And what “cerebral” dish will you make for Best of the Best?
Something salty, something crispy, something mustard vinegary, fresh & bright. At any Wine Spectator related event, I have wine on the brain. I think every wine has so many layers to it and I thought if it had a bite of food that had a few different textures & layers that that would really play well – you can hit a few different notes at once.

You’re participating in the Farm to Table brunch. Brunch seems to be a big trend this year.
Brunch is genuinely my favorite meal. I love it. Your calorie bank is empty and it’s probably the only time in the week you’ve gotten a lot of sleep. You can make eggs quickly then put some coffee cake in the oven and let is cook. I love foods that are designed to go with lots of really strong coffee. I consider coffee drinking a yet undiscovered sport

Which other Festival events are you looking forward to?
I’m a Burger Bash type of gal. I love the smell and aroma of all the different burgers; I think the burger is a tabula rasa for cultural expression. I like seeing the choices of meat and toppings, how the meat is ground and the buns – those choices can yield tremendously varied & delicious results.

What ingredient trends are you seeing this year?
I think horseradish is the new root for fall. I see it more in the greenmarket and I see people buying it. It’s daunting, but it’s so delicious and all you have to do is peel it like a carrot, grate it & enjoy

Where do you eat while you’re in Miami?
I love Michael’s Genuine because it feels like a personal expression of the chef and a little bit like I’m at home. It’s warm and friendly and even when it’s crowded it feels relaxing. And if you put Hedy Goldsmith in a room with chocolate, peanut butter and bacon, I’m there…