South Beach Wine & Food Festival kicks off

SOBEWFF brings chefs, foodies from across country to Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - If you have a ticket to the Q, a sold-out, kick-off event of this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival, finding parking nearby might require a little gumption.

"Right around now, it's going to get hectic out here," said valet Ricardo Romero.

The Q is a foodie's dream that combines barbecue and sparkling drinks. The event began at 7 p.m. Thursday under a giant tent on the sand behind the Delano Hotel.

Couches, candelabras, and a full stage featuring a live band were being set up to greet guests as they arrive.

The space seemed more elaborate than in years past.

"You know, maybe," said SOBEWFF director Lee Schrager. "You kind of lose track -- but it does look pretty special doesn't it?"

The 2013 event is sponsored by Omaha Steaks. Owner Todd Simon said a break from the cold in the Midwest was a welcome change.

"There are ten inches of snow in Omaha right now, so it's good to be here in Miami," Simon said.

Simon and other culinary judges, including celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito and Pat and Gina Neely, will give awards to the best grilled dishes at the Q. The winning chef will receive an award and have a scholarship presented in his or her name to a student at Florida International University's Chaplain School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Click here for information on tickets that are still available.

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