South Beach Wine & Food Festival

SOBE_17-BootsOnTheGroundBoots on the ground in South Beach. Just a few short weeks ago, Mike, Phillip, and I traveled to Miami to participate in Lee Schrager’s wildly popular South Beach Wine and Food Festival. This event is an all-out celebration of wine and food, with the country’s best chefs, a handful of pitmasters, and wine experts hosting and cooking cleverly themed ticketed events, along with a massive tasting tent for wine and demos by favorite Food Network chefs.
SOBE_01-PoliceEscortWe participated in Moët Hennessey’s The Q presented by Creekstone Farms sponsored by MIAMI magazine hosted by Michael Symon featuring the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models . The police car above escorted  our pit down the beach to the event site.

SOBE_04-LockerEach chef/pitmaster had one or more  of these lockers with all of our prepped food, equipment, and other ingredients all neatly organized. When we finished prepping, the food went back in here and was then transported to refrigerated storage at the beach. Chef Michael Moran, Lead Chef Instructor for the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University, along with Lindsay Autry and Kelly Murphy, expertly managed the food procurement, pre-prep, and logistics – an enormous task.

SOBE_05-HughMagnumMany chefs traveled with special ingredients in their luggage. Hello, Hugh Mangum of Mighty Quinn’s.

SOBE_06-LureFishbarWe enjoyed a fab dinner at the new location of Lure Fishbar. Oysters several ways, sushi, fish, and more. Excellent food and service.

SOBE_07-CheckingTempBack to the beach to temp the hogs by moonlight, with the assistance of a lighter.

SOBE_08-AddingKingsfordWe cooked two 150-pound hogs from Iowa, using Kingsford charcoal and apple and pecan woods from Western Woods.

SOBE_09-MarlboroClassic Mike Mills. Smoking Marlboro Reds and whole hogs.

SOBE_10-EntranceThis massive banner announced the entrance of The Q.

SOBE_11-12-SBWFFThe magnitude and logistics of these events are a sight to behold. Dozens of people transformed a stretch of bare beach into a massive, well-designed party scene.

SOBE_13-14-SBWFFThe Food Network lounge provided a place to relax and rejuvenate. Dogs swept the area prior to opening.

SOBE_15-MartinsRollsATVs buzzed about delivering supplies all throughout the day. Here’s a wall of trays of Martin’s Potato Rolls.

SOBE_16-OurTraysAnd here are ours.

SOBE_18-19-OurSetUpWe dressed up our little stretch of sand with our Ole Hickory Pit, signage, and a few props brought from home. The real centerpiece would be the hog.


SOBE_21-22-BunDeliveriesHere’s our bread delivery. Mini Martin’s Potato Rolls for our whole hog sandwiches.

Mike Mills, Amy MIlls, and Randy Fisher of Cream It at SOBEWe enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with Randy Fisher of Cream, the culinary entertainment and marketing company. He invited us to participate in our first SOBE Festival event several years ago.

SOBE_23-4RiversBBQJohn Rivers,  4 Rivers Smokehouse in Orlando, and his pit master stopped by to chat and say hello.

SOBE_24-MichaelSymonMichael Symon was the host of our event. He’s been a huge champion of 17th Street and we are immensely grateful for his friendship and support.

SOBE_25-MichaelHughMikeMichael, Hugh Magnum, and Mike catch up after the chef photo opp.

SOBE_26-FIUStudentsEach chef is assigned a group of FIU hospitality and culinary students to help during the event. This was our great group and they were super. Curious, attentive, and pro-active. They pitched right in and helped figure out the set-up and best flow for the line. Each one had a job during the event and they stayed to help clean up and break down. THANK YOU! Y’all rock!

SOBE_27-SobeThePigWe always name our hogs and this one was Sobe. Isn’t she pretty?

SOBE_29-MikeAndAmyThanks to Getty Images for this shot of us just before the gates opened. You can view more of their party pix here – four pages’ worth.

SOBE_30-31-BigBobGibsonDoesn’t get much better than cooking with our friends on the beach. Ken Hess {left} and Chris Lilly {right} of Big Bob Gibson. Chris made miniature soft tacos with his succulent shoulder and jalapeño slaw. Delicious.

SOBE_32-MoetChandonMoët Chandon champagne pairs perfectly with pork and Creekstone beef, and it was free-flowing throughout the evening.

SOBE_34-GenevieveMortonMikeI’ve never seen Mike move so quickly as when he heard the words,”Your Sports Illustrated model is here to help!” He leapt into action and helped her with her apron and gloves.

SOBE_33-AmyGenevieveMortonMikeThe Sports Illustrated swimsuit models were co-hosts of the event and several of us had a model in our booth to help out. This is the lovely Genevieve Morton of South Africa. She’s been in the last five issues of the SI Swimsuit Edition.

SOBE_35-AmyGenevieveMortonPhilGenevieve was an incredibly good sport and she helped Phillip and me pull the hog and make sandwiches for several hours, all the while smiling and engaging with the guests. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

SOBE_35b-GenevieveMortonPhilPhillip, of course, is all smiles.

SOBE_36-MikeGenevieveMortonMike and Genevieve.

SOBE_37-38-SOBEKingAndQueenThere were two prizes given during the event, one for the best item using Creekstone Beef and the other for the best cooked over Kingsford Charcoal. We were surprised and thrilled to win the King and Queen of the Q award presented by Kingsford.

SOBE_39-KatieLeeJeffMauroAmyMikeFood Network stars Katie Lee and Jeff Mauro were the judges. THANK YOU!

SOBE_40-AnneBurrellAndMikeMillsMike, freshly crowned, being greeted by Anne Burrell as he exited the stage.

SOBE_42-CleanUpThe minute the event was over, we were cleaned up and packed up and hauled off the beach so they could begin setting up for following night’s  Burger Bash. More about that in an upcoming post.

SOBE_41-DoggieBagTaking home a Chris Lilly pork butt in your handbag takes the doggie bag concept to a whole new level.

SOBE_43-44-ChefKickOffWe followed the festivities with drinks, friends, and fun at the Chef Kick-off party

SOBE_45-KingAndQueenStill on a royal high. Huge thanks to Lee Schrager, Devin Padgett, Lizzi Nuell, Randy Fisher, Randi Freedman, Michael  Moran, Lindsay Autry, Kelly Murphy, Carol Press,  our crew of FIU students, and the outstanding SOBE festival team for such a terrific time!

You can read about the Q here and here 

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2 Responses to “South Beach Wine & Food Festival”

  1. I really need a Chef Moran at home!

    Absolutely over the top pictorial of a great event. When I saw that shot of Mike Mills sitting and having a smoke it struck me as an instant classic. That is one of those photos that just tells stories in a single image. I think it might be the most memorable photos I have ever seen of him.

    • amills

      I’m glad you liked it, Chris! Really appreciate the kind words. Wish I’d had a better camera … and it was so dark. But it was one of those moments I had to capture and I’m so glad I did. Chef Moran is AWESOME. And all of that student help was so great, too.


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