South Beach Wine & Food Festival kicks off its 22nd year

MIAMI – Foodies and wine connoisseurs are flocking to Miami Beach for the annual South Beach Food & Wine Festival.

The popular event runs from Thursday through Sunday, celebrating its 22nd anniversary.

This is the nation’s largest food and wine event that will feature more than 400 renowned chefs, culinary and lifestyle personalities, winemakers and spirits producers.

“I think if someone asked me 22 years ago where we would be in 2023, I’d say, ‘I have no idea,’” said SOBEWFF founder Lee Brian Schrager. “It’s great to be back in full force.”

For the first time, Red Rooster is hosting an Overtown Eat-Up, which is the Miami version of the Harlem Eat-up festival.

According to event organizers, the money from the event is going towards a scholarship fund for students from Overtown.

This is just one of the many ways the festival is evolving.

The event started as a one-day festival in 1997, and by 2002, it had a new name and location in South Beach.

The SOBEWFF collaborated with the Food Network in 2007 and brought in some of the biggest celebrities to the area.

According to event organizers, the SOBEWFF hosted over 60,000 people last year.

Schrager told Local 10 News that the sky is the limit for this year’s event.

“We had no expectations (before) and now we still have no expectations but to try and deliver the best and the newest and the freshest and keep it exciting for everyone,” he said.

Schrager said he won’t be getting rid of the classics that helped put the festival on the map but will be adding new additions to this year’s festival.

“Seventeen years later, we’re still doing Burger Bash,” he said. “Obviously, we’re bringing back ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ with Guy Fieri -- that was such a big hit for us last year.”

The SOBEWFF will be adding an all-new Sunday Jazz Bruch with Mashama Bailey and Miami-based Chef Valerie Chang.

“I grew up with really strong women in my family who love to cook, and they taught me all the traditions and passed down recipes,” said Chang. “I’m really excited to be able to share that with everyone.”

Chang gave Local 10 News reporter Alexis Frazier a sneak peek of her ceviche dish, which she says is a staple of her cooking.

Schrager wants attendees to get ready for more brunches, lunches and parties with live music and great food.

He said he also expects there to be a lot of diversity at the event to reflect the place we call home.

“A lot of time was spent curating to make sure the festival remains inclusive -- to make sure our festival looks like our city,” said Schrager.

While many of the hottest chefs in the culinary world today are expected to attend the SOBEWFF, Schrager says it’s important to also promote local chefs like Chang and local businesses like Red Rooster.

Another new event is FoodieCon, which will feature cooking demos and book signings with Instagram and TikTok personalities.

Click here for more information on how to attend the SOBEWFF.

About the Author:

Alexis Frazier joined the Local 10 family in April 2020. The Fort Lauderdale native came to WPLG from the ABC affiliate in Columbia, S.C., WOLO-TV. She's glad to be back in South Florida.